Posts Tagged ‘animal sexual abuse’

Animal skull (c) Lynda Bernhardt

On my blog entry entitled Recovering from Childhood Animal Rape, a reader asked the following questions:

I know that discovering what was done to us by our parents when my inside started to reveal stuff etc..with the use of animals knocked us clearly off our healing journey. We felt even more disgusted with ourself and could not get our head round this, we are still recovering many memories of all types of abuse. but the AR recalls always floors us for a long time … I suppose what i am trying to say is how did you get through your memories of the animal rape. Does it still hit you smack in the face or am I just feeling sorrow fro myself and looking for an excuse to feel this way when we recover these memories. To be honest we are more determined to heal than we are to breath at times. I suppose we may push ourself to hard for quick healing. Not sure just wondering to be honest ~ anon

I think the hardest areas of healing are those in which we attach the most shame. For my sister, the animal rape has been the most difficult form of abuse to heal. For me, it was the vaginal rapes. This is because we each felt more shame with our respective areas of abuse.

Don’t get me wrong – the animal rape memories definitely rocked me. In fact, when I experienced my first flashback of the animal rape (while talking on the phone with my sister, who accidentally triggered the memory), I experienced an emotional freefall that I wasn’t sure I would survive. I went into the chat room at Isurvive, and, thankfully, a moderator was there who knew me well. She knew how to talk me down and got me through the night.

I have one friend who knows all, and I would share each memory as it came. I had a very difficult time looking her in the eye after recovering the animal rape memory and even questioned whether there were some forms of abuse that made me subhuman. Fortunately, I had already begun working through my feelings about the vaginal rapes, so I was able to draw from what I had already learned about healing and recognize, once and for all, that nothing that another person does to me has the power to devalue me.

I suspect that is where you are stuck because that was a biggie for me, too. You are a priceless diamond that your abusers buried under a huge pile of manure. Your abusers held a mirror up to you, showed you the manure, and told you that was who you are. However, no amount of manure has the power to devalue the diamond underneath. A diamond is still a diamond and still of immense value whether it is buried under manure or cleaned off and polished. The healing process is how you “unbury” the diamond and polish it.

Today, it does not hurt to talk about the memories. I can even see the breed of dog that was used without getting triggered most of the time. As with all areas of abuse, you can heal from this. You need to recognize that no form of abuse has the power to devalue you. Once you understand that at a heart level, the shame will lose its power over you.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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I have shared before that the article I have written on this blog with the most page views is one entitled Recovering from Childhood Animal Rape. That one blog entry has had over 6,000 views. I also wrote an article for eHow.com entitled How to Heal from Animal Rape. That one article has had over 12,300 views.

I believe there are two reasons for these high numbers: (1) There are many people who have experienced animal rape; and (2) there are woefully few healing resources for this form of abuse on the Internet. Whenever I search for the term “animal rape,” I only see my own writings available as healing tools.

This changed a few weeks ago when I stumbled across a message board for survivors of animal sexual abuse called Animal Sexual Abuse Survivors. I joined the forum and then carried on an email dialogue with the board owner. It looked like the board was not very active. I learned that the board owner had only recently launched it. I offered to advertise it on my blog and, hopefully, get some discussions going on this very important topic. I just noticed that she has posted a link over to my blog from there. :0)

Until finding this resource, the only place I found to talk about my own experiences with animal rape was over at Isurvive, which remains my favorite online healing resource. We have had quite a few discussions on the topic of animal rape in the Survivors of Ritualized Abuse forum.

My experience has been that many child abuse survivors are reluctant to discuss experiencing animal rape. When I first recovered my own flashbacks, I felt a level of shame that ran so much deeper than any I had experienced to date, even though I had already been working through memories of mother-daughter sexual abuse, ritual abuse, and other shame-inducing forms of abuse. For some reason, the animal rape memories rocked me so much deeper.

I am not trying to lure anyone away from Isurvive because that place is near and dear to my heart. However, if you feel the need to be even more anonymous and talk about your feelings surrounding animal rape somewhere that nobody will know who you are (even by your online name), this might be the place for you. As that message board grows, you will hopefully find strength from healing alongside others who have survived similar forms of abuse.

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Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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