When we are born we have no reason to believe anyone or anything is going to hurt us. We trust with everything we know until the time comes when that trust is broken. Once this happens we begin questioning the intentions of things and ultimately others around us. Once trust is lost it is not easy to regain and tough to not project on even those who have never done anything to not trust them. It must be a conscious decision to put our past experiences behind us and to make a conscious effort to not make others pay for the actions of a few. It has to be as though after trust is lost with one person you are “re-born” in a sense and you can’t continue to hold everyone around you responsible for actions of a few. When you realize that once trust is lost it is not only the person who broke that trust you no longer believe it but you ultimately have lost trust for yourself in your judgement. Trust is freeing and as long as you are careful and you listen to your instincts so that you aren’t putting yourself in situations where those who have bad intentions have to access to take advantage, being able to trust is so much healthier than hold on to that negativity of not trusting and thinking everyone is out to harm you.
I want to discuss Post Traumatic Stress and how it feels as though our souls have been stolen after a traumatic event. There are of course various levels of Trauma but no one can really say that one level is easier than another. It truly depends on a multitude of variables and it really isn’t anyone’s place to determine how each traumatic event will effect each person. Two people can go through the exact same event at the exact same time and each will process it all differently. No one person has the knowledge or power to determine another persons thoughts or emotions. Everyone of us is unique and need to process things in our own way. For society to tell us we need to just accept something and get over it isn’t realistic in a lot of cases.
I battled with PTSD myself after I was raped at the age of 12. I repressed the incident so that I wouldn’t have to face the truth and continue to relive the act over and over in my nightmares. This is how I dealt with the trauma and it almost killed me as I dealt with suicidal thoughts and attempted, thankfully I failed. The one thing in my life I can honestly say today that I am proud of being a failure at. Those thoughts can really get the better of you and for those not having them you have no way of comprehending what it is like. The only way I can try and describe it would be like this… Have you ever had a recording of something you hated play over and over and you couldn’t get the player to shut off? You feel anxious because you want it to stop but it just continues no matter what you do? It is kind of like that but the voices or images are inside your head and there is no off button to push, or power cord you can pull. Think of it like those battling with those voices and images in their head finally have enough and they make suicide their disconnection from the ultimate power source of life. Typically, they resort to these measures because they believe there is no other way to get them to stop and no one can possibly understand what they are going through. Those battling with memories of a traumatic event, continue to replay that event over and over in their minds because their brain is trying to resolve the issue and can’t change the outcome. They are the star of their own personal thriller movie in their minds and they are often scared to share with anyone for fear that no one will believe them or will believe they are weak.
No matter why, it is wrong that they should be made to feel they are the ones that did anything wrong. They need to be ensured that they are loved and that they will not be judged for the acts of others choices or even their own in some cases. Things that have happened in our past, whether that is yesterday or several years ago, can never be changed or taken back. We have to learn to acknowledge those events and history and accept who we are today. In order for us to overcome our past we have to put it in the past and not allow it to continue to tear us down in our present and definitely not let it hold us back from our future. We are on this journey together and we all need to help one another achieve the future that we were meant to have.
As Children we are all extremely vulnerable to Negativity. If a child tells their parent they want to dance and their parent responds with something like, “Why do you want to dance? You’re too fat to dance.” Those two sentences can make a very negative impact on a child. The child looks to the parent as ” All Knowing”, if they think they’re fat then often they start seeing themselves that way no matter how the look. Same when an adult tells a child they’re stupid or a moron. This can play a huge part in that child’s self-image.
As adults, we need to learn to think before we speak to our children. Chose our words wisely and start boosting their self-image by using positivity and not allowing negativity to take root in our children.
While sitting in a Senior High School Class listening to a couple guest speakers talk about their son being molested by their babysitter, I had an unusual feeling of understanding come over me that I somehow knew the pain and confusion this child must have been feeling. Feeling that no one understood what you were dealing with and the deep ache to rid yourself of an unknown secret. I really didn’t know why I had these feelings, but I sat in that classroom almost in tears and amazement on how these people were talking so freely about this traumatic event in their son’s life. Luckily this was the last real class I had that day because I was not able to focus on anything but the words these people talked about and how they were very clear that this is not the “Victims” fault that these people do these things. They also explained that if we knew anyone who had or was being hurt by someone we needed to speak up and not allow them to continue to make that person or yourself the victim any longer.
