On the Subject of Sexual Abuse

****WARNING*** This post contains frank comments concerning the effects of sexual abuse. Please be aware that you may find some parts of this post upsetting to read. I know that there are many different types of abuse, all of which are distressing and traumatic for the victims, but I have chosen to write specifically about sexual abuse, for reasons which will become clear if you choose to read on.

I spoke to a friend last night whom I hadn’t heard from for a while and was horrified to learn of something that had happened to a member of her family. I thought my family had been fucked up pretty badly over the past few years, but it is nothing, NOTHING compared to what they are going through right now. I feel repulsed and disgusted every time I think about it, but also can’t help feeling VERY lucky that I myself came out of a similar situation with relatively little damage.

It has, however, brought home to me the fact that I now know a frankly alarming number of people who have been victims of sexual abuse. And the main reason I am writing this is for anyone reading it now who may be suffering, or knows someone who is suffering, from sexual abuse.

Please please PLEASE for the love of all that is good and true and precious in this world, TELL someone, ANYONE whom you trust, what is happening. This type of trauma leaves scars that cannot be undone or wiped away, no matter how many years of therapy or counselling you might go through. It changes the way you see the world forever and takes something away that can never be replaced, even if you should manage to find happiness and fulfilment later in life.

Whatever anyone tells you, sexual abuse in ANY form is wrong and needs to be uncovered and shown up for what it is – the cruel manipulation and oppression of innocent people who have done nothing other than have the misfortune to be in contact with such destructive and evil people.

No matter what anyone tells you,  sexual abuse is NEVER motivated by love – if someone really loves you, they would do everything they could to defend you and protect you from harm. Sexual predators are selfish and manipulative and they will use any means to get what they want – their words are not to be trusted.

If you are feeling hurt, threatened or bullied in any way by someone and you tell them and they refuse to stop, that is ABUSE. That’s all there is to it.

I’m aware that this is an extremely sensitive subject and I don’t expect many comments (if any) on this post, as the internet is such a public place and people may not feel comfortable talking about it here. I just want people to be aware and if it helps one single person realise that something bad is happening and it needs to be stopped, it will be worth it – and I’m sure my friend would feel the same.

I know (believe me, I know) how hard it is to talk about this to other people who may have had absolutely no idea what was going on. I know that it can be embarrassing and humiliating and upsetting to try and tell others, but believe me when I say that it does help. Every time you tell someone the hurt becomes a little bit smaller, just a little, but eventually you will notice the difference. You may only tell one other person in your whole life, but it WILL make a difference. Silence and shame are the sexual predator’s most powerful weapons. If you take those away, their power is enormously reduced, and their power over the victim will be reduced also.

Furthermore, let me make it quite clear that there is no way, under ANY circumstances that it is EVER the victim’s fault. It doesn’t matter whether they’ve told you that you’re a bad person, that it’s God’s punishment, that they’ll kill themselves (or you) if you tell anyone, whatever, it is a LIE. You are NOT responsible for their health and happiness and it is utterly wrong of them to make you feel that in some way you are.

Finally, I would like to say to everyone that if you ever have a friend or relative come to you and tell you that they have suffered any type of abuse, please do bear in mind all that I have said here when you listen to them. Your love, compassion and willingness to listen may not sound like much help, but they will make an incalculable difference to the person who has come to you for support.

Thank you for reading this.

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11 Responses to On the Subject of Sexual Abuse

  1. DOT says:

    As a father of two girls and now a grandfather of another two, the subject has always been of the greatest concern. Particularly as one reason why so many victims find it difficult to talk about the assault on their bodies is because the abusers are more often than not either family members or close family friends, i.e. the very people the victims would usually look to for support.

    I told my girls from a young age that no one was ever allowed to touch their intimate areas unless they were happy for it to happen, even if it was their uncle, and if it did happen they were to tell their Mum. It is a tricky balance; on the one hand you wish to warn your children, on the other you do not want to traumatise them or make them neurotic about their natural childish curiosity about their genitalia.

    I know a few people, mainly Catholic educated boarding school boys, I having been one myself, you were badly abused and, as you say, it has affected them all their lives both in the way they see themselves and the way they react to their sexual partners.

    • zanyzigzag says:

      Thank you for your response. I am impressed with how you tackled this subject with your own children and sincerely hope that other parents treat this issue in a similar fashion. It is so important for kids to understand how wrong sexual abuse is, but as you rightly said, it is difficult to find a balance between an effective warning and scaring them silly. I think you got it right 🙂

  2. Mike Sealy says:

    Thank you so much.. It can seem like such a taboo topic. We try and instill in our children that things that they need to be protected from such things, and also how important it is to seek help for a friend, if that ever happened to one of them. At the end of the day though we just pray that it has been enough.
    The more we talk about it the easier it is for people to seek help.. So Bravo and again, thank you.


    • zanyzigzag says:

      Not being a parent myself, I can only imagine how hard it must be to know that you can never fully protect your children from all the evil in the world. As you say, I guess you just have to hope that they won’t ever need to worry about such things. Thanks for your comment – two, in fact! 🙂

  3. Sam Liu says:

    Ellie, this is a phenomenal post on an extremely sensitive subject. I can’t say anymore; you’ve said everything. Thank you for being brave enough to write so candidly about this topic – it is steps like these that help victims of sexual abuse speak about what they have had to go through. Thank you.

  4. Debs says:

    It’s good to know that just by listening to someone you are in some way helping.

  5. skeptlorist says:

    I agree with the previous comments. Great post. Thank you for sharing it.

    I’ve been a single mom since pregnancy. There are a couple of reasons why I’m still a single mom, but the biggest one is no doubt my fear of trusting someone who would later turn out to be a paedophile. I know it is silly. I know the odds are miniscule. I know it’s in many ways irrational. But that’s fear for you, not something you can easily control.

    • zanyzigzag says:

      Thank you for commenting 🙂 I understand that it must be a major worry for parents – I guess it’s kind of a worst-nightmare scenario. I hope things turn out okay for you and your daughter 🙂

  6. skeptlorist says:

    Thank you, that’s ever so sweet of you to say 🙂

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