The Silent Retraumatisation of Sexual Abuse Victims We Don’t Talk About Enough

cropped-girl-sitting-on-a-bus-14857.jpg

“There is nothing untoward in his examination yet I am not in control and this touch is not wanted and it’s too much and I am unclothed and vulnerable and overwhelmed with triggers and the only escape I have in that moment is disassociation.
 
The switch flips; in less than one second I am mentally and emotionally no longer present, retraumatised by a simple and routine medical procedure deemed necessary to potentially save my life.
 
It takes me weeks to recover and find my way back to myself again.
 
Two years later, a reminder letter comes in the mail.
 
I throw it in the bin.”
 

I don’t often publish my articles on my blog, but I want to share this one with you today.

Having a Pap smear is an uncomfortable moment for most women. For survivors of childhood sexual abuse, it’s nothing less than traumatic.

There is not enough help or support for those in this situation, with three out of four women denying themselves life-saving care because the fear of being retraumatised is greater than the fear of cervical cancer.

There needs to be more discussion, more awareness, more understanding, and more care for both victims of sexual abuse and violence and the people who care for them.

This article was incredibly difficult to write, but needs to be read.

Full article over at 10 daily today, link below x

Why A Routine Trip To The GP Leaves Me Mentally And Emotionally Shaken

 

Day Eleven #PoemADayFeb – First

alone-bampw-black-black-and-white-Favim.com-580179.jpg
I lost my voice when I was seven;
buried in an unmarked grave
where all untold stories go to die.
I learned it’s quite a skill to hold
a lifetime of words beneath your tongue
and not choke on the debris of letters
that fester in the back of your throat;
to swallow truth like a hungry dog with
bared teeth;
willing another to not come close enough
to taste such foul feast upon their lips.
It turns out there is no minute of silence
for silence;
no funeral for people to dress in black
and eat jelly cakes
and cluck tongues over the tragic loss
of life taken too soon.
Innocence taken too soon.
There is only the sound of applause; let a
woman learn silently with all submissiveness.
I am thirty-four when I find my voice again,
yet it is not the first time I speak
which brings me to my knees,
but the first time I am heard.

© Kathy Parker 2019

Day Eleven #PoemADayFeb – First

For My Fellow Survivors ❤️

woman-silhouette-waiting-for-s-5824100.jpg
For my fellow survivors ❤️
 
It says on pill bottles as a disclaimer, do not operate heavy machinery. The irony in all of this, is trauma is heavy fucking machinery, which is to say, I’m not giving you permission. But if you ever decided it was too much and you wanted to rip yourself from the soil of this world, I would understand”
 
Sometimes, I feel like my heart is doing okay. And then, without warning, something wrenches it open and I come undone. I listened to this spoken word poem today and came completely and utterly undone. Because as people who have survived trauma, this is the kind of validation we need. We need to know it’s okay to feel what we feel, no matter how dark, no matter how terrifying, no matter how uncomfortable it makes others feel. Rarely do I allow myself that validation. Instead I tell myself I’m fine. I tell everyone else I’m fine. So goddamn fine. Except, some days I’m not fine.
 
Today I’m not fine.
 
There are days I still wake up so damn tired; beaten before the day has even begun. Beaten by the memories and the flashbacks and the triggers and the demons and the shame and the anxieties and the fears and the way these things seem to find me in the night while the rest of the world sleeps and leave me feeling like a small girl in a big world; so very alone and afraid. I woke up today like this; the graveyard of my heart dug open in the night and me, too weary to fight against it. To outrun it. To stay above it. To shovel the dirt upon it once more.
 
“You will feel broken. It is okay to feel broken. Broken is where the healing begins. This is where we begin. This is where we begin again, and again, and again.”
 
Healing doesn’t come in straight lines and even spaces. It is a wayward journey that brings us back to the places we need to be broken once again; that after the breaking, eventually, we will know the rising.
 
But for today, I am reminded it’s okay to be broken. It’s okay to feel this way. It’s okay to begin again. Today, I am reminded I am not alone in this.
 
“You, survivor, are still here.”
 
I am still here. You are still here.
 
And by god, the world will see us bloom.

Day Six #poemadayfeb: Ugly

When will we learn

there is nothing ugly

about the stories of

survival

mapped upon our skin.

~ ©️ Kathy Parker // Scars ~

Day Seven #poemadayfeb: Ugly

Here It Is…

9781504310970_pap

Lovely readers, here it is ❤️
 
My first published collection of poetry and prose, The Unravelled Heart, is a journey of breaking to mending, surviving to loving, and the courage to rise from our darkest places, undefeated.
 
