It has been almost six months since I started this project and almost everyday I get connected with another possible story for LBP. I thought I would blog more than I have in the past four months, but I have spent most of my time finding stories. Or in many cases, the stories have found me.
Everywhere I go, in political and social spaces, someone has a connection to a story—or two, or four, or eight. So many stories.
Even though I have been doing work around child sexual abuse (CSA) for over a decade now, I am still amazed at how many stories are out there. And not only the sheer number of people impacted by CSA, but the amount of people who have disclosed about their experience of CSA to their family, friends, and communities, since so many people (survivors, offenders and bystanders) never tell anyone. As a CSA (and other forms of violence) survivor, I am continually moved at the courage it takes to come forward about surviving violence and abuse, especially in a world where so often survivors, especially survivors of sexual violence, are not believed and face hostility, blame, shame, undermining, isolation, criminalization, demonization, ignorance and being used for other people’s agendas.
Many of these stories have never been shared outside of the initial disclosure, save a therapist, counselor or healer. Most of these stories have been buried away and many are not even thought of as “responses”—they were simply what people did to care for each other. They were simply the way people chose to love each other, often in the face of great danger and fear.
There are of course, many stories where people did not chose love or care. These are the majority of the stories surrounding child sexual abuse responses. These stories are filled with most often, those around us responding with denial, collusion, fear, silence, deceit, unhelpful rage, more violence and blame. These stories too, are often not thought of as "responses," but instead thought of as “just the way things are” or “what you’d expect to happen.” It is important to remember that just as love and care are choices, so too are fear and silence.
These stories are important as well, as they are the more common reality of CSA and we cannot turn away from that reality. Not only can these stories teach us about how not to respond, but they also give us valuable information about child sexual abuse itself and the many reasons it continues, despite our best efforts. These stories are enormously important to document as well because they can help us to better fight, stop and ultimately end CSA.
As I have been connecting with more and more people and more and more stories, I have also gotten a lot of questions, so I have started a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page that I can continue to add to. I hope it is useful in answering some of your questions too.
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