photograph by Aviva Rowley. ©
You can never tell from the outside if a girl is a sexual abuse survivor!
"Sometimes I would lay in bed at night and think I was the only one, the only one to live this nightmare." ...............written by a 16 yearold survivor.
Anyone can be abused. Girls from all over the world, from all over this country, of every color and every religion have been sexually abused. Counted among the abused are rich girls and poor girls, happy girls, pretty girls, skinny girls, heavy set girls, poets, artists, athletes, loners, extroverts, girls on the debate team, the soccer team. No ethnicity is spared, sexual abuse happens to white girls, Asian girls, Spanish girls, Black girls, Russian girls, Polish girls, Jewish girls, Catholic girls......in other words, anyone from any background could become a victim of sexual abuse.
It is more likely for incest to occur in a home where a girl cannot count on her mother to protect her. If a girl's mother is strong and clear and loving, then she will never ever allow incest to occur. But if a girl's mother is weak and an incest survivor herself, a mother who never dealt with her own abuse, or if she is mentally ill, an abused and/or battered wife, an alcoholic, a drug addict, then she may never deal with or protect her daughter from sexual abuse or incest.
Girls who do not feel strong about themselves because they do not have a strong foundation in their relationship with their parents may become victims to uncles, or neighbors, teachers, even camp counselors. This is not the fault of the survivor. We are all born into this world to be loved and cherished. If your parents have not loved and cherished you, this is their fault not yours. If you are not strong enough to say no, and/or to tell a trusted adult, chances are you feel trapped with no support.
"Even though my mom left my dad when the incest came out, she still makes comments, and kind of puts some of the blame on me. I am frustrated with my mom for not seeing it! The signs were everywhere, she just did not want to see them." ...............Written by an 18 year old survivor.
Often times, girls will have very strong supportive parents. Girls who trust their parents, know that their mothers and/or fathers will protect them. They can count on their parents protecting them from abuse coming from someone outside of the immediate biological family or someone within the biolgical or extended family. These girls will usually be able to tell a trusted adult if anyone tries to molest them or succeeds even once.
But it is more complicated than that.
There are some girls who are so very close to their fathers, and they may feel their father is the only one who truly loves them, the only one who understands them. In that case a girl may enter a sexually abusive relationship with her father almost through hypnotism. She may be overwhelmed with confusion and guilt. Some girls have described feeling as if they were under a spell. They remember feeling as if their father has convinced them this was their life's journey.
Or often a molester tells the girl that he will hurt her parents if she tells. A girl who is taught to trust adults may have a difficult time telling because she is afraid that her parents will get hurt. The point is that any girl who is not protected by her loved ones may be vulnerable to abuse. It is a very complicated and difficult situation.
"No one knows how far I have been pushed, and how I hate the skeleton my flesh is walking around with. I carry my shame like a rock in my heart." ...............written by a 20 year old survivor
It is the survivor's fault!!!!