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.

The Other Victims Of Childhood Sexual Abuse

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The following is a post a friend of mine wanted to share. She has helped me realize that as survivors of childhood sexual abuse, we are just one set of the victims in this crime. I’m thankful for her sharing with me and pointing out that children, loved-ones and others also suffer the consequences of the abusers actions. Please welcome her writing and the willingness to open up her heart and hurt with us.

—–

When you’re growing up, you look up to your parents for wisdom and to see how you are supposed to be when you grow up. Parents are the ones you’re with the most and they mold you into who you are today.

Parents aren’t perfect, even though when we are young we think they are. We tend to place them on a pedestal and never recognize the tarnish and wear, or what may be going on inside of them. Let’s face it, our job as children is to have fun and play and try to obey our parents because in our minds, we trust they know what’s good for us.

For me, childhood was probably a little more difficult than an average child. It seemed I could never do right. I couldn’t say the right things or be the right way. Yet, somehow inside me – I still would seek out approval from my mother. Call me a glutton for punishment, stubborn, hard-headed, etc., I’ve been called worse.
My mother and I were two independent, head-strong individuals and we clashed like most teenagers do with their parents, but then there were times when I would be on the receiving end of some pretty hateful comments. It wasn’t until I was older that I came to the realization of what was really going on.

Growing up constantly being told you’d never amount to anything isn’t easy to take, nor is hearing how I’m so pathetic. Thousands upon thousands of children hear this at some point in their life. I’m not saying that I’m that different just that I have scars from the verbal abuse I endured.

So why am I on a victims of CSA website and blog? Simply put, I’m a victim of a victim.

No, I was not sexually abused but I did suffer from the effects of CSA, the effects they had on my mother. Because she chose not face the things that happened to her when she was younger, this played a huge role on how she interacted with others. Her relationships with her family and extended family suffered.

On the outside and in public, she was a stunning, beautiful woman. Very intelligent and determined to become more – do more, no one would have ever thought she was battling with her own doubts. At home, she tended to be disconnected, cold and hard-hearted. I don’t remember a lot of hugs and kisses growing up. I sat back and watched as my friends had seemingly great relationships with their mothers and would envy their mother/daughter connection. It was hard.

Over the years, my attempts to reach out and share the events of my life weren’t received very well. I think the most intimate mother/daughter moments we shared were when I got married or when I had my child. It’s still hard – sometimes I mourn that lost relationship – the memories that could have been but never were.

In my early motherhood days, I found myself reacting to things the way my mother used to – quick to anger and disconnected. I came to realize a cycle was starting and not a healthy one. I realized I was turning into my mother and not in those funny, cute ways we joke about with our friends. This cycle of hatred at the world had begun and I had to do something about it to break the cycle or another innocent child would fall victim to this madness. Another relationship would suffer.

You see, during my late high school years, my mom had confided in me her deep dark secret. She was sexually abused as a child. I never really grasped how deep the pain was, how deeply it effected who she had become. I really don’t think the light bulb of that reality hit me until after I had my own child and knew I had to break the cycle of anger.

For those of you out there afraid to take the steps to get help, please realize, you’re not the only victim. How you react to the travesty of what happened to you can last for generations. I’m asking you to take the steps necessary to begin healing – If you don’t do it for you, do it for those you love, your wife, your husband, your children and even your grandchildren.

If you find yourself in my shoes – please know you aren’t alone. Reach out to Together We Heal or find someone you can talk to. Know you are worthy and don’t believe the words spoken in anger. I know it’s not easy to accept, but you can overcome this and break the cycle.

Please don’t ever forget – To the world, you may be one person, but to one person, you may be the world.

By Michelle Lea Anthony-Hopper

Michelle is not just a friend, she’s also the TWH web designer, webmaster and on the Board of Consultants. Much like she was unaware of my abuse, I was unaware of what she had been through until we started working together on projects for TWH. We are honored to have her as an integral member of the TWH team and family.

