12 Apr

Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Month.

Jag har lätt att känna med människor och gissar att jag skulle få ganska höga empatipoäng om jag gjorde ett test om just det. Jag får ständigt jobba på att inte låta mig absorberas allt för mycket av andras olycka och sorg. Jag vet inte om det är min ålder som gör att jag blir mer och mer medveten om livets baksida, eller om det bara är så att jag har öppnat mig för att ta emot det som andra inte orkar bära själv.

Döttrarna har fått det stora förtroendet att sitta barnvakt till ett par barnfamiljer här i grannskapet. En av dessa familjer håller på att gå igenom något som är varje förälders mardröm. Ashlynn har bett alla hon känner dela med sig av deras berättelse för att öppna ögonen på alla, just för att hon inte vill att någon, någonsin, ska behöva råka ut för samma sak som de har gjort. Jag har gråtit över det som har hänt, men inser också att ”bad things happen to good people” och när dessa saker händer så får vi som finns runt omkring hoppas att vi har styrketränat tillräckligt för att orka ta emot då de drabbade behöver bäras!

Ett av mina syskons vänner tog emot fosterbarn i många år. De var fantastiska och mycket generösa och det gick bra tills de fick ta emot en pojke som hade blivit sexuellt utnyttjad. Det visade sig nämligen att han bearbetade detta genom att utsätta yngste sonen i familjen för samma sak. Detta är en av anledningarna till att jag, eller vi, inte tagit emot några fosterbarn trots att jag vet att det finns många som behöver en kärleksfull familj. Inte på bekostnad av mina egna barns välmående… Jag vet att det kan låta själviskt, men vi har valt att hjälpa vuxna människor istället. Jag har varit kontaktperson i många år och uppmanar alla som har möjlighet att dela med sig av några timmar varje månad att göra det. Du kommer att få så mycket tillbaka! Här gör jag volontärarbete för WoW och jag har redan berättat om att det ibland känns som det är kvinnan som jag är mentor till som ger mig mer än tvärtom.

Ta hand om dig och dina kära. Och du, varsågod. Här kommer Ashlynns historia.

This month is CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE AWARENESS MONTH & I feel very moved to share how I feel about the subject. Over the last 5 months we have been coping with the fact that someone we love & trusted sexually abused our daughters in our own home. The emotions we have gone through & continue to go through are quite the spectrum & in the end we have been reassured that the road we have taken has been the road less traveled by many but it is the right one to take {even though the consequences of losing family members & their love is at stake}. I don’t know if you are a church going friend or not but either way sweeping this issue under the rug is not the answer. It won’t go away.

How could something like this happen you might ask? We taught our girls from the beginning the correct anatomy of bodies, we let them know they could tell us anything no matter what & we educated them on what is appropriate behavior. If we had not done this I fear my daughter would have never come to me that December night & told me what had happened to her & her sister. (FYI the LDS church & text books encourage all parents to teach this because if you don’t how will your child know something bad is happening). We decided long ago sleepovers with friends would never happen in or outside our home, but we did allow family to stay in our home. We were cautious of who we let our kids play with, who we had babysit & we even put our kids to bed before babysitters arrived feeling like this was a safer route. I don’t feel like we did things wrong … we tried to protect our girls but the problem was that the person we loved, trusted & most importantly who our girls trusted made us feel safe. This person didn’t fit the creepy, stranger lurking in the van role, it was someone close.

The last few months for us have been HUGE growing pains for us as a family & individuals. We go to therapy 2-3 times a week because we know that professionals can help us & they have. Sitting in group therapy as parents of victims bonds us with strangers as we cry together sharing our stories, feelings & heartache. Don’t be embarrassed to reach out & ask for help, it doesn’t mean you are weak, it means you are strong.

My daughter is courageous, she is beautiful, she is strong, she is a truth teller & she is smart. In her 5 years of life I have been told by people that she is the most ”people aware” child they had met, she remembers names & who goes with who. I believe my daughter with every fiber of my being & I will continue to protect them both for the rest of their lives.

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints & I am not perfect & the person who did this to my girls is not perfect. I love my church & continue to cling to it seeking peace, humility to forgive, hope & strength. As we seek to forgive those who have hurt us we realize the consequences will still be there & that we must also prevent future abuse. Forgiveness will come & we are working on it daily. To quote President Gordon B. Hinckley ”Little children are innocent and precious in the eyes of God. Jesus Christ experienced some of His most tender moments with children and reserved His strongest language for those who abuse them. ”Whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:6).” The Prince of Peace spoke these harsh words, what does that say about abuse? The Church’s role in the community war against the evil of abuse is to learn what we can, deal with the problem as it exists, and share our experiences with others who are equally motivated.

So for those out there who can empathize with what we are going through or what my daughters are going through know that there are many resources to find that strength & guidance to get through it. For those of you who are family members of victims or perpetrators please seek understanding on their behalf. Although you may not be affected physically you are making an effect on them.

I appreciate all my family & friends who have reached out to us, shared their stories of abuse & who have supported us in this hard road we are on. My girls are doing good & are healing but we still see the affects of abuse in small everyday things. It is part of our lives & will be forever. Be aware – 90% of sexual abuse is by a loved family member.