I walked around in a fog most of the rest of the afternoon and into the evening. I had trouble going to sleep that night with strange thoughts running through my head. Once I finally fell asleep I was restless and the next thing I knew I awoke screaming, “NO! STOP! YOU’RE HURTING ME!” The memories came flooding back to a horrible night in my life that I had somehow blocked from my subconscious. It was now back and I was never going to forget it again.
I had been molested with inappropriate touching and actions by a man close to our family. He made threats that I would be hurt or that my family wouldn’t believe me if I were to even tell them. This went on for several years and I just allowed this man to treat me like my feelings meant nothing. At age 12, I finally got the courage to stand up to this man and tell him “NO” and that I wouldn’t allow him to treat me like that ever again.
I thought that everything was going to stop and that I had finally been able to take control until I went to sleep that night. I awoke to the most excruciating pain and my head being forced into a pillow. I was on my stomach and I couldn’t move and at times could barely breathe while this grown man raped me and said horrible words to me while shoving my head further in the pillow so I couldn’t scream. I must have blacked out because I don’t remember anything after that.
From that day forward I was a different young lady. I went from being very outgoing and high spirited, to a tomboy and guarded. I wore clothing that didn’t flatter me as to not attract males. I became just one of the guys in my group of friends and started pushing those who were close to me away so that I couldn’t be hurt like that again. I didn’t speak of that night because I just remembered him telling me that no one was going to believe me. I eventually completely blocked it from my memory as a way to protect myself. I also felt there must have been something I had done to deserve this and that maybe I done something to encourage him. He made me a victim and by allowing that I empowered him.
This all came back to me 5 years later, yes I blocked this horrible event out of my memory for 5 years and all it did was tear me up from the inside and created insecurities and depression that I could not truly understand. I had thoughts of suicide and the feeling of just being completely alone and misunderstood. Once this all came back to me I decided I would never keep silent about it again. I pulled myself together and wrote it all down in an anonymous letter to the class, we had a drop box that was in the room that we could put questions in and the class would give their opinions and advice. I didn’t hold anything back in that letter, well nothing but my name of course. I asked if they could help me to determine what I needed to do next to overcome this and how I could stop from being this victim and now take control of my life, once again.
When I got to school that morning I dropped the letter in the box while no one was in the class and proceeded with my school day feeling a bit of the burden I had carried so long, lifted from me. When I arrived to class that afternoon the teacher was standing at the front of the class with his stool and asked everyone to please take their seats. I knew what was about to happen. We all sat down and he sat on his stool and proceeded to tell the class that he had something very serious to read to them and that their help was very important. I gathered all the strength I had in me and listened to the words read back to me that I had written that morning. It all truly became reality at that moment. There was no going back.
After the teacher read the letter he looked to the class for their words of wisdom and guidance. I continued to not show signs that the letter was from me and I even asked and answered questions. These students were so helpful and they didn’t even know that the person who wrote those words was me. We discussed how this is something that is history and by continuing to allow it to fester was only hurting me and holding me back from my future. They talked about how this is not something I did or could have stopped. We discussed that my taking a stand was a good thing even though it caused this to escalate. This was the man’s burden to bare not mine.
After class let out I walked up to the front of the class to talk to the teacher as I did every day. He looked at me and asked me how I thought he and the class had done with the letter. I responded, “You did great!” He said, “You think so?” I looked him in the eyes and said, “It helped a lot!” His eyes changed and started to fill with tears. “I didn’t know,” he said, with the tears starting to flow. I looked at him and said, “I know that is why you helped so much.” If he would have known it was me he may have not been so open about his responses. He gave me a hug and for the first time in many years felt the warmth in another person’s hugs without being scared.