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

12 thoughts on “The Other Victims Of Childhood Sexual Abuse

  1. Very interesting comments and perspective. Thank you for sharing

  2. Thank you for sharing. It goes to show you how deeply this affects people and how you may never know the hurts within a person. We all have a past. We need to be kind to one another and take care of one another.

  3. The title says is all. There are MANY victims when a child is sexually abused. The child victim, the child who grows up to be wife or husband and may find it difficult to have a loving, sexual relationship with their spouse, and the mother or father who pass on the anger, sadness, guilt, and perhaps abuse to their child. And, the cycle continues. That is why awareness is SOOO important. For information and shorts of a DVD on Secret Touching for 4 to 9 year old children, see: http://www.kellybear.com/Kelly_Bear_DVDs/DVD_Secret_Touching.html

    The first season of Ray Donovan on Showtime is difficult at times to watch due violence, sex, etc. but I feel that the series demonstrates well the effect sexual abuse can have on a family.

  4. I’m so sorry you mom was a survivor. 😦

    I remember reading some stats on what childhood sex abuse costs and these are some of the ones I recall:

    -at least $50 billion to the economy directly each year in healthcare and lost productivity
    -untold billions of dollars (maybe trillions) to the economy in the lost gifts of those sexually abused that they never use or uncover
    -kids (and those kids grandkids) of survivors will never have the mother or father (and grandparents) they were supposed to have
    -perhaps a 1-2% net loss in the death rate (many survivors never have kids and many survivors die way before they should) – that includes the “natural causes” (like heart disease, etc.) deaths

    I know for me I’ve had these losses:
    -bankruptcy due to spending $50k looking to fill the emptiness, despair and loss of love
    -lost at least $100,000-200,000 in lifetime earnings due to nervous breakdowns, lack of social skills and 2 jobs losses (2 careers) due to discrimination
    -never had kids, am 45 and that window has closed (I’m pretty sure I’m Gay)
    -a serious illness, hyperthyroid, that I’ve had since I was 4-5 years old that cost at least $100,000 in healthcare costs. I can show you about $30,000 in 12 months (2011-2012)
    -$30,000 in therapy costs that I paid in the past

    Gee, just for me that is $330,000 or more right there in costs for several hundred instances of sexual abuse, or $1,000 a pop for 300 rapes. 300 rapes is a low estimate. I think it could be around 500-600 rapes for me actually.

    But, yet, society still has it’s collective heads up their asses on doing anything serious about sex abuse among kids.

    Peace!

    • I hear ya. I once added up just my lost earnings and it totaled between 450-550k. That doesn’t even TOUCH the amounts spent on narcotics, lawyers, fines, fees, doctors bills, etc., etc., etc., if I were honest that would be probably closer to 1 mil…and that’s just in a 20 yr window…meanwhile my abuser, Frankie Wiley, has a nice pension provided to him by the very people that covered up his crimes and told me to go away…well guess what, as long as they continue to allow that sexual predator to continued access to little boys I’m not going ANYWHERE. I’ll be the thorn in their collective side until the day I die…

      • I can relate well to Cameron as the daughter of a victim, who never shared her secrets, and took them to her grave. I knew; I don’t know how, but I knew my mother was SXAB as a child by her father. She believed “the Victorian Way” and if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing… and nothing is what she said until I asked, “Why did you not share with me how you dealt with the SXAB of your father?” She was angry and said, “What good would it do anyone to bring that up now.”

        Mom never “got it” and I never got her love or acceptance. If she had only shared how she felt, my load would have lightened. I always wanted something from her, anything other than her cold shoulder, and incessant migraines.

        Now, my rapist and the child sex abuser remains free throughout 30+ years of some of the most horrific child abuse imaginable in Arcadia, Louisiana.

        As long as men such as Mack Ford, an alleged rapist and child sex abuser of hundreds of girls in New Bethany’s care, from the early 70’s through the early 2000’s, remains free, we will demand Bienville Parish Sheriff’s Department listen to us and file our reports of rape and CSA.

        My children are watching how their mother handles the victimizing rape by a Baptist preacher.

