Author Archives: W.R.R.

About W.R.R.

Bipolar & survivor of incest/child sex abuse; bisexual, poet/writer/advocate & father of four.

Breathing for Self-Care

My therapist says I need to remember my deep breathing when I feel a trigger start, but that is so hard. I told her it feels like being asked to slowly drink a glass of water while your hair is on fire.

~ ~ ~

© W.R.R. 8/20/2014
For all survivors of any form of rape or abuse; you are not alone. Seek help. Speak out. Find your path to healing.

www.AsAshesScatter.com
wrr@asashesscatter.com
@AsAshesScatter

Please read the Comment Policy before submitting a comment to the moderators. For more about me, you are welcome to read my story and visit the About page.

Thank you for reading.


“Breaking the Cycle” Advocacy and Vampire Syndrome

I have stated before that I am a survivor of incest CSA and my parents’ pedophile ring. I would like to respond to Sasha Joseph Neulinger, whose efforts I do admire, as detailed here at the Good Men Project, in an excellent article about his film titled Rewind To Fast-Forward, with the article being written by Edie Weinstein.

While I can certainly see the value of Sasha’s efforts, and I believe I could support his ideas, I do feel a need to call attention here to a myth called Vampire Syndrome, the stigma of believing that the abused will grow up to abuse others. Sasha mentioned that his father was abused by the same people, and yet his father did not abuse anybody in turn, so I realize he is aware that not all who abuse are somehow doomed to abuse also. However, the way this effort is written, and the idea that we must get victims and survivors more and better constant help from early on, raises the shadow of Vampire Syndrome in my mind.

For the sake of the silent victims and survivors, may I suggest that more care is taken to assure them that they are not doomed to abuse others just because they are/were abused. That stigma is a big factor in keeping many not only silent, but keeping them from seeking help. This is similar to the stigma of mental illness, where to seek help is to be branded, and in some cases, judged by others. Keeping Vampire Syndrome in mind, the silent ones need to also hear that while some grow up to offend, most do not. Also, most abusers were not abused as children. The statistics exist, please feel free to find them. While finding ways to break the cycle of abuse (in cases and families where it exists) is vital, we can’t afford to lose sight of the fact that the majority of the abused have not and would not ever abuse a child themselves, with or without therapy or other types of support. That way, we can also crush the stigma of Vampire Syndrome.

My parents were members of and my father eventually ran the pedophile ring I was born into. I have many reasons to believe that they were both abused as children, and yes they grew up and chose to abuse myself and many others. They forced us to abuse each other as well, and made films and other child abuse images of this to sell. They rented us to “clients”, sometimes many times a day or night. Yet I survived, grew up, and have never abused a child, would never, and have no urge or desire to do so, just like Sasha’s father.

In the years after I escaped my parents, and prior to receiving any help, I never abused others. This was long before I found the loving support of my new family and began therapy, as well as treatment for bipolar and a host of phobias and other issues that are abuse-related. When I finally received help, it began to help me learn how to heal. What it did not do, was “cure me” of a desire to abuse, as I never felt that desire at all. For the minority numbers of survivors who do go on to abuse others, I do believe that immediate, consistent, and far improved help could be instrumental in breaking that cycle of abuse within that minority. My point is, we need to be careful that we don’t sound like we believe “all” survivors are at risk to become abusers. For the few who are at risk, as my parents obviously were, I do hope early help might change that risk for them and others.

Yes, victims need more and better help, as soon as possible, and probably for years to come. Yes, adult survivors of CSA can also work to heal. But if Vampire Syndrome stigma prevents them from telling their secret or getting help, then they will not speak up or seek help. We must be cautious and aware, and cover all angles, or risk great numbers who need help slipping through the cracks.

Also, on the issue of “forgiving abusers”, I refuse to do so, and I have been immensely helped by these two articles about how being pushed to forgive (or even suggesting forgiveness to somebody who rejects it) can cause great damage to a survivor of CSA or rape. You can find those articles here:

Must You Forgive? By Jeanne Safer, Psychology Today

Forgiveness as a Weapon By Dianna E. Anderson

You can find more information about Vampire Syndrome myth here. It is #7 on the list, but the entire page should be read and shared often:

Myths and Facts By 1in6.org

I ask Sasha Neulinger, Edie Weinstein, the Good Men Project and others to please consider this heartfelt advice from a fellow survivor. We need to be sure our attempts to help are not also triggering stigma that could prevent others from speaking out or seeking help. I have written on these topics and others for the Good Men Project before and there are links to my articles there on my links page here.

Victims and survivors are not one-size-fits-all, and so our efforts to help cannot be, either. Just as some viewpoints of a religious nature have inspired me to remind others that to some of us, abused by “people of God”, religion is just another horror, and never will be any sort of comfort. Religious-based “help” turns me away and probably turns away many others, too.

I know some people will say, “This article is about breaking the cycle of abuse where it does exist, so you should write your own article about this topic.” Technically, I just did. However, the efforts Sasha Neulinger is making to address the breaking of the cycle of abuse are worded in places in such a way that this survivor, who has no urge to abuse others, felt that the stigma of Vampire Syndrome needed to be addressed here.

If the goal is to reach all survivors and prevent more people from beginning their lives as CSA victims, then addressing the fact that only a minority of abused people may in turn abuse others becomes vital. Otherwise, we will never be able to help those who are smothered under the stigma of Vampire Syndrome on top of all the other horrors and damage they face.

~ ~ ~

© W.R.R. 5/8/2014
For all survivors of any form of rape or abuse; you are not alone. Seek help. Speak out. Find your path to healing.

www.AsAshesScatter.com
wrr@asashesscatter.com
@AsAshesScatter

Please read the Comment Policy before submitting a comment to the moderators. For more about me, you are welcome to read my story and visit the About page.

Thank you for reading.


Not Forgiving Years of Incest, Child Rape, and Abuse is not “Weak”

Gandhi said some good things; but unless he only meant the “my neighbor cut down my rose bush” sort of thing, he’s dead wrong on this one:

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” – Mahatma Gandhi

I file this tripe quote under “religious platitudes”, which means it’s in the “don’t say this crap to child sexual abuse survivors” category. Yes, some survivors can feel comforted by religious stuff, but many more are hurt by it. Unless you know which sort of survivor you are dealing with, and if you actually want to help them more than you want to preach at them, please make sure they don’t mind before you spew this empty and hurtful junk at them.

