Thursday, April 1, 2010

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month

Parents who grew up in dysfunctional homes are far more likely to abuse their own children. The financial pressures of a tight economy, joblessness and under-employment only make it worse. Many of the parents today never learned how to be parents themselves, because their parents didn't know how to be parents.

Many Native American families have been crippled because the parents, grandparents or great-grandparents were raised in church or government-run residential schools. This was part of the forced-assimilation policy of the US government at the time. Thousands of do-gooders did more harm than good, establishing their religious schools, which in effect served the same purpose of forced assimilation.

Tens of thousands of children in past generations were removed from their homes, sometimes by force, and raised in boarding schools. Whether or not this original generation was abused at their school (many were), the fact is that they didn't grow up in a family environment means that they didn't learn how to be parents. They were marched around like little soldiers everywhere, dressed alike, and often suffered extreme punishment and dire consequences for misbehaving.

So the parents, grandparents and great-grandparents of today who were raised in a religious or government boarding school may over-react to typical childhood behavior, or simply not know how to show love and compassion, because none was ever shown to them. Those who were raised in a brainwashed religious environment may be just as damaged as those raised in a military-type school. Their children and grandchildren often suffer, due to this history of family-deprived living.

What we need to do is flip this around, and teach parents today how to be good parents. That way, their children will learn how to be good parents, and they will have broken the cycle of child abuse and neglect. This can be done in one generation, once the problem is recognized and the behavior is changed. The following are some tips for today's parents, who may have been raised in a dysfunctional environment themselves. These tips were taken from the following website:

Five Parenting Tips For Today's Parents from Dysfunctional Homes

1) Remember that children are NOT miniature adults. They are little children with immature minds. Laura Ramirez, author of the award-winning Keepers of the Children: Native American Wisdom and Parenting, says "kids... don't come into the world knowing how to behave... Instead of punishing kids (which only teaches them what NOT to do), kids need parents to teach them what to do, when and why."

2) Figure out what triggers your angry over-reaction to your kids. When you learn to recognize these, you can be in control of your behavior, and your kids won't be able manipulate you to make you react. Remember to ACT - not REACT. If they throw a screaming fit in the aisle of the grocery store, don't REACT to their behavior, just ACT calmly and walk to the next aisle. They'll soon realize that their bad behavior won't get them what they want, and they'll stop it. Then praise them grandly when they behave well, and they'll get the idea and it's a whole lot nicer to behave than it is to misbehave. Deep down, kids want to please their parents.

3) Take a timeout yourself. When the kids are driving you to anger, go to your room & shut the door, walk outside or lock yourself in the bathroom. Make the kids learn to respect your limits, and to leave you alone with you need time to cool off. Ask a friend or neighbor to watch the kids for a while if you need a break, there are a lot of people around who would be happy to give you a break, if you'll only ask. Empty-nesters without grandchildren nearby might cherish the opportunity to have kids around for a couple of hours.

4) When you over-react, accept responsibility for it and apologize to the kids for yelling at them. Spend some time with them after you cool down. Don't try to buy their love, even younger kids will feel cheated if you try to buy their affection and trust. You can explain to the older kids why you get so upset; they might not always understand, but they will appreciate your honesty. When you have older children who don't understand why you don't want them spending time with strangers, you may need to explain why you are so afraid of the situation. Kids can be very understanding if you teach them that you are human too, and can make mistakes just like them. I used to tell my daughter "I'm not perfect, but I'm doing the best I can".

5) Respond appropriately to your kids. Try not to react instinctively based on your own dysfunctional upbringing, and recognize the triggers and patterns that didn't work for you when you were growing up. You may not have learned HOW to be a good parent, but chances are that you learned HOW NOT to be a good parent. Overall, think of how you WISH your parents had treated you. Don't be afraid to show your children love, no child was ever spoiled by showing them too much love. As they get older and start needing their independence, they will start pushing you away when the time comes.