        In 1974, Thomas (Tom) Aswell wrote “Home Probe Said “Vendetta” a copy at this link: http://wp.me/a2d40r-9Y

        The Louisiana newspaper The Advocate, pulled Tom from the abuse that was ongoing at New Bethany, at the direction of Mack W. Ford and his staff at New Bethany.

        Almost 40 years later, Tom Aswell is on the story again:
        http://louisianavoice.com/2013/09/16/neil-riser-campaign-worker-linked-to-defunct-church-girls-home-accusations-of-sexual-abuse-by-father-in-law-minister/

        http://louisianavoice.com/2013/09/18/questions-abound-as-more-horror-stories-emerge-from-new-bethany-home-for-girls-and-boys-in-arcadia-and-longstreet/

        I drove to Bienville Parish Sheriff’s Office (BPSO) on July 18, 2013 and filed an official complaint of rape against Mack Ford for raping me over the Christmas Holidays in 1977. Another woman filed a report against Mack Ford that includes numerous accounts of Child Sexual Abuse and rape.

        Last week Sheriff Ballance of BPSO told an independent reporter that No One has filed a report of rape or child sexual abuse against Mack W. Ford. We are not going to sit down, shut up, and act like nice little ladies!

        I wrote to Thompson in the Office of Attorney General:
        ” […] If I had a person who knew how to help me, I could nail-down exact dates and timeframes. A police officer playing tough guy, so he would know if I would hold up under cross-examination,” resulting in poor treatment of me, interfered with my ability to give a complete statement.

        Victims should feel comfortable; however, placing victims in a room to cause physical and mental discomfort (I verbalized the uncomfortable position and Mills snapped for me to pay attention to Lt. Poland), and continuing for over three hours without a drink of water, is basic interrogation of a suspect.

        Why were four people required to sit in? One wearing a uniform… was she there to aid crowding with the boxes stacked everywhere, and as high as the ceiling in areas? […]

        Years of news reports, including the New York Times, reporting what police found, conditions children were forced to endure, Affidavits of Fact filed with BPSO, and polygraphs were written off as an overreaction to “troubled teens” does not give me a warm fuzzy feeling about how horrible BPSO treats rape victims, who are trying to make reports.

        I was a preacher’s kid and afraid of my shadow! I had never been in trouble with anyone, except my parents. I’ve read numerous articles, depositions, interrogatories, sworn statements to the court, and the Affidavits of former students that were filed with Bienville Parish Sheriff’s office for over 30 years, and I do not have any confidence in their desire to arrest Mack W. Ford.

        I truly appreciate David’s kindness and understanding. I believe the more of us who stand against these evil pedophiles, the more likely we can eventually have justice served on Mack Ford and his numerous minions.

        Does anyone have advice for the Survivors of New Bethany?

        Thank you

  5. I’m so sorry you mom was a survivor. 😦

    I remember reading some stats on what childhood sex abuse costs and these are some of the ones I recall:

    -at least $50 billion to the economy directly each year in healthcare and lost productivity
    -untold billions of dollars (maybe trillions) to the economy in the lost gifts of those sexually abused that they never use or uncover
    -kids (and those kids grandkids) of survivors will never have the mother or father (and grandparents) they were supposed to have
    -perhaps a 1-2% net loss in the death rate (many survivors never have kids and many survivors die way before they should) – that includes the “natural causes” (like heart disease, etc.) deaths

    I know for me I’ve had these losses:
    -bankruptcy due to spending $50k looking to fill the emptiness, despair and loss of love
    -lost at least $100,000-200,000 in lifetime earnings due to nervous breakdowns, lack of social skills and 2 jobs losses (2 careers) due to discrimination
    -never had kids, am 45 and that window has closed (I’m pretty sure I’m Gay)
    -a serious illness, hyperthyroid, that I’ve had since I was 4-5 years old that cost at least $100,000 in healthcare costs. I can show you about $30,000 in 12 months (2011-2012)
    -$30,000 in therapy costs that I paid in the past

    Gee, just for me that is $330,000 or more right there in costs for several hundred instances of sexual abuse, or $1,000 a pop for 300 rapes. 300 rapes is a low estimate. I think it could be around 500-600 rapes for me actually.

