LIFE WITH ELAN
I am tired of these binding restraints
I don't want this burden of unwarranted constraints
It's time to shed what I don't deserve
I want to live life with elan and verve
What will it be like to live life free
I'm willing to do anything to be the real me
So now I lay down my defenses and masks
to devote my energies to more productive tasks
I know it won't be easy to change my ways
but the results will be worth it, much happier
If soul-deep pain and guilt could
As does a bird
And tortured memories be quieted
As if to shush a word.
If I could take my young child
Wrapping her in my arms
Murmuring ever words of love
And keeping her from harm
Would childhood unspoiled then return to me?
Or am I left to mourn my loss and cry
THE JOURNEY BACK
It is a long journey
back through the labyrinth
that twisted the child and left it
killed a thousand times over
each milepost holds its own special pain.
In the twisting tortuous road
at whose end sits a tiny child
seated on the ruins of the past, crying
yearning to be taken home at last.
FREE AT LAST
I pull, I twist, I squeeze, I stretch
this hard shapeless piece of wax
Wanting to create a picture
that shows the honest facts.
Needing to show the world
my anguish, sorry and pain
Where a child so full of hurt
lay crumpled covered with shame
Shame for things done to me
with choices I never had
Constantly told by all
that I was the one who was bad.
As I manipulate this piece of wax
I feel a warm and cleansing glow.
Where my little spark of hope
can finally start to grow.
Freedom from abuse
that are pulled from my dark past
To be healed, respected and believed in as I begin
to shout, "I am free at last!"
Deep in my core lies hidden
the seed of life -
lost amidst the pain
of someone else's choice.
ravages my childhood,
steals my future,
destroys my SELF.
through my veins:
There is power in my choice -
I choose to feel the pain,
to grieve the loss, to be sad;
to Live, to BE.
THE GOOD WITHIN
The rose, the bird
With a broken wing,
And human spirit
Have a reason and
Purpose in being.
The sometimes brutal
And violent aspects of humanity
Can be turned by seeing
The good within.
Healing in the soul takes
Time and each of us
Follows a course to
Sanity but it must
Start with forgiveness
And that comes from
Your young hand
My old one join.
Tears flow between
You and me
No help for the helpless
Our fingers interlock
Tears bridge the gap
Between the years
Swallowing back the losses
I feel your young presence
in this hand.
Broken by abuse
Healed by love
Discussion - What Resources
Exist to Aid in Recovery?
Many resources exist such
as meditation, body work (physical activity),
role playing, group therapy, individual therapy,
play/art therapy and books. An obstacle
course is designed to teach people to work
together in a group, developing trust and working
with different skill levels.
It is difficult to talk about experiences of abuse,
and this effectively silences issues for individuals,
their families and their communities. Parents
are often more accepting in terms of discussing
abuse issues. The problem is that there is no
place to go with this type of information. How
knowledgeable is the public about recovery process
resources? In addition, prevailing male myths
often make it more difficult for men to seek recovery.
A family support
centre that can be publicized and accessible to
the community for recovery and preventive issues.
have often been abused themselves, and who are
working through their own issues need access to
specific services. A central information source
for recovery options for men and women.
Publicity and education on
abuse issues to help the public learn what to
do with information about abuse. More investment
in recovery centres and resources.
Male focused resources and
programs. Funding for non-traditional sources
Education and training for
medical practitioners regarding physical, sexual
and emotional abuse as possible causes for medical
symptoms. A medical dismissal has powerful silencing
effects on the recovery processes of abuse survivors.
Religious practitioners should
be educated regarding abuse issues in order to
act constructively should a survivor choose to
seek them out.
There seem to be more resources available for
women than for men. For women, the socialization
process produces people who are more open in their
Men are encouraged to be
more stoic, to engage in interactions of a less
personal nature. Do more women disclose abuse
than men? Are there more women abused than men?
Resources need to be not
only accessible financially, emotionally, physically
and structurally, but provided in varied modalities.
