Finding my own voice…
This is my first doodle. Basically a post about something that has nothing to do with writing…well, almost nothing…but more about what’s on my mind, or what I’m feeling.
If you have read my book or visited this site, you’re well aware of my subject matter. When I started this journey, I hadn’t planned on having to talk about “It” much beyond stuttering through what my book is about. I certainly hadn’t planned on the responses I’ve had (By the way, thank you all). But much to my surprise, I’ve been asked to speak about a subject I know all too well…Child Sexual Abuse (there, I said it!).
My novel is very graphic, honest, disturbing, and I’m sure some would say a difficult read. With this in mind, I listed it on Amazon as an 18+ adult-content read. What’s astonishing to me, is that many of my teenage daughter’s friends have bought and read it. I wasn’t really sure how I felt about that…sometimes, I still don’t. But the private messages I’ve received almost daily after one or two people have finished the book has led me to rethink my viewpoint.
My heart breaks as I read line after line of text, describing horrors that these kids and adults as well, have endured at the hands of an abuser. The damage that is done is forever! When will it stop? When will someone listen and intervene? When are we going to teach our children how to tell? When are we going to stand up as a society and say, “ENOUGH!”
I’m a parent of two daughters: one is a college student living at home, the other is in high school. I remember when they were little, teaching them about strangers…“Don’t talk to strangers! Stay close to mommy or daddy! If someone grabs you, you scream at the top of your lungs! If someone comes up to you with a knife or a gun and tells you to go with them, don’t go to the ‘next place.’ Stay where you are and fight them. If you go to the ‘next place’…you will never come back!”
Now some may say that’s harsh, that I scared my children and I’m fortunate they don’t need therapy. Read my book, then talk to me about harsh. Read my book, then talk to me about scary. We teach our children about strangers, not about the danger that can happen in their own home with someone they know, trust, and love. Our schools teach our children about fire drills, tornado drills, bomb threats, say NO to drugs, and lock downs. But they don’t teach our children how to TELL. Instead, it’s made clear that it’s a shameful, dirty topic that we don’t talk about in mixed company. Or, we leave it to the parents. You see how well that worked out for me.
Well, I’ve come to the conclusion (way late in my life), that children need to be taught how to find their voice…and use it. One such child/woman has found her voice…her calling in this life, to fight for that voice and to regain control of her universe. Her name is Erin Merryn and she’s the founder of “Erin’s Law.” I am in awe of this young woman and the crusade she is on to give children a voice. Thank God she found her own voice before she let life go on without her. Please watch this…it’s only a few minutes of your time…for the sake of a child.
I’m out of my comfort zone because I’ve never felt I had any answers. Maybe this is the answer. Maybe this is the direction my life is to take…I don’t know. All I’m sure of is that I can’t remain silent anymore! This is a censored, shameful, dirty secret that must be stopped. How can we stop it? I don’t know that we can. But I do know, we can arm our children with knowledge and a voice…a voice I’ve finally found.
What are your thoughts? How do you feel about curriculum in the schools teaching children, in an age-appropriate way, to recognize and tell about sexual abuse? I’d love to hear your insights. So please, take a minute and leave a comment.