Not forgiving is weak? Can a compassionate person call weak a survivor who was raped from age four by his father? Molested and raped by his mother since before he can remember? Or when they began renting him at age five to their pedophile “club” of sick rapists? If that boy was raped, cleaned up by his mother to get him ready for the next paid rape, and at the end of the day he had to “service” his father; would any person with a shred of empathy tell that survivor he “must” forgive them, or “God won’t forgive him”? Or quote Gandhi and call him weak?

I assure you, the boy that survived years of that daily abuse, rapes, torture, beatings, being “trained” that he was a worthless animal bred for sexual use for money, is not “weak”. If he has managed to survive to be a man with the guts to become an advocate to help other survivors and prevent other children from being abused, does any person who thinks they want to help have the right to call him “weak”? Or tell him he “must” forgive? No, they do not.

Abusers who rape and sell children aren’t sorry they did these crimes; they are only sorry about being caught and prevented from doing it more. Statistics show the chances of reforming them are dismal, and they also show that nearly all will reoffend if set free to do so. If you want numbers, research it. It’s not hard.

I’ve referenced these resources before, but here they are again, for a flip side on the “you must forgive” debate and showing that being guilted into trying to forgive can harm and re-traumatize survivors of rape at any age (even religious ones):

Forgiveness as a Weapon by Dianna E. Anderson (Faith and Feminism blog)

Must You Forgive? by Jeanne Safer in Psychology Today

I’ll repeat myself as often as I see a need to. I got the Gandhi quote off of the timeline of an “inspiration for healing” huckster who followed me on Twitter. He was blocked the second I saw it.

If you truly wish to help survivors, please have the common sense to get to know them some first. Don’t just assume that what may comfort you will be appropriate to say to them. Also, ask them first how they can be helped or if they even want your help. There are many well-intentioned advocates on Twitter whom I do not follow because the hyper-religious content of their “help” triggers me.

Finally, the big issue: respect boundaries. If you don’t know the survivor, it is far more likely to be acceptable to keep things respectful. Do not assume a familiarity that may seem natural to you, but may feel threatening to them. It’s great if you’re a hugger – but please keep that to yourself, because many survivors do not want to be touched by people they don’t know well and don’t trust. Telling them you are a good person simply isn’t good enough because many abusers say the same stuff. It’s fine to ask if they want a hug, some do; but just doing so can be very alarming. If they have PTSD, like I do, you might even trigger a response that could really ruin your day.

Why respect boundaries? Because most survivors of child sexual abuse had no rights and it can re-traumatize them to have their fledgling sense of bodily autonomy taken away by some clueless impulse hugger with “good intentions”. You want to help survivors? Then put their needs, wants, and boundaries ahead of your impulses; verbal, typed, physical, and spiritual. You don’t know their boundaries? Ask.

For me personally, trust me – I’ve had my choices and rights taken away from me quite enough by my abusers; and I won’t ever forgive them, Gandhi. I don’t have to. The neighbors cutting down the rose bushes? Sure, forgive them; forgive child raping human evil too, if that’s your thing, knock yourself out. But don’t tell another person they “have to” forgive. You have no right to do that.

I am not weak. I am a survivor.

~ ~ ~

© W.R.R. 1/22/2014
For all survivors of any form of rape or abuse; you are not alone. Seek help. Speak out. Find your path to healing.

www.AsAshesScatter.com
wrr@asashesscatter.com
@AsAshesScatter

Please read the Comment Policy before submitting a comment to the moderators. For more about me, you are welcome to read my story and visit the About page.

Thank you for reading.


Guilt, Shame, Prevention, and the Burden of Educating Others

In a very helpful newsletter, Cecil Murphey of Shattering the Silence stated that the following statements irritate him:

“You don’t need to feel guilty.”
“You have no reason to feel ashamed.”

I agree. I get both statements said to me often and they irritate me, too. These people mean well, mostly; at least the ones who aren’t saying it in a “man up, get over it” way.

I think what they are trying to say is, “It wasn’t your fault.” But saying it the way they do comes across to me like a glib attempt to “tell me how to feel” and it doesn’t help at all. It certainly doesn’t make the guilt and shame magically go away. I suppose it’s ignorance of how to help on their part, so I try to educate.

Cecil Murphey suggested (linked above) that saying, “I’m sorry you’re hurting” is better, and I agree. He explained that as children, we didn’t know we were not to blame. So we naturally blamed ourselves as children do, and guilt and shame gained a foothold.

Most of us were told we were to blame by our abusers, often people we trusted, and maybe even loved. Then guilt and shame took root – during the delicate formative years. We don’t choose to feel guilt and shame, and we can’t “decide” to stop feeling that. Does it make sense to say to a child with a broken arm, “You don’t need to have a broken arm”? It won’t be fixed because you said that. They need a cast and they have to go through the mending and healing and not try to climb trees until the healing is done.

Sometimes I realize that survivors need to educate people on how to help, and I try to; but most times I’m too busy trying to deal and heal to worry about it. I often wonder, “Why does the burden to educate and inform the public so often fall on the shoulders of the survivors who, quite frankly, have enough on their plate?”

It seems survivors are also the majority of people teaching others how to keep their children safe from predators. At times, the willingness of parents to put fingers in their ears and say, “It can’t happen to my kid” makes me very upset. Self-care is vital in this jungle.

Then the language of the education can also be problematic. Most prevention advocacy talks of “parents, watch out for these signs of predatory abusers” but rarely do they mention that parents can often be the predatory abusers of their own children. For a survivor of incest abuse, it is very hard to read that stuff.

The important part, to me, is trying to learn better how to help and prevent, and to move forward in eliminating child abuse, rape, and all other forms of crimes against children.

Most survivors want to help with this, it often helps us to help others; but we do have a lot on our plates just to keep breathing and heal. It would be wonderful to see more people, especially those who are not survivors themselves, helping to end, and prevent, child abuse.

I know it’s frightening and unpleasant to think about an abuser harming your child or kids you know. It’s far more horrible to become an abused child. Which is worse? (Trust me, being abused is worse.) Learning about it to prevent it is far better than doing nothing out of squeamishness only to find out your child was abused. Damage from abuse (especially of children) can last a lifetime and affect every aspect of the child’s life. “It can’t/doesn’t happen in my town” doesn’t and can’t help the children at risk in your town.

Isn’t prevention worth more than scrambling after a non-existent cure? Isn’t prevention and the safety of children worth some discomfort? I’d sincerely like to know; but too many people have their fingers in their ears and can’t hear the question – or the cries of abused children.