Laura Ramirez is the author of the award-winning parenting book, Keepers of the Children: Native American Wisdom and Parenting. The book teaches parents how to overcome the negative aspects of their upbringing and raise children who are strong, happy, healthy and resilient. Contact her on her web site or by calling 775-815-2872.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

SURVIVOR - Wendy's Story

This entry reflects one woman's struggle with rage, one of the big after-effects of being an abuse victim. If you are a victim, you understand this truth. If you are the family member of an abuse victim, or come across someone who seems to contain an unexplained rage and are quick to anger, they may very well be a survivor of abuse. Rather than reacting to their rage (or terrorizing your loved ones or co-workers with your own rage), remember that what is really needed is kindness and understanding. You can help to diffuse the situation, by NOT reacting to the rage in kind; it's often displaced anger, and may not be aimed at you personally.

If you are the one screaming at your loved ones, especially your children, set them down and explain to them what is going on with you. It would be much better for your children to know the truth about why you explode, rather than for them to think that they are unloved or responsible for your rage. They may not completely understand your rages, but they are less likely to suffer their own trauma when anger overtakes your own reasonable judgment. Don't ever let pride prevent you from apologizing to children if you lose it once in a while, they can be your biggest supporters in helping you put this rage to rest.

I've noticed that anger and rage is a prime reaction to situations which you can't control, when you feel your stability or safety is threatened. I've been told that anger is one of the first signs that depression is letting up, when your fighting spirit is returning, so it can actually be a good sign! Anger pouring out of you (or someone else) is like letting poison flow out of your system. Think of abuse as an infected sore on your arm. The infected pus sore must be lanced (you must experience some minor pain) to allow the poison pus (anger and pain) to flow out of the body, so that healing can begin. Talking (or writing) about it, whether it's lunch with a friend or keeping a diary, or even writing up a page for this blog may hurt initially, but can be healthy in the long run. Abuse starts to lose it's power over our lives as soon as we start talking about it and connecting with other victims. Nothing is more powerful than victims supporting other victims, because nobody else understands being a survivor like another survivor. That's why contributors are telling their stories, reaching out to other victims so that they don't feel so isolated and alone.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Wendy's Story

I am a survivor.

My brother’s death three years ago, secondary to alcoholism, shattered our family’s lives. He too was a victim of many perpetrators – and then he became one.

I first started dealing with my abuse when I suffered an anxiety attack during one of my nursing courses on family health. The chapter being lectured on was “how to identify signs of abuse in a dysfunctional family.” It was as if my family was being put on the over head screen in erasable ink.

I ran from the room at the break, breathing heavy and sweating. The secret we all knew had happened, but had never been spoken, was written on the board “Incest”. Since then, I have spent 22 years in and out of counseling trying to deal with the echoes of trauma from 3yr-13yr of age.

My brother was not as lucky. His self destruction came when the monsters of his childhood re-emerged, incarnate in his body, to destroy those he loved – even his own children. He chose to leave this life instead of continue the cycle he again started.

I choose freedom! But the rage lives inside me and tries to wreck the goodness in my life. I am remarkably well adjusted, given what I have lived through; no one but another survivor can know the endless hurt in the dreams of the night. I was having a really bad day last month – trying to deal with my dying mother, work was crazy, the fight with my husband was particularly bad.

The following written reflection was how I quelled the immense feelings of loneliness and anger at facing the possibility of being left alone with my father when my mother dies. It helped me put into perspective the child within, who reacts instinctively, without knowledge of the real consequences. Only the adult figure of rage understands the pain comes with both anger and sadness.

Alone With My Friend, Rage

Rage always stops by for a visit
When I am most in need of a friend
She sits close by me and keeps me warm
Sometimes I wonder if she is really the only friend I have.
I can always count on her to defend me when I am attacked
She is fearless.

