I am stupefied at the poor resources available to people in the wake of the #MeToo #TimesUp movements. Following is a screen shot of google searches that I did last night. The first search was “healing from sexual abuse.”
I went through at least 15 pages of these results and was not impressed with any of them. First of all RAINN is freaky. I cannot believe that the founder and president of RAINN Scott Berkowitz has no back story to share other than he was worked in media start-ups and politics. WTF?? Those are his credentials for creating this highly sensitive resource platform for vulnerable people in our society??? And the platform has now partnered with 1in6which is an organization for men who are sexually assaulted and/or abused. I’m not knocking males who were sexually abused at all. Their trauma is just as real and as significant as females’ experiences, however let’s do the math. According to all of these statistics, which I feel are not accurate – they are just a starting point – “at least 1 in 6 males [17%] have had unwanted sexual experiences, including abuse and assault.” Well, the magical formula that I learned in the 90’s for women who were sexually abused is 1 in 3 which is 33% of women. Obviously, the research is all fucked up, because no one wants to talk about sexual abuse, even though it affects every fucking aspect of our lives, relationships, work, health, parenting skills, etc. And then there are the 50 shades of sexual abuse – ranging from a child being touched inappropriately by a family member, friend, health professional, etc. one time to the other end of the spectrum where someone like me who was trapped in a family system being sexually assaulted by her father for 12 years to everyone else who had a worse experience than mine. So what’s the story here? The male techies got together and created a resource to address their needs, yet women who are raising husbands and children are left twisting in the wind to figure it out themselves with scant reliable information and resources?
In reviewing RAINN’s Signs that a Child May Have Been Sexually Abused, I could only identify 1 sign out of 10 that fit my experience which was one episode of “excessive worry or fear.” In 6th grade, at age 11, my great-grandfather Pop died which triggered a deep rooted fear of dying and loss. I barely had a relationship with the man, but this life event sent me on a downward spiral. In hindsight, it is all perfectly clear. I would cry non-stop and was grieving. Little did I know that I was grieving my childhood, my pre-hormonal menstrual cycle, my body, my sexuality, and my sanity. So I had a deep rooted fear of death and dying. I had learned that we were mortal. After what felt like long, tortuous months of crying, my mother contacted our Methodist minister and he came over to discuss death with me. It placed a temporary bandaid on a deep, gaping, boiling wound. I would say this symptom of non-stop crying (which is not in the RAINN list) took the “excessive worry or fear” symptom to a much more obvious symptomatic level.
So with my experience, I only identified with 1 out of 10 signs and symptoms of childhood sexual abuse. This RAINN list is not very helpful. Either I was a phenomenal child, teenage, and young adult actress or the list is skewed only to the worst case scenarios of sexual abuse.
This article was published in 2016 and the resources that Castleman used are currently 10 and 11 years old. Is this the best, current information, data, and guidance Google can provide in 2018? And from my understanding, Google searches are based on either a source paying to be in the top listings or from organic searches which bumps articles near the top of the heap for the most clicked and “read” articles. So if Psychology Today did not pay for this search position, does that means that tons of people have read this article to help them? Gheez.
Castleman’s data and article are based on only two references. One of these books The Courage to Heal was originally published in 1988, therefore I doubt much information has change in the 2008 edition. I purchased The Courage to Heal back in the late 90s. It was helpful, but the entire book was written by a lesbian who was abused by her grandfather. I couldn’t relate to the majority of the material, because it was written by two women who I felt were in a relationship with each other. Maybe I’m wrong, but that was my memory of the book. I don’t have a copy of the book any longer. I think it is probably a lot easier to heal, trust, and have sex with a partner when they have different anatomy from the gender of the perpetrator that abused you. Although this book was groundbreaking back then, is the information relevant today in the sex-driven, pornographic, sexually assaultive world that we currently live in?
BTW – I later changed my Google search to “healing from childhood sexual abuse” and the resources were still pretty much the same.
Out of the 15 pages that I researched, the information available out there just scratches the surface. Most sources copy the same information from everyone else and none of it goes deep enough. Needless to say, women are left with crumbs when it comes to healing from childhood sexual abuse. And what is really sad about all of the statistics, is we never heard from the women who are on drugs, checked out mentally, or committed suicide. This giant dysfunctional energy in our family rooms is big, dark, ugly, and real. It’s time to shed more light on #childhoodsexualabuse, to heal, and to live to the best of our ability. #MeTooDownDeep
P.S. As I was rising out of my sleep state this morning, my #subconsciousDJ sent me the song “You Don’t Own Me” by Lesley Gore. What are the odds that I am working through this childhood sexual abuse and was born the same year that this song came out – 1963? #nocoincidences