December 3, 2010

What "defines" you?

Okay, I am a "survivor" of child sex abuse. I've had over a decade (all up) in counselling. Some good, some bad - goes with the territory I suppose - one of those insane prices you tend to have to pay. But I don't consider myself mad. I truly think I used to be and I apologise in advance to those who had to endure that, but lately,just lately, I'm starting to feel that noose around my neck again - the one that says "Oh, you're a sexual abuse survivor, so that's why you did so and so..."

I am starting to wonder .... when do "we" stop paying the price? When do we stop labelling ourselves? Sure, we call ourselves "survivors" but is that cause it's just more PC? If we have truly shifted from victim to survivor then why, pray do tell, are we constantly defined, pushed back into that "victim" status and reprimanded if we don't "behave" like victims? 

I ask this because actions I have done over the last few days have been referred to the actions of a sexually abused person. Those actions are therefore undermined, frowned upon, even pitied and I don't want that. Why can't my current actions stand on their own two feet, with merit, like normal person? Why must it be "Oh, she's just doing this or that because she was sexually abused?" Why can't I just be an irrational pissed off cow bag or worse, for those concerned, that I may actually have some merit, some credibility, a point?

I mean, if a drug user, whose been clean for over a decade for example, started "ranting" about the Government, would we all say, "Oh he's only saying all that cause he used to be an addict?" Could not that same person be just airing their opinions about something that pisses him off?

Why must the past define us all the time and by default, any action we do or say or feel or want, desire, or hope, be seen as motivated by that particular event? It intrigues me. 

Case in point:

Here is a posting about me on the SOSA website. 
"...It came as a surprise when the same person started making comments about events that occurred at the hui in a public forum. We held back from responding on this blog so as not fuel the fire, understanding that many (if not all) survivors, when hurting and struggling with the legacies of the abuse, direct their rage against themselves or the people who are trying to help rather than confronting the abuser. Holding back, however becomes hard when the other party lacks the courage to sort out disagreements in person and instead starts a hate campaign on a public blog."
Firstly, I did not write about the SOSA hui and the outrageous events that took place because I was sexually abused. I write about it cause I considered certain members' actions as immoral. But this published website comment doesn't feel like that. I look at it and think the "sexual abuse" flag is being used once again as an excuse, like everything I have to say is negated because of my tragic past. It's the same "brick wall" that is used to hide the actual crime, the same wall that some thrash their heads upon when going through the judicial system, the same negating bullshit when survivors have to struggle against the likes of ACC or unbelieving family members. 

That's what makes Gudrun's post on SOSA website even worse - the fact that it comes from SOSA is bad enough. The fact that it comes from a psychotherapist claiming to want to help women is unforgivable. How can you help when you use the very ammunition, used in their childhood, against them as grown adults? 

Gee, makes you wonder doesn't it? Am I saying that as a woman in her own right or "just" a sexually abused victim? Food for thought. 


10 comments:

  1. I think you have really hit the nail on the head. I for one don't think of you as a sexual abuse survivor. I think of you as a person whos not afraid to say it how it is and wants to make a difference. Well written.

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  2. I think someone needs some re-educating. Weetbix boxes don't hand out credible references these days. Have they ever? Probably not. Gudren needs to find either a different cereal box, or maybe look over this and honestly review her actions and look at the many opinions here and take them all in.

    We are who we define our own selves to be. Me? Well I'm a messed up crazy mad lady and proud of it. I was once a victim, now I'm just a loony nutter who has her life back. We should never have to be looked at as victims again after we have decided we are survivors. That is wrong of her to say what she said. Does she want people to keep the word "victim" etched on their souls? Doesn't that go against what SOSA is supposedly about?

