NAASCA Mission - Adult Recovery
*** All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing. ***
*** True evil lies not in the depraved act of the one, but in the silence of the many. ***
EDITOR'S NOTE: This was recently sent to NAASCA by the CDC (April 2015) - pdf file:
Long-Term Consequences of Childhood Sexual Abuse by Gender of Victim
Childhood sexual abuse (CSA) is a worldwide problem. Although most studies on the long-term consequences of CSA have focused on women, sexual abuse of both boys and girls is common. Thus, a comparison of the long-term effects of CSA by gender of the victim will provide perspective on the need for future research, prevention activities, and treatment of survivors.
EDITOR's NOTE: Statutes of Limitations (SOL) -- Before we get into Recovery itself, we need to say that if you intend to bring any criminal or civil charges against your perpetrator(s) you'll need to check with local authorities as to the specific Statutes of Limitations (SOL) for taking an action. This is the period of time following a childhood assault that's allowed by each State which gives adults an opportunity to ask for (1) a criminal prosecution, which typically results in a prison term, or (2) to bring a civil suit for damages, usually for monetary awards, against accused perpetrators. In each State there's a specific, defined period of time legislated for each. NAASCA recommends you double-check the lists below with the local legal community for any updates (which happen regularly):
A primary mission at the National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse is to help abused people who have reached maturity get into recovery. If you are a man or woman who experienced sexual abuse, violence, severe neglect or emotional trauma in your youth, and are still suffering its lasting effects, we want to help you have a happy, healthy, productive life, and meaningful relationships.
We've been there, and our membership includes people who have recovered in a number of ways, many of us using one or more of the many resources we recommend on this site.
Secondly, we'll actively advocate for a better understanding of the shear magnitude of the many problems that surround the issue of child abuse in America. A better educated society will be more willing to address these problems and support recovery from them. There seems to be a particular taboo against talking about sexuality, domestic violence and similar "touchy" topics in our country, and significant confusion or reluctance to discuss such issues with our children. We hope we can break through these fears.
The figures related to childhood abuse are absolutely astonishing and of epidemic, if not pandemic, proportions. So are the facts about Domestic Violence, a closely related issue:
Sick as your secrets
There's an expression I agree with, "You're as sick as your secrets."
Yet the vast majority of child abuse victims do just that, since it's an almost a universal response to try to deal with our past "by ourselves."
This is especiallly true for men. Women are naturally pre-disposed to share with other women, and there are far more support groups for females as well .. rape counseling, domestic abuse groups, hotlines and the like.
In addition there are many services available for those survivors who are still children (and their families).
But because we've found so little support for men who have suffered child abuse we'll pay a little special attention to what's available for them.
Stories about abused men: ALERT: these are explicit stories written by men who are speaking out about their own childhood sexual abuse
About Adult Survivors of Child Abuse
WHAT IS CHILD ABUSE?
Child abuse can take the form of any act of physical, emotional or sexual abuse perpetrated against a child. Child abuse can also take the form of neglect--ignoring the child's emotional and or physical needs. Child abuse can and does take place outside of the family--with stepfamilies, foster families or babysitters. Sometimes it is very difficult to be sure whether or not you actually were abused as a child. You may be blocking memories because you are not yet ready to cope with them all on your own. (see what to look for inside)
Adult Manifestations of Childhood Sexual Abuse
Childhood sexual abuse can be defined as any exposure to sexual acts imposed on children who inherently lack the emotional, maturational, and cognitive development to understand or to consent to such acts. These acts do not always involve sexual intercourse or physical force; rather, they involve manipulation and trickery. Authority and power enable the perpetrator to coerce the child into compliance. Characteristics and motivations of perpetrators of childhood sexual abuse vary: some may act out sexually to exert dominance over another individual; others may initiate the abuse for their own sexual gratification.
