People like me, who write about their experiences of child sexual abuse, do not intentionally set out to cause other people pain. Unfortunately, however, we do.
When we are lucky enough to have people in our lives who are supportive, and willing to try to understand the impact of what we have lived through, it is sometimes difficult to balance the work of creating awareness and the desire not to hurt those we care about and who care about us.
Some may call us insensitive, or selfish, in our desire/need to speak out. Personally, I am not insensitive to the pain I cause. I know it is there. It hurts me to know it is the result of my actions. However, I do not deliberately set out to hurt people.
Why do I write?
I write because I have to write. Writing is something I have done for most of my life, although until 2010, all of my writing was in secret. During the darkest period of healing, from 2011 until recently, I tried to keep my writing hidden and yet still raise awareness of the long-term impacts of child-sexual abuse. I did this because I know what I write can cause pain to people close to me.
Why did I have to ‘come out’?
Trying to write as someone else, using a fake name, and fake persona, really starts messing with your head. Particularly when you have spent two and a half solid years smashing down the barriers and vowing to break the silence. I found myself questioning my ethics and my values. There I was, telling all and sundry about how important it was to speak out, but hiding my true identity. I started to feel like I used to – that I had to have a face that I showed the world, and another that had to be hidden at all costs. There was no integrity in that.
If I wanted to be true to me, and put my money where my mouth was, so to speak, I had to make a decision to either back off and remain silent, or be truly open and honest.
The flip-side of this, of course, is now those close to me are confronted with my writing on a day-to-day basis. The end result is pain.
Why do I have to write about child sexual abuse?
There are a couple of reasons for this – first, I write what I know. It is so much easier for me to write from experience than to write from imagination. Tied in with this, is the healing writing brings for me. Yes, even my short stories are generally dark, but usually it is because something inside me needs to be fixed and it just appears on the page in front of me.
Second, I write about child sexual abuse to raise awareness – not that child sexual abuse happens, but that the impacts of repeated trauma as a child never go away – they do lessen in strength, but they NEVER go away.
Third, I write about child sexual abuse because I know that while I sit here, in my comfy chair, in a warm and cosy house, with all of my basic needs met, there are children being sexually abused, beaten, neglected, sold into prostitution, and having all sorts of other horrendous things done to them at this very moment. I cannot sit here in silence. Awareness needs to be raised. Something needs to be done, and all I can do at this point in time is write.
Children are so very precious.
I am sorry for the pain I cause. I am sorry that the things I write also brings back bad memories for you. However, to those close to me, there are some things I would like to say:
- You are not responsible for what happened to me. The person who abused me – the person that could have chosen not to abuse me – is no longer with us, but it is important to understand that the responsibility for what happened was his, and his alone. The rest of us have been involuntarily caught up in the consequences of his behaviour. Do not blame yourself.
- I am well. I know the last few years have seen me crash to the deepest depths, but right here, right now, today, I am well, and I have been for some months now.
- Just because I write about what happened to me does not mean it is the only thing I think about – it no longer consumes me the way that it did.
- The past cannot be changed – it is what it is. All we can do is enjoy the here and now, and have hope for the future. My way of doing that is by sharing my experiences. You never know, someone else might find them useful.
I am truly grateful for the support I have around me. Knowing that I hurt them is not a nice feeling. If I could wave a magic want to erase it, I would. For now, all I can do is love the people around me and support them as they have supported me.
My heartfelt thanks to the ‘inner circle’ who have seen me at my worst and are hanging in there to see me at my best. I love you all from the bottom of my heart.