~ ~ ~

© W.R.R. 12/11/2013
For all survivors of any form of rape or abuse; you are not alone. Seek help. Speak out. Find your path to healing.

www.AsAshesScatter.com
wrr@asashesscatter.com
@AsAshesScatter

Please read the Comment Policy before submitting a comment to the moderators. For more about me, you are welcome to read my story and visit the About page.

Thank you for reading.


What I Couldn’t Ask

What I couldn’t ask
what you wouldn’t say
burns inside my soul
each and every day
The nightmare world you made
stretched reality
broke it into pieces
you stabbed inside of me
Staunch the flow
whet the stone
twist the mind
break the bone
What is left
this patchwork mask
as scars define
what I couldn’t ask

~ ~ ~

© W.R.R. 12/5/2013
For all survivors of any form of rape or abuse; you are not alone. Seek help. Speak out. Find your path to healing.

http://www.asashesscatter.com
wrr@asashesscatter.com
@AsAshesScatter

Please read the Comment Policy before submitting a comment to the moderators. For more about me, you are welcome to read my story and visit the About page.

Thank you for reading.


I Know What Goes Bump in the Night

I know what goes bump in the night
it is heavy footsteps climbing stairs
the creak of boards
three, five, nine
thin wood door
crack and whine
I know what goes bump in the night
heavy breath soaked in rye
the hand that strikes
the cruel hold
count the breaths
do as you’re told
I know what goes bump in the night
that nameless pain
bearing down
flee within to hide, to sleep
where self stumbles
go deep, go deep

~ ~ ~

© W.R.R. 12/5/2013
For all survivors of any form of rape or abuse; you are not alone. Seek help. Speak out. Find your path to healing.

http://www.asashesscatter.com
wrr@asashesscatter.com
@AsAshesScatter

Please read the Comment Policy before submitting a comment to the moderators. For more about me, you are welcome to read my story and visit the About page.

Thank you for reading.


Gay, Bi and Trans Males are “Really Men” Too

This paragraph from a Shattering the Silence newsletter, describing a male survivor of child sexual abuse is very problematic:

“He later said that he started dating girls at age sixteen, and even though he liked girls, later married, and was never involved in any homosexual relationships, he still wonders if he’s really a man. “

Homosexual, bisexual, and trans men (survivors or not) are also “men”. I am a bisexual male survivor of a sick pedophile ring run by my father. I do struggle with “Am I a man?” questions, but because of my years of abuse, not because of my orientation. The idea that only heterosexual males are “men” or “real men” is erroneous, not to mention blatantly homophobic.

Update: I have received a courteous clarification from the poster of the quote above (he was quoting a friend) and I do appreciate it:

“When he speaks of being a man he means ‘feels the way he assumes masculine beings feel’ I know him and I’m sure he didn’t refer only to heterosexuals. Sorry for the confusion.”

Unfortunately in my experience, many people and advocates often seem to be ignorant of, forget about, or downright ignore LGBTQ survivors. Too many of their resources and myths pages sound like “gay = bad/disgusting” and for LGBTQ survivors, this can be devastating. If resources are attempting to allay the fears of straight male survivors who are afraid they “might be gay”, such sections of information should be clearly marked as being intended for heterosexual survivors; preferably with an addition intended to address LGBTQ fears in a similar page or section.

I hope the day will come when sexual orientation has very little to do with how we speak to survivors, or which survivors are perceived as worthy of our help. For now, my thanks for the much-needed clarification above.

~ ~ ~

© W.R.R. 11/20/2013
For all survivors of any form of rape or abuse; you are not alone. Seek help. Speak out. Find your path to healing.

www.AsAshesScatter.com
wrr@asashesscatter.com
@AsAshesScatter

Please read the Comment Policy before submitting a comment to the moderators. For more about me, you are welcome to read my story and visit the About page.

Thank you for reading.


I Am More

I am more than milky eye
more than ragged remains of lid
One unblemished blue searches you
for judgments open and judgments hid

I am more than jagged mouth
this twisted lip, this crooked gash
stretch to smile, long turned wrong
or glimpse of teeth along the slash

I am more than missing parts
counts to eight, can’t count to ten
read the Braille on skin so thin
trace this map of pain again

I am more than tangled wires
more than darkness mars
pain and pleasure jumble, stumble
leads the way to soul of scars

I am more than screams at night
more than this broken, defiled sheath
beneath this tapestry of misery
I am more, underneath

~ ~ ~

© W.R.R. 11/14/2013
For all survivors of any form of rape or abuse; you are not alone. Seek help. Speak out. Find your path to healing.

http://www.asashesscatter.com
wrr@asashesscatter.com
@AsAshesScatter


Sex Ed, Consent, Responsibility: Can We Teach Them in Healthy Ways?

***Trigger Warning for child sexual abuse***

Consent can be taught without implying our sons are potential rapists. This is a fact that is ignored by many.

After reading this:

An Open Letter to My Son About Sex via the Good Men Project, 8/24/13 by Janis Whitlock, I was inspired to share my thoughts. Normally, I read the comments – even when they go over 300, but for self-care reasons I stopped reading these. For the record, “most” child sexual abuse survivors do not grow up to abuse kids, and “most” predators of children were not abused as kids. There is a pitiful amount of ignorance about this in those comments. Please educate yourself on abuse myths and statistics; that is the whole point of this post, after all: education and being proactive about it.

As a general disclaimer, I should add that as a male survivor of incest, with my mother as one of my abusers, the simple and usually benign notion of a mother talking about sex to her son basically creeps me out. That aside, I am also a dad of four kids, two girls and two boys, and they do need education, healthy information and facts; especially on abuse prevention and combatting child-harming deviants. Their mother and I handle most of this together, and our kids know they can ask either of us anything, or tell us anything.

The above linked article is a mother’s letter about sex to her son. In my opinion, it goes from “let’s have a healthy talk about sex not being bad” to “you are a boy so please don’t rape anybody” in 0 to 60 seconds. The whole letter isn’t bad, just certain parts, and I object to the saturation of anti-porn sentiment (porn depicting adults being legal) and the writer’s opinions being presented almost as facts. Teens are going to try to look at porn, the curiosity for boys and girls is already there. Also, if you haven’t talked to your son enough to already know he isn’t the raping type, how can you be sure he even likes girls? Maybe sex isn’t the only thing he’s been afraid to talk to you about?

In particular, it’s irresponsible for a person to make sweeping generalizations about what “all” or even “most” other women or men like or don’t like based on the letter writer’s own preferences and turn-offs, and then teach them as “facts”. Kids shouldn’t be required to become little copies of their parents or care-givers, after all. What if your son has a girlfriend who likes some things on your “women don’t like this” list? Will he think she is weird or gross? That’s not healthy either, right? Can we also stop pretending that only boys are curious about sex?

