Children who are victimized through sexual abuse often begin to develop deeply held tenets that shape their sense of self: 'My worth is my sexuality. I'm dirty and shameful. I have no right to my own physical boundaries.' That shapes their ideas about the world around them: 'No one will believe me. Telling the truth results in bad consequences. People can't be trusted.' It doesn't take long for children to being to act in accordance with these belief systems.For girls who have experienced incest, sexual abuse, or rape, the boundaries between love, sex, and pain become blurred. Secrets are normal, and shame is a constant.
I am both numb and oversensitive, overwhelmed by the need, the raw and desperate need of the girls I am listening to and trying to help. I'm overdosing on the trauma of others, while still barely healing from my own.I cry for hour at home and have fitful nights of little sleep. My nightmares resurface as my own pain is repeated to me, magnified a thousand times. It feels insurmountable. How can you save everyone? How can you rescue them? How do you get over your pain? How do you ever feel normal?
Every new encounter provides a new mirror for me to view my own experiences through, and there is a level of selfishness during this period as I hunger to understand more about the girls' lives in order to understand mine. If I could figure out what had happened to them, perhaps I had a better chance of explaining it all to myself.