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!
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.