Monthly Archives: October 2011

Prevention IS possible – Stewards of Children Workshops

**workshops being planned for the Ottawa area starting January 2012**

Voice Found is committed to speaking out about childhood sexual abuse.  As such we have chosen to inspire others to take responsibility as a community  and  help PREVENT childhood sexual abuse.

We partner with Darkness to Light to offer the Stewards of Children program.   The program is delivered as an interactive 2.5 – 3.0 hour workshop and provides the tools, knowledge and resources  needed to help stop child sexual abuse.  This is an issue that effects everyone in the community, not just the abused child.  The social and economic impact is significant and unlike cancer or childhood diabetes, it is preventableYou can proactively DO something.

The cost to attend a Stewards of Children session is $40 per person and includes:

  • An interactive workbook for each participant containing the full program curriculum.
  • An accompanying 1 ¼ hour DVD integrating segments of sexual abuse survivors relating their stories of violation and healing, with segments from the author of the curriculum and from professionals who interface daily with the problem of sexual abuse.
  • An opportunity for discussion about important issues in sexual abuse prevention and the relevance of these issues within organizations that serve children and adolescents.

After training participants will:

  • Understand the facts of child sexual abuse including incidence rates and effects on individuals and society.
  • Understand how child sexual abuse happens.
  • Understand that adults are responsible for the protection of children.
  • Understand the importance of screening staff and volunteers who work with children and adolescents.
  • Understand the importance of a well conceived one-adult/one-child policy.
  • Have resources to react responsibly to incidents of child sexual abuse.
  • Understand the proactive role youth-serving organizations need to take to better protect children and educate their communities about child sexual abuse.

CALL TO ACTION:  PLAN TO TAKE TRAINING

  1. Take the Stewards of Children training and use the information you learn to better protect the children in your life.
  2. Invite your coworkers, friends, family, and other adults that you know are responsible for the care of children to attend a stewards training.
  3. Ask us to teach the Stewards of Children program to the staff and volunteers in your organization, corporation, youth serving agency, or small group of friends.

Interested in a workshop?  Send a note to info@voicefound.ca and let us know.

IT’S TIME TO TALK!  IT’S TIME TO TAKE ACTION!  PREVENTION IS POSSIBLE!

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What I Never Had

I was listening to Alanis Morrisette’s song Torch this morning and found myself sobbing.  Yes- I have felt the sting of a lovers farewell but it was a much deeper pain and an awareness that caused me to pause.  And to cry.  And to sob.  And to sit and write this blog post.

I miss the things I never had.  Before I list them, let me assure you that I have had many lovely people in my life, moments of such pure beauty that have stolen my breath, loved with all I am and all I have.  I’m blessed to have a loving mother, 4 beautiful children, siblings, a wonderful step-dad and some beautiful friends who have been there for me when I allowed them to  come close.  I’ve attained financial success, realized some dreams and most importantly made a positive impact on some folks in my life.   All of this and yet there is an ache, a longing, a pain so deep that there have been times I have wanted to end my life.

The little girl with the hands to her face is me. This was my last carefree summer. I was 5 when I was sexually abused.

These are the things I never had that I miss the most:

  1. A father who was present in my life.  A dad to validate and support and love me and let me know that I was safe and beautiful and worthy.  The sting of his leaving when I was 13 has not healed.
  2. An opportunity to loose my virginity with a man who valued me and let me have free choice.  Loosing it at age 5 by the hands of a sexual predator stole that from me.
  3. To know what it is like to define your life by the value of who you are as a woman rather than simply as a sexual being.
  4. Believing when someone says they love you as you are.
  5. Lightness and laughter and ease with others without self-consciously editing my thoughts, reactions, words.  Joy of being a carefree teenager or young woman.
  6. Feeling worthy of good things.  Allowing them into my life without question.
  7. Going for walks in the wood without fear.  Feeling safe and at ease within myself.
  8. Deep intimacy.
  9. A healthy, loving and supportive relationship.  Despite being married twice, I have not been able to sustain or enjoy or know what it is like to have the love that I deserve.  How can I when I haven’t known how to love myself?  (My husbands are not to ‘blame’ – there is no ‘blame’ in success or failure of the relationships.)
  10. Loving myself.  Completely.

It’s a painful place to realize that you have not had the things that most others take for granted.   And yet I am grateful that I am awakening.  I am coming to understand the why of my discomfort.  With over half of my life behind me, I don’t have much time left.

I can miss what I did not have.  I can and must mourn their loss and face the pain rather than pretend it’s all okay.

The compassion I show to others, my support and encouragement of their journeys and dreams is something I need to give to myself.

It all starts with me.

 

 

Sometimes…..

Sometimes I’m not ‘ok’.

Sometimes it hurts so bad I wonder how I can get through another day.

Sometimes I feel so alone.

Sometimes I think I don’t belong on this planet, that I am just too ‘weird’ or ‘different’.

Sometimes I wonder if ‘he’ ever thinks about what he did to me.

Sometimes I wish I knew where ‘he’ was so I could scream at him and hit him.

Sometimes I cry myself to sleep.

Sometimes I have horrible panic attacks and I am sure I am going to die.

Sometimes I wonder if I will ever be completely ‘over’ this.

Sometimes I wish I could love myself just a little bit more.

Sometimes I wonder what it’s like to be the woman who was able to loose her virginity to a man who loved her and cared about her.

Sometimes I feel so much shame and disgust that I can’t even look at myself in a mirror.

To anyone who has been sexually abused as a child – let me know if you sometimes feel these things.  And then – together – let’s remind each other that we can sometimes feel these things but that they do not need to be our ‘all the time’ feelings.

Sexual curiosity – what’s normal for children?

Did you know that more than one third of all reported sexual abuse of children is committed by someone under the age of 18?   While it’s normal and natural for children to be curious about sex, it’s important to recognize behaviours that are inappropriate.  The following are guidelines to help you determine when professional help is required.
What is normal sexual curiosity?:

Normal range

• Genital or reproduction conversations with kids similar in age

• Playing “doctor” with peers

• Touching on genitals without penetration

• Dirty words or jokes within peer group norms

Yellow flags

• Preoccupation with sex or being sexually aggressive

• Attempting to expose others’ genitals

• Sexually explicit conversation with peers that is not age appropriate

• Incidents of peeping, exposing and pornographic interest

• Simulating foreplay with dolls or peers

Red flags

• Sexual conversations with people of significant age difference

• Touching genitals of others

• Degradation of self or others with sexual themes

• Repeated and chronic peeping, exposing and pornographic interest

Source: Division of Family Services