Family – Love Redefined…

When you decide to speak up about child sexual abuse, you will experience various reactions from various people. Survivors would like to believe ‘family’ will be the most supportive, but often times we experience the opposite. My experience was no different. Oprah once said “sometimes you have to divorce your family” I’m not sure who divorced whom in my case, but I knew some separation took place. On this my Journey 2 Free; I had to accept my new reality, one I’ve grown accustom to, for after all, I had to choose me, my sanity, my health and my well being over family, it was either that or the mental asylum, I choose the former. Love Redefined was written last year as a journal entry but just this past week I bore witness to the character assassination and verbal abuse of a few family and friends at the hands (and dare I say mouth) of family, because they too choose to speak of their ordeals. A new day has dawned and while ‘we’ survivors garner the strength and the courage to speak up and out, please bare in mind being judged, being called names and worst ‘being called a liar’ is seemingly apart of the speaking out process, I implore us ALL as survivors to STAND IN YOUR TRUTH regardless of what ‘they‘ may say:

Love Redefined

My family made me question, rethink and re-evaluate the definition of Love.

I use to believe we were tight, so inter-connected, a closely knit bunch, we would hang-out, be cordial, do the things expected of us to do like talk about accomplishments, about each other, and what uncle, aunty or cousin so and so was up to, we congratulate when congratulations were in order, you know, the usual things families do, then part ways, go back to our respective places, and when need arise we do it again;

 BUT

If you want to truly know how tightly knit, and who’s with, for or against you, do something like I did, and watch the family split; How dare you do something the uppities and overly self-righteous don’t agree with?!

So, I spoke up and sought justice for an injustice that span generations in the family, knowing the act was wrong, it’s not that THEY didn’t know, or understand, but no-one took action, so the injustice prolonged. Everyone has an opinion, this is true, the opinions ranged from girl go ahead do you! To WHO DARE YOU SPEAK, AND SPEAK ABOUT WHAT WAS DONE TO YOU?!  Accused of bringing shame and disgrace on the family, some dared to say I brought embarrassment on my dear old granny, but granny had a choice to make, and so did I! She choose to side with her husband, I choose to speak in hopes of saving lives.

Grandma’s husband is a pedeophile and after the lives he’s ruined, she’s still by his side yet, some family members behaved as if victims committing suicide would have been more acceptable than confronting the one performing mental genocide, murdering the self-esteems and shattering prides and forcibly taking with delight the innocences of the female babies on her side

In this family, we struggle with a chronic case of duplicity, some may say split personalities but, I call it blatant hypocrisy, this particular act stems from the matriarch of the family, yes, it rots from the head of the tree!

I would listen to grandma and some relatives speak with great delight of others while they were in their sight, but the moment their backs were turned the compliments also took flight. They are bold, saying what they need to say, but to get their way they’ve mastered their craft, learning how to manipulate, so, it comes as no surprise when this family split, and for my part I’ll gladly take ownership. I spoke up and out and yes sought justice for the injustice, while some did what they do best, pretending to be supportive of cousins, sisters, daughters while spreading propaganda to others, by now, they are well versed in spreading their unintentional lies intentionally. Hypocrisy is the name of the game, unfortunately sown and deeply rooted in some of the off springs veins, for I’ve never before seen a set more versed in knowing truth but instead, intentionally and purposefully propagate and circulate lies, yet the question remains, Why?!

Why did so many take this personally, when my issue was with the one that raped me?! Why?! They weren’t there, yet the majority felt the need to tell me how they think I should feel and the audacity to offer a timeframe of healing and recovery at their suggested speed!

Love Redefined: I’m not sure what Love means anymore, see, my family have me questioning 1 Corinthians 13 vs 4, for their love was neither patient, nor was it kind but instead crude, cruel and harmful combined. They tried to shame me into thinking I was wrong to speak, blatantly telling me, it’s attention I seek. I’ve heard this saying repeatedly, but it’s one with which I’m afraid I can’t agree that “no matter how we fuss and fight we still are family!” Unfortunately, that maybe so biologically but beside’s that fact, there’s some actions taken and some words spoken from which we can’t back!