However, my main point is this: a healthy age-appropriate sex talk and abuse prevention education should include education on consent. There is a healthy way to do this and a damaging way. Saying anything that sounds to a young male like “you’re a boy, so please remember not to trip over your hormones and rape a girl” has no place in a sex-positive educational talk to a teen boy. Odds are, if we’ve raised them to understand, give, and receive respect for themselves and others, our kids won’t grow up to be rapists, killers, bullies, or jerks.

Another thing that is often forgotten or bypassed is that young girls also need to be taught about consent. Their consent and the consent of others are equally important. How many times have little girls kissed little boys when the boys didn’t want them to? Teach everybody about consent, not just the boys.

Finally, we have the ugly situation of many adults not even understanding (or caring about) what constitutes rape and consent. If adults aren’t educated on this, how can we expect kids or teens to know what rape and consent are? I read horror stories in articles on statistics or in the news about men and women who think buying an expensive meal entitles the person to have sex with you, like it or not. Also, far too many adults think a teen boy is “lucky” if his female teacher rapes him – as long as she’s “hot”. Yet if the genders are reversed, most of those people are suddenly outraged. Why?

We as adults need to get educated too, before we try to teach young people. We need to stop teaching them shame and guilt about sex and their bodies. Just because our parents did that, doesn’t mean it should be done to our kids, too. Our kids and teens need to be taught respect for others as well as self-respect. They need to learn that their bodies belong to them and that their bodies and sexuality have value and shouldn’t be indiscriminately given away like they mean nothing.

We also need to change the societal view and pressures that being a virgin is something bad or laughable, a condition to shed, tossing it out like garbage on the junk heap of our lives in some hollow rush to be grown up, to be maybe loved, or to “belong”. I don’t care about “waiting for marriage” in the least. Yet if self-respect and self-worth are taught, perhaps more young people will wait until they feel ready, with or without feeling “in love”. In the absence of pressure and ridicule, perhaps they could make safer and healthier choices.

Sex education, consent education, and abuse prevention education go hand-in-hand, or they should. For those with objections to factual sex ed in schools, do you know you are leaving your children vulnerable to all sorts of traps and tragedies? Abstinence Only doesn’t work. Teen pregnancy rises in any state where that is the only sex ed offered. More importantly, children need to know the proper names for body parts and know how to get help if somebody tries to abuse them. Age-appropriate sex ed and abuse prevention (and consent) can be taught to very young kids, and it needs to be taught to them.

Too many parents don’t find out “it can’t happen to me/in my town/to my kid” isn’t true until after their kid is abused. Don’t make your child pay the price (most often a lifelong and horrible price) for your ignorance and your preference to keep your head in the sand. Learn the warning signs of predatory and grooming behaviors in the people around your children (especially if you think you can trust them). Learn the warning signs of abuse in a child. Talk to your children, let them know they can tell you without fear if somebody is hurting them or making them afraid. This goes for bullying, mental health issues, etc. How many parents have found their child dead from suicide because of endless bullying and the parents never knew the child was being bullied, or never knew the child had mental problems or was being abused, because the child was afraid or ashamed to tell? Also, many kids do tell and are often not believed. Don’t teach your child that telling you they need help will not get them help.

Our kids need these types of education desperately. Many adults need them, too. The “birds and bees” sex talk dreaded by so many is far easier to have when you have already educated them on basic body parts, abuse prevention, and respect, long before they turn twelve or fourteen. Sadly, many parents skip those talks entirely and allow society and the media to teach their children, out of embarrassment. If you don’t teach your child, somebody or something else will. Some kids get taught ugly lifelong lessons by abusers, or stumble through pitfalls that a little guidance could have helped them to avoid.

One final point on rape: males aren’t the only ones who rape. Females aren’t the only victims of rape. This is a fact, whether you accept it or not. Telling boys “learn not to rape” is awful. It is in direct opposition to the intention of having a sex-positive talk with your son. Teach consent and sex ed. Foster a relationship where they feel safe to ask questions. Don’t make them think you believe their natural and good sexuality is nasty or potentially evil. That worms into the mind of kids and teens and does some ugly psychosexual damage. Imagine telling your daughter, “Try not to rape anybody.” You wouldn’t do that? Then please don’t say or imply this to your son, either.

I spent most of my life and all of my childhood being raped by adults, men and women. I was four when my father raped me the first time, five when he rented me to others daily. Prior to four, they were training me, grooming me, to accept sexual and physical abuse. At age three, my parents were teaching me how to “service them” sexually. This abuse was all I knew and they lied and said all parents were entitled to sex from their children. That was a pedophile ring, run by my father. They made and sold films and photos and made kids harm other kids in them. It has been an ugly struggle of slow healing to become the dad I am today, and that struggle is ongoing.

When I hear, “Teach men and boys not to rape”, my heart breaks. Teach everybody not to rape. Teach consent and healthy factual age-appropriate sex ed and teach abuse prevention. Learn warning signs…. Before it’s too late.

~ ~ ~

© W.R.R. 9/11/2013
For all survivors of any form of rape or abuse; you are not alone. Seek help. Speak out. Find your path to healing.

www.AsAshesScatter.com
wrr@asashesscatter.com
@AsAshesScatter

Please read the Comment Policy before submitting a comment to the moderators. For more about me, you are welcome to read my story and visit the About page.

Thank you for reading.


Now I Lay Me Down

***Trigger Warning for child sexual abuse***

A man of God once told me, “Good boys are gifts,” but he didn’t mean me. He called me the “Devil’s boy,” always with two fingers and a thumb pinching my cheek on the edge of the terrible scar. It still hurt, even a year after the knife slashed across my mouth, wielded by my god, my father. I would promise to be good, to obey, and this man who liked to call my father “Devil” would look at me strangely, as if amazed.

He came to the house alone, except on rare occasions. He never wanted to see the other men. If he had to, he would pace in the kitchen and harass my mother, trying to preach to her, I suppose. He never spoke to the others. I never knew his name, but when I named them in a poem, I called him Praiser. My father called him “this preacher” and told me to obey.

I was raised to believe that my father was a god. He told me he was, and taught me ways to “worship” him. He said I was his sacrifice, to be used however he liked. I knew no different. He read, wrote and spoke Latin as well as any Catholic priest, just like the men on TV did on Sunday. When Praiser came along, he confused me. When he spoke of his god, he didn’t seem to mean my father; but a lot of the ways of worship turned out to be the same.

