Recently another sexual abuse scandal hit the news. For survivors such news can be triggering. It is a reminder of how pervasive sexual abuse is in our country and world. While the Southern Baptists are the latest revelation, there are many more religious institutions of all traditions caught up in similar situations, as there are many other institutions (Boy Scouts, USA gymnastics, several universities, boarding schools, to name a few) who have similar stories of abuse and cover up of abuse.
Each time a new story comes to light remember these are not simply numbers, but individuals whose lives are forever changed. They are families, communities sometimes impacted for generations by the actions of abusive individuals and trusted institutions who fail their responsibilities.
Each new revelation can be a triggering event
For survivors of sexual violence each new revelation can be a triggering event recalling memories of their own abuse and reinforcing distrust of institutions, leaders and authorities. Feelings of anger, isolation, fear and anguish may arise unbidden and unwelcome. These are times which call for grace, self-care and connection with others who are supportive and understand.
As painful as each new scandal can be there is also something good happening. Truth is spoken and those with little voice are finally heard. Truth telling is critical for the healing of individuals, communities and societies. Change can happen when the truth comes into the light.
Survivors are superheroes
As survivors we have much to offer other survivors, our families, communities and world. We are survivors! (One friend calls us superheroes.) We know what these victims are going through. We understand in ways those without our experience do not. When we reach out, when we speak up we offer hope.
Whatever we do to bring more truth, hope, compassion to our world is worth it. When we tell the truth of our experience we give a gift to the future. When we uncover secrets of abuse kept buried in our families, in institutions, in our community, the possibility for healing and change emerges.
Hold in the light
I encourage you to hold in the light all those who bravely tell their story. Hold in compassion all those who have been abused and betrayed by people and organizations they trust. Hold accountable those responsible to see these things do not happen.
Find your way to share understanding, compassion and truth. If you would like, share a word of wisdom, caring, truth in the comments section and it will offer encouragement and hope to others.
Be well. Stay safe. Take good care.
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