Recently I stumbled across a house with a powerful sign that dug deep into ground. It read, “Survivor of Child Abuse.” I immediately stopped and took more notice to this simple white sign that had an inspiring message to share: I am not ashamed of my past violence because I am a survivor.
To put this sign out for the world to see takes courage and strength. Rarely will people openly talk about child abuse, but the fact is it happens too often for us not to talk about.
In the U.S., 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boy’s is a victim of child sexual abuse according to the National Center for Victims of Crime. And sadly by the age of 18, 1 out of 10 children will be sexually abused. We are in a sexual abuse crisis, yet we tend not to see it that way.
The war happening in the U.S. doesn’t involve terrorists, bombs and drones it involves physical and sexual violence happening inside the homes of our neighbors, family members and close friends. It’s a reality that many turn blind to. It’s hard to imagine.
Violence that happens in the home is rarely discussed, but abuse inside the home is what is hurting people the most: men, women and children. Child abuse leaves a life long impact on a person. It changes the way they look at the world and cope with experiences. Many grow up not knowing the difference between good and bad intimacy.
The good news is child abuse victims can recover from their traumatic experiences and grow into healthy, loving adults and survivors.
“I know Delkisse has touched somebody’s life one way or the other.”
Many of us are living around or with child abuse survivors. Although it’s painful to talk about, there comes a great power from recognizing children who were once victims turn into survivors. When we can begin to recognize the courageous healing stories that exist around us every day we reclaim our dignity and humanity.
It’s easy to get caught up in the violent stories we hear in the media or have experienced in our own life, but let us not forget about the survivors who have overcome the dark and entered the light. They are the voices that we should take the time to reflect on. They are the ordinary heroes.
The only way to move forward from past traumatic events is to create a new narrative of our life from victim to survivor. When victims use their past experience help others overcome their own inner struggles and find peace with their story they become survivors. As survivors we can come together and provide this support to one another.