June Issue of Healing News 1997
As always this issue focuses on healing. It is not meant to be a substitute for
any kind of therapy but is simply a way for other survivors to share parts of
themselves with others.
If you would like to contribute please feel free to do so by emailing me at
HealingNews@journalist.com. If you need to change the subscribed email address or
discontinue receiving this you may also contact me at the above address.
Wishing you well in healing as always,
Survey Responses of Colors
A while back I asked some friends what color to
them represents Rape and Justice.
I didn't tell anyone what I thought, because I basically
was unsure myself. I thought at first purple for Rape,
but settled on Red.
For Justice,it took a longer while to decide for myself.
I drew a blank for a considerable amount of time, but,
decided that it must be the color Green for Justice.
I though green, for the coolness and crispness. I thought
green for the natural way things should be. Then just today,
I started thinking... Justice is something that is unnatural in the
way that we should not be plagued with things that demand justice
in the first place... but I stick with the Color green.
Below are the responses I got.
***** The Women *****
"justice is blue:
it just came to me thought of the sky...the freedom...justice"
"what would be the symbolic color of Rape?
can't think of any color at all right now except purple."
"For justice... Shiny, metallic, coffin black."
"For rape... Blood Red. The color for war. It's no wonder so many
of us suffer from P.T.S.D. like the Veterans. This is a war of a
nature. Strong colors, strong feelings."
"I think rape is orange"
"I vote for the rainbow ribbon....
cause rape cuts across all boundaries.
It can affect everyone and anyone...."
"And there are so many shades of each color; I would
see rape as a mixture, flashes of red enclosed in a sort of
claw-shape of lumpy black pouring down over it from the top._._._._."
"... was saying she thought justice should be a combination of
blue or green - sort of a teal color of green - with gray in it;
she saw the gray as representing the rational thought necessary
for justice,and the blue or green as representing the
"let's see...whenever i think of my rape i think in red. that
is the only color i can really see at all in relation to it,
the rage i still feel i know plays a huge role. there are
also glimmers of black."
"justice is white or any real calm color...the idea of
justice seems soothing...you fought and won...victory...the
one thing so many of us long for and never really get...maybe
lavender...a womanly color."
"well, it's no surprise that your mind is blank when you try to think
something to symbolize justice. why don't you just put a gun on that
instead of a color. ohhhh i don't know? I just woke up let me think
put the logo "dead men don't rape" hee hee. i better quit."
"don't use black for rape whatever you do. red seems too sexual. how
colors symbolize it? I don't believe in the scales of justice anyway.
think it perpetuates a myth. whatever you do, if you blindfold the
put her in chains too."
"White is for justice, and red is rape. These are the colors I would
choose for representation."
"blue or white for justice. Red for rape."
"What is the color of rape? Justice? I'm not sure. The first
thought I had was that the color of rape is purple, like a bruise on
the soul. Or a deep red, like the color of a scar. These things
represent damage to the essence of the person victimized."
"The color of Justice, to me, is green. First I thought of white or
golden, which seem radiant like justice. But I think green is more
suitable because green represents the world in its natural state of
balance. Human beings have upset that natural state and we will find
it again only when we ground ourselves in the natural world. In the
balance of life, minus humans, there is no cheating, no crime. Life
and death are part of the cycle, part of the balance. We have lost
"White came to mind... then blue (both are my favorite colors)"
"Black. Not necessarily just black, more like a mixture of ALL the
which turn into black."
"...Tan instantly comes to mind and I know not why -
Clear is what My brain tells me - Justice has many varied meanings
depending upon who is administering it and to whom."
Thanks to all.
Online rape counseling through an insightful woman named Bobbie.
This is a terrific and valuable
resource for anyone needing counseling but may be a little nervous about
going into a therapist's office to start off with. She is encouraging and
empathetic. It is one of the more helpful sites on the WWW.
An excerpt from the book What About Me? For men helping female partners
deal with childhood sexual abuse.
Written by Grant Cameron:
(The Child Within)
It's a strange concept. Bizarre to say the least.
You'll be sitting there, talking to the survivor,
when all of a sudden you realize she isn't even
listening. Instead, she'll be staring at some faraway
object as though deep in thought.
