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.


Leave a comment

Will the Southern Baptist Church Finally Live What It Preaches?

This week Together We Heal, as an organization, and myself, David Pittman as an individual, have joined forces with Justice For Anne, For A Time Such As This & several fellow advocates. Together we have issued a statement that was most perfectly articulated by fellow advocate Ryan Ashton:

—-

“If you please, read the joint statement myself and fellow abuse survivors and advocates delivered to the president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) yesterday regarding their announcement of a sexual abuse study group:

“We all have a decision—to become more polarized and distrustful of one another, hide, build barriers, and perpetuate numerous injustices. Or we can face this evil together, choosing to create a culture where healing and safety are the norm, where love and compassion dwell, where children and families flourish, and the hope of the gospel maintains its integrity. We sign with that hope, committed to a future where no one in the Church has to say “Me Too” ever again.”

—-

Everything we do at Together We Heal and GRACE is because of the past and current failures of those within the church to better protect children and properly respond to those who’ve been harmed. It is our hope that the SBC will begin to live up to the call of Christ they espouse and not be just another one of those “cast to the bottom of the sea with a millstone around their neck”.

If not now, then when? If not us, then who?

The time is long overdue. The ball is in your court SBC leaders and church members. Do you truly believe the scripture you preach and teach? Then BE THE VOICE OF THE VOICELESS and quit giving lip service and protecting sexual predators.

The world, and Christ, is watching…

You can read the full statement here:

https://www.forsuchatimeasthisrally.com/inthenews/a-joint-statement-regarding-the-sbc-sexual-abuse-presidential-study-group


8 Comments

What I Wish I Had Known

The following post is from a colleague and friend named Svava Brooks. She works tirelessly to help her fellow survivors of childhood sexual abuse, raise awareness about issues surrounding CSA and is an all-around amazing person. Please be sure to check out her site at – http://speak4change.com

———-

They say the hardest part of the healing journey after childhood sexual abuse is the beginning, when you muster up the courage to tell someone that you have been sexually abused. I used to agree but from what I have learned through my own healing journey and from supporting countless other victims, I believe that the hardest part is in the middle. The messy part, the crisis, the unraveling of your world as you know it.

It felt like I intentionally abandoned all that I knew about my world. No matter how dysfunctional or self-harming, I knew what to expect, I knew how to cope with my vicious internal dialog, and how to defend myself against the invisible enemy that I expected daily, sometimes hourly, to attack me. Even though I was no longer living under the same roof as the perpetrator, I was still living my life, with my fears, thoughts, and beliefs as if I was still living with him.

“One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.” –André Gide.

Growing up in an abusive home, we denied our truth, what we “saw” and felt. We ignored our fear and numbed and repressed our feelings. We thought we could trust our caretakers but they hurt us, ignored us, and made it clear by their actions that we should stay silent.

Accepting this daunting reality as a part of the healing process can be and is overwhelming, especially if you try to go at it alone. I tried for many years to get validation about the abuse I suffered from the family that had ignored it. It did not work. I was called crazy and asked to get over it. Told that I was just causing trouble for everyone else.

What I learned eventually and I want to share with you, is that the sooner you stop seeking validation from the wrong people, the people that make you feel wrong about speaking the truth, the better off you are and the faster you will recover. Unfortunately for most of us, the wrong people are the people in the families that we are born into. You have to stop going back to them.

I am not saying that you can never be a part of their world; you can eventually. But it serves you, right now, for your healing, to divorce from them or separate for a while. At least while you are healing yourself, going through the messy part of healing.

The middle part, the messy part, takes the longest time. It is the part we tend to resist the most. It is the deep work of identifying our negative beliefs and exchanging them for new positive, empowering beliefs. Going back to the people that will not validate your truth will only re-enforce the negative beliefs.

You cannot heal your life if you keep giving your power to the people that hurt you then and are hurting you now. Find and share your story with those that can support you, that can and will validate your pain, your struggle, and most importantly can and will encourage you to move forward.

Find others like you, those that are on the journey and have been through it. Learn to listen to your heart and intuition. You know what your truth is. Listen to it, honor it, and follow it.

I could have saved myself lot of grief and heartache if someone had told me in the beginning of the journey that the people that I thought loved me, would not be the people walking alongside me and supporting me on the healing journey. It was a painful realization but one that we have to make peace with.

My greatest support came from other fellow survivors that were just a little further down the road than I was, that I could see had made peace with the fact that they could not change their families or make them listen and understand them.

I am glad you are here, that you are reading this. I want you to know that you can heal and restore yourself. You can connect through your healing with complete strangers that are survivors and thrivers like you. They have been there, they understand your struggle and they do believe in you.

Your fellow survivors are the people to go to when you feel that hope is lost and the abuse was your fault. We know that you need to hear this, over and over and over. We can remind you of what is possible. That healing is possible.

I believe in you. I believe your story and your truth. I know that you can heal and I will remind you of that as often as you need to hear it. You are not alone my friend. It may not seem like it but we are all in this together.

We are stronger together.

———–

You can also read this at Svava’s site and the rest of her insightful articles at:

http://speak4change.com/blogging/what-i-wish-i-had-known/#comment-79087


22 Comments

You Have Worth and Are Worthy.

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