Wish I could be more like Rage
I see her as a warrior; always ready for battle
To War against those who would wrong us
Rage told me once, though, that being like her was a lonely choice

I think that I want to be alone and safe
Instead of with others, and always afraid.
When I shared this with Rage,
She leaned over and kissed me on the head.
She was crying and screaming as she left.

It helps us feel less alone when we connect with others who have experienced what we have survived. Anger and rage comfort and torture all of us. No coincidences in life, are there? I applaud your efforts to help others. We are many. Our strength to go on comes from the connectedness to each other.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Hell Is For Children

Pat Benatar - Hell Is For Children
Songwriters: Pat Benatar, Roger Capps, Neil Geraldo

They cry in the dark, so you can't see their tears
They hide in the light, so you can't see their fears
Forgive and forget, all the while
Love and pain become one in the same
In the eyes of a wounded child

Because hell
Hell is for children
And you know that their little lives can become such a mess
Hell is for children
And you shouldn't have to pay for your love with your bones and your flesh

It's all so confusing, this brutal abusing
They blacken your eye, and the apologize
You're Daddy's little girl, and don't tell Mommy a thing
Be a good little boy, and you'll get a new toy
Tell Grandma you fell off the swing

Because hell
Hell is for children
And you know that their little lives can become such a mess
Hell is for children
And you shouldn't have to pay for your love with your bones and your flesh

Hell is for hell
Hell is for hell
Hell is for children

When this song first came out, it was very controversial, some might say earth-shattering. NOBODY talked about child abuse back then. It was REALLY a taboo subject, even worse than it is today. Even when child abuse was clearly apparent, everyone turned their heads the other way and refused to see it. Everyone, except those of us who couldn't turn our heads and act like it wasn't happening.

Back in the mid-70's, I was a bored young housewife with a baby at home, on break from college for the summer. A day care center brought kids to a Vacation Bible School at a big fancy city church where I'd been asked to come help them out with art projects.

One withdrawn 6 yr old girl who came with the day care center group bore numerous cigarette burns on her arms & legs. I had seen accidental burns on kids at my daughter's day care center at the college, when little toddlers grabbed their parents cigarettes. Back in those days, people smoked inside houses & curious babies got burned. There was no doubt in my mind that this girl had numerous fresh, partly-healed and old burns. A couple were badly infected and needed medical care.

I mentioned this to several people in charge, who all discounted my concerns with statements like "Oh, I'm sure it's nothing" and "who in the world would burn such a sweet child?". They all acted like I was absolutely nuts, every last one of them. I might as well have been dropping F-bombs during a church service, the way I was shunned, after asking several people in charge to look at the wounds. The badly infected ones needed medical attention, still it didn't raise a flag with anyone.

Seeing his little girl being so withdrawn, refusing to speak, and usually cowering by herself near an available hiding place, while the other kids played, I knew what was going on, and knew that I had to do something. This day care provider was required by law to report abuse, but she didn't. Maybe the day care operator didn't want to lose the business for this little girl's family, I don't know. But she certainly wasn't someone that I would leave my precious baby girl with, not on a cold day in hell.

The real tip-off was the way this little girl's siblings beat up on her at the VBS. It was horrible, they would just walk up and smack her for no reason at all on the playground. It was all very disturbing. So when I got home that afternoon, I called Social Services to see if someone could investigate. Fortunately, I reached someone who cared and agreed that something was wrong with this situation. They said they would definitely look into it, and told me not to worry about the little girl anymore.

Well, the Social Services people visited the day care center the next week. I know that because the minister of the church called me up and cussed me out, called me a trouble-maker, told me never to step foot in their church again, etc. He said "I KNOW it was you who reported that brat, now that day care owner is going to lose her license!" He yelled every non-aware person's ignorant views on child abuse that you can imagine at me on the phone, peppered with language worthy of a sailor. Not only did the minister yell at me in a most horrible way, but he told the day care owner that he was sure that I was the one who turned her in AND he gave her my name, phone number and home address.

