As children, we were often told: “Children are to be seen not heard.” As a parent, I very rarely have used this phrase (if ever). Here is why. That statement takes away a child’s ability and willingness to come forward when someone has hurt them. Living in a (hashtag) Me Too society has opened Pandora’s box within the entertainment industry. Powerful men have been taking advantage of women for centuries. The more disturbing piece of this, is that while women have come forward to set the entertainment industry on fire, how many women, men, boys, and girls are coming forward to say this happened to me too? Living life after childhood trauma can be expensive, invasive and lonely. Here are just a few steps to help you move forward.
Stand in your Truth
I can’t think of a GOOD reason why anyone would lie about sexual assault as a child. While we do live within a rape cultured society, I mean look at the President, the reality is even when you come forward (regardless of what age you are and how much time has passed), other people will deny it, while others will simply not believe you. Here’s a gut-wrenching reality check……Other WOMEN are not going to believe you and they WILL side with your abuser. Even when this happens one thing remains…what happened to you still happened (with or without acknowledgment from others).If you've ever experienced any kind of sexual trauma, as a child, teen or adult, you and your story are important, never feel like it isn't. The road to recovery is a LONG one, but its a journey one must travel to find their true… Click To Tweet
Carefully find your tribe
This is particularly true for people who have been taken advantage of by a family member and the family shuns you for speaking out. Here is a HARD truth I’ve recently learned. People like living in their own idea of normal. Breaking protocol by coming out against something that goes against everything they believe in life is cause for issue. But my dear friend, this issue is NOT yours.
Finding a group of people you can be open and honest with about your past is healthy. Finding mentors and seeking spiritual (not necessarily religious) counsel is recommended. You will forever be on a path of self-discovery and identity after being robbed of something at a young age. From losing your virginity, to dealing with unwanted advances, or just that gut-wrenching you make me uncomfortable feeling that sits in the pit of your stomach every time a particular person comes near you, it is all apart of your experience and is not to be ignored.
Seek Professional Help
From tv shows like Law & Order to movies like Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Jail where Keisha Knight Pulliam’s character is trying to cope with life after being sexually abused, they always tell the victim to seek help. Part of the problem with victims seeking help is that:
- Victims may not want to be labeled as a victim
- The abuser may seek retaliation against the victim
- The victim may think no amount psychoanalysis can help them
Here’s the reality of seeking professional help. Multiple types of help can be offered. From an enjoyable dance class, to yoga, to meditation courses, to counsel from a minister, to laying on a couch in a doctors office, all of these things count as professional help. A combination of these things, in my personal opinion, is fantastic.
Find your Power
What are you good at? Like what are you really good at? What skill set can you enhance and use to bring joy to others? I know it sounds crazy, why should you bring joy to someone else when you are hurting inside? Well, there are few things in life that truly bring me joy. A babies laugh, a hug from my daughter, seeing my son perform on stage, late night business planning meetings with my husband are a handful of the things that in my heart really bring me joy. I try to hold on to those moments as often as possible because being left alone with my thoughts for too long can turn into a nightmare. My power doesn’t grow in the darkness, it expands in the light, friends.