The Lamplighter Movement
Abuse Victim Profile
Do you fit the profile of a victim of incest or child sexual abuse? Check any of the following individual behavior patterns that fit you.
- People-pleasing and rescuing
- Excessive need to control
- Obsessive, compulsive behavior patterns
- Low self-esteem
- Weak boundaries
- Unhealthy choices in members of the opposite sex
- Neurotic tendencies
- Addictions: drugs, alcohol, sex, food, relationships
- Eating disorders
- Chronic illness
- Manic-depressive behavior (emotional extremes of highs and lows)
- Severe depression
- Cutting, or self injury
- Running away
- Victim of bullying
- Acting out
- Wanting to leave school
These last five are more characteristic of teenagers and are becoming prevalent.
Are you living in a three sided cage? The thought of breaking free is not a luxury we allow ourselves. It could be scary. But are we happy in that cage? Why are we sitting with our backs to the open side? Is there a chance that we are the instrument we need to achieve our own freedom? Put one foot in front of the other and trust in your own inner voices. They will guide you to freedom.
Now it’s time to take a look at the other common denominators of a child who has been sexually abused, the family system ones. This is the forest that your trees (the individual common denominators) grew under. Check which of the following family systems common denominators fit you.
- Patriarchal (or matriarchal) family system
- Obedient/co-dependent mother (father)
- Religiously regimented household
- Eldest daughter
- Alcoholic (or other addiction) parent
- Family history of sexual boundary violators
Three Reasons Why Child Sexual Abuse Victims Fail to Get Help
EXPOSURE – They fear exposure. What will other people think if they came out of hiding?
EDUCATION – They lack the correct description of what happened to them. Webster defines incest as “sexual intercourse between persons too closely related to marry legally.” It is a simple, almost clinical description that does not in any way imply trauma or abuse. The all-encompassing and often unspoken reality is much broader. Anyone in a position of power, who coerces a person of lesser power into any sort of boundary violation dealing with their sexuality, either emotionally, mentally, or physically, is a sexual abuse perpetrator. This includes a grandfather who pins his granddaughter down while he fondles her breasts, a father who insists on watching his teenage daughter, against her wishes, while she bathes, an older brother who forces his sister to do oral sex, and any other such boundary violation from the most minor to actual forcible entry and rape. It does not have to be a family member to have the same resultant despair. That despair, whether by a family member or an outsider, can be a life sentence of pain.
ENLIGHTENMENT – This means to illuminate and is based on full comprehension of the problems involved. Research shows (see the ACE Study at www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/ace) that when people fail to get into a recovery program, it will catch up with them. Usually in their late thirties to forties, people find that they must address what happened to them. They either begin to have health problems, find they are suffering from severe codependent problems or other difficulties. When you suffer from child sexual abuse it is as if you have been wounded. The process of healing an infected wound often requires lancing. If not done immediately, the infection can spread through the body and perhaps cause death. This is, figuratively speaking, what happens to a child who has been sexually molested. Once lanced, a wound will heal, eventually leaving only a faint scar. In REPAIR, we are lancing the wound, but as we do so, we are applying ointment. It is not a fearful process, but it does require courage.
It’s never too late to get into incest recovery or recovery from child sexual abuse, sexual assault, rape or domestic violence. Be a part of the Lamplighter movement. Email me at email@example.com for questions or concerns.
The journey of a child sexual abuse victim, from the promise of happiness at birth, to the dark place, through REPAIR and joy
Illustrations by Tom W. McKinnon
Please see My Poetry Corner to find bits and pieces of yourself.