Breaking the Silence of Rape and Sexual Abuse

32 comments

Every two minutes someone in the US is sexually assaulted. Every two minutes. That’s twenty people in the time it took me to write this post. Nineteen of them are women. (With childhood sexual abuse, victim’s gender ratio is 3 girls to 1 boy.)

Rape and sexual abuse are hard things to talk about because of fear and shame. But silence just makes fear and shame more rampant. I believe by not talking about them–our opposition of abusers and support of survivors–we are perpetuating the problem. Sexual abuse thrives in silence. Rape thrives in silence.

breaking the silence sexual abuse rcovery

For men and women in recovery, silence means stuck-ness. Silence keeps up the illusion that the sexual abuse was their fault. I don’t want to contribute to this. This can be a life sentence. In order to break this life sentence, we must: Talk. OUT. LOUD.

Talking about sexual abuse

Recently, when I brought up the topic of sexual abuse, someone accused me of ambushing. To that person the topic was so evil and off color, that it ought not to be spoken about in a group setting. This made me sad. (I was hard not to take it personally, but I took a step back and realized there was some reason this topic scared him.)

Within the blogging community, I live in a world where everything is spoken about- no holds bar. And speaking about it is exactly the point. Awareness alters fate. It changes how we see things and thus how we respond to them, changing everything in our lives. We have to keep the conversation going.

Awareness mean prevention, (a topic for another post) and it means recovery. To someone who has been abused it is validation that it is not ok what happened. It is validation that this was beyond horrible and that they did not deserve it. People who have been sexually abuse need this message over and over to counter what their minds have been telling them. (Which is that is is their fault. That it is them to blame.)

Sexual abuse and sexual assault cuts right to the very soul, creating havoc in the very core of us. It is hard to makes sense of the self after that. There is often confusion and uncertainty. Silence keeps up the confusion.

Reclaiming Your Soul from Sexual Abuse and Assault

“A child who is the victim of prolonged sexual abuse usually develops low self-esteem, a feeling of worthlessness and an abnormal or distorted view of sex. The child may become withdrawn and mistrustful of adults, and can become suicidal.” from victimsofcrime.org

Sexual abuse does not have to be a life sentence. Recovery is possible. Reclaiming your sense of self is possible.

There are many ways to recover from sexual abuse, but silence is not one of them. Silence holds the victim pinned under the abuse and it defines them as a shamed victim. Breaking the silence doesn’t mean a survivor must tell every gory detail of the abuse. Not at all. It is about telling how they survived, what is important to them, how they held onto that despite the abuse. It is about redefining who they are, and making sense of why this happens. It is about building a community of love and support.

 (By the way: “Girls ages 16-19 are 4 times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault.” We need to do something as parents!)

Telling stories of healing in ways that makes us stronger

I am in awe of how many people in recovery tell their powerful, inspirational stories of survival on Youtube.com.

Here’s one, it is long and may be upsetting depending on how you view it. Watch only if you can look at the beauty and courage in this girl and hold your attention there rather than feeling the abuse right along with her. Then make a commitment- even if it is to be kinder to someone- so you don’t get stuck in feeling helpless.

 

Also, there are some awesome bloggers who are bravely breaking the silence:

Emerging From Broken

Victory Over Sexual Abuse

Together We Heal (Love this post: Why me? What have I done to deserve this?)

Bnewvision

Trigger Warning

The Wounded Warrior

Ressurrection Graves

Rhachelle Nicol

Overcoming Sexual Abuse

Project Unbreakable

Rape in India up 25%

 How about you? Is this a hard subject to speak about? 


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32 Comments

Harleena Singh

Hi Jodi,

Thanks for writing on this very important topic and creating awareness about sexual abuse and how to deal with it. It is essential not to make it a secret, sensitive, or a taboo topic – it is an act of injustice and the victims should be encouraged to speak against it.

You might’ve heard of a tragic rape case that happened in India recently. I did talk about this issue with my teenage girls – they could not understand why people are so bad. It’s sad that abusers are everywhere – this sickness prevails even among the educated, literate, and the so called civilized people. And, it’s not only happening in the US but the world over.

I agree with you that silence does more harm. The abusers very well know that fear and shame in the victim will work in their favor. You’re right when you say that sexual abuse is an attack on the self, and the victims should seek help to reclaim and repair their soul.

Thanks for what you’re doing and the efforts you’re making to help the sexual abuse victims.

Jodi Lobozzo Aman

Thank you, Harleena, for hat beautiful acknowledgment. I am only doing my share. It is a burden we must all feel to ease up what others my unfairly bear. Don’t you think? Thanks for commenting and sharing!

Merry Wind

What a beautiful young woman and story. It’s so important to recognize that recovery is possible and is a process. The pain of the experience may remain in our bodies and psyche but transformation IS possible. Our pain doesn’t need to define us. It can be shifted, as was suggested, into kindness, beauty, compassion and ultimately, into connectedness with others.

Jodi Lobozzo Aman

Merry, What beautiful sentiment! I couldn’t have said it better myself! Thank you for taking the time to comment!