    But, yet, society still has it’s collective heads up their asses on doing anything serious about sex abuse among kids.

    Peace!

    -Cameron R.

    (rjstclaire is my pen name)

  6. My mother was or had become a psychopate triggered by her abusive youth.
    She was a director of a school where people and students called her mother.
    Girls came to our home to talk to her.

    But she hated me. I was her only daughter and I had four brothers.
    My father sexually abused me.
    She has molested me in every way so badly that I was never able to have children.
    Her father and brother, both medical doctors ,”solved” the problem.
    I was “diagnozed” by them as I very disturbed person that should be locked up in a psychiatric hospital for the rest of her life.
    By my strength this has never happened.

    I can also look back on a life with loss of happiness, love, health, income and the years that alcohol was my “best” friend.
    And I can go on and on …

    I hadn’t been in contact with my family for seventeen years when two years ago I got an email that her mother had died.
    No surprise for me because I had felt it and on the day she died I “told” her:
    “You go alone because I want to live.”

    I went to the the funeral home, alone.
    When I saw her lying in her coffin I said to her:
    “Mam, by you I became a better person.”

    Three weeks later I received the message that I was disinherited. The executors of the will were my brothers who cheated me in my legal part.
    I didn’t want to take them to court because they live in different countries so it would be a long way without a realistic chance on success.

    Half a year later my father past away.
    I saw him at my mothers funeral after 32 years. He hadn’t been in contact with the family for decades.
    I shook his hands and he turned his head way.
    I didn’t go to his funeral.

    I have confronted everyone and I am glad I did.
    I think that I am blessed in being able to break the circle.
    I don’t have contact with my family anymore but they know what my work is and they can read on my website that I know what they did.

    Who is the stronger one?
    The ones that are making a lot of money, live “happy” lifes but never have had the guts to face where they came from and have tried to break their only sister by cheating her out of her emotional and lawful part of the heritance of the family.
    So Dave, I am also a thorn in the lives of the people who have hurt me as long as I live.

    God gave me my capacities to heal myself and to support others in healing themselves.
    I am glad to be able to work with them.

  7. Dear Michelle,
    I’m glad you brought up this important subject, and I’m so sorry for what you went through. CSA causes generational trauma and healing often takes generations to be complete. I was a victim from age six to age twelve. I was very disconnected and did not understand why I felt alone, depressed, and worthless. I was told what happened to me was a normal part of growing up. It wasn’t until I was about 25-and my children were already 5 and 8-that I heard a radio program talking about sexual abuse. For the first time, I understood that I had been abused. At that time, there were not many places one could go to get help, and virtually no help was available to me in a very small rural town. Over the years, as I moved to more urban areas and eventually attended college, I found my own healing journey. Nevertheless, my children, especially my daughter, suffered from being raised by an emotionally vacant mother. She in turn has struggled to give her children, now 15, 16, and 20 the warmth and affection that she never really had. She is doing an amazing job of “repair” and there is a growing love in our family.
    God bless you,
    Sondra

  8. Thank you all for your kind words of encouragement. It can sometimes be a struggle to not fall back into the cycle or allow the words spoken to surface back up and manifest. You constantly have to remind yourself that they aren’t the truth. I know am worthy of love and that I am and have amounted to something in this life, if for no other reason than to encourage those of you to continue to fight the good fight and do all you can to bring healing and to allow your wounds to be healed.

    I think all too often the wounds are so easily re-opened and the cycle repeats. It’s a life-long battle. Words spoken and deeds done can never be unsaid or undone.

    Just never forget you are not alone whether you are a victim yourself or a victim of a victim. We here at Together We Heal are here for you.

    Thank you again for the support of myself and all of us here at Together We Heal.

    Sincerely,
    Michelle

    • You have touched the hearts of many people by sharing your story Michelle. Thank you for your willingness to open your heart to us. You are a blessing in so many ways and I consider it an honor to call you my friend.

      David

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