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What if you could take a peek into the Future….

The Adult Life of A Sexually Abused Child

What if you could take a peek into the future to see what the adult life of a sexually abused child look like?

Well you can. But today I will not be sharing my story. I will be sharing someone else’s. You know yourself and I want to say thank you for sharing!

But before I share the pictures of this comment, let me first say this: the impact of child abuse manifests in so many ways in the life of the abused, and can oftentimes follow them years into adulthood if not properly dealt with through counselling and therapy. And so it is very common to see things such as:

  1. Promiscuity/heightened sexual desire
  2. Anger/bitterness/fear
  3. Addiction: could be to drugs, sex, pornography
  4. Depression/Feelings of suicide/just plain suicide
  5. Lack of interest in sex/fear of sex
  6. Detest for the opposite sex/marriage
  7. Hallucinations/panic attack/flashbacks/trance of the event
  8. Homosexuality (This can either be a woman hating men so much she chooses to have sexual relations with same sex. Or if the abuse was from a person of same sex, it creates a desire for same sex relations). This is may seem hard to believe but lot more common than you may think or realize
  9. Paranoia/hostility/aggression
  10. Tendency to abuse others

Trust me when I say this is not an extensive list. There are physical side effects too, and yes- SPIRITUAL too. I can’t tell you how many deliverance sessions I attended. LOL. It actually feels funny now, saying it.

Next time someone tells you they have been sexually abused before, think of these and many more. How does that not trigger compassion in you towards them? Simply saying “get over it” or “it is well” or blurting out “just pray” may mean well, but does not help.

So, what does this list look like in the life of an actual human being? See below.

peek into the adult life of a sexually abused child. Did I mention there is also the tendency to pick abusive partners?
ha, the feelings of deadness and lack of willingness to do anything..
the feeling of loneliness, like no one would understand, but God….
this part here broke my heart. All 5 sisters in one family! This is how prevalent it is yet we are strangely SILENT about it
Truly a non-judgmental spirit is needed to view and support one another. Younger people need our help, not our judgement
I am so glad this story ended this way, sadly, this is not the reality for a lot of people who have been through sexual ause/rape
I mean this to everyone once sexually abused. IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT!!! And I am sorry it happened to you and I, but it does not have to define you!

This is why I share. Why I had to find my voice, to help you find yours, and it starts with breaking the silence, that is how we can undo the culture of silence and take back our lives.

You are an OVERCOMER and believe me when I say you can live and rise above your experiences! Thanks again V.I for sharing your story with me and the world, I do not take it lightly.

How will you be of support to someone you have identified as once raped or sexually abused? Now that you know what their lives or future COULD be?

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Blog My Clear Mind Survivors Corner UnderstandTEEN-YOUTH

From Suicide to Purpose: The Day I ‘Died’

Going from suicide to purpose on the day I ‘died’, I found life. I had just been stood up by my boyfriend at the time. He said he was too sick to go to class to read, I offered to cook him something and send to his room, he declined.

I had exams in two days, so I decided to go study on my own. At seventeen, I was in my first year of school. My academics was my safe place, I did it right and never joked with it. Off I went to one of the classrooms in the famous Obafemi Awolowo University and guess who I found getting cozy with his ex-girlfriend or so he claimed?

Just a Trigger

I know what you are thinking, you wanted to kill yourself because of a guy! Nah, it was not about him. Been suicidal since I was about eleven (11). Nothing helped, I lost weight, had good grades, pretty (still very pretty), had tons of family around me, drank, smoked, but felt empty. He was just a trigger!

I had cut myself a number of times, I had held a knife to my belly so many times. Once, I took overdose of a drug. There was fantasies about a car hitting me off the road. So much so, I did sometimes intentionally walk into the road in hopes….Each time, I either could not follow through or something interrupted me.

Now that we have established it was not about a boy, can we move on? So, seeing him cozy with this girl, I dialed him up. He picked and was murmuring, saying he was cold and wished I was there, they both laughed, and that laughter felt familiar.

It was not the first time someone had made fun of my naivety and gullibility. Yet somehow, the brightest idea I had of how to not let that happen again was to end my life.

I Just Want it all to End

I remember crying so hard, I ripped the chain I had on from my neck. It felt like my heart wanted to pop out of my chest, I honestly thought I was going to die from a heart attack, well that did not happen!

I walked from one end of school to another, in search of ‘otapiapia’ (a drug used to kill rats) at about 2am. They were all closed, except for one where this man took one look at me and blurted out “I am not selling to you my dear, go to your room and sleep and come back tomorrow. Bless that man!

