January 8, 2010
A couple of days ago I listened to a CBC radio interview with a woman named Linda Deschamp. She is suing the diocese in her area for ongoing, long-term sexual abuse she claims to have suffered at the hands of a priest. I have to use the word "claims" here, as her case has not yet gone to trial.
Theo Fleury, a former NHL Canadian hockey player who was also sexually abused as a teenager, recently released a book, Playing with Fire. In his book, Fleury names the same coach who was convicted for sexually abusing another hockey player, Sheldon Kennedy.
My reason for mentioning these people is to encourage other women and men, children and teens who have been sexually abused. Just as Sheldon, Theo and Linda have done, you can find someone to trust. You can find someone who will believe and support you. You may or may not write about it or launch a law suit; that's up to you. What's most important is that you discover that the shame of sexual abuse is not your shame. You are not responsible if someone abused you sexually. However, you can, now, do a great deal to help yourself heal from that abuse.
It is definitely not easy to say the words out loud: "I was sexually abused. It happened to me."
Sometimes it takes a long time to break the silence that engulfs abuse, as it did for Linda, Sheldon and Theo. Sometimes, due to the slowly changing climate of awareness, victims of abuse find someone to tell fairly soon. Whichever way it goes for you, know that you are not alone now, even if you were when the abuse was happening. Many people want to help you and know how to help.
Please tell somebody. If that person doesn't believe you or know how to help, tell somebody else. This is your life and your future. Keep at it until you find the help you need. You are so absolutely worth it.
Check out my earlier posts on sexual abuse for more information and resources:
Head + Heart + Hands + Feet = Action
Healing is Possible
What is Sexual Abuse or Assault?