Praiser told me I’d been “made to be used for the glory,” because I was a vessel for sin. When he took me into the downstairs room the men rented, he would always repeat the phrase “Now I lay me down.” It made no sense to me then, but my father had told me how to respond. When the man raped and degraded me, he called it “passing his sins into me” so he could go back to his church clean, and free of lust. This preacher paid my father money to use me this way. He wore a fancy suit with a silver cross pin on the tie, and when he was finished, the suit perfect again, he would tell me to dress. Then he would sit beside me and explain that I was wicked, that I would go to hell. He said it couldn’t be helped, because I was evil, and I had a purpose. He told me to ask forgiveness for my sin, and I did, as I sat there bewildered, dazed, and in pain. He said it was to make me ready again, a “fit vessel.” Most Saturday afternoons, he showed up. I was five.

So many times I read or hear statements from religious people about how a survivor “must know God” in order to heal, be clean, be free. To me, god was my father, my first abuser, the man who gave me to all the others. These religious people tell me that I “must forgive my abusers, or God will not forgive me.” These concepts have horrified and confused me, bringing on despair and suicidal thoughts. It is my view that no survivor of any sort of abuse “must” forgive the abusers, and I’ve read articles by psychiatrists and psychologists that support me on that. I’ve also, thankfully, had good people who happen to be Christian tell me that I don’t “have to” forgive unless I wish to, and feel I can. They tell me I was a child and couldn’t fight, couldn’t be guilty of what they made me do. I struggle to believe it.

I try not to disrespect or “bash” anybody else’s religion or lack of religion. This is difficult when so many “people of faith” bash me, for being bisexual or for my Goth appearance. I try in spite of that to keep a “live and let live” attitude. However, many religious people need to realize that not everybody wants to hear about their religion, many don’t share it, and for others, it can be an abuse trigger.

Some survivors might benefit from a spiritual angle to the healing process, whether they were raised religiously or not; but the fact is that not all survivors would welcome that. Many were abused by “men of God”, as I was, most often Catholic priests. Only one of my abusers was a preacher, but most of them went to church. Many pedophiles who are preachers or priests will use scripture and other aspects of their religion, or objects from their religion, to abuse their victims. My adopted parents are Catholics (though excommunicated for being gay) and the first time I heard one of them recite, “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray thee Lord my soul to keep … ” I had to run to the bathroom and be sick.

A survivor may not tell you that religious speech triggers them. They may simply go away to deal with the fallout alone. Once, I lay in bed with a knife under my pillow and sobbed, trying not to use it to make the memories stop.

If you wish to talk about religion to a survivor, or tell them how your faith could help them to heal, I implore you to learn first who the survivor is, and how they may feel about religion. If you gain their trust enough to hear their story, listen to them. If they were hurt by people who represented religion, religion and spiritual aspects and suggestions may not comfort them. These things can sometimes stall their healing progress.

To survivors harmed by preachers, priests, nuns, people who claim to be religious; the pronouncement “only God can heal you” could do a lot of damage. It is so vital to know something about the person you want to help before you start. Even if a spiritual approach helped one survivor, it could drive another to despair. If your goal is to help that person, a person in pain … please help them without adding to their pain.

This essay was originally posted here on the Good Men Project.

~ ~ ~

© W.R.R. 7/23/2012
For all survivors of any form of rape or abuse; you are not alone. Seek help. Speak out. Find your path to healing.

www.AsAshesScatter.com
wrr@asashesscatter.com
@AsAshesScatter

Please read the Comment Policy before submitting a comment to the moderators. For more about me, you are welcome to read my story and visit the About page.

Thank you for reading.


Pithy Religious Quotes Need Warning Labels

Due to my issues and damage as a non-religious survivor of child sexual abuse (one of my abusers was a preacher) and as a survivor of rape as an adult, as well as having to deal with all the fallout from those traumas, such as physical, mental, and psychological handicaps, PTSD, phobias, religious triggers, bipolar disorder and occasional fights with suicidal thoughts, I have a big problem with the quote below:

“If you’re thinking about giving up, don’t… because God gave you your life because he knows that you are the only one strong enough to handle it.”

I realize some people think this is “nice comfort”, and they have “good intentions” in sharing it. However, unless you are speaking to peers of your own religion and/or people who also find this sort of thing comforting, I’d like to discourage others from sending this pithy trite quote to strangers who are hurting. Especially if they don’t share your religion, or if religion was part of their abuse or trauma. This should certainly not be said to a person battling thoughts of suicide, more so if you don’t know the person very well.

The quote above reminded me of two topics discussed by the excellent writer Christian Piatt, included with his gracious permission below:

#1 from Ten Cliches Christians Should Never Use here:

Everything happens for a reason.” I’ve heard this said more times than I care to. I’m not sure where it came from either, but it’s definitely not in the Bible. The closest thing I can come up with is “To everything, there is a season,” but that’s not exactly the same. The fact is that faith, by definition, is not reasonable. If it could be empirically verified with facts or by using the scientific method, it wouldn’t be faith. It would be a theory. Also, consider how such a pithy phrase sounds to someone who was raped. Do you really mean to tell them there’s a reason that happened? Better to be quiet, listen and if appropriate, mourn alongside them. But don’t dismiss grief or tragedy with such a meaningless phrase.

#5 from Ten More Cliches Christians Should Avoid here:

The Lord never gives someone more than they can handle. What about people with mental illness? What about people in war-torn countries who are tortured to death? What about the millions of Jews murdered in the Holocaust? And this also implies that, if really horrible things are happening to you, God “gave” it to you. Is this a test? Am I being punished? Is God just arbitrarily cruel? Just don’t say it.”

~ ~ ~

“Happens for a reason” and “God never gives more than you can handle” seem to have been combined and morphed into the first quote at the top.

Stuff like this can push a survivor of abuse or rape, or a suicidal person, right over the edge. As “you were meant to have this suffering” rattles around in a person’s head, ricocheting off of their pain and horror, their abyss of multiple losses, and the hopelessness that trauma and/or mental illness has brought into their lives. Also, like it or not, not all people share your religious views, nor do they have to.

Here is one of the reasons why the quote at the top personally disturbs me:

Now I Lay Me Down

After years of being raped by that preacher (starting when I was five) on most Saturdays, I wince at quite an array of religious-based “comfort quotes”. Considering my father initially raised me from birth to believe that he was my “god”, religious “comforts” can get confusing and upsetting fast.