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  3. no offence but maybe it is a woman thing or a sign of the times. as a male "survivor" (as you put it)i never had any problems dealing with acc or therapists etc. i found it a breeze to deal with the whole ordeal once i made the choice to stand on my own two feet and own what happened, deal with it and move on. since that day i have never looked back.....seems too simplistic i know but sometimes the simplest plans are the most effective? if someone labels me for my past i have great pleasure in putting them in the mind file as someone that has no clue....thats enough for me. i dont look for retribution from the foolish or the ignorant. i save that for the perpetrators.

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  4. What is it with that Gudrun woman??

    "....understanding that many (if not all) survivors, when hurting and struggling with the legacies of the abuse, direct their rage against themselves or the people who are trying to help rather than confronting the abuser."

    Does she seriously think she speaks for all survivors now? How incredibly insulting!! How dare she!! Not that you have ever wanted, had or needed her help, so how exactly does that apply to you and her anyway? FFS... some people a!!

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  5. Jax I know you as a person who wants to make other abused people's lives better for them and if you saw things that were not in the survivors best interests at SOSA, then you had every right to mention what was wrong.

    My first thought when I started reading was 'MONEY'....................
    How would the mental health providers get paid if they didn't have a constant supply of abuse victims, so to keep people in that abused frame of mind, maybe they deliberately undermine any progress the patients make by chopping their legs off again, just as they were making some progress.
    It sure makes me glad I have never wanted to go see a shrink, I think I have evolved out of my past with a much better attitude to survival than the people who have had dubious mental health care.
    SOSA will self destruct all by itself, by its own misguided hand if it has the wrong people at the helm.

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  6. SOSOSA (Survivor of SOSA)December 3, 2010 at 8:31 AM

    Spot on from me too. She blamed you and your past rather than addressing your concerns about the event. It's a classic passive-aggressive thing that some people do when they are challenged to look at their own actions from someone else's point of view. We all have experiences in our lives. Just because some of yours fit into a particular category, how does that allow her to avoid accountability to you and the other members of SOSA? (And yes, there are lots of us who are wondering what the hell is really going on!)

    Jax, if other people treat you in ways that label you, or expect less of you because you were once abused, refuse to accept it. You are who you are because of your experiences. You are wise because you have had to do a lot of introspective thinking and emotional work. You are brave because you have chosen to fight rather than flee at fundamental points in your life. You are strong because you were once taken down and had to build yourself up again. You expect a lot from yourself and from the world, and that is a good thing. Don't let anyone label you or persecute you as a "victim" when you are truly a survivor. :)

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  7. Well said by all. thanks Jax! Yeah I agree, they say we are being a survivor until it serves them to treat us as a victim. I too will not wear that label. What you say here is so true and its even sadder when a therapist knows your story and uses it against you. Treats you like a scapegoat, knows you'll be hard on yourself and blame yourself because you have had a critical self image - and uses that to manipulate you. I must admit that this has helped me to take stock, to administer finally some good self care. I am not gonna wear this anymore and I am only gonna own whats mine. Whats mine is that I haven't dealt with this straight away, that I let it engulf me and maybe I have taken on the victim role. But what is different this time is I have some special friends that are www's - wonderful wise women that value justice above anything else, that saw through what happened and saw the truth in it. Saw the injustice of it and the unprofessional behaviour of not one but TWO therapists. One that behaved abominably and is acting just like the perpetrator she is. Not just to me but everyone, she created a huge pink elephant in the room that we all had to squeeze around too afraid to pop it in case it engulfed us and treated as victims that hardly knew each other but also didn't like what they saw. This one (Christine) stays silent (doesn't need to say anything cause its all being done for her, enabling her to continue) acting like she has done nothing wrong, letting her colleague and friend take the shit being flung at her (Gudrun). Yes she did act inappropriately at the beginning but she did nothing to deal with the shit that got flung at the hui (and as president of SOSA should have). She sat by and watched as someone that she was supposed to care about and WAS her client...well still is in a way cause there has not yet been closure, be disempowered and shat on to the point of retraumatisation. So now she is getting the shit slung at her and her colleague is sitting back pretending she did nothing wrong and just saying nothing. WTF!!! I want to reiterate what I am saying here... where is the perpetrator of the abuse that happened at the hui???? Where is her accountability - why is it Gudrun is getting it all. I'm sorry but my beef with Gudrun is personal but my beef with Christine is that she caused this whole thing. she is toxic and created a very hostile environment and yes Gudrun got angry at the start but that was fuelled my Christine. How can psychotherapists act so badly. (BTW. It wasn't my fault that we were late and that was stated at the first meeting at the hui. Yes I had to take the blame, I text and tried to apologise but they were so angry they didn't hear it - what gives them the right to do that). Yes, she totally abused me and Gudrun stood by not letting me know she was there for me but was there for the perpetrator (and others from her support group) and not once checked to see if I am ok. I trusted you Gudrun and you just chucked all my trust pebbles back in my face. I think now is time to face the fear and do what is right and show myself that I am no longer gonna take it.