To my room I went indeed, but not to sleep. I cried some more, pulled out a knife, put it to my belly, about to stab, when a thought hit me: “you know it won’t be fair for your roommates to find you in a pool of blood when they wake up”.

Taking a deep sigh, I put the knife down, and for the fist time pulled out my Bible. I hated God because as far as I was concerned, my horrible experiences were His fault. But that day, I prayed: “Dear God, I don’t know if you are real or there, but if you are, all I want is for you to make sure I do not wake up in the morning”.

Hugging my Bible, I slept off. Soon enough, I woke up to the sound of busyness in the room. Recalling what happened, I blurted out “God you are a coward who won’t let me come up to you” (do not ask me what I was expecting to happen when if I indeed died). In an attempt to roll over, my Bible fell and opened up. Without trying to read it, my eyes fell to a verse.

suicide to purpose
Source: https://bibleversestogo.com/

The Waking….

It was as if God responded to me saying “if only you knew what I had in store for you”. Then I saw Dupe Akinsiun (nee Osho) walking towards my room as she usually did every Sunday morning to invite me to ‘cell’. This time, I did not run out the back door. She doesn’t know, sssshhhh, don’t tell her!

Holding my Bible, I followed her without fight or questions, this same verse was read during the cell meeting, and later that day at church. That day I gave my life to Jesus Christ, dying to self, I was raised to life.

See I started that day wanting physical death so badly, but the reality of my spiritual death hit me. It hurts me that I do not remember the exact date, but it remains to me the day I went from suicide to purpose. I found a new reason to live as I hope someone out there today does as well.

The things we go through sometimes feels unfair, and I get it. But, do not let anything get you to the point of your ending your life. You may not have heard God for yourself yet, or maybe you have, but let me be His voice to you: “if only you knew what is in store for you”.

Looking back, people would have said I killed myself over a guy, who by the way never knew what happened. But I am so glad I am here today to share this, and perhaps let you know you are not alone. Hope it help you see that in depression, suicidal thoughts, you too can find purpose and life. YOU are part of my purpose and why I started LoudSilences.org.

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Blog Survivors Corner

Here Are 5 Things YOU Can Do To End Rape Culture

There a number of things YOU can do to end rape culture. Yes YOU (male, female, mother, father, single, married, teenager, young adult, student, worker etc.). Today, we will focus on 5 things YOU can do to end rape culture.

To change anything systemic, including rape culture, you have to apply systemic strategies to dealing with them on a holistic level. This would mean preventive measures (actions you can take to NOT allow rape happen), education and awareness measures (learning about rape, its impact, learning for signs). A good example of this is learning about Child Sexual Abuse, which I wrote about.

Let us not forget legislation (could serve as preventive measure or corrective measure). The sad reality is that, when this piece is missing, it makes it really hard. But we can deal with this another time.

Five (5) things YOU Can Do to End Rape Menace
Be part of the solution to end rape culture

Educate Yourself: Truthfully, if you have not experienced it first hand, or seen someone you know and love impacted, it can be difficult to relate. Some people who seem to appear as ‘rape apologists’, I choose at this time to make the argument of IGNORANCE for you, but hey, who says you have to remain ignorant? So learn about this menace, the pain it causes, the impact it leaves and the way it can silence the voice of its victims for life. Not sure how/where to start? How about Wikipedia Who knew it was that easy to get information? Shocker!

Speak up/Speak Out: See something that is not right, speak! Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, most victims have already been silenced by the pain, they need YOU in their corner to help end the rape culture. If as a parent you see another family member abusing your child or someone’s else, do not keep silent, in a bid to protect them. By law, that actually makes you an accomplice! Sensing something off, probably means something wrong, so, speak out, speak up!

Educate Others: We need to educate little kids about their body parts, and how to speak up, when compromised. Let your kids be safe with you indeed! Educate boys on the need to respect girls. Enlighten teens on the need to create boundaries. Teach girls on how to avoid compromising positions, wrong friends, and building self-confidence. According to my friend Daniel Olabintan of Karibs Foundation, if need be, teach the girl child self-defense. When you have educated yourself, and you see a rape apologist, you can join in educating them.

Stop Stigmatization: If we are serious about ending the rape culture, we really have to stop ‘casting stones at victims’ and trying to explain how the ‘victim’ may have caused the mayhem on themselves. You know what that makes you? A rape apologist. If you have nothing to say, then say nothing. But by all means, do not psychologically rape an already physically raped person. Show compassion!

