Friday, August 29, 2014

Phallic Friday - sexual assaults

The news stories this week seem to be filled with sexual assaults and awful things. Today there's even one about a woman being raped by another woman.

I suppose these happened all the time and our penchant for news 24-7 has just made them more of a focus and more discussed, but it's really quite an awful trend to see in the news.

I love the act of sex - which is kind of obvious considering I have fun writing about it - so I find it difficult to understand how people can choose to use it as a way to harm others. But I do know it happens.

When I was really young, probably only just 18 or so, I was a leader of a youth movement group and there was a kid in my group who had been assaulted by her own mother. It was horrific to hear. She was in the custody of her paternal grandmother when I met her, aged 7, so the assaults had occurred before then. And it horrified me on so many levels. How could a mother do that to a child? How could a child survive such horror? How did the father cope knowing what the woman he loved had done?

The effect on the child was awful. She didn't trust anyone. The school system was set up in 4 terms, and each new term meant the child going through the awful trust issues again. Her grandmother was exceptionally patient and beautiful. She came to our meetings and was always there for her granddaughter, always supported her and always cared. After a few weeks, the little girl could laugh and play with the other children but it took a few years for her to be relaxed around me - I was more her mother's age than the other, older leaders.

It broke my heart that this little child was so damaged and healing took so very long.

I don't know what became of her. I don't know that too many knew why she was in her grandmother's care and I never spoke about it to anyone. So I'll never know. But I hope she found something wonderful in life. I hope the nightmares of her youth left her. I hope she had understanding people along every step of her journey. But I know I probably have my rose-coloured glasses on. The effects of sexual assault, any assault, are long-lasting and horrible. I wish they never happened.

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