Do you get this message? It’s time to STOP being quiet about this issue! If you could see the damage that I see whenever I’m working with a survivor of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) you’d be ready to speak up, speak out, do something to stop what seems to be a growing crime in our society. There is an ongoing debate about whether prevalence is truly increasing, or if reportage is increasing and seeming to show more instances. I tend to believe more that the latter is true, simply because the nature of mankind is what it is.
I was listening to the radio on my way to work (I’m writing this on Thursday) this morning, and heard about the increase in the VERY active sex trade. The discovery of those three women in Ohio, their captivity and abuse right in a “normal” neighborhood, has helped to blow the lid off the fact that children and women are daily being taken and forced into a life most Americans wouldn’t have thought possible here in the good old US of A. How naive we are, how ignorant, and how willing to turn our eyes away.
Even more appalling to me is that we sometimes tend to blame the victims. That makes about as much sense to me as blaming the Africans, who were captured and shipped like cargo to our shores, for their own slavery. What on earth are we thinking!
Last week I promised you a list of resources to help those who are struggling to heal from CSA. Below you will find some books that I recommend, and two websites as well. There are hundreds more out there if you take the time to search.
Hush: Moving from Silence to Healing After Childhood Sexual AbuseBy: Nicole Braddock Bromley
Healing the Wounds of ChildhoodSexual Abuse I-II By: Lisa Harper
The Wounded Heart: Hope for Adult Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse [Paperback] by Dan B Allender
On the Threshold of Hope: Opening the Door to Healing for Survivors of Sexual Abuse byDiane Langberg
1. Re-experiencing symptoms:
- Flashbacks—reliving the trauma over and over, including physical symptoms like a racing heart or sweating
- Bad dreams
- Frightening thoughts.
Re-experiencing symptoms may cause problems in a person’s everyday routine. They can start from the person’s own thoughts and feelings. Words, objects, or situations that are reminders of the event can also trigger re-experiencing.
2. Avoidance symptoms:
- Staying away from places, events, or objects that are reminders of the experience
- Feeling emotionally numb
- Feeling strong guilt, depression, or worry
- Losing interest in activities that were enjoyable in the past
- Having trouble remembering the dangerous event.
Things that remind a person of the traumatic event can trigger avoidance symptoms. These symptoms may cause a person to change his or her personal routine. For example, after a bad car accident, a person who usually drives may avoid driving or riding in a car.
3. Hyperarousal symptoms:
- Being easily startled
- Feeling tense or “on edge”
- Having difficulty sleeping, and/or having angry outbursts.
Hyperarousal symptoms are usually constant, instead of being triggered by things that remind one of the traumatic event. They can make the person feel stressed and angry. These symptoms may make it hard to do daily tasks, such as sleeping, eating, or concentrating.
Most survivors of CSA have some, if not many, of these symptoms; in severe, chronic cases, all the symptoms will be present to some degree. It’s an awful way to live.
Next week, I’ll tell you about EMDR. In the meantime, if you’re interested, you can look it up at http://www.emdria.org. I am a fully certified provider. It is the most effective treatment I’ve seen for any kind of trauma.