Reactions of Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Assault
CAVEAT: The following descriptions are meant to serve as a general guideline for how a victim of sexual assault might react in a time of pain or crisis. It is important to recognize, however, that each victim of sexual assault will have his or her own life experiences and personality that will influence how he or she react to the assault. There are many reactions that survivors of rape and sexual assault can have. But for adult survivors of childhood abuse there are reactions that may either be different or stronger than for other survivors. (from materials provided by the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault)
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Adult Survivors of Child Abuse
Trauma specialists believe that "what is most tragic about child abuse and neglect is the exploitation of the child's attachment to the parent." To be sure, it is far easier to abuse one's own children, precisely because their love and loyalty to the parent render them much more compliant than they would be to a stranger. It is exactly this attachment exploitation that teaches children they are not safe in a relationship to other human beings. Damage comes when injuries are inflicted by those to who one looks for love and protection, and there is no relief from the trauma. It is the emotional and psychological setting in which the sexual maltreatment occurs, and with whom it has occured, that makes the difference and causes lasting damage.
EDITOR'S NOTE: These excellent articles were suggested as a resource by one of our adult survivor friends, Laurie Smith (who hosts her own special BlogTalkRadio talk shows dedicated to these issues (please see: www.blogtalkradio.com/Laurie-Smith for air times and episode descriptions):
When You Grow Up In a Dysfunctional Family -- by George A. Boyd -- When you grow up in a dysfunctional family, you experience trauma and pain from your parents' actions, words, and attitudes. Because of this trauma you experienced, you grew up changed, different from other children, missing important parts of necessary parenting that prepare you for adulthood, missing parts of your childhood when you were forced into unnatural roles within your family. For some of you, it has led you to attempt to flee the pain of your past by alcohol or drug use. Others of you feel inexplicably compelled to repeat the abuses that were done to you on your own children or with your own spouse. Others of you have felt inner anxiety or rage, and don't know why you feel as you do.
You were innocent, and your life was changed dramatically by forces in your family you had no control over, and now you are an adult survivor of that trauma. This article will discuss what these families are like, what is the impact of growing up in these families, and what you can do to begin the process of healing.
Here's yet another article Laurie recommends, that we thing you'll find useful and enlightening:
Loving the Wounded Child Within -- by Robert Burney, MA -- It is through having the courage and willingness to revisit the emotional dark night of the soul that was our childhood, that we can start to understand on a gut level why we have lived our lives as we have.
It is when we start understanding the cause and effect relationship between what happened to the child that we were, and the effect it had on the adult we became, that we can Truly start to forgive ourselves. It is only when we start understanding on an emotional level, on a gut level, that we were powerless to do anything any differently than we did that we can Truly start to Love ourselves.
The hardest thing for any of us to do is to have compassion for ourselves. As children we felt responsible for the things that happened to us. We blamed ourselves for the things that were done to us and for the deprivations we suffered. There is nothing more powerful in this transformational process than being able to go back to that child who still exists within us and say, "It wasn't your fault. You didn't do anything wrong, you were just a little kid."
Understanding Verbal Abuse -- by Angela Lambert, Morningside Recovery -- Abuse can affect the lives of people regardless of age, gender or social status. Although people most often associate abuse with physical violence, it can come in many different forms including verbal abuse. Because of the nature of verbal abuse, its damaging effects are often underestimated and misunderstood. This can be a problem for people who are the victims of it. In addition, it can make it difficult for people who suspect that a friend or loved one is being verbally abused. To help combat verbal bullying it is important to educate people and raise awareness.
Verbal abuse is a type of emotional abuse in which a person uses words, body language, or behavior to cause emotional pain or distress to another person. Although it is not physical in nature and does not leave visible bruises, it is just as damaging and can leave an individual with emotional scars and trauma. With verbal abuse, the abuser uses words as a way to exert control and dominance over the victim. It is a behavior that is often thought of in terms of domestic violence; however, it can occur in places of work, school, etc. Spouses, teachers, employers, girlfriends, boyfriends, or friends can be verbally abusive. When it comes to relationships, it is often a precursor to physical violence.
The Lamplighter MovementAn International Movement for Incest and Child Sexual Abuse Recovery
by Bill Murray - featuring: www.TheLamplighters.org -- contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
At NAASCA we can easily recommend the work of Margie McKinnon, the founder of The Lamplighter Movement, an international movement for incest and child sexual abuse recovery. She's author of several books, including " REPAIR Your Life: A Program for Recovery from Incest & Childhood Sexual Abuse."
Ms. McKinnon writes, "While I highly recommend it as a successful model to help you through recovery, it is not necessary to own the book REPAIR or be working the program to start a Lamplighter Chapter of your own. This website is primarily to encourage the formation of Lamplighter Chapters. No qualifications needed other than a sincere desire to be supportive of child sexual abuse victims who are trying to recover and a commitment to follow The Code of The Lamplighters."
