I hope the right people read this. It reminds me of Roland C. Summit’s 1983 article “The Child Sexual Abuse Accommodation Syndrome” in Child Abuse and Neglect 7 (3) 177-93.
My mother eloped from her well-to-do family with an unemployed alcoholic who had been molested by his father. My mother said I was born mad at her because I refused to nurse. There is a rumor that I was a breech birth. Her parents paid for me to stay in the hospital for one month to give my mother a rest (no bonding). I was named for a rich great aunt on my father’s side in hopes she would name me in her will. My parents left me alone in my crib when they went to church, and a distant relative of my father’s found me screaming and alone, and took me home with her. For a short while my parents thought I had been kidnapped, before the relative returned me. Just barely able to walk, my parent’s inattention allowed me to toddle into the path of a truck, for which I received a spanking so severe that I went in the other room and held my breath until I fainted.
If I had been “trailing trains of glory” upon birth they were extinguished fairly rapidly.
Found in my writings from 1972:
Frozen in time, immobile, sit I.
All that I have ever been in with me still,
keeping me, stifling me.
My shackles are the bars of a play pen.
I am a frightened child, even as I sit
holding a child
who is holding a doll.
But there are no big people
Where have they gone?
I just saw a photo of a 5-year old in a hospital bed, holding a new born. It was labeled “Youngest mother in the world.” I hope it wasn’t in one of those countries where rapists can escape punishment if they marry their victim.
What a magnificent, definitive purge!!!
For the last few months, I have been so busy preparing for the MFA visual thesis exhibition. The exhibition is, in short, the culmination of my work in Columbia’s Photo MFA program. I have spent countless hours preparing and putting up the installation of my work, and in true deo fashion I gave myself way too much to do.
Leave it to me to go into a Photo MFA program and come out as a mixed media artist. My pursuit of the question “How do I photograph trauma?” led me to this point, because I figured out that different mediums can convey different things. Photography can be a mediated experience of trauma. Installation could use more than just our sense of sight, but also smell and hearing and touch. Video, found objects, and performance all have roles to play as well, and as a result my final exhibition became a…
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I apologize. I failed to include one truth from my book Fallout: A Survivor Talks to Incest Offenders and Others. I was afraid one piece of truth I came across might be destructive to victims of severe sexual abuse in childhood, and I didn’t want to depress them even further. I have since realized that it may be important for those survivors to know and understand the full effects, which are reflected in the following:
“Child Sex Abuse Leaves Mark on the Brain,” by B. Bower, Science News of the Week, Vol. 147 June 3, 1995. “Two new brain-imaging studies, conducted independently, indicate that severe, repeated sexual abuse in childhood underlies damage to a brain structure that helps to orchestrate memory. This cerebral injury may predispose people to experience an altered state of consciousness known as dissociation and to develop symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)”….They had remarkably smaller hippocampal volume. Dr. Murray Stein’s brain-imaging studies at he Univ. of Cal. at San Diego was supported by J. Douglas Brenner of Yale University School of Medicine….Since I didn’t (don’t) consider myself an extreme case of incest, I overlooked the article. Later in my research I came across even more recent findings about this. I realize now that, with so much discounting of the effects of child sexual abuse, bringing this information forward, instead of depressing survivors, may be experienced as validation for their current feelings.
I lost the reference, but Jamie Talan in Newsday reported that physical, behavioral change can result from sexual abuse during childhood, as well as high testosterone and stress hormone cortisol and an adrenal hormone. Severely sexually abused young girls tend to reach puberty a year or two before their peers. The abused girls have fewer friends, are disliked by teachers and have high levels of depression and attention deficit disorder. (Of course this finding may reflect the attention deficit disorder, which would not endear them to teachers either.)
I apologize for leaving the above out of my book.
During therapy, accepting and grieving the loss of what might have been is an important step.
Treating sex offenders for twelve years during their incarceration was an eye-opening experience for me, and I’m a psychologist.
Society’s anxiety about sexual abuse of children has prevented the free flow of information about vital issues for everyone–parent, child, victim, offender, family, and friends.
how family members foster re-offending
how incest is defined
how sexual abuse of children is defined
why incest offenders “do it.”
why victims don’t tell
whether/how to foster a better relationship between perpetrator and victim
how to counter thinking errors
what’s age-appropriate curiosity versus sexual abuse?
how parents should respond to their child’s flirtatiousness
how responsible are some children for their abuse
factors in degree of damage incurred
the role of guilt
what about one’s own sexual abuse?
will victims offend?
Photo courtesy of Faisal Jawaid firstname.lastname@example.org/imgres?imgurl=http://gdj.gdj.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/kits-photography-3.jpg&imgrefurl=http://graphicdesignjunction.com/2013/07/kids-photography/&h=750&w=500&tbnid=0sYvrGsLE8-what sex is?
WAS YOUR VICTIM AWARE…
where babies come from?
how the body parts work?
what sex is?
how to say no? (There was a power differential)
who she or he could tell?
what would happen after her telling?
that his or her normal developmental stages were being stunted?
that family and friends might blame the victim and hold him or her responsible for what was happening?
they might avoid sexual activity in the future even with appropriate sexual partners?
that they would carry shame for a long time or forever for your actions?
why you were molesting him or her? Were you aware?
of the harm you were causing to his or her future ability to trust?
that this was not a loving hug?
she was being valued as an object, not a person?
that she must carry the secret or face dire consequences?
that her psycho-social development was being sabotaged?
(You are invited to add others in your comments)
Bravo Bravo! Reblogged on nanmykel.com
A lovely and important message.