Join the Fight: No, you do not have to pick up placards. Doing all the above is part of ‘joining the fight’. But maybe you can do just tad bit more. In a moment like recent events, the least you can do is share a hashtag, reiterate your commitment to end the rape culture by reaching out to organizations at the front lines of this ‘war’. Donate to the organizations, share their researches. And yes, if there are marches, and you can, join in.

Below are some of the events that took place in a one-week space:

These events continue to strengthen the rape culture if not dealt with. Remember, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”– Andrew Marshall

Feature Image Photo Credits: Philly Voice

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Blog CSA Survivors Corner

CSA – Meaning, Signs & Effects

In my last post on CSA & Your Child I promised to help us understand what CSA means. In this post, we will explore the meaning, signs and effects of CSA.

What is CSA?

It is an acronym that stands for Child Sexual Abuse, and in plain English, it would mean ‘abusing a child sexually, i.e. having or expressing any form of action/relationship towards a child of a sexual nature’.

WHO Definition of CSA
Source: World Health Organization

With CSA, people are more familiar with touching acts (such as touching a child’s private parts or making the child touch the adult), than non-touching acts. However, both can be as dangerous. So here are some non-touching acts:

  • Exposing genitals to a child
  • Making the child watch porn or inappropriate videos
  • Having kids watch or listen to adults having sex
  • Taking and sharing nudes of a child
  • Watching a child inappropriately while dressing or in the bathroom
  • Encouraging kids to touch each other inappropriately

Some Tell-Signs of an Abused Child?

Ever wondered why your child suddenly does not want to be left alone with ‘Uncle X’ or ‘Aunty Y’? Or perhaps they have become suddenly disrespectful towards a particular adult? They may be tell-signs.

I have had parents often express concerns about their kids who display inappropriate sexualized behaviours, but refuse to come to terms with the sad reality that perhaps, it is an indication of a larger problem. Sexually abused children often show physical and behavioural signs, research has shown.

Signs of CSA
Source: World Health Organization

As a general rule of thumb, if you feel uncomfortable with an adult around your or someone else’s child, feel free to speak to the child (if they are yours) or to their parent. Get that feel of ‘something’s not right’? It probably isn’t.

What if a Child Reports CSA to Me?

DO’s

  • Let them know you believe them and reassure them it is not their fault
  • If they are NOT your kids, get their parents involved if safe to do so (unless the child reports a parent as the perpetrator)
  • Gather the facts- ASK OPEN-ENDED QUESTIONS. Get as much information as possible such as where, when, who, how?
  • Take them to see a Doctor.
  • Involve Law Enforcement and Child Protective services (where available)
  • Show love and support
  • Seek professional help/counselling for them

DO NOT

  • Get angry, yell or show frustration
  • Tell the child it was something THEY DID
  • Ask leading questions.
  • Tell the child to ‘tell no one’ or promise to do so yourself
  • Invite the adult and make the child retell their story (Yes, this happened to me, of course, I didn’t share again- story for another day)
  • Pretend like nothing happened

Side Effects of CSA

From research and my personal experience, I do know that the effects of CSA can follow a child into adulthood, and each child can express different things on any end of the spectrum, at different times. A key factor I experienced was LACK of TRUST for authority figures and a number of things in the diagram below including being suicidal.

Side Effects of CSA. These can follow the child into adulthood
Credits: Cynthia Saver

Why Should YOU Care?

CSA can happen to any child under the most scrutiny. This if often because research has shown that 90% of perpetrators are known to the child and 68% are often family members. Do you know that during this COVID-19 lock-down there has been a lot of news on incest related sexual abuse cases. Mostly from older male family members to younger females. The mistake starts from not paying attention enough because we often think ‘our kids are in safe hands’.

We should also care because when we understand what CSA is, and how it can impact a person for rest of their lives, we empower ourselves with the right knowledge to do something about it.

You should care because YOUR Child or a Child you know and love may be going through this silently. I hear you say “God forbid”, to which I say “Amen”. But a little learning and vigilance added to that prayer would do a lot of good, don’t you think?

We don’t all have to experience it to fight against it. It must be a collective responsibility to protect our children.

I not only want to help create awareness for protecting children, but also empower adults once abused to rise above. As an adult dealing with past event of CSA, you may still need professional help or counselling, so seek help if need be.

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CSA Survivors Corner

CSA & Your Child

Intro…

All too often there are cases of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA), all over the world including our dear Nigeria. More rampant than we would like to admit, yet children suffer. Unfortunately perpetrators often go unpunished and sometimes unnoticed. From clergymen, to neighbours, family members and even sometimes, parents unleash this evil on children.