It is essential for people
to seek help and recovery from abuse.
Resources in Existence:
the Child Abuse Survivor
the programs of the
YW and YMCA;
the Childrens Aid Society referral sources;
ALIVE (Against Living in Violent Environments)
which offers peer support and facilitation by
EVA (End Violence Alliance);
She Hers/Hostels (e.g. Evas Place);
Family Service Associations; Community Centres;
Psychiatric hospitals or settings; doctors; group
individual therapist or counselors; cultural associations;
religious groups and practitioners (sweat lodges);
self help books, videos, groups;
alternative medicine publications as sources for
more street based advertising,
help lines and distress lines such as the Kids
Publicity about resources is important, but the
issue of safety is also extremely significant.
There is no central referral location for survivors
to access. Many discover resources by word of
There is a lack of profile
for resources. Institutions are aware of the issue,
but information is not necessarily easily available
to the public. They cannot look up what they need
in the yellow pages. Existing public education
programs are inadequate.
Financial constraints are
a consideration. For example, private therapists
may not be a viable option for many survivors.
Survivors are encouraged to remain
silent. They may not access resources due to fear,
safety or confidentiality issues or cultural issues
such as the business of the family should
be kept within the family or acceptance
of corporal punishment as a cultural norm.
Many victims of physical abuse
often do not feel that they have been abused,
and then may simply perpetuate the cycle.
Friends or partners can be a source
of recovery for survivors, yet many of these people
may not be able to cope with disclosures.
ON RESOURCES TO AID IN RECOVERY:
De Luca, Rayleen V. and others. Group
Treatment for Child Sexual Abuse. Canadian
Psychology, April 1992, vol. 33 no 2, p. 168-79.
Durie, Helen. PEI Healing Centre
for Survivors. Healthsharing, fall-winter
1992, vol. 13 no. 3, p. 26, 32-3.
Imber-Black, Evan. The Secret Life
of Families: Truth-telling, Privacy and Reconciliation
in a Tell-All Society. New York: Bantam Books, 1998.
-----------. Secrets in Families
and Family Therapy. New York: W.W. Norton and Co.,
Kehoe, Patricia. Helping Abused Children:
A Book for Those Who Work With Sexually Abused Children.
Seattle, Wa.: Parenting Press, Inc., 1988.
Marshall, William Lamont, Yolanda
M. Fernandez, Stephen M. Hudson and Tony Ward.,
editors. Sourcebook of Treatment Programs for Sexual
Offenders. New York and London: Plenum Press, 1998.
Morgan, Marcia K. How to Interview
Sexual Abuse Victims: With a Special Segment on
Appropriate Use of Anatomical Dolls. London: Sage
Publications Ltd. 1994.
Ricks, Frances. Native Sexual
Abuse Counsellor: An Empowerment Training and Healing
Model. Northern Review, Summer 1991, vol.
no 7, p. 112-29.
Trent, Bill. Art Therapy Can
Shine a Light Into the Dark History of a Childs
Sexual Abuse. Canadian Medical Association
Journal, April 15, 1992, vol. 146 no. 8, p. 1412-18,
This hand shall forever
know the pains and
woes that sorrow sows.
Fred, age 17
Now I'm left with
all the scars
that will never heal.
It took 40 years
before I was set free.
The place inside me
shines and remains
untouched . I own my
body and it remains
pure as my spirit.
Darkness was mine...
Now it's my tome to...
Build more group
Love on another.
Heather, age 17
together we are stronger
Bruce and Austin
Hands should bring
someone close to you
not push them away.
Hands are for holding,
not for hurting.
My friends are nice.
Friends last forever,
help those who have
Believe in yourself
and have everyting.
A little light
goes a long way
for those who don’t feel
Family is everlasting
even if it’s not your
Everyone has someone
Help those who don’t
Together we can make
a difference and
Heal our hearts.
Hands for help.
I'm so proud of you.