I am a writer, social worker, and survivor of sexual abuse. When I first spoke up about the fact that I had been abused as a child, I thought my whole life would change. I assumed my family members would step up to support and comfort me. That they would share my desire to examine what had gone wrong and pursue a path toward healing together. I was devastated when their responses were far from the empathic understanding I needed and longed for.
Soon, I discovered that I was alone in my need to process what had happened to me and why. The people who were supposed to love me the most seemed determined to brush my trauma under the rug and shame me for continuing to speak up. Over time, I came to believe they viewed me as the problem for focusing on the abuse. Not the person who had hurt me.
I felt blindsided. More confused and alone than ever, I searched for resources to help make sense of my situation but came up mostly empty-handed.
Eventually, I ended up separating myself from much of my family of origin. As sad and painful as this long process has been, I am proud to say that I have survived. Mostly by making healing from the abuse and my loved ones’ responses a priority. While I will always have scars–and the abuse still affects me to this day–I have put the pieces of my broken self back together and built a rewarding life. Along the way, I relied on the support of gifted therapists, support groups, a circle of empathic, devoted friends, and most of all the love of my husband and children.
I made it my mission to examine the phenomenon of destructive responses to the disclosure of sexual violence, abuse, and other forms of trauma. Today, I share this information with my fellow survivors so that I may provide comfort, information, and support. I created The Second Wound to offer the kind of understanding that I desperately searched for all those years ago. And you, my fellow survivors, responded. Through your messages and emails and the countless contributions of online followers, I have learned far more about this subject than I could have understood firsthand.
The Second Wound is for every survivor whose family members, loved ones, and others not only failed to support them but instead added to their pain and trauma.
You are not alone. I believe you. You ARE worthy of respect, compassion, and love.