Here is the key: try to seek to know a little about the person you want to reach out to and hopefully help. Ask them if they are religious, if that is important to you in your life. Then be prepared to respect it if their answer is “No.” Remember that the goal (hopefully) is to help the person. You won’t be able to help them if you disrespect their views and their need for self care. My self care requires an absence of religious jargon. If that is not respected, I am placed in an untenable spot and subjected to unnecessary upset and distress. Also, it often makes me angry. Making others feel pain, distress and anger is generally not the way to “help” them.

So try to get to know them first, respecting their wishes to not let you, if that is the case. Here’s a great quote: “You have to be a friend to make a friend.” Also, the Golden Rule of “Treat others as you want to be treated” applies; so please slap a warning label on your religious quotes collection and ask first if they might be welcome… or not. I know I would thank others for this gift of respect, as that does make me feel that I am being helped.

~ ~ ~

© W.R.R. 8/19/2013
For all survivors of any form of rape or abuse; you are not alone. Seek help. Speak out. Find your path to healing.

http://www.asashesscatter.com
wrr@asashesscatter.com
@AsAshesScatter


No One Hears

No one hears
so there can be no words
in the chorus that sings
the heart song of pain
for murdered innocence
thousands of voices
raised in agony
unable to cry
covered by the vibration
of the lunar moth’s wings
drowned out by the passing
of clouds, of winds
of secrets
that no one ever heard

No one hears
leaves rustle in a breeze
black buzzing cloud
disturbs the laden air
tiny bodies rise on wing
revealing their prize
as it shifts in the dirt
tucked gently under leaf mold
a cradle for their children
laid in the hollow
of a lost child’s eye
settle, sweet one, it’s over
winds rise to cover the sound
that no one has ever heard

~ ~ ~

© W.R.R. 8/7/2013
For all survivors of any form of rape or abuse; you are not alone. Seek help. Speak out. Find your path to healing.

http://www.asashesscatter.com
wrr@asashesscatter.com
@AsAshesScatter


“I wasn’t brave”, and the problem of assumed familiarity from strangers….

I want to focus on two things here; being called “brave” by random strangers who don’t know me, and having those strangers act like they’re entitled to behave as if we are best friends on the basis of a few tweets, or in a comment because they read one essay. Do you want to know how to help me feel more comfortable talking to you? In a way that could help you with talking to some other survivors of abuse you may meet? Then please, read on; and thank you for taking the time to do so. As for comments on this blog, please read the Comment Policy.

To those who have already put in the legwork to help me feel comfortable and to become my friends, huge thanks to you. You help me learn how to grow into a “real person” every day, and I couldn’t make it without you. To my fellow survivors, take from this what resonates with you, feel free to ignore the rest.

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

As a survivor of child sexual abuse, I rarely want to be told I am brave/strong/etc. I realize people are trying to be supportive, encouraging, or complimentary, but it usually feels off to me and falls flat, especially from a stranger or somebody who only knows a few things I’ve written about myself. I typically gloss over and ignore the comment, hoping it will go away. This article by Justin Cascio has helped me grasp a better way of realizing why it bothers me, in particular #5, the “brave” section:

10 things people have said to me that you should never say to a trans person

From a stranger, it does objectify, and seems to be an assumed intimacy that repels me. I am not me to them, I am a cardboard poster boy for “all survivors”, or simply an opportunity for them to feel better about themselves. Also, I don’t see being a survivor as “brave”. The phrase “it takes courage to survive that” irritates me. Actually, all it takes is “not dying yet”, each day. I never felt “brave”. In the end, it feels condescending. (Thanks to Justin for this clarity. I really appreciate his blog.)

As a semi-random point, I’ll add this: I don’t “speak for all survivors”, nor do any of them specifically speak for me. We do often find kernels of truth or common feeling in each other’s words, but it’s a “take what resonates with you and leave the rest” sort of process.

So what to say instead of “you’re so brave/strong because you survived”? Well, for me, I’d rather have my efforts to keep plugging along acknowledged over assumed past “bravery”. Why? Because surviving isn’t a done deal, it’s an ongoing process; and for many of us, it is a lifelong struggle.

Also, I was serious about the “I wasn’t brave as a kid” part. It’s a matter of perspective, in the end. To me, brave would have been trying to run away or refusing to hurt others because they ordered me to. Both of those things would have resulted in my death. So in my mind, what let me survive was closer akin to cowardice, and being told “you were brave” just makes me feel bad, as the truth of my past rises up on cue to negate the “compliment”. Therefore, if the goal is to make me feel better, I’d rather be told, “I’m glad you are still here and it’s great that you do what you can to help others”. Tell me I’m a good daddy, or that you like my poetry, perhaps, if you do. “Brave” is only a lie that haunts me, in tandem with the other ghosts born out of guilt and shame.

Thank you for trying to understand, and for trying to learn that survivors are all different. Maybe somebody else feels better to be told they were “brave enough to survive that”. Maybe they don’t. As I said, none of us are poster representatives for all of us.

The best advice I can give is, if you want to really discuss things with me about abuse and survivorship, make an effort to get to know me. Do some reading here on my blog (without making assumptions) and try not to assume familiarity or display an expectation of intimacy in talking to me before I’ve decided if I feel comfortable with that. It’s the same common courtesy you probably display at any other event where you meet new people. The assumption of intimacy or friendship and the entitlement of expecting me to be buddies just because you believe you’re a decent and safe person, can quickly feel like red flags to me. I often have people exchange three tweets with me and then they seem to assume they are on a par with my support system of people, family and friends, and begin acting like they have the same intimacy privileges that they do. Frankly, that behavior makes me want to avoid those people. So if your goal is to make me feel better, please don’t do that.

If you simply want to ask my views on abuse or survivorship, please still make an effort to allow me to feel comfortable talking to you first. A good start is to do your own research prior, on your own. Speaking to an informed person who asks good questions and wants to discuss issues is a lot more comfortable for me than feeling like a poster boy you randomly want to tell you things to have a passing curiosity satiated. People of that sort are not why I’m here. I am here to try to help others like me or vaguely similar to me, and to help educate those who show some effort in wanting to help, too; especially if they have the goal of learning prevention to keep their own kids safe. That, after all, is the most important thing. Far easier to prevent than to make them endure a lifetime of trying to heal.

Also, please read As Ashes Scatter: My Story and About W.R.R. to learn more about me. It is quite jarring to have a (however well-meaning) stranger assume they know what abuse I suffered on the basis of one tweet.