Here's the The Lamplighter Movement Facilitators Guide (pdf file).
NOTE: Margie appeared recently on one of our "Stop Child Abuse Now" Internet-based talk radio show, now available for on-demand listening.
Dreamcatchers for Abused Children - This is an excellent resource site with many articles on child sexual abuse. It also has articles about trafficking.
Adult Survivors of Child Abuse should be sure to click on the very useful "RECOVERY" link, which is jam packed with web sites of organizations you'll appreciate.
Little Warriors - (Canada) - This Calgary based non profit is a charitable organization with a national focus that educates adults about how to help prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. Little Warriors also provides information about the prevalence and frequency of child sexual abuse and information about healing and support resources.
They've just launched a new "Make it Stop" media campaign, which includes radio and television commercials, bus murals and posters and more.
Glori Meldrum, Founder & Chair of "Little Warriors," had a life long dream - she just didn't know it. Her "Ah-Ha" moment occurred nearly 24 years after being abused. Glori had a dream to do something to help prevent child sexual abuse, and Little Warriors is the realization of that dream.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Our effort is designed to help for men and women from any walk of life, even if their childhood suffering occurred decades ago. But ..
Men are even MORE likely to keep the stories of their youthful sex abuse a secret.
CNN's Don Lemon, himself a child abuse survivor, interviews one of the founders of an organization I highly recommend, 1in6.org.
Harrison Ford narrates their newest PSA (included during the clip here):
Here is an excellent list of organizations that comes from MaleSurvivor.org, a group committed to preventing, healing, and eliminating all forms of sexual victimization of boys and men through support, treatment, research, education, advocacy, and activism.
1in6 - offers a wealth of information and resources on its website, including an online helpline and a lending library, for men who have experienced unwanted or abusive childhood sexual experiences and those who care about them. Their site is for men at various stages of seeking information and help, including those who don't see themselves as “survivors” or their experiences as “abuse.” 1in6 also provides trainings for therapists and other professionals.
End Abuse Now - is a page about the Hearing Healing Hope program of support groups for sexually abused men based in Owen Sound ON and serving Grey-Bruce counties, including at least one First Nations reserve. The program is explicitly understanding and supportive of First Nations traditions and culture. The page is part of a larger site called End Abuse Now, sponsored by the Grey Bruce Domestic Violence Coordinating Committee.
The Gatehouse is a community-based agency in the west end of Toronto which offers a wide range of services for victims of child abuse and their families -- notably peer-facilitated support groups for men sexually abused as boys.
Gay Men's Domestic Violence Project - 1 in 4 Gay Men Experience Domestic Violence. Gay Men's Domestic Violence Project is a grassroots, non-profit organization founded by a gay male survivor of domestic violence and developed through the strength, contributions and participation of the community. Gay Men's Domestic Violence Project supports victims and survivors through education, advocacy and direct services.
John Howard Society - Supporting Adult Men – Male Adult Survivors of Abuse, Substance Abuse, Harm Reduction, Domestic Violence and Anger Management.
Male Survivors of Sexual Assault - Sessions are free and confidential at the Sexual Assault Crisis Center, 1 Dock St., Suite 320, Stamford, Conn.
Call 203-348-9346 or 24-hour hotline, 203-329-2929
Male Survivors Sexual Abuse & Male Rape Survivors Support
Men Thriving - a member's only bulletin board for those over 21 years old - requires registration and adherence to strict rules of conduct - connect and share with other males survivors of child abuse
The Men's Project, based in Ottawa ON, offers a wide range of individual and group services for men, including men who've been sexually abused.www.themensproject.ca
The Silence to Hope Project - focus on assisting male sexual abuse survivors who have been sexually victimized by representative of the Catholic Church in this part of South Western Ontario
The Victims Resource Center provides a wide range of services to men, women and children who are victims of crime. These services include a 24-hour hotline, support groups, counseling and advocacy for victims. VRC also provides numerous educational programs for students of all ages, professionals and community groups. The Victims Resource Center is private, confidential and it's services are free. If you or someone you know is a victim of crime, VRC can help. We guide clients toward the path of healing.
READ THE REST ON THE ORIGINATING WEBSITE