For children of abuse (of any kind of serious abuse, I would think), their little world around them rejoices, while they sorrow. We often say their 'childhood innocence' has been stolen from them. This doesn't mean they are any less innocent in their own goodness - God forbid anyone should think such a thing! - but that they have lost a certain freedom to view the world as a good place, a safe and a happy place.
Worse, they may have lost the vision of themselves as good people, who are valuable simply because they are, simply because God made them. They may come to think they are valuable only because of what they do. If they were valuable to someone for their sexuality, then they can become even more valuable to others - and in a good way - for their accomplishments, or for being the go-to person who makes others happy, or the guardian who keeps others safe from various dangers. (Just to clarify, there are also others who have these lofty goals who were not sexually abused.)
But all this doesn't mean that victims don't have some normal childhood fun times, as well as establish some good memories. People are very resilient. God programmed us for survival. It's not only criminals who compartmentalize, but some victims do as well. And those good memories often help us get through life and establish an identity we can fall back on...and that we can build on later in life.
For someone who was sexually abused as a child, hearing that we need to "just leave our past behind" may do more damage than good. It's not that we need or want to go back to the bad times. Indeed, some people even have emotionally painful flashbacks. But there is a need to process its effects, to clarify our innocence and our value, to learn to nurture ourselves.
In her book, My Peace I Give You, Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints, Dawn Eden shares a prayer from the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite Mass, which includes these words, "Deliver us, O Lord, from every evil, past, present, and to come..." She also says in reference to this prayer of the Mass, "The evil of my past is still evil, but it no longer has any power over me. All that remains of it are my wounds..."
As we find healing, as we work on regaining our identity, we begin to realize the words of the Scripture, "...but your sorrow will turn into joy."
Today's post comes from my own decades of experience and from counseling I've received, as well as from wisdom from Dawn Eden's book, My Peace I Give You, Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints. Today is your last chance to win a free copy of this book in my drawing. I will have a family member draw a name out of a hat at approximately 6 p.m. tonight...that's 6:00 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time (and yes, I'm on the East Coast but I wanted to give you the earlier time, so no one misses the "deadline". If you are east of that time zone, you can figure accordingly.) Again, if you would like to win the book but you don't want to go public with your name, you can create a fictitious name. Just be sure you email me to let me know what that name is, so that if you win, I will be able to find you in order to send you the book.
Whether you are a victim or you know someone who is, or you just want to learn more in case you ever do know someone, thank you for reading, and may God bless you with much peace - the peace that passes understanding - and with much joy, now and always.