They are ways to handle feuds and conflicts between friends and family, and that is where we all agree to disagree, Respectfully! BUT NO, Not in my family! For it’s a pissing contest to prove who’s draws is tighter than the rest, not to mention the heated war of words to see who can verbally humiliate, assassinate and pulverize the other. We send threats and beat our breasts and puff our chest and spew flames of fire, until all that’s left are the chard remains of what use to be,  We use to be…

 FAMILY

I/We Speak…

What about the ones that came before us?!

I saw a comment earlier that really pained my heart, it was from an elderly survivor of child sexual abuse. The comment was made on Facebook on a thread of exchanges from survivors and supporters alike, but this particular comment caused me to pause for a moment. The first line of her comment simply stated “I am jealous” The statement first caught me off guard based on the conversation we were having, I read a little further and as I completed her response my heart broke. The rest of the comment read, “I am happy all this (CSA) is being spoken about and victims are speaking out but we never had that for my generation.”

There, I don’t know if it was the words ‘my generation’ or the fact that I could sense the genuine pain through her words that did me in, but I sat back in the chair as tears welled in my eyes, I exited Facebook. This single comment made me stop and think about something I have but too often said, ‘I can only imagine how many have passed on, both men and women who have had the experience of being sexually abused as a child and had to live with the pain and trauma until there dying day. This woman words resonated with me in such away it hurts, but instantly I was reassured of ONE of the many reasons I speak…

Yes, I have joined forces with the few that have decided to speak up and speak out about their ordeals to bring about awareness and incite change. Personally I speak knowing I may not be able to stop (CSA) but if I can prevent or save just one child from suffering the years of secrecy and shame, the pain and my years of mental torment would not be in vain.

Join me as I/We Journey2Free. From my heart to yours, reassign the shame… Speak!

Dearest Grandma…

For years I was asked not to speak about being raped by my maternal grandmothers husband for the sake of protecting my grandmother. Her daughters had grown up with this fear that her husband would have killed her had THEY spoken out about him raping THEM. So, when grandma’s husband turned his gaze upon me at five (5) and began raping me at eleven (11) and even after sticking his fingers inside the body of my three year old sister, we were STILL held to secrecy for the sake of protecting Dearest Grandma from her husband.

I am the first grandchild for my grandmother, my mother her first child and after finding out in my adult years that my own mother was also raped by my grandmothers husband from ages six through sixteen (6-16) I was STILL asked NOT to speak to ‘protect my grandmother’. The level of betrayal I felt from the women in my family got to it’s tipping point when I finally broke my silence and spoke out about the years of abuse. I sought justice and there to meet me every day in court was my ‘grandmother’ who was present in full support of her ‘husband’. I cannot express or put into words what that felt like, seeing the woman that I was asked to shield, show up in defense of the man that raped my mother, myself and fondled a three year old.

After having several conversations with my ‘grandmother’ and realizing that she would have NEVER left her rapist husband’s side for the likes of her offsprings, the harsh reality set in that the matriarch of my family was and is complicit with the evil she brought home. Now, I’m just left to wonder, is that type of mental illness hereditary?!

This spoken piece was written back on February 17th of this year. It was just one of those days when the tears flowed uncontrollably when I thought about the indescribable pain of loss and betrayal I’ve had to endure for 35 long years for the sake of this woman, the woman from who’s loins I descended, the woman that looked at me and asked “can’t you find it in your heart to just get past this, it’s been so long ago?!” Now, this is the lineage from which I was birthed…

Join me as I/WE journey2free. From my heart to yours.

All rights are reserved by Larissa H. Rhone

Thanks to St. Thomas Events for their dedication to bringing this piece to life.
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We Need More Voices!

