For survivors of traumatic abuse, including child sexual abuse, the need for someone to bear witness to their experience and for their story to be heard and acknowledged is just part of a lifelong process.”
The above was the opening to the recent article in Ruby magazine about Finding Mary. At the time I thought it was merely an ‘impressive opening’. I now realise it says so much more.
For twenty-five years I was told I needed to tell the truth if I was to ‘heal’.
Tell a psychologist I was told!
Tell a psychiatrist!
Tell your children!
Tell your friends!
You must. This will set you free.
Better still tell the world. Write a book!
You can, you should, your story is unique, your story is special, you can help other people by sharing your story. You can educate and inform those who do not have the experience or knowledge.
And so for 7 years, regardless of my hesitations – my fear and shame, I pursued this in the hope that all those promises by people who ‘knew’ what would heal, what would set me free, could and should be believed.
Missing from that misguided advice was that healing will only occur if your revelation is met with care and compassion and admiration and love and acceptance.
Missing from that misguided advice was instructions on how you survive the assault from those who reject you or your story. Those who do not have the knowledge often cannot face the truth or are incapable, and consider it their right to denigrate and degrade and insult.
My closing comment at the end of the Ruby article was:
‘So, I would hope to educate people to be more understanding, less judgemental and more tolerant.’
But it was just a pretty lie.