Wednesday Evening Open House for Individuals or Group Studio Visits


HOW TO RESPOND WHEN SOMEONE YOU KNOW
DISCLOSES HAVING BEEN ABUSED AS A CHILD
(Open Source information from The Survivor Monument Project
Child Abuse Awareness Advisory Forum)

 
 

 

 

 

FINALLY

Love brings hope for the future
Strength for Today
Endurance for Tomorrow
Safety
And finally
A Lasting Peace

Marilyn

 

 

 

METAMORPHOSIS

A little Child, new to the land,
Came to meet dad, far away.
Taken from home, she is trusting and hopeful
Caring and loving, wanting someone to know she is there.
But she is only a child and, small and insignificant, so
Like the caterpillar in its cocoon.

In my family, I learned to be afraid.
Coarse words and actions not nice to see.
A first secret to keep inside of me.
So, I continued to hide deeper into my
Protective shell feeling different,
Unattractive and used.

Two big secrets converged for me, followed
By panic attacks and depression, you see.
No one to turn to, no one at all.
I'm full of pain, anger and despair.
I feel like I'm drowning in there.
Help me! Stop the pain! Kill the pain! KILL ME!
No! Wait! What about my family?
No! Kill the pain! Take the pills! Kill me!
No! Stop stop! What about your family?

Help me someone to break out of this shell!
It's to tight and confining, I can tell.
Help me to find some sense of release
From keeping these secrets all to myself.
A wonderful lady came to my aid and now, I'm learning
To forgive that little girl.
She helped me to see
All the beauty and strength inside of me.

Thank you my friend for your patience and care
For without you, I would not be here.
I can never express how truly grateful I feel
About our time working through all my problems and fears.
It can also happen to you.
Time is a healer and hope is there too.
Courage is needed to block the despair
But when you are done, all is worthwhile
So keep up your spirit while you try.

Maria G

 

 

 

 

JOURNEY

Long ago the journey began
as Innocent life was
enshrouded with incest and pain;
Knowing no love, needing, wanting, trying...

Taken in the night by the eyes and the hands,
the beat of the drum resounding in the woods,
Innocence was destroyed, the body tortured,
the mind split, and a childhood was lost.

Unknown to those around,
the essence of life lay hidden deep within;
protected from the enmeshed control,
only to be revealed in its season.

Daring to risk, to tell, to grow...
Choosing to let go of the old,
a new life has been found.
A circle of love gives freedom to soar!

Ruth

 

 

 

 

SOMEDAY

A foster mother
tells how she found
cigarette burns
on a young girl’s chest.

Tears burn my eyes,
slide down my cheek,

hang off my chin
stain my blouse.

Someday
Someone will cry for me.

Lucy


In Responding
  • Be a good listener.
  • Take your lead from the person who’s disclosing abuse.
  • Seek helpful knowledge and information as well as support for yourself.
  • Choose the right time and situation to discuss any strong emotional response, especially a response which may include ambivalence and doubt.
  • Look beyond the statistics: see the person and listen to the story.
  • You need to take the time to sort through your own feelings.
  • You are not the enemy. The survivor may project this on to you.
  • You may feel “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”
  • Profound pain demands a profound response steeped in humanness

 

Discussion - How to Respond When Someone You Know Discloses Having Been Abused As A Child

Realities
The messages to the survivor are “you don’t disclose - it’s not safe to do so.” “Don’t tell me.” The attitude of “not wanting to know” also includes family. This promotes the inner or self-denial for the survivor. “If you tell, you will feel ostracized.” We see this constantly in abused children: “it’s not safe to tell”.

When children do tell, they start to feel. Any adult who learns of this abuse gets transported to an entirely different world: people have great difficulty transposing information of this kind. This may result in the survivor being isolated due to others’ feelings of awkwardness. This is a reality in the process of disclosure.

Disclosure takes a lot of courage on the part of the survivor. It places a demand on the listener. Listeners, often partners of the abused, feel “thrown into it”. This subject is foreign to them.

Profound pain demands a profound response steeped in humanness, not a typical “institutional” response. “When I disclosed, the hardest part was dealing with the people around me. I secluded myself. My identity at that time was that I was an abuse victim. I was floundering. I needed a script to help deal with other people at that time. I needed people to be silent or to just do mundane things...” The message has to go to survivors. They need the tools to protect themselves, a script. For survivors there is no direction to disclose unless one is in a therapeutic setting.

More information, more help is needed to help survivors to disclose. The listener needs to follow his or her partner, to ask, to let the survivor discover that “I’ll be there for you... I can promise to follow.” Survivors need to be able to state their needs. To practice saying “I need...” Survivors need help with their fears of being crazy or of dying. There’s no support.

 

 

How to Respond
  • Take the lead from the survivors: be a good listener.
  • Revealing profound pain demands a profound response steeped in humanness (you must learn to walk with the person who’s wounded).
  • The language needs to change in order to address the core of the experience. To walk alongside someone who is disclosing is a very vulnerable situation, one that is not comfortable for most people. Listening and being nonjudgmental is important; our language around disclosures is very judgmental and can close people off.

 

 

Tips for Listeners
Choose the right time to discuss your ambivalence or doubts. Partners and others need support themselves, and outlets. Each survivor feels that “I know what I know”, often in the face of doubt and the skepticism of others. An ounce of doubt on the part of a listener could swing a survivor around.

Listeners need to listen. They need to listen to the voice saying “this is real”. Be present, be aware of all of the signs. Do some research and get educated on how to read the signs.

Don’t stigmatize the person. Listeners may be wracked with doubt for a while, but don’t let this block your ability to listen to the survivor. We need to de-emphasize the statistics and emphasize the stories. We need to connect the statistics to the stories to make them real. We need to find a vehicle to express the stories, to package them, to heighten public awareness. We need to find the ways to get the message out.

 

 

REFERENCES ON HOW TO RESPOND WHEN SOMEONE YOU KNOW DISCLOSES HAVING BEEN ABUSED AS A CHILD:

Chase, Truddi and Robert A. Phillips. When Rabbit Howls. New York: E.P. Dutton 1987.

Eriksen, Svend and Barbara Janes. Good Things Can Still Happen. Film, directed by Liz Scully, written by Liz Scully. Canada: Distributed by The National Film Board, 21 min., 44 sec. 1992.

Reimer, Margaret Loewen Reimer. “Climate for Disclosure: Why Abuse is a Central Issue of Our Time.” Canadian Baptist, November 1994, vol. 140 no. 9, p. 11-12, 22.

Vancouver Society for Mail Survivors of Sexual Abuse. From Disclosure to Justice. Film. Canada: Distributed by National Film Board, 49 min. 1996.

"Follow Site Web Ring"
GO TO SUPPORT FOR PARENTS OF AN ABUSED CHILD


together we are stronger
than along
Bruce and Austin

 

 

 


Friends last forever,
help those who have
none.
Believe in yourself
and have everyting.
A little light
goes a long way
for those who don’t feel
loved inside!
Family is everlasting
even if it’s not your
real parents.
Everyone has someone
special.
Help those who don’t
know how!

 

 

 


Together we can make
a difference and
Heal our hearts.
Heather

 

 

 


I'm so proud of you.
Debbie

 

 

 


Always know
you are loved!
Chris and Eric

 

Make sure
your hand
of support

will be inside
the Monument!

 

 


We have to be nice
to people and
make them happy.
Wen people are crying
I could cheer them up.

 

 

 


Be a friend.
Give a hand.

 

 

 


Be yourself and
trust in yourself.
Vicky


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*All Rights Reserved
copyright (1991-2012)

 


*All Rights Reserved
copyright (1991-2012)