So the next day, this day care center owner started calling my house early in the morning. She was cussing me out because the state ordered her to shut down the day care center, pending a hearing to pull her license. When I stopped answering the phone, she showed up at my house during a garage sale and started chasing me around, screaming and yelling. She threatened me, threw things at me and trashed the garage sale. She tried to punch me, but I was waaay too fast & knew how to block. My neighbors witnessed the ruckus and called the police, who pulled up as she threw another barrage of punches at me. I wanted to charge her with assault, but since she was never able to land a single punch on me, the DA refused to file attempted assault charges against her. He also said something about the day care operator losing her income because of me. WTF? This bottom-feeder's business income was more important than an innocent child being BURNED?

Overall, it was a horrible experience, trying to help this little girl. I never imagined that people could be so stupid and ignorant about child abuse. But the fact that the day care center operator's license was pulled, and the notice in the newspaper that someone with this girl's last name was arrested and charged with multiple counts of assault, told me that I was right. When I called the Social Services person to find out about the girl, he knew all about what the minister at the big fancy church had done, and about the day care center operator coming to my house. Apparently the police told them about it, it seems she showed up at Social Services office and pulled the same thing. Anyway, he couldn't tell me anything about the girl because of confidentiality, but told me that she was safe and thanked me for having the courage to speak up.

This is a nightmare scenario of what can happen, when you try to step in and stop abuse. Still, it could have been much worse. The day care operator could have shown up with a gun and shot me or tried to harm my little girl in a playpen in the yard. The people at the church should have never given my name and address to the day care operator. I was appalled at the minister's behavior and language! Maybe he was an abuser too! I did everything right, and WAS right, but I still paid a heavy price for it. I'm not the least bit sorry though. Hopefully that little girl grew up in a better environment. But there are real risks to speaking out, so be aware that ANYONE can turn on you like a rabid dog, and it can be dangerous. Law enforcement will tell you that some of their most dangerous calls are domestic violence calls.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

SURVIVOR - Anna's Story

I'm mixed descent and grew up in a time when color made a difference, surrounded by racist bastards. I lived in a small town where everyone new everything, and made it up if they didn't.  Although my mother showed her French heritage, they all hated my grandfather, because he was darker and still followed some traditional ways, despite being an alcoholic. School was horrid because I was the only native kid in class. I was looked down on a a "nothing kid", so I still have strong feelings about it today. 

I grew up smelling sage and cheap whiskey, in a poor home where pots and pans caught leaks from the roof. I had brothers and sisters who were adopted out before me; some I know, and some I don't. The only friend I had was a tree. I know that sounds pathetic, but it's true, my tree protected me.

All the men in family were alcoholics. I was sexually abused from the age of five until I was 12 years old. My own father never sexually abused me, but the men he brought home did. My maternal uncle was the first to assault me, and he continued for many years. He always told me not to tell my mother and father, because they would hate me.

I learned to run at a young age, because I never knew what was going to happen. When I felt fear, I would run into the woods and climb my favorite tree, where I felt safe. I was very withdrawn as a child. When I was being attacked, I would visualize a place where there were rainbows, candy, waterfalls and flowers that bloomed in slow motion. It wasn't me being hurt, it was another little girl. That is how I dealt with what was happening to me.  

I hated going to school because of the chaos in my home, no set meal time or bedtime. I often sat in a car behind the tavern with my mother at night, regardless of the weather. My mother couldn't drive, and was very childlike with bad nerves. I often felt like I was the mother; I was responsible for taking care of her when my father wasn't home, and she was often in the hospital. I was responsible for keeping coal on the fire, or dragging in whatever wood I could find to keep us warm. I felt like I was wearing a sign that said "Abuse this Child."

