Together We Heal

Together We Heal is for any who suffer from the trauma of Childhood Sexual Abuse. We are here to provide a safe forum for survivors of abuse to share, learn and heal, give direction to those seeking guidance and to expose sexual predators for what they are and their methods of getting into our lives.

You Have Worth and Are Worthy.

22 Comments

I recently read an article from childabusesurvivor.net and in it they referenced a story from the Jewish Survivors of Sexual Abuse blog. It’s a story I had heard years before in a training seminar but as the author of the blog stated, “Sometimes we just need to be reminded!”

In the room filled with more then 200 people, a well-known speaker started off a seminar by holding up a $20.00 bill, asking, “Who would like this $20 bill?”
Hands started going up.
The speaker said, “I am going to give this $20 to one of you but first, let me do this. He proceeded to crumple up the $20 dollar bill.
He then asked, “Who still wants it?”
Still the hands were up in the air.
Well, he replied, “What if I do this?”
And he dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe. He picked it up, now crumpled and dirty and asked, “Now, who still wants it?” Still the hands went into the air.
The speaker stated: My friends, we have all learned a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $20.
Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way.
We feel as though we are worthless. But no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value.
Dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still priceless to those who LOVE you.

In the post, the author stated that, “The $20 bill is still worth $20, but once the speaker got done with it, it was different than when it started. Abuse does affect us, it does change us. It leaves scars, or dirt and creases to stay with the metaphor, but even with those effects, the value of the bill stays the same. It just takes some effort to smooth out the wrinkles.”

And I believe this is an excellent point that needs repeating. As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse (CSA), we often feel like that crumpled up bill. Like we’ve been run through the wringer and left out on our own. Which brings me to the point I really want to emphasize.

Alone…

It’s a horrible word and feeling for survivors of CSA. We talked about it in our monthly support group meeting this past week. We went around and talked about how each of us, in our own unique but similar ways, experience the feeling of being “alone”. Not loneliness, but truly “alone”.

As we went around I heard words and phrases like “rejection”, “not believed”, “discarded”, “isolation” and one that really stuck with me, “I felt like my core was stolen”. It was that last one that I could entirely relate. As I laid in that bed, time and time again, as the abuse continued, more and more of me felt like it was disappearing, like the core of who I was, was no more. So as the years went on I tried to fill that void with things, substances and people.

The things being objects of desire, whether it be a simple knick-knack I called a collectible or a new car. The substances were narcotics that numbed me from the feeling of being alone and pain that permeated every pore of my body. And the people were a series of failed attempts to feel loved and wanted. But no matter what I tried, nothing and no one could fill that void, that feeling of being alone.

It wasn’t until I finally came to terms with what had happened, the crime perpetrated against me that I could even begin to have some sense of who I really was, what my core was made of. And I believe most survivors struggle with this. So what do we do? How do we move forward if you, like myself and others, feel that “core” is not what it should be?

The first thing you MUST know is that you are NOT alone. Right now in the USA, there are between 55 and 75 million survivors of CSA. And that’s just the ones we can count based on statistics of those who’ve come forward. So know you have many people that have been through what you have. In addition, there are now many groups established to provide the help, support and guidance that once did not exist. Whether its Together We Heal, NAASCA, RAINN or the many others out there, you have a place to go, so please reach out, and find one that will help you.

And finally, what I found that helped me begin to move forward was getting some professional help. Therapy, in it’s many forms, is available to you. For some, you might have the funds to pay for it, or if you have insurance, utilize it. And for those that have neither, there are now groups that will help you at no cost. So whether you have the funds or not, there’s no reason to not find a therapist or group that can help guide you on a healing path. A path that will help you find your core, a path to no longer feeling alone. So take a little lesson from that $20 dollar bill…reach out and find your worth. You are worthy and deserving of it.

Copyright © 2013 Together We Heal

Author: Together We Heal

In 2006 David took the first step in acknowledging the sexual abuse that was perpetrated against him from the ages of 12 to 15. During those 3 years, the foundation his family had worked so hard to build within him was destroyed by one man, his youth minister. The result was his heart, mind and faith were lost. After having kept this secret for more than 25 years, he was finally able to reveal to his family and friends the reason behind the addiction and self-destruction that at times had him incarcerated, eventually left him destitute and nearly ended his life. Fortunately he was blessed with amazing friends and a loving family who helped him get the help and therapy he so desperately needed. He was finally able to get clean from the grip of addiction and face the demon of sexual abuse that had clouded his life for so long. Now he and his wife work to aid their fellow survivors through the non-profit they created, Together We Heal. The mission of Together We Heal is to provide guidance for survivors of childhood sexual abuse, educating parents and all adults through public speaking on matters concerning Childhood Sexual Abuse and giving a safe forum for victims of abuse to share, learn and heal. "To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.” - Dr. Seuss Follow us on Twitter @Together_WeHeal "Like" us on Facebook - www.facebook.com/Togetherwehealorg Visit our website - together-we-heal.org

22 thoughts on “You Have Worth and Are Worthy.