According to a UNICEF report, ” one in four girls and 10 per cent of boys have been victims of sexual violence” in Nigeria. What is sad is most people have these things happening in their homes, whether or no they are aware, is an entirely different story.

The story below is a depiction of common experiences faced by children and their families in this regard.

The Story

John!, Ah John, you have killed me! Aunty Jumi cried. “My own brother, ah!” Peace drove in silence. Through the rear-view mirror, she took a quick glance at her neighbour Aunty Jumi, carrying her three-year old daughter- Sade. Sade was just rescued from John forcing himself sexually on her. Turned out before this day, John had been using his fingers to molest the girl.

source: campaignliveus
source: campaignliveus

Aunty Jumi sat in the back of the car, almost unafraid to move. It all started to make sense to her now: the way Sade flinched when she tried to wash the girl’s vagina. The way the girl would cry so much whenever she was going out and leaving her alone with her uncle. Sade had become much more quiet in recent weeks. “How could my own brother do this to me?”, she muttered under her breath.

John had left their home state- Ogun to come live with his big sister. He recently got a job at one of Lagos’ top investment banks, he was to start the week COVID-19 lock-down began. He always seemed to mind his business, but played so well with the kids in the compound. Which was why this came as a shock to not just her, but everyone. That John would molest a three-year old, much worse his own niece.

Peace shuddered as she pulled into the hospital’s driveway. She brought her mind back to the present, getting out to help Aunty Jumi and Sade. Settling into the waiting area couch, she wondered what would become of this dear three-year-old, whose life has been impacted forever. She could not get the image of the bleeding girl out of her mind, it was a painful sight! And the screams, Peace shivered! “God please let her be okay”, she prayed silently.

Fact….

Source: A Strong Nigerian Woman

Perhaps Few Examples…

I get it that we cannot always be paranoid, nor can we always have eyes on our kids, but can we at least agree that we live in a very wicked world, and that our kids deserve our protection. The purpose of this is to encourage us to be vigilante, to be mindful and set boundaries. Not every child abuse case will come to light. In this lock-down and beyond, observe your child and everyone living with you. The heart of human is after all, desperately wicked and full of evil, who can know it?

Watch out for a sequel to this on what Child Sexual Abuse is and the tell-signs for your child.

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Blog Survivors Corner

Scars: She is They!

She looked at herself in the mirror, rubbing the scars up and down. “I used to have a perfect skin” she thought. “Scars are a reflection of your battles won, your scars are perfect! ” said the voice in her mind.

She had relived the moment so many times. She lost a relationship because of the scars, she has been told severally “you should cover up those scars, its ugly”. But she has also been told “its brave how you open up your scars”.

She has lived in fear for the most part of her life, but she masked it well. She kept them well covered up. No! Not just the scars on her hands, the scars in her heart too.

She has often wondered what people would think if she let out those scars? She tried to let them out before, some family said “too messy don’t tell”. Others said “you slutty, no one would believe you”. And others said, “just get over it”. So she went to the church, they know better right? They said no Sis too unrighteous, let us not talk about such dirtiness, its the house of God”.

She knows that scars don’t always mean the wound is healed or the pain is gone. This is true for physical scars as it is for the unseen scars. So what is the point of hiding if she still feels the pain? She is tired, she was scarred for the longest time, and then she found her voice, alas, she spoke!

She finds others like her, each one defined by their scars, limited by their scars, hiding their scars, but she’s also seen others who rose above all of that. More so, she did not go looking for scars, it was an accident, a rape, a molestation. It was a physical abuse, it was one bad decision, and yes it scared her. She knows YOU did not go looking for the scars, just as she didn’t. She showed her scars, some said “thanks for sharing, it really did bless me”.

She came across a song- “Scars” by I am They. The voice put them together to ‘Scars, I am They’. Staring in the mirror, she realizes she has carried these scars for far too long. She worried about people’s thoughts for too long, not anymore.

She came out of that accident, and she lived. Oh yes! She survived. At first, the doctors covered up the wounds, it stank! She has covered her other scars for too long and it stank. So she opened up, and alas, she started to heal. She cannot undo the wounds or the accident, but ever since she has lived with scars. They are a testament to her conquering death! So why should she hide them?

She got healed, yes she did. She wants you to know, you can heal too. The scars, they are beautiful , they are your stories, and you don’t have to hide it no more. Now I wear my scars out if I have to, I am unashamed of them, thankful for them. We do overcome by our testimonies right? So TESTIFY! Your Scars, They are YOU, just as her Scars, they are She. My Scars, I am They.

She hopes the song ‘Scars‘ by I am They blesses you as it did her.