At that moment, you wonder if she's losing her
marbles. But, she's not. And neither are you. The
survivor is merely getting in touch with a part of
herself that hasn't healed. It's something deep inside
her called the child within - something that's been with
her for years.
She's never seen it, probably never talked to it and
likely didn't know it existed. But, it's probably always
been there - locked somewhere in the crevices of her
mind. And now that she's started the healing process,
it's come to the forefront. It wants attention and it
wants it now.
The child within is one of the most difficult things
for supporters to understand, but it's also something
you'll probably have to come to grips with.
For the survivor, the child is a real thing, although
not in the physical sense. The survivor is able to feel
what the child feels, talk to it, even console it.
Sometimes, the survivor can picture the child inside her.
She can see her sitting in a room, playing with her
Usually, the child resembles what the survivor
thinks she looked like as a child. At times, the survivor
will be totally in touch with the child within. Other
times, she'll be completely at its mercy.
I've been told by some therapists that survivors
sometimes don't have a child within. In other cases, the
child just doesn't come out. It depends a lot on the
severity and nature of the abuse. Usually, a survivor can
only be put in touch with the feelings of the child
One time Liz was having such trouble dealing with the
child within that she got angry and literally yelled at
it. She just wanted the child to go away and never bother
her again. The child did disappear but only for a while.
I remember how worried we were at what had happened. Liz
and I both knew that the child within would return. We
just weren't sure what damage we had caused. We were
worried what would happen when it did return. Sure enough
the child did come back with a vengeance. Like a spoiled
child, it demanded more attention than ever.
ACCEPTING THE CHILD
There are many supporters who have trouble accepting
this strange phenomenon. It's no small wonder. If you
ever told anybody about it, they'd think you're crazy to
say the least. They'd probably think the survivor is
For them, it may conjure up images of Sybil, the
girl with the umpteen different personalities. It doesn't
exactly work that way, but try and tell that to those who
don't know much else about child sexual abuse. They won't
I remember countless times when Liz would be dealing
with the child within. At first, I just shied away from
the whole thing and trusted her to deal with the
situation. But eventually, she began to trust me enough
that she'd let me in on what was going on. If Liz was in
the process of dealing with the child within, she'd talk
to me about it and ask for my opinion. I was always
careful not to insult the child. After all, this was an
entity that had been abused and there was no point in
ridiculing the child for something that wasn't her fault.
The child eventually grew such trust for me that I could
talk to it. Sounds a bit nuts, doesn't it? But, I'd talk
to Liz who would relay the message to the child and give
me an answer. I wouldn't recommend this for every
supporter, but if you feel comfortable enough doing this,
I don't think there's any real harm in it.
If you think about it for a moment, it's not all
that complicated or startling. Think about how old the
survivor was when she was abused. Now picture yourself
about that age. Now ask yourself how you would have felt
if someone you had trusted came into your room in the
middle of the night and abused you. Remember, you didn't
know anything about sex. You didn't know if it was right
or wrong. How would it have affected your emotional
development? How would it have affected your trust for
people? How would it have affected your self-confidence
and your own self-worth?
The extent of psychological damage can vary widely,
depending on the abuse. It depends, for example, on how
long the abuse continued and the relationship of the
offender to the child. It also depends on such things as
the kind of and degree of sexual abuse, the age of the
child, if others were involved and whether or not the
child disclosed the abuse and how it was handled. Each
person is different. Each situation is different. Some
trends have appeared though.
- Psychological effects of child sexual abuse are
usually greater when the abuse has involved physical
- The psychological distress is usually greater if
the child was abused by a trusted person rather than a
- Brief incidents of child sexual abuse usually have
less of an impact than abuse that continues over a long
period of time.
- Children abused when they are very young usually
show fewer psychological effects than children who are
abused when they are older.
HOW THE CHILD FORMS
The child within forms because the abused child is
unable to handle emotions like an adult can. Although the
child may feel the abuse is wrong, a young child gets
very confused because the perpetrators enforce the notion
that what happens is right. Plus, the child is usually
rewarded for all the actions. Because they get so
confused about it all, abused children lock the emotions
deep inside. It's sort of like forming a child within a
child. In the end, the abuse may have caused them to feel
guilty and believe bad things about themselves.