There was a grocery store where my parents got food on credit, which was run by two brothers. I used to think they were my friends, because they would give me pennies or a peppermint stick. By the age of 12, I had matured enough that my uncle was finished with me. Just when I thought I was safe from him, one of the brothers who owned the grocery store raped me behind the store, pressing my frail body against the jagged rock on the ground. When I told my mother, she said "Don't tell your Daddy, because he will kill him and go to prison. There isn't any other way for us to get food." My mother had no comforting words, no "sorry this happened", not in this family. My silence meant we could still get food. I learned at an early age to keep my mouth shut, but I would talk to my tree.

Through those years it was difficult to stay focused. As an adult, I have PTSD, anxiety attacks, depression, and numerous other issues. I've gone to counseling and realize that it wasn't my fault that I was born into this chaos.  I can't tell you the pain has gone away, because it has not. I can't even tell you that everything will be okay.

If you are a child in this situation and you feel like you can't tell anyone, PLEASE tell someone at your school or a friend. If you don't have a friend, call a crisis line. TELL SOMEONE and keep telling until someone listens.  I am a survivor, and you are loved, wherever you are and whatever you are going through, I understand and I love you. 

I wrote this poem sitting in my "refuge tree" at age of 14.

My Tree, My Friend
You stand sturdy and strong with arms outstretched to me
Like a sad old soldier I gaze up at you and see more than a tree
For hundreds of years you have stood your ground
Oh the many things you have seen when no one else was around
I see strength, virtue, boldness and pride...
You standing tall with nothing to hide
I listen as the wind blows through your aged leaves
I wish I could possess the strength you have somewhere in me
Solid as an oak you stand with only rain to drink
Only I understand, or take the time to think
You have been a friend to me through years of despair
Comforting me from the storm and blowing whispers through my hair
Oh the many times I climbed into your trusting old arms
Sitting high off the ground you protected me from harm
You would have held me there forever, just as long as I would I stay
I need your embrace again my friend
So I had to come and talk to you today
Just to make certain you hadn't gone away.

(This post was edited for spelling & readability, and approved by contributor before publishing)

Monday, March 22, 2010

SURVIVOR - Nikki's Story

SURVIVOR - Nikki's Story

Yesterday I had to go to a new doctor. As always, she asked about my PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) which is related to the first 9 years of my life. Like a rubbernecker at a huge accident, she had to delve into the ugly little details of my life. I don't know that my mind will let me assemble reflections in an understandable  manner, but I will give it a try. It's a good thing you are doing!

I have non-combat related PTSD, which is chronic and severe, and comes with dissociative behavior. At 52, my bones are disintegrating due to malnutrition as a child. Yes, I struggle each and every day. But I am not a victim, I am a SURVIVOR!. I am not "damaged goods", just heavily scarred. I define myself, rejecting the labels that others try to give me. The labels always sound harsh and ugly, and that is not what am, it's just something that was done to me.

I guess the most important thing would be for people to understand that there is no book and no pills that can fix this. One can only learn how to survive it and live with it. The spirit is damaged, some worse than others. So the survivor must come to understand what the spirit needs to thrive. The victory comes when we accept the fact that no one can make us a victim, if we learn to become a survivor. 

There is a great deal of chaos in my mind when it comes to this topic. My mother "sold" me to men from about the age of 6 to 9. As a result, I have so many "black out" spaces in my memory, that it is nearly impossible to assemble much that makes sense, but I will try.

For many years, my mother sold me for cheap whiskey and cigarettes. She starved me and beat me and locked me away in the cellar, until I could be of some use to her. Her sickness allowed great evil to enter our home. Together, they stole my birth right, love, safety and a childhood of joy. All I had left was my spirit, which I held close, though they came close to destroying it. Damaged and injured, I pulled myself from the ashes of my life and made a better place for myself. Perhaps I will have to drive the shadows back every day until the end of my days. Perhaps one day I will completely heal. Either way, all of this took place over 40 years ago, and I have 40 years of winning.

