April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month as well as National Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month. Although there is a strong push to raise awareness during April, attention to the epidemics is a year around event. Instead of posting statistics and quoting research, I thought I’d share a short creative writing exercise I wrote titled: “What does it feel like to be a survivor?” (of child sexual abuse).
What is it like to be a survivor of child abuse? How does a victim L-I-V-E after being in the heavy cauldron of verbal, emotional, mental, physical, psychological, religious, and sexual abuse? The steam of putrid abuse is so hot it burns the skin and melts the mind into a pile of lifeless ashes. How does a child teach him/herself to rise up and carry on after being sexually assaulted by family members or other trusted adults?
What if the mix of nature versus nurture or neglect is toxic, like poison boiling over, and the family that was supposed to protect her is spewing witch’s stews of evil? There is no life juice; to L-I-V-E daily in that environment is like drinking from a bottle with a skull and crossbones on it, taunting, teasing, tempting suicide as a remedy. She doesn’t live; she exists in a context where she is scared-to-death of the world at large.
Surviving means standing over the cauldron with a big stick of strength, stirring the pot despite the acrid fumes that choke the breath. It takes mighty courage to dredge up the heavy dark scum. Recovering means turning the brew upside down and inside out to see it for what it is: LIES! The ladle is heavy with betrayal and deceit. Stir the pot, sift through the garbage and discard the vile crud that drained your power!
When truth and clarity come into focus, your healing can begin. Take back your power by strainingyour truth from their lies.
Thriving means educating, empowering, and enlightening your S-E-L-F. You were designed to L-I-V-E. You were created to breathe in the fragrance of connection, to cultivate clarity of thought, to sow seeds of integrity, to reap relationships of L-O-V-E. To thrive means to embrace a love-of-life perspective.
The following poem I found on a rubber stamp! I don’t know who wrote it, but it speaks to the spirit of survivors.
I have laughed, lived, loved and lost.
I have cried, mourned, and grieved hoped, prayed and healed. I have found strength and true beauty.