The child may carry around feelings of anger, fear,
shame and guilt. The survivor might feel angry at the
perpetrator for putting her through the abuse. She may
also be angry at herself for letting it happen. She could
carry a lot of anger towards her parents for not stopping
the abuse. She may just be angry at anybody and everybody
for what happened.
Sometimes, a child who is being abused may tell
somebody about what is happening. But many times, the
older person she tells either refuses to believe her or
doesn't want to get involved. If a child tells the
mother, the mother will sometimes blame the child for
what is happening. Other times, the mother tries to stop
the abuse but finds out she can't without letting other
people know. She may choose to do nothing because she's
ashamed or doesn't want to break up the family.
Children who are sexually abused are usually afraid
because the perpetrator may have made threats or the
child feels nobody will believe her. The child may also
be afraid the family will break up if she tells about the
abuse. She may also be afraid of losing the love,
friendship or security of the abuser. The child who is a
victim of abuse may also feel shame that other people
will find out what happened. The child may think that
people will regard her as dirty or bad if she tells.
Guilt is also common among abused children. The child
may feel it's her fault, especially if she was rewarded
for her actions. She may feel like she is betraying the
abuser if she tells on him. The child may also carry
guilt because she may think she could have done something
to stop the abuse.
Because of their age and inexperience in life,
children don't have the capacity to cope with the
feelings which overwhelm them from abuse. So, when a
child gets overwhelmed with emotions, the child shuts out
those feelings. Instead of letting them out in a healthy
manner like an adult, the feelings go deeper inside the
child where they churn around for years on end. That
bottled up anger and frustration affects the child's
emotional development. In later years, it's like having a
child's emotions locked inside an adult's body.
Children often lack the skills to objectively assess
what they're learning. So, if they get mixed up messages
as a child, they are unable to determine what is right
and wrong as an adult. Although a child may have sensed
that the abuse which took place was wrong, the child
doesn't know any different or how to avoid it. When a
child is being abused by someone that she is supposed to
respect and listen to, she tells herself: ``I know this
is wrong and I hate this feeling, but he is telling me
that I have to do it.''
Often, the only way for a child to hang on is to
dissociate herself from the abuse. The dissociation
results in a child self being formed inside the
subconscious of the survivor. The abuse may stop and the
child may grow up, but the child within does not. All the
thoughts and feelings that were there during the abusive
years are still inside the person. So, if the abuse took
place 20 years ago, the survivor has been carrying around
the thoughts and feelings for 20 years.
The child may use a number of methods to disassociate
herself from the abuse. In Liz's case, she used music.
She remembers disco music playing when the abuse took
place. She would focus on the disco music as a way of
disassociating herself from what was happening to her
This disassociation can manifest itself in a number
of ways later in life. I remember one day shopping with
Liz. She insisted that we get a disco tape. It sounds
silly, but since I wasn't a big disco fan, I questioned
why it was so important. Well, I got my answer when she
stormed out of the store in anger. I didn't know what I
had said or done that had made her so mad. Later, when we
visited our counselor, we explained what had happened
and she pinned it down to the fact that the disco tape
was important to the child within Liz because it was her
only way of disassociating from abuse.
Survivors cope with the abuse and adjust to its
effects in different ways. But ignoring the situation and
hoping it will go away usually ends up backfiring. All
the bad things that got locked away when the survivor was
a child eventually come up in some way. And they can be
triggered by a number of things.
An adult survivor of abuse may end up with a deep
lack of trust for everyone, low self-esteem, depression,
sexual and parenting problems. The survivor can also have
memory blocks of their childhood years, recurring
depression and suicide attempts. They may also have their
feelings completely shut down, shut off or made
inaccessible to anyone. Sometimes, the survivor
disassociates herself from any stressful situation or
perceives the adult self and child self as two separate
As an adult, feelings of self-hatred, guilt or shame
may lead to high-risk activities such as alcoholism, drug
addiction or sexual promiscuity. One common symptom among
survivors is eating disorders. In a 1990 study of 158
women with eating disorders, more than half divulged they
had suffered some form of earlier sexual trauma. Others
go in the opposite direction and end up starving
Sometimes, survivors don't manifest symptoms until
they marry or have children. Occasionally, powerful,
overcoming feelings may arise from sexual activity or
other things like diapering a helpless baby.