Over the course of the last 10 months I’ve had this recurring experience, each and every time I open my mouth and speak about Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) regardless of where I am and to whom I am speaking, I find that individual or person’s I’m addressing have experience this ordeal or, they know someone that have had the experience. I have seen and have read the stats, and I must admit I am left questioning the approximation of the (one in every three (3) girls and one in every six (6) boys figure). I happen to know that the stat’s recorded is that of reported cases, which leaves me dumbfounded and truly afraid, questioning what is the actual figure?! How many of US are their really?! How many of US have actually experienced this evil AND how many more will their be?!

More light is being shed on this topic in recent years HOWEVER, much more NEEDS to be done! CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE ALTERS AND YES, RUINS LIVES!!!

In the underdeveloped mind of a child their sense of wonder and optimisms is interrupted, trust is broken, curiosity altered and everything that was once beautiful, innocent and a mystery is now mystified and fuddled. Behaviors that follow often perplex others. A  child that has been sexually violated will NEVER be the same! A shift happens in their brain and the act of betrayal permeates every fiber of their being. Studies show that victims of Child Sexual Abuse displays one or more of these harmful symptoms, symptoms such as:

Depression

Addiction

Suicide

Homicide

Psychosis

Intimacy

Dissociation

Trust Issues

Promiscuity

Self Mutilation

Self Esteem Issues

Anxiety/Panic Attacks

Sexual Dysfunction

Anti-social Personality

Sexual Identity Disorder

Withdrawals and the list goes on…

Many of these symptoms manifest during adulthood and many symptoms go undetected for years. For far too long Child Sexual Abuse have remained the most taboo topic. Many still struggle to SPEAK or have a basic discussion, yet, it’s still happening at an alarming rate! Why?! Victims struggle to speak, because (relying on the stats) it’s reported that 93% YES 93% of victims know their abuser. Therefore, it causes US victims to remain mute, ashamed and afraid because God forbid someone finds out my father, mother, grand-pappy, uncle, aunty, pastor, coach, teacher, brother, sister, cousin raped or sexually violated me, oh the horror, the judgement, what will the world think of me and how will I be viewed? The truth is, these predators strive of our silence, oh yes!  Our not speaking enables and emboldens the perp. I heard it said that SILENCE IS A PREDATORS BEST FRIEND, and this proved true not only in my case, but almost in every case!

In my life I have dealt with and experience ‘several‘ of these symptoms. I will be sharing my personal experience with some of these symptoms in hopes others will be able to relate and identify. But, in the meantime I encourage, in fact I implore victims and survivors alike, ‘Be emboldened and let’s start speaking out!‘ Our life, our children’s life depends on it! Being sexually violated is NOT your shame!

Let’s Reassign The Shame and focus on saving another from having to live with the torment! From my heart to yours… Journey 2 Free.

 

FICKLED

Until you CHANGE your thinking, you will always recycle your experiences. (anonymous)

On the days you feel most alone, those days you’re surrounded by many yet entrapped within the walls of your solitary existence are the days the repetitive acts of betrayal resurfaces forcing withdraw and isolation. Those days when emotions run wild, feeling, believing, convincing self (they) everyone, no-one can be trusted! We retreat, we fall back, retiring to that place where we feel most safe even if it’s only in our heads.

There is no time frame given on how long (we) the overcoming survivors of child sexual abuse may require to be in this head space, that space where no-one is allowed. We break down, try to process and make sense of the chaos around. It’s a secure place to be, where nothing or no-one from the outside world can infiltrate or permeate or thoughts our thinking because we look at everything and everyone sideways, everyone is a suspect just wanting, waiting, seeking that which they may devour.

Those moments when the memories emerges and self-pity dangerously toys with taking up familiar course, it’s usual residence. When anger starts to rise with seething disdain and distrust and the feeling of being robbed of your innocence and pride dances recklessly a little too close to that place where tainted belief of self resides and the not good enough anthem starts to sound the alarm.

It’s a very thin line between sanity and insanity!