  1. Pingback: You Have Worth and Are Worthy. | justiceforkevinandjenveybaylis

  2. Thank you David for sharing that..I could relate to the stolen core feeling until after years of therapy and group support came to realize that it was still there…but I had to peel away layers of confusion, fear,shame, blame, guilt and anger…and even after that I had to continue to nurture, care for , accept and love this wounded little ” core” that had survived despite it all..very painful and difficult work that I could not have done alone. Being able to speak our truth is the key..thks again …

  3. A few words on your closing advice: I have been abused by members of survivor groups and by therapists. The former imposed their own denial on me, promoting the ‘count your blessings’ technique of saying that torture didn’t count when it happened to me. The latter pretended that I imagined being abused when I was clearly reporting felonies, and actually labelled me as psychotic in order to shut me up, with absolutely no proof to back their claims.

    Regarding the former type of abuse, this is how many CSA victims get through being tortured, but since it’s what you say to yourself that really matters, they cause themselves permanent damage. They remind themselves during formative years twenty times a day that they are not people.

    In many cases the perpetrator covers up the crime by pretending to great virtue. People victimized by religious leaders know this all too well. That is why they feel alone. My father, who sexually abused me for years, was a spiritual leader to many, and his constant moralizing and apparent concern for everyone in the world but myself made me feel that I alone in all the world didn’t count, that the veriest microbe mattered when I did not.

    He used to moralize as he was abusing me – at the very same time! Obviously what he said didn’t apply to me. And he claimed to love me, which only hurt more because it meant this was the best life could offer. He was completely dissociative about what he had done to me, even telling me that I must be the most selfish person he had ever met when I fell silent for prolonged periods, and laughing (with others) at my childishness.

    His was the evil that pretends to be virtue and wants to be blessed and thanked. Smile when you’re abused, you lucky thing. I gradually realized that he did not do this to cover up his crime against me. The only crime he saw was being unfaithful to his wife, who knew nothing of what he did and suffered not at all. His professed concern for my mother’s imagined pain was just more confirmation of my non-personhood.

    I was constantly told that I was fortunate and privileged, by my abuser and by everyone else. It was understood that I was pampered and spoiled and should be grateful for my good fortune. Many people were jealous of me, and examples of the ‘less fortunate’ were held up to shame me. It has been found that abused children from ‘pillar of society’ families suffer far more lasting emotional abuse and dissociation than abused children from ‘town drunk’ families, and this is why.

    Also, when they disclose the truth they are seldom believed, which brings me to the latter type of abuse. It was more of the same thing. Like everyone else, a horrible cluster of fake doctors in white coats fell for my father’s act and concluded from my PTSD that there must be something wrong with my perceptions of the world. That’s the kindest explanation – never underestimate how many sexual abusers get into therapy, and into the judiciary also. CSA survivors are regarded as ‘fair game’. Although these people did not sexually abuse me, others did after I confided my story, taking it as an advertisement of my availability.

    Like my father, the psychiatrists pretended to care about me. Their narcissism was amazing. Anyone who didn’t agree with them that they were wonderful must be seriously ill. It was just another group of liars. Like my father, they wanted me to be grateful for their ‘care’. And my mother jumped on the bandwagon, demanding that I pretend she loved me too and was acting in my best interests. This is the evil that is not content to be evil. This is the evil that pretends to be good. It was not enough to win. I must thank them for winning. It was not enough that I suffer. I must thank them for my suffering.

    I just thought I’d share this to illustrate the damage that occurs when the perpetrator masquerades as a moral person, and also to tell you that your closing advice does not always apply, that victims cannot always turn to each other and to therapists. For some the isolation just goes on and on. If they find this website, they will no longer be alone. I thank you for not betraying them further while claiming to help them as so many do. But you should know that this is the exception rather than the rule.

    • I forgot to add that my father professed to be a feminist, and often said -to me of all people- that he had no trouble being faithful to his wife because she was intelligent. This is the extent to which I was told that I did not exist.