A limited amount of signed pre-sale copies will be available November 2017.
 
Available worldwide early December 2017 through major retailers and online bookstores.
 
Thank you all for the incredible love and support you have shown. I can’t wait to share this work of my heart with you x

 

And No-one Ever Told Me How To Break

sad woman

And no-one ever told me how

healing was supposed to feel.

That it would be an anguish

that claws along my ribcage

before it tears me wide open

and lays bare all my ugliness.

That it would be scarves of

pain weaved around my neck

like hands that grip my throat

and leave me fighting for life.

That it would be a wilted body,

exhausted from the relentless

fight against the demons that

wage war upon my beaten soul.

That it would be bloody hands,

blistered and raw from clinging

so tightly to the addictions that

deaden this goddamn torment.

No, no-one ever told me how

healing was supposed to feel.

I didn’t know it would hurt like

barbwire dragged over my skin,

and knives gouged in my heart.

Yet all I know is before I’m able

to full heal, I must allow myself

to fully break.

Image courtesy yourtango.com

It Wasn’t Your Fault

6

It wasn’t your fault.

It wasn’t your fault you weren’t protected from getting hurt when you were younger.

It wasn’t your fault you weren’t told how much you mattered, how much you were worth.

It wasn’t your fault you had no voice, that you were powerless and not taught to say no.

It wasn’t your fault you didn’t know how to draw the line around your heart, mind and body to protect yourself from being hurt by others.

It wasn’t your fault the people who should have shown you where to draw that line instead made you feel you weren’t important enough to keep safe.

You grew up with no lines and no boundaries and you didn’t know the difference between love and abuse, and because of that, you allowed others to hurt you, when all you really wanted was for others to love you.

And that isn’t your fault.

Let yourself be angry. Let yourself be angry that you were never told how much you were worth. That you never protected yourself because nobody ever protected you. That you allowed people to violate the lines that should have been there but never were because you weren’t told how to put those lines in place.

Because you weren’t told how important you were, and how much it mattered.

How much you mattered.

Let the anger rise within you. Allow yourself to cry tears of rage and grief for all you have lost. For all others have taken from you – not what you have given away – but what others have taken from you, that you can no longer get back.

Use that anger to fight for yourself in the way you should have been fought for. Use it to reclaim all that has been taken, to reclaim your heart. Let the anger become a fire that rages in your soul and burns away the tarnish that others have left upon you. Let the flames consume you, let them purify you, let them cleanse you and refine you until all that is left is the beauty of who you really are.

Your worth is great. You were created by the same hands that created the galaxies and the stars and the oceans and the storms and the wind that rages across the four corners of the earth. You were breathed into existence, not by accident, but with purpose, with promise. The entire universe listens just to hear the beating of your heart and the whisper of your breath. You were meant to be here. You were supposed to be here.

You were wanted here.

And you are worthy of the kind of love that nurtures your soul and heals your heart. A love that sees your value and worth and believes in you. A love that is strong and kind, loyal and true. A love that brushes the hair from your eyes and kisses your forehead and gives you its jacket when you are cold and holds your hand when you are scared and draws you into its arms and doesn’t let go until it stops hurting. You are worthy of someone whose feet are anchored; who loves you when you radiate with the light of the moon and stars, and loves you even harder when you are cast in the shadow of your own cold sorrow.

You are worthy of a love that will never, ever hurt you.

Draw your lines, dear woman, for within these lines lies the truth of all that you are worth.

And the moment you come to know this truth, is the moment nobody can ever take that away from you again.

~ © Kathy Parker ~

Image courtesy kolyan.net

Foolish Girl, You Are Not Foolish At All

img_2797

Foolish girl,

You turn away from the world because you believe the mistakes you have made are tattooed all over your body and that is all the world can see; marks of shame you cannot wipe clean no matter how many years you scrub your skin until no more blood can seep from your pores still stained with filth and sin.

You turn away from the world because you believe you are defined by your past, by the choices you made when there were no other choices; that you are bound to the girl you once were by the invisible ropes still tied around your hands and feet, held in place by words of shame that will never deliver you from their grasp.

You turn away from the world because you believe you are not deserving to hold your head high and look it in the eye; that you carry a scarlet letter upon your forehead that will blind those who dare to look your way, and you cannot stand to see the way they turn their face from your tainted humanity.