I was studied for many years by Phds, who wanted to figure out how I survived. But in the end, all I could really tell them was that I am the only one that HAS to live with me. And so I have to do whatever is necessary, to be able to like the person that I see in the mirror every morning.

There is a sadness that I carry within me, hidden in the shadows of a bright spirit. Not a day passes by that I do not look into those shadows and find the pain from my mother's great betrayal, the anger over the loss of a childhood I never had, the horror of what was allowed to be done to me, and the sadness of it all. I know that if I allow the shadows to grow, I will drown in the darkness. So, each day, I build a place with light around it.  The small and simple joys of planting flowers, watching the birds that come to my feeders each day to eat, my beads that sing a soft song of color and light. But most of all, the beauty of being able to feel such joy, and smile in spite of all of their attempts to leave me in darkness. After I build the lights around my dark shadow, I can go out into the world with pride, because I won again for at least one more day.

Some days I am not so strong and my shadow grows larger. Some days I am not so brave and the shadow frightens me. But that's okay, it's just a reminder from Creator that I am not perfect. And a reminder that I must struggle on, for I have value, or He would not have given me life.  Each person, each spirit is different, and so each person reacts in a different way.

Many have said that my early years were the worst they have ever heard about. No scale of 1 to 10 can describe how "bad" the abuse was. But I would say there are others out there that endured more than I did. 

The only thing that really matters is finding your way of dealing with whatever life gives you to survive, to fight and smile for just one more day. We are strong, far stronger than we think. We have to tap into that strength and use it to heal ourselves.

I do not claim to carry a great power, I have the same power that is given to all at birth. I do not claim to be a pillar of strength, I am in fact weak and have only enough strength to hold myself up and carry on. I have no great wisdom, still I pray that something can be learned from my words. I am only one small person, doing the best I can, with what life has given me, and refusing to surrender to the ugly parts of my life.

The only crime greater than the intentional infliction of harm to ones spirit, is to allow that evil to win.   The Creator teaches us that we must reach out our hand to assist those that are on the path behind us, this is how we help our brothers and sisters along. That's enough for now : )       

(This post was edited for spelling & readability, and approved by contributor before publishing)

About This Blog

I'm the least likely person to start this blog. I didn't want to do it, plain and simple. Why am I being called to deal with such a gut-wrenching issue? This is nasty stuff - it destroys lives & sometimes sends people to prison. I don't  have any professional credentials or training to deal with this problem. My degree is totally unrelated. And yet, the calling has been relentless. Night after night, it crept into my dreams. I was running into victims everywhere, every day, from the waitress at the restaurant to my business suppliers. Friends that I didn't even know were victims have encouraged me to do it. Every time I mentioned the idea, it seemed like another five or ten people were cheering me on like a football player. So despite all my internal protests, here I am. My husband says it's my destiny, and maybe he's right. A support group can help in ways that a professional counselor can't. Nobody really knows what a victim goes through, except another victim. Nothing else is like that feeling you get when someone else "gets it", when it's like they can read your mind.

I'm sick of seeing the destruction that sexual abuse causes in  people's lives. I often wonder how much substance abuse is due to childhood sexual abuse. The alcoholism, prescription medication abuse & illicit drug use - how much of that is just self-medication? Are some of these victims just trying to deal with the memories that won't go away, trying to make it through the night, trying to feel better about themselves? I now believe that the intense self-loathing, undeserved guilt and shame probably have a lot do do with substance abuse in the form of self-medication. I know several women who are victims of domestic violence, who felt deep down that they deserved it, because they weren't "good girls" - meaning that someone stole their innocence when they were kids. 

