"The mental scars of any type of victimization last a lifetime," says Marilyn Benoit, M.D., psychiatrist and member of the American Medical Association's National Advisory Council on Family Violence.
According to the AMA, "Assault, sexual as well as all other forms, is a silent epidemic growing at an alarming rate. "Over 61% of victims are female children." As with anything else, this has diverse degrees, which have their embryonic beginnings in some form of childhood abuse.
When the god-given, care-taking nature of the woman, to love, comfort, nurture and heal, is thwarted by an abnormal aberration in her spiritual feminine development; the results can have long-lasting far-reaching detrimental effects on the entire society. In our recent efforts to abolish this insidious scourge in our midst, the bright light of recognition has been shone into the heretofore cloaked and dark recesses of our culture.
Owing to the fact that women have traditionally been the instigators of reform and progress, albeit until recently, coaching from the wings, theirs are the voices that scream the loudest in protest, and seek, through their care-taking nature to expose and eradicate this evil that was allowed to grow to such monstrous proportions. The anguished silent cries of the childhood victims, who have now reached adulthood, have penetrated the denial deafened ears of what was once thought an evolutionarily advanced society.
Women, for the most part, have always spearheaded this progression. In their wild grief at the falsity of this societal mask; a fresh perseverance was born. The original tree of female suppression bore its blemished tainted fruit in a society crippled by its corrupted roots. Gathering up the scattered detritus of the past, she assessed the results, diagnosed the illness, and for the umpteenth time set out to right our listing ship. With a cry that echoed off the seemingly impenetrable walls of established status-quo, she bore out the well-known truth of the axiom: "If mama's not happy; nobody's happy."
The natural-born instincts of the feminine nature to love comfort and heal, when stifled by the consequences of abuse, may render the woman to feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy. Feeling that she was not loved valued or cherished; she cannot love value or cherish herself; and in that barren fallow state, cannot offer these gifts to others in her life. Her desire to fill the void left by this abuse, can at times, take on an air of anxious desperation as she demands instant gratification of her needs from everyone around her. In the absence of her original abuser, she may begin to beat up on herself by such aberrant behavior as drug and alcohol abuse, sexual promiscuity, self-mutilation, eating to obesity or shoplifting. Nothing she does or consumes can satisfy her deep need for the missing love and acceptance she craves. In her frustration, she may strike out at others for their perceived rejection. Mental, emotional and physical abuse distorts her life; as well as the lives of the people with whom she comes in contact. She may unknowingly seek relationships with men who will reinforce and validate her feelings of rejection and persecution. When love and acceptance are offered, she may, in her rapacious need, reject it as too little. Although we all desire acceptance; hers is a void too deep to be adequately filled by anyone; in seeking revenge, she repeatedly recreates the scene of the crime, thereby insuring her own rejection.
Breaking what seems to have become a vicious cycle will require an examination and assessment of her entire life, coupled with a sincere desire and determination to heal these festering wounds.
Discovering and recognizing this wounded inner child, can be the initial step in the process of healing, a process only she can complete.
She must bring this child out into the light- examine her wounds with a now separate loftier view of empathy; listen to her story- comfort her with compassion, love and understanding.
Once she has this little girl out and on the mend- she cannot place her back within- neither can she abandon her. She may be an invalid, but she is her invalid. Carrying her in her arms, she may keep her safe and protected, and yet a constant reminder of what she has overcome. Only when she heals and separates this child from her adult self, can she live her life unencumbered by the cries of the little girl wounded.