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Posts Tagged ‘message board for child abuse survivors’

Everyone,

I have previously shared that I have been helping launch a charity for child abuse survivors. The site went live today.

I encourage you to check out this exciting new resource for child abuse survivors. It would be a great place to move this community for those of you who would like to stay in regular contact.

Let me know what you think of the site! :0)

~ Faith

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You might have noticed that this blog is an Amazon Affiliate that donates all proceeds to Isurvive. (I never see the money. It is direct deposited into the charity’s bank account.) For those of you who are unfamiliar with Isurvive, this blog entry is to make you aware of this wonderful resource and tell you why I care about it so much.

In 2003, I started having flashbacks about mother-daughter sexual abuse. Before that, I had no memory whatsoever of being abused as a child. I remembered some comparatively minor emotional abuse and knew that I had a lot of seemingly unrelated issues (nightmares, eating disorder, panic attacks, phobias, etc.); however, I had no idea at a conscious level that child abuse was the cause.

I had no idea what to do with the flashbacks. I didn’t even know that they were flashbacks. I just “knew” that my mother had sexually abused me, and I was filled with deep shame and a strong desire to kill myself. That is when I found Isurvive.

It had not even occurred to me to look for a message board for child abuse survivors. I thought that I was the only person on the planet (except for my sister) to be abused by my mother, so I feared that nobody would believe me and that I would be committed to a mental institution for “making this up.” I truly believed I was losing my mind!

I was doing Internet research on dissociation and how to heal from child abuse when I stumbled upon Isurvive. At first, I wasn’t sure that I even belonged there. It was a message board for child abuse survivors, and I wasn’t sure if I had really been abused. After all, wouldn’t I always have remembered?

I read some of the posts and saw so much of myself in those messages. I felt like I had found my mother ship! I could relate to these people even though I wasn’t sure that I was really one of them. Then, I built up the courage to post what I had remembered. I was sure that nobody would believe me, but I was wrong! Numerous fellow child abuse survivors believed me, supported me, and told me how to survive it.

Isurvive became my lifeline during my therapy years. I was on the board multiple times a day. At first, all I did was “take” because I had nothing to give. However, over time I started to give back until, after a few years, I was mostly the “old timer” offering support. Isurvive quite literally saved my life on more than one occasion, providing me a place to be “heard” when I wanted to kill myself.

Isurvive has grown since then to offer both a Chat Room and a toll-free number so survivors of child abuse never have to be alone. I have used the Chat Room when I was emotionally free-falling. The moderator took me into a private chat room and talked me through my animal rape flashback. I never used the toll-free number, but many child abuse survivors do. You don’t have to be alone in the middle of the night, over the holidays, or any other time when your life is spinning out of control.

I no longer frequent Isurvive only because I don’t have the time. Between writing this blog and my professional one, working part-time, and being a full-time wife and mom, I simply don’t have the time to hang out there any longer. However, I will be forever grateful to Isurvive, which is why I applied for this blog to be an Amazon affiliate. Isurvive is not an expensive charity to run, but it does need an income stream to pay for the toll-free number, the server fees, etc. Lori Schmitt, the owner and operator of Isurvive, tells me that the funds generated by this blog go a long way toward keeping those services available to Isurvive members.

If you have never visited Isurvive, check it out! There are different forums for different types of abuse, such as physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. The Ritualized Abuse forum is the place you want to go to discuss Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) issues even if you did not suffer from ritual abuse. There are also forums specifically for male survivors, one for Dependence & Compulsion (to discuss eating disorders, addictions, self-injury, etc.), and even for survivors who abuse others (to help them break the cycle). Isurvive is a safe place to interact with fellow child abuse survivors as you heal together.

Image credit: Isurvive

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We did it!! Isurvive was in the Top Five most blogged-about charities for the contest run by Zemanta. Thank you very much to all of you who helped Isurvive pull this off.

Isurvive runs on a very low budget, so $1200 is going to keep the charity going for a long time. This money will enable Isurvive to continue offering the toll-free number so child abuse survivors who are struggling can hear a friendly and supportive voice. Isurvive will also be able to continue offering 24/7 support through the message board.

Most importantly, bloggers spread the word about this wonderful resource all over the Internet. Many child abuse survivors will learn about Isurvive and have a place to go when they feel like they are losing their minds. Also, more people are now aware that there is a need for such a resource.