      The lies about lies about lies are amazing with this kind of crime, and bystanders who don’t want to believe they can be so deceived, who thirst for heroes so much they’ll accept fake ones, only contribute to the victims’ isolation. There are so many layers of lies with this kind of crime that even victims who have come out betray each other in the guise of making ‘positive statements’ because they have not come to the end of their own denial of personhood.

      I applaud you for creating a real support group for CSA victims. It is quite a challenge and very rare to see something genuine in this area. CSA is different from any other crime because it involves so many levels of deception that in most cases victims are betrayed by everyone, even by other victims and therapists. For the victims it’s just more people denying their personhood while pretending to care. Thank you for being different, and for helping us feel that we are not alone.

      • I can’t even begin to say thank you adequately. Thank you for seeing what we are truly about here at TWH. That’s another reason why we don’t charge anything for the counseling we provide. Survivors have been taken advantage enough. They sure as hell don’t need anyone else in their pockets and we will never do that here. I am both honored and humbled by your kind words and it’s hearing what you said that is both my reminder and my fuel to keep moving forward in our efforts to help as many survivors as we can, and to educate as many people as we can about CSA. Thank you so very much. Truly, thank you and may the peace we all so dearly deserve find us and keep us.

        David

  4. What a well-written, sensitive, poignant, and powerful description of the inner wound of Child Sexual Abuse. Thank you, David, once again for words that connect the most forlorn parts of us, that have been robbed by the sexual abuse, leaving us nowhere to take our pain but to an endless empty pit where our Soul once lived. Your beautiful article gave me a strong sense of hope and affirmation. I’m sure it has the effect on any survivor capable enough to touch the center of their own pain.

    With Love,
    Rivka Edery, L.M.S.W
    E-mail: rebecca.edery@gmail.com
    Website: http://www.rivkaedery.com/default.html
    Author of: “Trauma and Transformation: A 12-Step Guide”.
    Available from: http://www.amazon.com/TRAUMA-AND-TRANSFORMATION-12-Step-Guide/dp/1482785099/ref=pd_rhf_ee_p_t_1_3RMF

    • Hey there my friend and colleague! Thank u so very much for the kind words. I’m so happy to hear you were touched by our latest article. That was my whole goal. To make sure survivors of CSA and anyone in need of a little pep got it. You are a blessing to TWH and I appreciate you and your worth. 🙂 peace be with you

      David

  5. What a wonderful and unforgettable story to never doubt again that you can heal & overcome traumatic events.
    Thank you!

  6. Can anyone tell me, my friend goes to a psychologist and tells him that her father and her had a moment when she was 9 that she touched him and he allowed it, and though they have mostly resolved it it seems to be manifesting depression, is the Doctor obligated to report the father to the authorities? My friend has no idea who to ask and trusted me to try to find out.

    • Hi Sydney, based on how I understand mandatory reporting laws, and let me say…I am not an attorney, it depends on the statute of limitations laws where the crime took place and if someone else could be or would be in potential danger of the same thing. I hope this is a start to answering your friends question. Please keep us posted and if you are able to help them.

  7. End Human Trafficking Worldwide
    Because Every Human Being is Worth Loving and Caring for.
    AMEN

  8. End Human Trafficking Worldwide
    Speak Out
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  9. A kind-hearted & loving young woman, age 24 took her life on Aug 11th. This quote —

    “Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way.

    We feel as though we are worthless. But no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value.

    Dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still priceless to those who LOVE you.”

    appeared in her obit as a favorite quote.

  10. Thank you for sharing this reminder that we are not alone, and that we are worthy. It is such an important message, and can be hard to remember on dark days.

  11. I like the story. It remind me of something I came across recently in a book called The Self-Esteem Workbook by Glenn Schiraldi. In it the author wrote that our intrinsic human value or worth is not based and never will be based on outer reality. Our value is fixed and unchanging. I loved that. I told someone soon after that, who was upset about something and blaming herself, and she looked at me like she thought I was nuts. The story you wrote about reminds me of this book’s point, something I need to be reminded of often until I can truly accept it as inner and outer truth.

    Good and healing thoughts to you.

    Kate

  12. Thanks and you’re welcome.

    Good and healing thoughts to you.

    Kate

  13. Pingback: Do You Know How to Listen to a Survivor’s Story? | Together We Heal

  14. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know a lot about this, like you
    wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with some pics to drive the message home a
    little bit, but instead of that, this is great blog.

    A great read. I will certainly be back.

  15. Pingback: Do You Know How to Listen to a Survivor’s Story? — The Good Men Project

  16. Pingback: Get Over It! | Together We Heal

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