April 18, 2008
April Showers and Blog Carnival Power
April 15, 2008
Posting a Carnival Poem
I'm not feeling very hopeful right now--I guess I'm just exhausted. I can't seem to shake it. So, I'm going to post a poem that is hopeful and maybe those words will have some effect as I broadcast them out into cyberland.
I'm behind on everything, but I don't want to get behind on The Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse. It's just too important and I so appreciate every one's involvement and advocacy. Beauty is hosting this Friday and the submissions are due by midnight tomorrow--Wednesday, April 16. You can use this submission form here.
Here's what Beauty says about her upcoming edition:
"We all know that abuse thrives on secrecy; the purpose of the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse is to speak openly about the prevalence of such abuse, and its devastating aftermath. Remember that an important component to healing from such abuse is to reclaim the power which as a child was stolen from you. As survivors we do this by speaking the truth. This carnival is an excellent venue for doing so. Here you can speak from the heart of what it’s like to be an abused child, or perhaps you’d rather write about the challenges of dealing with the aftermath of abuse as you attempt to live in this world as a whole adult. For instance, do you suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a direct result of the abuse? Whatever form your writing takes, it’s sure to help someone, for we are all at different places in the recovery process! We’d also love to hear from individuals who know about childhood abuse secondhand: what is it like loving someone who bears the wounds from an abusive childhood? Perhaps it’s your mother, friend, or significant other. What challenges (and strains) does your loved one’s woundedness contribute to the relationship?"
Beauty wanted me to submit a poem for the carnival this month, so this will be the one:
You’ve been hurt, you’re so afraid
It’s hard for me
But I’ll reach in, I’ll feel your shame
I’m not perfect
But I’m here
And I am light
I am love
I can see you’re not your pain
I can tell you’re not their hate
I see the beauty you can’t see
You are light, you are love
I know you are not your pain
I know you are not their hate
Look in my eyes, dear, can’t you see?
You are love, you are light
Can you feel you’re not your pain?
Can you know you’re not their hate?
Just take my hand, you can trust me
We are love, we are light
I know you’re tired
There’s no rest from all your hiding
Take one more chance
Find strength in me; I won’t betray
You deserve to dance
And to be free
Be in light
Be in love
You’re free to live without your pain
You’re free to love, no more to hate
We’re free together, you and me
We are light, we are love
We’re free we live without the pain
We’re safe we love without the hate
We’re flying, soaring, in joy and peace
We are love, we are light.
Copyright 2001 Marj McCabe ~ All Rights Reserved
April 03, 2008
Blog Against Sexual Violence: The Link to Child Sexual Abuse
Today is Blog Against Sexual Violence Day. I'm under the weather, but I did not want to miss posting on this important, awareness-raising day. I usually spend most of my time raising awareness about child abuse, and more specifically, child sexual abuse. I'm the founder of, and continue to maintain, The Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse, which travels around the blogosphere and will be stopping at Beautiful Dreamer's blog this month. (Why don't you join us?)
I firmly believe that preventing child sexual abuse goes hand-in-hand in preventing all forms of sexual violence, and vice versa. I feel these forms of abuse and violence are intertwined in a most grotesque way.
I certainly am convinced that my childhood sexual abuse set me up for the acquaintance rape I experienced in college. This is part of my story. Please be careful when reading, as it may be disturbing and/or triggering.
Did any of you have a "big brother" in college? I'm not talking about The Big Brothers Big Sisters Youth Mentoring Program. This was something that was a collaboration between my college sorority and a campus fraternity. When I was a sorority pledge, I got "set up" with this fraternity guy who was supposed to be a supportive "big brother" figure.
I got to know my "big brother" fairly well. I trusted him and considered him a friend.
We attended his fraternity's spring formal one year “just as friends.” When my “friend” wanted to have sex after the dance, I broke down in tears and explained that I couldn't participate because I was still so heart-broken over a recent breakup. I did not have the assertiveness back then to say no, just because I didn't want to have sex. I felt compelled to come up with some excuse and make the guy feel sorry for me. I guess, because he knew my old boyfriend, he pretended to be understanding at the time.
Later, it was a different story. There was a party at the fraternity house of my “friend.” At one point, we went into his room. We’d been in there many times and I was not afraid or suspecting of anything.
We were sitting on his bed talking when suddenly he was on top of me. I said no, cried and tried to turn away. But, he pinned my arms down. I have always felt guilty because I did not scream out or struggle very hard. I think my CSA groomed me to stay quiet and realize that struggling was futile. Some days after the party, when I told my sister about the incident, she was the one who pointed out that my arms had been pinned down and I had, indeed, been raped.
I believe that this collegiate predator could easily see that I had "victim" stamped all over me. I also am sure that, even if my mind wasn't conscious of it, my body knew quite well that fight or flight was not possible--freezing was the only way to survive. (My incest experience included rape, also with my arms pinned.) I don't have any conscious memory of this part of the ordeal, but I'm sure--as dissociative as I now know myself to be--I moved as if in a trance when it was over. I'm certain that I silently pulled my pants back up, pulled myself back together as best I could, and simply walked out his door. I never spoke to this young man again.
I'm sure that he was sure I would never report the rape.
I now know that this period of my life was not nearly as damaging and tortuous as my childhood. Yet it was quite traumatic for me. During this time I became pregnant. I came very close to telling my old boyfriend of my condition. I had him on the phone once but couldn’t reveal my secret. I did not know who the father of the child was. I didn’t tell my ex because I still loved him (even if he didn't love me) and I didn’t want to trap him with a child who may not have been his. I decided to get an abortion instead. This added to my trauma.
Indeed, I never did report the rape. I didn’t speak of it again for another decade.
I think I then made the subconscious decision to stick like glue to any man who would finally admit to loving me. That man became my first husband. He was only physically abusive toward me once. It was when we were separated, before our divorce. In a fit of anger, he grabbed me by the arm and threw me to the floor.
During our brief marriage, my mate did many odd things that made me uncomfortable. What drove me crazy was his habit of following me around our small apartment. He often spied on me while I was in the shower. One time, I was coming out of the bathroom after a shower wearing only a towel. I was ambushed by my ex who jumped out at me and snatched my towel away. He pushed me onto the bed and snapped a Polaroid picture of me sprawled there naked with a deer-in-the-headlights expression on my face.
During my young adult years following college, my self-esteem was critically low. Yet, by the time of my divorce, something started to shift in my mind. A tiny spark of self-confidence told me I had rights and deserved better. I never used the term “abuse,” however. Although I was taking steps to that effect, I never thought or stated, “Nobody will ever abuse me again.”
One of those essential steps was quitting my first big job that I thought was leading to a successful career. I had been working at an advertising agency where one of the higher-ups sexually harassed me time and again. I did not sleep my way to the top, but worked hard and got promoted there three times. Despite the promotions and the agency paying my way toward a Master’s degree, I decided to leave.
Maybe I just got fed up; within a year, I quit my job in the sexual harassment environment and got divorced. I never did finish my Master’s, but I never allowed anyone to ever abuse me again, either.
My greatest wish is for all children to grow up with a healthy sense of self-esteem and appropriate boundaries. No one should have to wait until their 20's 30's or 40's--after rape, abortion, sexual harassment and/or an abusive spouse--to decide they don't deserve sexual abuse. No one should feel they must silently endure rape, sexual harassment, or sexual abuse of any kind from anyone--not a boss, a "friend" or a spouse--no one!
Let us never let up on our determination to spread awareness about all forms of sexual violence. Let us never give up on our goal of advocacy for survivors and abuse prevention. Let us all keep up the good fight! Onward, brave warriors all!