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  8. Thanks Blue Butterfly... I can feel your pain in what you wrote and later, down a little, I felt your anger...keep hold of that anger. It's an empowering emotion that can, for a while, allow you to focus on protecting yourself and standing tall.

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  9. Wow, good on you bluebutterfly. I'm sorry people continue to 'blame' you for Gudrun and Christine's behaviour and the fallout that has resulted, especailly those who were not even at the Hui. You handed in your resignation to all the members because you didn't trust your therapist not to lie and make up stuff behind your back. Good for you!! In standing up for yourself against your attackers you gave some of the rest of us the courage and strength to also speak out against there behaviour. That is something to be proud of!

    The rest of the events that unfolded since your resignation have NOTHING to do with you, including this blog.

    Yes, Christine was indeed nasty towards you at the Hui and no one understood why given the fact she was not your therapist etc but it became evident where her hostility came from when she and Gudrun started talking in German (with your name being heard every few sentences). Why is a therapist talking about her clients like that with someone else in fronnt of the client? So may issues of unprofessionalism it makes one sick!!

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  10. Thanks Alex for your encouragement! And thank you for all your support over the last couple of months and yours Jax although I haven't always seen the point of it. I have been a coward, but I am rather in shock over what happened at the Hui, and then after right up to now. It took a while for me to sort through the pain and hurt - not there yet but I do feel its time to speak up and maybe take action to bring this to closure for myself. I sent my resignation to the whole group after discussing how I should do with my mentor. She has walked beside me over the last 5 years and has been there several times after my therapy sessions to pick up the pieces as to her surprise I was often worse after therapy than getting better. So my mentor thought that it would be best to send it to the group so they would know exactly why I am resigning and so that Gudrun could not come back at with me with blame and criticism and making me feel that I am doing transference and projection and all that. And she feared that that would make me feel worse. Which basically she did in front of everyone, but now I was also creating a drama triangle. Mmmm!!! Obviously very sure of herself and her followers huh!!! My own reasons for doing that was because I had received lots of emails from everyone bar Gudrun, Christine and one other (so the 6 others who attended the Hui) asking me if I was ok and concerned for me as they saw what happened and wasnt happy with what went down at the Hui. No one had given their voice down at the hui but it was hard to because we hardly knew each other and as I said the Pink Elephant was a bit too huge. Anyway, I hoped that what it would do would be to make Christine and Gudrun accountable and that things would be amended or corrected and that all those that could have a voice, which is one of SOSA's aims - to give all survivors a voice. Just thought I'd point that out...I didn't think that Gudrun would lie...and I didn't worry about that cause after the Hui they would all know why I had to resign. Thanks to all those that have supported me, it has blown me away as no one has ever been there like this for me before and it is actually refreshing. Now I will stand up and do what is true for me and show myself that i'm not going to let this happen anymore. thanks Jax for showing me how and others that I have talked about this with. Had heaps of good advice but ultimately its about me trusting in my higher power Jesus Christ and stepping our and doing what is right and true!!!

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