The Rural Roots
May 25, 2003
CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE NEEDS TO BE TALKED ABOUT
Peter Griffiths, Master of Social Work is a semi-retired mental health counselor writes counseling columns for several newspapers including the Prince Albert Daily Herald and Rural Roots Columns and The Western ProducerCoping Columns.
Child sexual abuse is so horrific that people donít want to talk about. They canít believe it could happen, and often donít even believe children or youth who are able to muster the energy they need to have to talk about it.
The longer child sexual abuse remains a secret, the longer it tends to continue. The longer that a child or youth, who has been sexually abused, isnít free to talk about it and get help, even after the abuse has stopped, the greater the damage that the abuse causes.
Linda Lee Foltz, a survivor of child sexual abuse herself, volunteered to work with child abuse victims, and help them advocate their rights to healing and justice. From all the children she had talked with, has come a book, Kids Helping Kids, about real children, dealing with sexual abuse at various aspects of their development.
This is not an easy book to read. It is a book that teachers, parents and in particular, survivors of child sexual abuse need to read. In many of their personal stories, these youth, often adults before they felt safe talking about their abuse, stress the need for children to be informed about what child sexual abuse is, and to hear the stories of those who have survived it.
It is also a book, which all children need to be introduced to, in an appropriate way, so they are more able to recognize impending sexual abuse, and protect themselves from it.
The stories in this book are part of the healing process of the people who wrote them. If you donít take active steps to be a survivor of child sexual abuse, you remain a victim for all your life, and often much more prone to depression or even suicide.
In her introduction to the stories, Foltz stresses some practical advice for teachers, parents, relatives, friends and caregiver. Donít smother kids who have been abused. There is a huge difference between overprotecting and nurturing. Children need the second, but not the first.
She points the danger of isolation and secrecy, and the equal danger of over-publicity and grandstanding. That is why all the names, and some of the situations in the book, have been changed to protect the identity of the individuals, who shared their stories about their painful experiences.
Her advice to child sexual abuse victims, or to potential victims, in found within the word S.E.C.R.E.T.S.
SECRETS make you feel scared. Remember that if a secret makes you feel funny inside, it may not be a good secret to keep.
EXCELLENCE is within all people. You are an excellent person. Believe in yourself.
COPING with hard times is something all children will learn. Learning about yourself will help you cope with life and all the hard parts of growing up.
RESPONSIBILITY is a hard thing in life. Both children and grown-ups are responsible for their actions.
EXPOSING truths is hard, and this information is hard to read, but it will help you.
TERRIFIC kids, like you, are everywhere around the world, trying to grow up and have a happy life.
The fifteen stories in this small, but powerful book, deal with issues such as strangers, dangers and people you know; what sexual abuse is; the Internet and you; being able to take care of yourself; what to do if youíre approach by someone; when your best friend just told you something; threats and promises; why you feel the way you do; and telling is hard, but is important.
Kids Helping Kids, subtitled, Break The Silence Of Sexual Abuse, by Linda Lee Foltz, (ISBN 0-9637966-9-0) costs $14.95 U.S., and was published by Lighthouse Point Press, March 2003. It can be ordered at 412-628-5544 or online at www.kidshelpkids.net