Tag Archives: adult survivors of csa

What She Saw by Karen Jefferson

What did she see when she looked in the mirror?

She saw hatred.

Someone hated her enough to hurt her…not once, but for years.

She saw someone that was unlovable, yet very fuckable. Even at 10.

She saw someone that should be far away from people.

She saw someone that had no one to protect her.

She saw anger, pity, sorrow, pain, hopelessness.

She thought others saw those things, too.

“you think i’m a piece of shit…you think i am worthless…you think i am a slut…you think i am a fuck up.”
But that is not what I think. Though you will never accept my truth for your reality. Because you have been through a hell I cannot imagine. Then and now. Though, to you, now is so much better than then was. Yet now can be so much better. Then, you created a reality that kept you as safe as you could…which, frankly, wasn’t very safe. Neither then nor now. But it kept you from the bickering at home. It kept you near the horses you loved. And the terror was the price you paid… couldn’t avoid paying…  though the future value of that cost was inestimable by your ten-year-old self. No one would let a child sign a mortgage on a house, but you were forced to mortgage your life and future relationships. You believed it to be a fair price at the time. You believed what he said to you. He told you that you deserved it. He told you no one would believe if you told. He rolled over and walked away, not noticing the shattered little girl he left behind, time and time again.  Not understanding how his actions would send ripples decades into your future. He could not fathom how your life experiences would send ripples into other people’s lives.

After he did his evil, you would ride away on  the horse with your emotional bruises and bumps. Feeling the wind in your hair and the rhythm of the horse beneath you, your spirit soared. Knowing that you were safe, for now. This feeling would always bring you joy, then and now. The horses love you… always. They respond to your presence. They appreciate you. With horses you can be unguarded and unburdened. If they hurt you, it isn’t on purpose. You can talk to them, though you would never share your secret. It was too heavy even for a  horse to hear. You felt the need to carry it by yourself. Across  your narrow back. Around your skinny hips. In  your heart. Through your soul. Over your lifetime. 

What to say to a child that has a lifelong mortgage? Something that no one can ever repay. The mortgage holder cannot get ahead on those payments  unless they read the fine print…see what was writ across their body, mind, soul. It takes time to untangle the emotions and the damaging clauses and addendum that, unseen, seemed unimportant before. It takes time to blot out the immoral and ugly phrases and rewrite the mortgage and replace it with a promissory note. “Today I will love me. Today I will recognize I am lovable. Today I will start the healing. Tomorrow I will do it all over again. And the day after that, I will do it some more. And sometimes I will go back to the lessons I learned so well, the lessons that kept me safe for so long. When I do this, I will catch myself, and I will use my new skills of  healing to rewrite my future. To repay myself because I am owed a future of happiness…joy…pleasure untainted.”


Leaving the Nest

By Shawna Ervin

I stand here, my toes dangling off the edge and I cringe. I cringe into the breeze, feel myself sway into its promises, then stand on my own again. I back away. Dare I leap? Dare I even lean?

In the nest I’m alone, huddled and scared. I’ve been abandoned. Again. Did I wait too long? Should I have leapt long ago? If I jump will anyone be at the bottom for me? Do I need them? I’m not sure. I only know alone is not where I want to be.

I creep to the edge again, look down, up, then out. I close my eyes, let the breeze hold me, find it stronger than I knew. I give in and give up my strength and my need to the wind. I feel the tears slip down my cheeks and don’t bother to wipe them away. I let the wind gently take them, take my needs and wants, and all I think isn’t mine. I let it move me. I feel a bit of lift as I stretch out my arms.

I begin to trust this wind, this breeze I can’t see. I don’t bother to explain, to write it down, or understand. I keep my eyes closed, turn around with my feet secure on the edge. I look into the nest, the place I’ve nestled snug in shame and loneliness. I feel the pull of familiar, then lean. I lean gently, gently back not strong enough to make the leap. I lean slowly, slowly until I am not leaning but falling. I close my eyes. I turn over as if I’ve always known how to fly, stretch my arms wide. The wind quickens; freedom and hope rush past my fingertips against my open palms.

I open my eyes, see the brightness of the sun, feel its warmth on my face and I smile. Then, all at once I land softly, gently into the only arms strong enough to catch me. They are mine.

Thanksgiving in the Midst of Overwhelming Pain

By Pamela Roberts

They are all around us — the walking wounded. This year I join the ranks after two months of hell including legal separation, suicides, domestic violence, natural death, restraining orders, children recovering from past sexual abuse plus living with the “normal” stress of continuous sickness, finals, teenagers, and finances. Others might add things like sexual assault, divorce, debilitating accidents, terminal illness, chronic pain, homelessness, or death of a child. It is difficult to emotionally process any of these life events whether you are experiencing them directly or watching from a distance. Thanksgiving adds incredible pressure to the hurting when they are not offered loving and appropriate support.

I cannot think of anything worse (for me) than being around a group of people that know I am going through an incredibly difficult time but completely avoid any acknowledgement or discussion of my pain. Small talk is miserable for me regardless of the situation! Unfortunately, we all find ourselves feeling isolated by our troubles in a crowded room at some point. Those around us don’t know what to say or don’t want to upset us. We experience the same lack of words plus the added guilt of potentially “ruining” the celebration. The superficial conversations continue. I would guess that deep down we all crave to be known and heard. We certainly all have pain.

What is the point of gathering if this is how we live life together? I challenge you to be brave this Thanksgiving and start real conversations, ask deep questions, and be authentic with those around you. Leave all criticism at home and listen for the story behind the situation. Pay attention to the blessings that happen in the midst of tragedy and take time to celebrate them. Allow yourself to enter into the journey emotionally. I believe that we each have the opportunity to make this holiday life-changing for someone else and ultimately for ourselves. Thanksgiving started out as a celebration of community, let’s agree to make it authentic community.