A victim of child sexual abuse would know this. Everyday is a constant struggle, a mental struggle of how to act, think or feel. Do we remain in a state of victimhood? Do we continue to not trust and look at everyone wide eyed? Do we do the infamous neck pulled back (yeah right smirk) to every questionable promise or comment made? Do we let our guards down? The questions are endless…

For some of us it gets tiring! Frustration takes hold, the constant back and forth in our heads. It’s unsettling not knowing who to trust, having no confidence in our self or our abilities. Uncertain when to release, questioning, replaying, rethinking ever choice, ever decision, the internal dialogue and obsessive chit chatter never ends UNTIL, UNTIL we decide to make a change (whoosaaaah) ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

A child sexually abused that was silenced and never afforded the help or opportunity to heal now an adult would attest to the fact that there is a thin line between sanity and insanity or at least that is how I strongly feel!

 

DON’T SPEAK!

Each time I hear the question asked “why can’t you just get over it!” I cringe, yes my stomach churns, these three words  ‘get over it! triggers a less than pleasant response.

I’ve garnered support and established new friendships with a few ladies I will respectably refer to as ‘age-ables’, and though our chance meetings may be summed up as bittersweet, I cherish every moment I spend in their presence and cling to their every word. Our stories is what binds us, the familiarity of our ugly truths, a common theme PAIN. The pain of being taken advantaged of as little girls now adults, ‘adulting’ from a place of brokeness. These women are well into their sixties (60’s) and still carry with them the ghost of what could have been, the ash of what should have been and the stagnant remnants of a past experience that never truly decays. Forced to lock away, to hide, to suppress memories while unknowingly hiding, suppressing, loosing themselves and everything else in the process. Sixties (60’s) and still struggling, some still barely surviving, still not knowing who they are at their core, some still unable to shake off or break free the invisible restraints of family secrets and shame, yet, are still being expected and asked (why can’t you get over it?!). With each exchange, with every shared detail I’m privy to, in the voices I hear a longing, coupled with deep sadness yet masked as full fledged, totally capable, well put together and competent functioning beings. When will we get over it?! When the game playing and hypocrisy cease!

A child that has been sexually abused grows into an adult that have been sexually abused. Trapped beneath the surface is a tortured soul. A soul that is disconnected, a soul that’s in search and in need of being whole. We learn to disconnect, separating mind and body. Like functioning alcoholics we compartmentalize separating body from our feelings and are fully capable of playing the roles, meeting our demands, our responsibilities, being everything to everyone at all times with little or no regard to self and what it is WE (the tortured souls) actually needs.

When will YOU see, know or understand, there is a loss that is experienced when sexually abused as a child?! Loss of power, loss of pride, loss of dignity, a loss of truth and a true sense of who you really are, loosing an identity before even having the chance or ability to develop or create one.

I’ve become accustom to the callous, uncaring and insensitive remarks of those that have not had the experience and chooses to be closed minded, even worst are those that have had the experience but lack empathy, is void of compassion and struggles with sincerity these are the same folks that say ‘I understand but’… A victim of child sexual abuse doesn’t seek to be pitied, and unless you’ve been there we truly don’t expect you to understand! However, If you insist on asking questions from a from a place of judgement and misguidedness do us ALL a favor, DON’T SPEAK!

While on this journey of navigating unfamiliar paths and charting new courses, I honestly thought time would have healed the wounds and it will, but they cut deep!  Being made aware by the ageables that though ‘scars may appear faded on the surface they are permanently tattooed on the soul’. Some are fortunate to have received needed help, others like myself are on their way to healing while others remain loss and unfortunately will never find their way. Most painful of all, are those that have gone back to the earth with the secrets, never having the opportunity of being free. It all hurts and one things for certain, it NEVER goes away, You NEVER forget and for DAMN SURE it’s not something YOU JUST GET OVER!!! 

Yes, healing is possible but it is constant, the pursuit is never ending, the process is daunting and tedious and it takes loads of work! While on this journey… From my heart to yours…

To be continued…