You forget, foolish girl.

You forget what you have survived.

You forget you fought alone against the world when your hands were too small to defeat the weight of it, and so you took it on as your own even though it almost crushed you.

You forget you were betrayed by those who should have protected you and so you barricaded yourself behind hard edges and sharp corners and promised to never trust or need another again.

You forget the way love was shown as abuse and abuse was shown as love and the shame you were forced to carry because of the way you longed to be loved even when that looked like abuse.

You forget you sat alone in a room filled with despair as your hands shook and blood trailed down your wrist and in that moment when you could have chosen death, you chose life.

You forget you have every reason to be hard, but you choose to remain soft. You have every reason to hate, but you choose to show mercy. You have every reason to cast judgment, but you choose to speak grace. You have every reason to fuck this world the way it has fucked you, but you choose to heal it instead.

You forget you have survived what most people never could.

Foolish girl, you are not foolish at all.

You are a warrior.

You are strength. You are bravery. You are courage. You are hope. You are light. You are truth. You are love. You are survival. You are kindness. You are wisdom. You are redemption. You are transformation. You are revolution.

And most of all, you are worthy.

To love, and to be loved.

You just need to believe it.

~ © Kathy Parker ~

Image courtesy usadress.info

This Is Survival. Sometimes It Isn’t Pretty.

Crying girl wallpaper the crying girl Amazing Wallpapers

This is survival. Sometimes it isn’t pretty.

I wrote these words to my friend, Antanika, in response to the courageous and honest words she shared on her Facebook page last night.

They haven’t left my mind since.

Antanika is a survivor, and one of the bravest warriors I know. I can’t tell you how in awe of her I am. She takes her pain, her trauma, the things she has suffered, and she looks them square in the eye, unabashed. She says them out loud. She fights them head on. Me? I dance around words like sexual abuse, molestation, rape, violation, assault. The words are too stark, there is nothing to hide behind when I say these words out loud. Instead I find ways to make them sound poetic, romantic even, as if that somehow softens them or lessens the pain and destruction they have caused in my life. When really, I’m just too scared and ashamed to admit how unhealed I actually am.

I don’t know how healed those who have suffered these traumas ever become. Some days I feel more held together than others. Most days I won’t admit how close to unhinged I truly am. I do know the word survivor has been glorified into an image I feel I cannot do justice to. Because unless survival is found in a bottle of wine, then I’m not doing it very well.

Most people drink to forget.

I don’t drink to forget.

I drink to feel.

Because I’m desperate to feel.

Something. Anything.

Because the harsh truth is, I don’t know how to feel anymore. In the stark, sober light of day, there is only numbness. Disassociation. Detachment. I have drifted oceans away from my soul and can no longer recognise the sound of my own heartbeat. I want to feel, and I can’t. I want to submerge in the depth of my emotions, and I don’t know how. My heart is in lockdown, protected by strongholds I once needed but now do not know how to tear down. All I know is only when I drink, do I feel. Only on those nights do I find reprieve from the soul-destroying numbness that falls upon me like a blanket of fog I cannot get out from underneath of. Here, in the night, with alcohol in my veins, I am raw emotion, I am honest truth, I am the uncontained force of grief and loss and love and beauty and desire and hope and anger and hatred that rages through my anaesthetised soul and wakes it from its godforsaken sleep.

There are better ways to make it through. Right now, I am not capable of them. I drink because I cannot survive in the numbness. But I cannot survive in the fullness of my pain either. This is a paradox most cannot understand, except those who walk the path of the survivor.

I like to think that sometimes survival looks beautiful on me, that sometimes it is strength and courage and battle scars etched upon my skin for every war I have fought and won; battle scars that glisten in the sun as I stand upon mountaintops and look back at how far I have climbed along trails I never should have survived with the odds so damn against me.

But I know too, sometimes survival is anything but pretty.

It’s too much alcohol and words haemorrhaged on a page. It’s 3am bloodshed and battle and demons slayed. It’s torrents of rage unleashed upon the things we remember even though we chose to forget. It’s war fought in silence and tears, in fury and defeat. It’s weeping and howling and desiring and longing and seething and wanting and healing and feeling. For God’s sake, feeling.

It’s rebellion against the deadness that blankets our soul.

It’s anarchy against the numbness our hearts cannot escape.

It’s not pretty.

But it’s how we survive, today, until we can survive better tomorrow.

The point is, we’re surviving.

And sometimes that’s all that really matters.

Image courtesy Martin Driver