In conclusion, it is also not helpful or appropriate to ask me how I feel today in reply to a serious tweet about abuse issues, or to offer “religion-based” comfort when you haven’t read the comment policy where I state that that is a trigger for me. I mean no offense, I just need to clarify these points to avoid feeling reluctant to tweet or speak out due to a fear that strangers will start assuming they are “buddies with privileges” and reply to me in ways that make me want to disappear. Thank you for your time and patience, and hopefully, for your understanding.

~ ~ ~

© W.R.R. 7/30/2013
For all survivors of any form of rape or abuse; you are not alone. Seek help. Speak out. Find your path to healing.

http://www.asashesscatter.com
wrr@asashesscatter.com
@AsAshesScatter


Rape is not a scandal, it’s a crime.

Society, the legal system, the news media and sometimes even advocates have stooped to using words and phrases that minimize rape, and I’d like to point out and discuss four that both aggravate me and make me angry:

The “Sandusky Sex Scandal”

Two advocacy terms: “child sexual abuse” and “child sex trafficking”

The term “molestation” (when used in place of the word rape)

Now, I’ll address them in backwards order.

News reports that say a child was “molested” when the child was clearly penetrated and raped. This could be a “legal terms get muddled issue”, but to me, it’s all rape. Yet if “molested” legally means “touched” (no penetration) why does the news say “molest” when penetration rape did occur? I see this as a deflection, a “softening term”. I don’t get into pointless debates of “this abuse is worse than that abuse” as it can all damage and impair for life. Yet this “let’s soften it for the public” bullshit makes me angry. The public needs to grasp that the perpetrator raped a child (in cases with and without penetration) so that they don’t end up on juries that acquit the rapist of a child because they think a bit of therapy can make them “stop touching kids”. When an adult is “touched on genitals without consent” it’s commonly called “sexual assault”, not “molestation”. Why the less serious term for the same crime against a child?

I’m stuck with both of the advocacy terms I listed because those are the “official terms” and make up a lot of the hashtags on Twitter. Even so, I object to the words “sex” and “sexual” in them. (I’m not fond of “sexual” being paired up with “assault” either, for that matter.) It should be “child rape” and “child rape trafficking”. We should abandon “sexual assault” too, and just call it rape. Sex is not rape and rape is not sex. A pedophile doesn’t “have sex with” a five-year-old boy or girl. He or she raped them. Yet many news stories do say an adult “had sex with a minor”. I realize I’m essentially arguing semantics, and legal terms and definitions have muddied the waters, but I think “rape isn’t sex” is a very important point to make, especially to victimized children. Teach them, “You were a victim of sex abuse” and then they get an intimate partner as an adult and the word “sex” is already tainted. The child rapes I suffered, perpetrated by male and female pedophiles (including both of my parents), have seriously messed me up in my struggles with adult consensual sex; in some part, because both were called “sex”. As a child, I was constantly told I was “having sex”. I started calling it “do sex”, as in “I have to do sex now.” To this day, I will sometimes say the term “do sex” if I feel nervous, and my support system knows the term as a general warning that caution may be needed. On my better days, the far more romantic “make love” is the more pleasant term.

Time to pick on the news media again. For me, this is a whopper: “Sandusky Sex Scandal”. Sandusky raped boys. A lot of boys, with both touching and penetration. It was rape. A “sex scandal” would be if Sandusky had a sexual affair with somebody else’s wife. “Sex Scandal” diminishes, distorts, and sanitizes the horrific rapes those boys endured. Another example is “the Catholic Sex Scandals”. A Catholic sex scandal is catching priests having sex with nuns, or some other “not supposed to” sex. Raping children is not a “sex scandal”. Yet the news media (of all forms and regions) seems to insist on slanting it that way. Rape is not a scandal. Sex is not a crime.

The news media can and does influence how society views these things. It seems anathema to me too, that the media usually seeks the stronger and more shocking (and issue-selling or website clicking) headline. So why do they downplay “Sandusky Child Rape Case” to “Sex Scandal”? To reiterate, getting down to basics, the word “scandal” in this usage is horrific. Rape isn’t sex. Sex isn’t rape – and rape is not a “scandal”… it’s a horrifying crime.

~ ~ ~

© W.R.R. 7/16/2013
For all survivors of any form of rape or abuse; you are not alone. Seek help. Speak out. Find your path to healing.

http://www.asashesscatter.com
wrr@asashesscatter.com
@AsAshesScatter


Time Heals All Wounds? Time Lies

(Trigger Warning for child sexual abuse and rape. This is a plea to those who are not survivors of trauma; please try to understand how we feel, and what we face.)

“Time heals all wounds.”

This is a concept some swear by, while others disdain and reject it. I’m in the latter group. If I may argue semantics for a moment, take a look at the word “wound”. If you break your arm, a doctor puts it in a cast and it gets better; soon you can use it again and it is healed – just as good as new. For some people, it isn’t that simple. There are emotional, mental, and psychological wounds, and even some physical wounds, that don’t ever heal “as good as new”.

Sometimes damage from a car wreck or a wound received in military combat simply can’t be fixed as neatly as a broken arm in a cast. What of the person who can never walk again? What of the soldier who suffered a brain injury from a head wound and a good portion of his or her mental and physical capacity, and ability, are gone forever? Can we say time healed those wounds? Would those afflicted with them agree?

Emotional wounds are often lumped under the quaint “time heals all” verbal bandage, as well. The stages of grief are bandied about with the same blind fervor of a child rubbing a severed rabbit’s foot for luck. (Speaking of wounds that don’t heal, the rabbit never got his foot back.) People, both the afflicted and their loved ones, often mention this or that stage of grief as if they are an announcer watching a horserace: “He’s in denial, denial, now he’s in anger! Here’s bargaining hedging in from the inside rail, with depression surging up behind. Now coming around the bend, depression and acceptance are neck and neck. Yes! It’s acceptance, folks! Acceptance wins the cup! What a race!”

This chaotic rush to “get over” grief and trauma can cause serious problems down the road, whether the afflicted person rushes their own healing or others pressure them, often due to being tired of hearing about it all. Steps are rushed or skipped by the drive to “be better”, and the external and internal pressure for this can be equal in causing damage. The stages of survivorship (victim, survivor, and thriver) can be rushed in the same manner as the stages of grief. So too, can healing in general be rushed, and some things or stages taken out of the safer order.

Nobody should be under external pressure to “hurry up and get better” and we should all be wary of internal pressure in this area, also. Whether the issue is grief, trauma, injury, mental illness, stress, etc., a solid foundation needs to be built at each stage so that we have firm footing while we reach up to the next stage.