Today was a victory for child abuse survivors everywhere. We have a voice. We can join together and be heard. We have empowered ourselves. We are no longer victims.

Congratulations Isurvive!!!!!!!

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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A fellow member of Isurvive, my favorite message board for survivors of child abuse, told me about Zemanta, which donates money to not-for-profit organizations that make a difference. The fellow member wrote about Isurvive on her blog, My Monster Has a Name. I am now going to do the same thing.

In November 2003, I started having flashbacks of being sexually abused by my mother. I thought I was losing my mind, and yet I knew that this was my truth. My life finally made sense – the eating disorder, panic attacks, nightmares, compulsive truth-telling, perfectionism, obsessive compulsive disorder, suicidal urges, etc. suddenly formed a profile of a child abuse survivor rather than being a bunch of separate, unrelated issues.

Isurvive quite literally saved my life. If I had not found Isurvive in my quest to understand what was going on with me, I might have taken my own life. I did not believe that I had the strength to face my sordid past. When I found Isurvive, I found a place filled with people just like me. For the first time in my life, I fit in somewhere! People who had experienced the same things that I was now experiencing were telling me that I was going to be okay. They walked me through the healing process. They believed me when I shared my “unbelievable” stories. They had faith in me to survive the healing process when I, myself, doubted from moment to moment whether the process was survivable.

Since then, I recovered so many memories of horrendous abuse that I now understand why I had so few memories of my childhood before the flashbacks. Through the urging of my newfound friends at Isurvive, I found a therapist. Isurvive offered a wonderful supplementation to therapy – a place where people understood and could tell me from a place of experience that I could survive the healing process.

Six years later, I serve on the Board of Directors for Isurvive. I have registered this blog as an Amazon affiliate, and every dime earned in commissions is mailed directly to Isurvive so that Isurvive can continue helping child abuse survivors in the same way that it once helped me.

Over the last six years, I have met, supported, and by supported by hundreds, if not thousands, of child abuse survivors at Isurvive. My life is so much richer for having been touched by these very giving people – all people who were once wounded beyond imagination and now have the courage to reach out and help heal others.

Note to readers — If Isurvive has touched your life, please consider writing about Isurvive on your own blog. If Isurvive gets enough blog entries, the charity could receive a cash award to help further its efforts.

This blog post is part of Zemanta’s “Blogging For a Cause” campaign to raise awareness and funds for worthy causes that bloggers care about.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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For those of you who are new to the online world of adult survivors of child abuse, you might wonder what a trigger is. A trigger is anything that can cause a child abuse survivor to have a flashback, whether it is visual flashback, emotional flashback, body memory, or other form of reaction. Whenever someone writes something that could be triggering on a message board for child abuse survivors, it is courteous to add a trigger warning, which looks something like this:

***** sexual abuse triggers *****

Of course, you cannot always anticipate what might trigger another person. For example, I get triggered by Russian nesting dolls, but I have never met another person who does. I inadvertently triggered another person one time by using the words “I know” too many times in a message. Another time, I triggered someone by advising her to “show compassion” to herself. While the word “compassion” is very healing for me, the word was misused by her abusers, and so it was very triggering for her to read.

However, there are some things that are obvious triggers, so you should include a trigger warning whenever you talk about them online. For example, whenever you share explicit details about the abuse you suffered, you should always include a trigger warning at the top. That way, if another child abuse survivor is in a bad place, then he or she can make the decision about whether to continue reading or not.

Some child abuse survivors are triggered by anything of a religious nature. For this reason, even if your post is extremely positive, you should always include a religious trigger warning if you include religious content so that those who might be triggered can choose not to read your post.

It helps to be specific about the type of triggers to come. For example, I am not triggered by religious content. So, if I am in a bad place, I might miss out on something very helpful if someone posts a generic trigger warning without identifying that it is religious in nature.

Some people are triggered by profanity or sexual content but not other forms of child abuse. So, being specific helps the reader to make an informed decision about whether or not to proceed.

What’s really nice about trigger warnings is that, once you have posted one, you can feel comfortable in spilling out whatever it is you need to get off your chest. When I was in the early stages of healing, it was really important for me to share every little detail. It helped make it real, and it helped me to know that others who responded really “got it.” If they did not reject me after knowing all of the details, I knew that I would be okay. If I held back, then I might have the insecurity of not knowing whether more information would change the advice.

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Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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