Tina Barbour

“Awareness alters fate.” I had never thought of it like that, but you’re right. You have done such a wonderful job of raising awareness that sexual abuse and rape are NOT the fault of the abused. That is so important to remember and to know in our deepest being.
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Jodi Lobozzo Aman

That’s exactly where we need to convince ourselves! Thanks Tina!

Ressurrection

Thank you so much for including me in what you are doing. You are amazing and thank you again.

Kelly Hashway

That video has me bawling. I hope she knows what a truly beautiful and strong girl she really is for making this.
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Jodi Lobozzo Aman

Me, too. she is so lovely!

Jane Lahr

One of my teachers offered that there was no rape in ancient Egypt. Of course I asked how that was possible. She answered that anyone who raped was castrated. End of story. The Egyptians had very specific laws that protected Egyptian women. The result was virtually no rape.

Clearly I am not suggesting castration but respectful and tough laws and a country committed to the protection of women and children.

Jodi Lobozzo Aman

Hmmmm, it makes me wonder if it was also less reported. I am just skeptical. I’ve read that there was more equality in ancient Egypt, but it would be interesting to see how they define rape. Right? Did you ever read The Alphabet Versus the Goddess? Great book! I highly recommend it!

Hiten

Hi Jodi,

Thank you for writing a post on such an important topic.

It is about time that more was written about this and as you say, for the victims to be brave and speak out. It shouldn’t be hidden and the victims haven’t done anything wrong.

In India recently, the issue of rape has had huge media coverage after a girl was gang raped in a bus.
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Jodi Lobozzo Aman

I know, Hiten, I have been watching. It has been very sad. Thank you!

Beverly Diehl

Incredibly brave young woman here.

We need to talk about it, and keep talking about it. I’ve been molested, and raped – in fact, I don’t think I know any woman who has NOT experienced inappropriate touching, molestation, rape, or sexual harassment, if not personally, then to someone she loves.

IMO, what is the worst part is the mind-f-ckery that goes on, the grooming and subtle messaging that we WANT it and DESERVE it and are just dirty little sluts who will never amount to anything. Not true. I am successful, and creative, and joyful, as are most abuse survivors I know. Abuse or rape does NOT have to ruin one’s life – the best revenge is to thrive.
Beverly Diehl recently posted..Slut of the Month: Peggy LeeMy Profile

Jodi Lobozzo Aman

I agree and that motivates me to maybe do a blog on that! Thanks Bev!

Laura Zera

Chantelle is one brave young woman. What really got me was when she smiled toward the end — a big, bright smile. It gave me so much hope that people can recover from abuse, I could see the amazing, joyful person that she is. Jodi, thank you for being a leader in this conversation and for all the work that you do to bring people back to their joy. xo
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Jodi Lobozzo Aman

I think that smile is why I posted it! Thanks xoJ

Lisa W. Rosenberg

Such a brave girl and powerful video. Wonderful and deeply important post, in light of recent events in India, as well as in the United States: ongoing revelations of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, at and around Penn State and other respected institutions.

I have worked with clients who took up to a year to begin telling me their stories of abuse. So hard and so painful. They worked with the Courage to Heal workbook which they did find supportive along with a lot of processing.
Lisa W. Rosenberg recently posted..Back: a Book Revised, a Reading UpcomingMy Profile

Jodi Lobozzo Aman

Sometimes it takes a long time to admit that. And to admit their own shameful feeling about it. I let people go at their own pace, only pushing when it seems like they really need to. Glad to see you around, Lisa! xoJ

totsymae1011

I’m in awe that these women tell their stories so publicly too. I’m astounded that these acts occur every two minutes in the U.S. alone. I used to wonder how any woman could keep silent but when I really ponder it deeply, I imagine there is such shame there, a woman would feel isolated and alone to say it but she is even more alone if she stays silent.
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Jodi Lobozzo Aman

Too true Totsy, that’s why recovery can be hard. It’s like you believe you are damned either way! It is a hard belief to undo. oxJ

Galen Pearl

So important to shine the light on what grows in the darkness. You are so brave to do this. I also enjoyed your last post. (I had a little catching up to do.) A visit to your blog is sometimes peaceful, sometimes uncomfortable, but always enlightening.
Galen Pearl recently posted..To Question or Not To Question?My Profile

Jodi Lobozzo Aman

I love your description of the blog, that’s exactly what I go for! Xo

Bridget

Thank you for writing this. Sexual abuse is a terrible problem, so bad that it seems like we can never stop it. It’s good to know that there are people recovering and talking about it, which is probably the only way to do anything about it.

Jodi Lobozzo Aman

They are so brave!

sapna

HI Jodi

Emotional one!

It is the high time that these issues should be out in the public and discussed. Very difficult though but the only solution to this sort of problem is to make people aware of the things related to that.

Sapna

Jodi Lobozzo Aman

We have to build awareness!

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Nikky44

Sexual abuse seem like an “irrelevant” phase of my life, although it’s repercussions have completely ruined a big part of it
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Jodi Lobozzo Aman

Probably more profound than you know
XoJ

Ressurrection

Hey! I hope all is well. I checked out your recently posted blog. Healing is a process. No pressure. We’re all healing always. Peace, Ressurrection
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