This is the same for things like reporting a rape; it is far healthier to be sure it is one’s own decision for the right reasons. Health, safety, mental health, etc. need to be considered. There is a lot of external pressure in the world to report; but if the victim isn’t ready and despair and social fallout lead them to suicide (or gets them murdered), what is gained? Yes, it is generally preferred to report; help catch the rapist so they don’t rape again, etc. Yet the laws need to change to help victims and survivors, too. The stats I read said that only 3% of rapists ever even spend one day in jail, and that is in the case of reported rapes. That means victims reported, but 97% of rapists go free anyhow. So why re-traumatize a victim who doesn’t feel safe to report? Help them to be safe, instead of pressuring them to act before they are ready. This goes double for a child who has been raped.

With traumas like child abuse, child sexual abuse, and rape, especially when victims are so young that their formative years are still ahead of them, studies have begun to show that things are happening physiologically, psychologically, and emotionally that can physically change the way the brain is wired. Pleasure is introduced via sexual abuse hand-in-hand with pain, in many cases leaving the person with their pain/pleasure wiring so mixed up that they get fused and no amount of therapy or medication can fix that. Trauma-caused problems such as phobias, PTSD, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, sexual dysfunctions, and mental disorders can manifest like a grab-bag of horrors. Only some of these things have medication that helps, or a way to work them out in therapy. Even so, survivors who have felt healed for years can be blindsided by a trigger and have to regroup and cope again to get back on their healing path.

Children like I was, abused and raped many times before the age of six, do not develop normally and have many other problems. Things like trust, love, empathy, and compassion can be terrifying and felt to be “not worth the risk”. The lucky ones get help right away, before the extremes of lies, guilt, and shame can set in and warp self-image and development; but many do not get help until years or even decades later – and some never get help at all.

These problems can overshadow a person’s whole life, and every aspect of their life. How can that person grow to trust and love, seek an intimate relationship, or function even half as well as those who were never traumatized? Guilt, shame, fear, and self-hatred bring other problems, such as: self-harm, unsafe sexual behavior, drug and alcohol addictions, and suicidal thoughts. It becomes a race to see if the damage will destroy a person before they can get help; yet even with help (therapy, medications, a loving support system), many of these problems and much of the damage still remains. Of course, the world doesn’t stop or even slow down for traumatized people, and things like nightmares, flashbacks, and triggers seem to lurk behind every corner.

So what can the traumatized person do? We can learn how to process and heal the things that we can heal, and we can learn coping skills for the wounds that refuse to heal. This is what therapy, medication, and the support of my loving new family helps me to achieve.

Still, it is an ongoing process that I may never be finished with. I was abused and raped for my first twenty-two years on this planet. The first nineteen years were spent as a trafficked sex slave in my parent’s pedophile ring; then the next years I spent homeless in a brutal world of prostitution, starvation, addictions, and still more abuse and more rapes. At this time, I’ve been abused for more of my time alive than I’ve had time away from abuse to begin to heal. In addition to abuse’s inflicted physical, mental, emotional and psychological damage, I am bipolar; a fact I tend to see as a cosmic joke being played on me.

In this state, which others can take breaks from but I cannot, I have found it to be horribly harmful, offensive, and condescending to hear others tell me: “Time heals all wounds.” Will the passage of time make my left eye heal and regain sight after my father ground it out with a lit cigar? Will time restore the mutilation of my face and body? Can time undo the fused pathways in my brain as abuse forged and derailed whatever it could of a child’s developing mind? Can time give me back my physical, spiritual, sexual, and emotional innocence?

This concept of passing minutes must be powerful indeed if it can restore lost experience, too. My first kiss was with my mother. My first time of “sex” was anal rape by my father. Learning to ride a bike? Never did. Prom? It didn’t exist, not for me. First love and making out, giggling with your lover? That was all twisted by my mother, who taught me how to service her from as young as three years of age. Learning how to “be a man” from my father? He taught me how to obey his every command, how to literally worship him as a god, and how to be terrified of him as he raped, beat, and rented my body. Yet time, that vague invention of mankind so that if we count the hours, we’d all know it was “Friday, July 5, 2013”? This concept of passing minutes alone is going to make my body, mind, and past whole and healed? No, it’s not. It can’t, and it never will.

Instead I learn to cope, to process, and through those things, I learn how to heal the things that can be healed. For the rest, there is more to learn about coping and processing, and maybe the healing path in front of me won’t have an end. Maybe healing, like learning in general, will just go on, indefinitely. Despair is a threat, as are triggers. Self-care is a vital lesson. I do not want to die. I want desperately to live. I want to watch my children, abuse-free and loved to bits, grow up and become… whatever they want to become. Through them, I can at least experience a pale echo of things most people take for granted. My oldest is eleven, but someday she may want to go to a prom. She already wants to go to college. My son can learn how to ride bikes, drive cars, and how to be a good man. My twins are only toddlers, but their joy in a simple set of blocks or a sandcastle is teaching me how to feel joy, even if my past mutes the colors and variations of it that they experience.

“Times heals all wounds” is a lie, and for many child sexual abuse and rape survivors it is also a trigger. I’d wager many wounded veterans, people with mental illnesses, and survivors of crippling car accidents may likely feel the same. It isn’t necessary to sooth the hairs on your own arm by handing survivors a hollow platitude like that.

Perhaps examine your thoughts, feelings, fears, and reasons for saying it. Do you sincerely hope the survivor or grieving person will someday heal? Then why not say that, instead? If you reach for the hollow platitudes due to being weary of hearing about that person’s grief or trauma… please don’t. It is far kinder to tell them you are sorry they are suffering and you hope they find their path to healing (and coping). Other hollow platitudes (for me) are: “I’ll pray for you”, “just move on”, “that was years ago”, “you have to forgive to heal”, and other similar empty or triggering words. If you care about being a good person, practice by being kinder to those in pain; especially when the wounds (like grief, mental illness, trauma damage) don’t show up as a visible wound. Perhaps get to know them a little so that you know what may help them and what may trigger or anger them. For instance, religious talk triggers me, no matter how much it may comfort somebody else.

A person suffering from PTSD, grief, trauma, or bipolar deserves the same kind consideration as the person with their arm in a cast; maybe more. After all, the arm will heal and be as good as it ever was. Not all wounds can, or will; for them, we learn to cope. Please help us to cope and heal as much as we are able to. If you can’t do that, then please stand aside in silence and let us get on with it ourselves. Thank you.

~ ~ ~

© W.R.R. 7/5/2013
For all survivors of any form of rape or abuse; you are not alone. Speak out. Find your path to healing.

http://www.asashesscatter.com
wrr@asashesscatter.com
@AsAshesScatter


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