It is important that the survivor learn how to talk
to the child within. A good professional counselor
should be able to help the survivor get in touch with her
inner self. The counselor will also be able to help the
survivor manage and cope with this newfound entity.
It's equally important that you also learn how to
cope with the child within. Rest assured, it is not
something the survivor is making up. It is best if you
accept the fact that the child exists and help the
survivor learn how to handle it. Sometimes it could mean
leaving the survivor alone for periods of time when she
decides to deal with the child. Remember, the child is
like any child. It wants attention and it wants to be
assured it is safe. At times, the child will demand the
survivor's complete attention and that's when your
feelings will just have to take a back seat for the time
You can slowly establish a relationship with the
child too, although this can be a bit tricky. The child
probably doesn't trust anyone, especially males, so don't
expect immediate success with this approach. Patience is
a virtue here. If you feel you aren't able to handle the
whole episode of talking to the child within, don't try.
It's best not to offend the child and have to start from
It all sounds rather strange. But, when you're
talking to the child within, what you're actually doing
is talking to the survivor. The survivor may say things
like, ``The little girl doesn't like men. She doesn't
trust them.'' You may want to respond with something like
this, ``Well, she's right to think like that. She's been
abused. But all men aren't like the one who abused her.''
Remember, trust has to be earned. The child within
doesn't trust easily and it's going to take a lot for you
to earn her trust. Remember, the child within has been
abused so don't expect miracles too fast.
If you're trying to talk to the little girl and you
don't know the answer to something, don't try and bluff
her. It's best to let her know that you don't know
something and be honest with her. She'll respect honesty.
Never try to trick the little girl. She'll be too quick
for that and when she finds out it will take a long time
for her to trust you again.
Think of the child within as a real child and treat
it with that same respect. Assure her that you'll protect
her, that you'll try to help her and that you'll never
give up on her. Don't yell at her if you get mad because
she'll just disappear and not come back for quite some
time. Assure the child that you do believe her, that the
abuse wasn't her fault and that you're not angry at her
It doesn't happen all the time, but the child within
usually disappears as the healing process nears an end.
There's no time limit on all of this. Like the other
parts of the healing process, it doesn't happen
overnight. In the majority of cases, the adult and child
become one. That's because, as a survivor heals, the
child's emotions will heal too. In the end, the child no
POINTS TO REMEMBER
- The child within is real.
- The child acts and feels like a real child.
- Children dissociate themselves from abuse.
- Learn to accept the child within.
- The child within usually disappears.
To order a copy of the book What About Me? Contact:
Creative Bound Inc.
151 Tansley Drive
P.O. Box 424
Carp, Ontario Canada
The book retails for $15.95 Canadian $13.95 U.S ($3.00 shipping
I have a friend who is participating in the Site Fights
Would you please help support her by going
to http://www.thesitefights.com/fight3.htm each day this week and voting for
"PINK BEAR'S WORLD"! Your support will be very much appreciated especially if she
There is very little information on the WWW regarding pregnancy from rape
or about being the partner or friend of a survivor. If anyone knows of any urls
please email Gayle. We are trying
to update the web page and not having much luck.
POEMS POEMS POEMS
hugs and kisses
it will never happen again
stripping the life away
control power anger pain
take back the power
take back the life
get out while you can
become whole again
~ Susan Holt 6-8-97
and the other one...
Seems so nice and sweet
Always kind and listens..always there for me..
except that once...
never gets angry...
except that once...
never humiliates me...
except that once...
never tells me who my friends can be...
except that once...
never gets jealous...
except that once...
never raises a hand to me...
except that once...
never punches me...
except that once...
I never make excuses...
except that once...
never threatens to kill me...
except that once...
I could never leave...I love him...he hits me..he hurts me...but...
he would never follow through on his threats....
~ Susan Holt 6-8-97
If we keep winning battles eventually we will win the war ~ anonymous
My prayer is for peace of mind and well-being for everyone I know and
for everyone who knows everyone I know.
excerpt from the book Faxes to God by Joyce Starr
If healing in about being whole, then every expression of being wants
acknowledgment, including the things I don't like. --Dianne M. Connelly
Thatís it. If anyone has any submissions for next month or an idea of
you would like to see email me here at firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next time,