Archive for February 10th, 2011

Yesterday’s blog entry Dealing with Judgmental People/Stigma of Child Abuse got a little long, so I had to end it before I was finished with the topic. This blog entry continues the discussion. I will be focusing on the stigma of child abuse.

From what I understand, in some circles there is a stigma associated with having been abused as a child. I say that this is something that I “understand” rather than “experience” because I will not spend two seconds with a jack@$$ who is going to judge me because other people hurt me. Anyone who thinks that there is something wrong with me because a predator hurt me as a child is completely uneducated about child abuse. I am happy to try to educate him if he is open to it. Otherwise, he can go straight to h@#$ as far as I am concerned. I am not going to spend one second of my life enduring the judgmental stares and whispers from people who are that woefully uninformed about the realities of child abuse.

My attitude toward any “stigma” of child abuse has evolved from developing a deep love and acceptance of myself. It also comes from having interacted with hundreds of child abuse survivors, both online and offline, and seeing the amazing strength that they have. As a group, child abuse survivors have seen the worst in humanity but still find a way to have compassion, kindness, and goodness inside of them. Everyone wants a hero, and heroes abound in the circle of child abuse survivors. Anyone who is too ignorant to see this is not worth a minute of my time.

Gaining confidence in your story and the power of the healing process will do wonders toward your ability to stop giving a d@#$ about any possible stigma for having been abused as a child. I climb up on my soapbox about child abuse in all sorts of places, the most surprising place to many being at my local United Methodist Church, where I am an active member. I have made elderly women’s hair curl in shock in response to ignorant statements that they have made when the subject comes up. (I participate in a lot of Bible studies by Beth Moore, who was, herself, sexually abused as a child, and she weaves this theme into many of her studies.)

When one woman said that, in her day, you minded your own business and did not get involved in other people’s problems, I said, “That is exactly how my abusers managed to abuse me for a decade. The Bible says it is your responsibility to speak out for those who have no voice.” When a woman tried to defend abusive mothers by saying that all mothers just do the best they can, I replied, “I’m sorry, but raping your child is not doing the best that you can.”

When the topic of forgiveness comes up at church, I am always quick to remind people that forgiveness is not the same thing as reconciliation. If they argue with me, I raise the topic of the woman who was raped jogging in Central Park. I asked if she is now required to eat her Thanksgiving dinner with her rapist as a show of forgiveness. They, of course, say no. I say that a parent raping a child numerous times is much more heinous than an adult raping another adult one time in a public park, so why do you expect that grown child to do something you would not ask of an adult rape victim?

I have gone too long again. Can you tell that I am passionate about this topic?

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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