I will leave this story with this for now and will continue with stories that came from me deciding that I was not going to continue to be the victim of this man and that I would never be silent about it again. All being silent did was hurt me and the negativity of the secret was like a cancer in me and was just spreading and once I refused to allow it anymore my life changed. I won’t tell you it was always perfect after that day but it was the strength that I pulled from and continue to pull from today when things get rough.
In closing, don’t read this post and pity me for what happened in my past. My past is my foundation and what made me the strong independent person I am today. I want to share this story so that maybe I can reach others that are going through, or have gone through, similar times. Maybe, just maybe, you can see that you are not alone and you too can find the strength to be “THE VICTIM NO MORE”.
I was recently under the weather thanks to my children being sick and them sharing it with me. It got me thinking about how we teach our children to share, but forget to tell them not their illnesses. We want them to be loving and caring and to be thoughtful and social and then we turn around and realize well there are certain things you shouldn’t do. There is always that exception to the rule.
We want them to understand that Sex is something amazing and to be shared as well, but we then tell them don’t do it. You should wait until you are an adult when you are ready for it. Well come on now if you tell a kid something is amazing or to share it, don’t you think they are going to want to experience that?
Hmmmm…Maybe these kids have us wired and they are getting us to contradict ourselves so that we question our choices when the big things happen. By them making us realize we are wrong once in awhile, then we will possibly over think our decisions when it is the big stuff. Just something to think about…or maybe it is the delirium from being sick for three days. Thanks kids, You Mother sure does love you. (Smiles)
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Do you think the “Zero Violence Tolerance Rules” in schools has helped or made things worse? I believe that all they have done is take away the ability for the innocent people to protect themselves. The innocent children now worry that if they fight back against the bullies they will get in trouble themselves. How is that fair? If they snitch and turn the kids in they have to just prove they are being harassed and bullied and in the process of doing so the bullies torture them that much more and continue to get away with it. They know the innocent children will not defend themselves, for fear of the consequences so the bullies are then empowered. In my opinion this is very similar to gun laws and the fact that we are taking guns out of the hands of those that need protection from the criminals that will have guns whether it is legal or not.
There is no credible evidence that Zero Violence Tolerance Policies have prevented violence in schools. (Skiba 2000) The only thing I believe that has been prevented is the students that follow policy and don’t want to get in trouble get bullied and picked on much more because they know they will be punished for defending themselves in accordance with these policies. I have zero tolerance for bullying myself. I have told my children they are never to instigate a fight or ever to throw the first punch, but if someone hits them and they have no other methods of protecting themselves they are to do whatever it takes to protect themselves and they will not be in trouble with me. I am not sure if that is the perfect way to handle this either but I do believe our current policies are creating more anxiety in our children because they worry constantly that something that most would consider typical human nature will be misinterpreted and they will get in trouble for being overly friendly or just a little more affectionate than another person.
When I was young we had a kid that we all called “Captain Kisser”. He would chase the girls around the playground just to steal a little kiss. This was never thought of as a bad thing because the girl that was being chased thought she was the “special” one for the day. I know that sounds silly to us adults but when I think back to those days as a child, it was fun and exciting. Today if that young man did something like this one of the little girls that he kissed could press charges of harassment. Then again one of the girls that he didn’t kiss could actually say that she felt discriminated against. I think we have taken away the innocence of youth and actually d-emasculated our young men to an extent.
We need to really stop treating our children so much like adults and allow them to be children a bit more. Boys and girls are affectionate by nature and I believe we need to embrace that and stop creating non-emotional and overly anxious adults. Let’s take a step back and realize what childhood is about and let these kids enjoy being kids while they can. They have plenty of time to be grown up.
I think Zero Violence Tolerance Policies were implemented as a reaction to the exception not the rule in schools. I know we all want our children to feel safe when they go to school and we cannot allow the bad seeds to make us over-react. I believe our Zero Violence Tolerance Policies need to be re-evaluated and we need to just think harder how to prevent the exceptions and implement policies that allow students to feel more accepted for who they are now try to make them what society believe we all should become.