Why do I believe that sexual abuse is behind a lot of substance abuse? I know it's a separate issue, but how did it get started in the first place? Have you ever really listened to people when they have had just enough to drink to start losing their inhibitions? That's when the pain of an abused child can creep into consciousness and form itself into words. Sometimes that's when the truth comes out, and it can be a very ugly truth. That's when you hear the story about two little brothers who were left in the car while their parents drank in a bar. You find out the little boy got out of the car to go pee and was left behind when his parents came out of the bar, and drove away without realizing he wasn't there. How did the lady running the bar treat him, while he waited days until his parents came back to get him? Did she molest him? Or was it just his aunts, when they were drinking? It could certainly explain a lot.

People who are supposed to care and give protection to children can sure give a lot of lip service, but it seems many do little or nothing to back it up. I hear about tribal & government employees who are assigned to these jobs, but seem okay with simply maintaining the "status quo". The same goes for family services employees, why do they keep sending kids back to dysfunctional homes where they continue to be molested? Twenty years ago, I had a foster daughter who was sent back to her home again and again, despite rape, imprisonment and starvation at the hands of her mother, older brother and the men her mother kept around. And what's up with mothers who allow their daughters to be abused right under their noses, without stepping in to stop it?  Do they need a man around that badly, or is it an issue of economic dependence? Is it a generational thing, was she abused herself? Is she just in denial? Okay, just like substance abuse and lazy-ass do-nothing employees, that's another issue.

In the end, it seems to me that this problem is not going to get any better until we do something about it ourselves. Nobody else is going to save us, there are no heroes with superpowers swooping down to fix things. Hell no, in the past it was the very "saviors" who started the multi-generational trail of abuse! A lot of Indians can't even hear the words "boarding school" without thinking about abuse they suffered in these government and church institutions.  ENOUGH ALREADY! It's time this dirty little secret sees the light of day & loses it's power over people!
I'm waiting for approval from our first survivor to post her story, after editing together several emails... we have some powerful stories of survival and hope to post in future blogs.

This is such an enormous problem, I don't even know where to start. I only know that it's up to us to stop this insidious theft of lives within our community. That's literally what it is, the theft of life. It steals the happiness and potential from too many people within our communities. It cripples too many young people (both girls and boys) who grow into damaged adults. It's probably the cause of at least SOME of the substance abuse, and probably behind some of the record suicide rates too. 
A tribal elder who retired from law enforcement in AZ told me that I might as well start a non-profit organization, because it is a problem that nobody else wants to deal with.

So this may be the first step of a long journey... I don't know what the future holds. But I will face it with courage and determination, because nobody is going to save us but ourselves.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Sexual abuse of children is a nasty little secret that NOBODY wants to talk about. But it's everywhere; it knows no ethnic, religious, educational, racial or economic bounds, and it doesn't just happen to little girls.

Abuse of children, and specifically sexual abuse of children, is widespread and apparently more prevalent that many of us realize. It occurs in derelict alcoholic homes & mansions in the suburbs, homes where methamphetamine is being used, and homes of church leaders.

This blog has been set up after several months of prayer, planning & talking with various friends & supporters. This is a grass-roots effort to provide support to abuse victims within the Native American community. In the past several months, the severity of the problem within the native community has been slapping me in the face, so I've decided to do something about it. Instead of beating my head against a wall, trying futilely to address the symptoms of domestic violence & substance abuse, I've realized that childhood sexual abuse is the root  cause of many problems. Whether abuse occurred in an alcoholic home or (frequently) in a church-run or government-run boarding school for Indian children, it's prevalent throughout our communities.

This blog is an effort to provide support to Native American women who are survivors of sexual abuse, because many live in fairly remote areas where there are no support groups. Several of my friends have agreed to write up their stories of triumph over childhood abuse, and I'm also looking for comments from counselors, professionals, law enforcement officials & spiritual leaders.

I'd like to know of resources that may be available. If you know of good books, or have an adult survivor support group in your area, let us post it on this blog so that others will know about it. If there isn't a support group in your area, look into starting one!

Sexual abuse of children was never a part of our past, lets try to keep it from being a part of our future!