THE CAUSE & CURE of CHILD SEX ABUSE
CHILD SEX ABUSE (CSA) is rampant – no survey can reach the hidden depths of its human agony. But childhood is now over, and every single one of its ill-effects can be winkled out from those hidden depths and thrown away – provided always there are abundant supplies of Truth, Trust and Consent. Three points – 1) what CSA is, 2) why CSA happens and 3) how to cure it.
1) WHAT IT IS
When born, we all need a free lunch, else we starve. Every human infant comes into this world 100% helpless – if you are not cared for, or if your care is unreliable or untrustworthy, then you cannot flourish and blossom as you should. Your carers are vital. They are there to protect you. But what if you need protection against your protector? What if, instead of telling you you are gorgeous, glorious and delightful – which you are – they treat you like a lump of meat? Well this, understandably, pickles the mind.
What if, instead of cherishing you as all parents should, one (or both) of them starts doing something not FOR you but AT you? What if, instead of talking directly to you, taking you fully into account, being respectful, they become totally preoccupied with something else – as if you were not there, an alien, a thing. This is devastating for you – annihilation is next. So you do the only thing you can – you pretend it isn’t happening, which in a twisted way is what your abuser is already doing. This ‘pretence’ is your only available defence – it allows you to survive in an intolerable situation – but it costs. It is designed to distort reality so that you can survive in it – but that distortion needs correcting when childhood and the abuse is long over – and there’s the rub. What you worked so hard to hide, because it is vastly too dangerous to admit – must now be ventilated in full daylight – not an easy reversal, but, given enough trustworthy support, assuredly 100% possible. The logic here being that what applied in infancy no longer applies in adulthood – child terrors persist because the sufferer is too terrified to see that they are now over.
2) WHY IT HAPPENS
The only evolutionary advantage we bi-pedal apes have is social cooperation. If we fail to cooperate we guarantee to join the woolly mammoth. We delight in conversing, relating, getting on with one another. So what can possibly drive an adult to insist on rubbing his or her genitals against a small helpless child? Well, sadly, the only social skills they have are negative ones. Instead of discharging their parental responsibilities, they corrupt them, and pass this corruption on to the next generation – as inexcusable as it is reprehensible. Terror induced by this abuse can scar its victim for life – unless they are fortunate enough to meet confident rebuttal of the abuse, and this must be a rebuttal they can trust – not an easy item to achieve after this gross betrayal, this blatant parental treason, in childhood. But if this ideal situation can be conjured up, then those who can avail themselves of it, can shuffle off the ill-effects and blossom anew – provided always that the support they receive in adulthood is at least as big as, if not bigger than, the devastation they were the victim of before – not an easy task on either side.
3) HOW TO CURE IT
First of all how not to cure CSA. Freud set back our understanding of child abuse by 100 years by blaming the victim. Sadly too many current sufferers opt to do the same – but this is to stand child abuse on its head – the parent is 100% responsible, the infant 100% the needy party. Then again, Blair’s government introduced the police ‘CRB’ check – where was sound psychiatric advice when you needed it, and why didn’t Blair demand it? You might as well check up on parking tickets at the police station for all the good this does – and as for not hugging infants, almost as damaging as “children should be seen and not heard”.
Be careful, RE-TRAUMATISING is an ever present risk, and can be triggered by the least noticed off-hand remark. Remember the trauma is still going on inside the sufferer’s head, while we speak – so watch it – only proceed with extreme caution. This is why you must approach the TRAUMA TRIAD with enormous care. It may sound simple, superficial, and even naïve – but believe me, the distortion mentioned above can run very deep, and still be hideously painful, so these three simple points should not even be approached without the full panoply of peer support – buckets of trustworthiness, and oodles of consent on your part. Don’t mock it, till you’ve tried it. And don’t attempt it, unless fully confident. If in doubt, don’t. When you are suitably supported, role play your abuser in an empty chair. Repeat first to your comrades, and then to the chair – ONE what you did was wrong, TWO I’m angry with you for doing it, THREE I’m going to stop you doing it again – this is the TRAUMA TRIAD. All very clear very true – but if there’s not enough trust or consent, you could do a lot of damage – so handle with care. However, once you can confidently repeat these three unaided, then you can banish your childhood torments forever. You are entitled to be sceptical – but once you’ve seen it in action, as I have innumerable times, then you are more likely to consent to give it the time of day. And once you can voice these elemental truths, then you need never fear your abuser again. You can blossom. And I wish you all the support in the world to do so.
Dr Bob Johnson, 6 June 2011,