I am a writer, social worker, and survivor of childhood sexual abuse. When I first disclosed to my family that my brother had abused me as a child, I thought my whole world would change. I assumed my family members would share my desire to examine what had gone wrong in our home and pursue a path toward healing together. I was sadly mistaken. In fact, their behaviors left me feeling as though the abuse didn’t really matter. Yes, they believed me–but my family members still seemed determined to brush my trauma under the rug. Over time, I came to realize they viewed me as the problem for focusing on the abuse. Not the brother who had abused me or whatever damaging experiences he had undergone as a child.
I was blindsided. Feeling more confused and alone than ever, I searched for resources to help make sense of my situation. I came up mostly empty-handed.
Eventually, I ended up losing my family. As sad and painful as this has been, I am proud to say that I am okay. Because I never lost myself. Healing from the abuse and then my family’s subsequent treatment was always my priority. I gradually 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, a support group, my circle of devoted friends, and most of all the love of my husband and children.
I have made it my mission to examine family responses to the disclosure of child sexual abuse and share this information with my fellow survivors so that I may provide them with 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 our online support group members, I have learned far more about this subject than I could have understood firsthand.
The Second Wound is for every survivor whose family members’ failed to support them but instead added to their pain and trauma. You are not alone. You ARE worthy of respect, compassion, and love.