Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Incest:Protect Your Children by Patricia Singleton

Today's blog post  features another guest blogger, Patricia Singleton. I have had the pleasure of following her on Twitter and she has been an inspiration to me as well as so many others.  I think that it is so important for us to suport one another and to give survivors a chance for their voices to be heard. I hope that her story is also an inspiration to you as it has been to me. Below, Patricia reflects back on her memories as a child:


My story as an incest survivor begins with my memories of sitting out in my front yard on a hot summer night with my uncle and my younger sister. Our chairs are lined up in a row, my uncle's, mine and then my little sister.  I don't remember the conversation, if there even was one? My mother is busy in the house. My daddy isn't come yet.  What I remember is that I was wearing shorts because the weather was so hot.  Daddy didn't let my sister and I wear shorts anywhere but at home. I remember being scared and not understanding why my uncle put his hand down inside my shorts and panties.  I felt very uncomfortable and was afraid to say anything.  I just sat there not knowing what to say or do.  As a child, I was told to mine all adults and to do whatever they told me to do.  I remember back a few years before this that I got in trouble with this same uncle because the neighbor told me to do something and I didn't.  This uncle yelled at me that I was supposed to mine all adults and call them aunt or uncle when I was speaking to them.  All adults had authority over me as a child.

The night was dark enough that no one could see what my uncle was doing with his hand.  I don't remember him hurting me.  I just felt uncomfortable like something wasn't quite right.  I didn't understand.  I was 11 years old.  Next, I remember my mother calling me into the house for a few minutes.  I was relieved to be away from my uncle.  I didn't want to go back outside.  I didn't want to sit beside him again.  The child that I was didn't even think about telling my mother. 

I went back outside and sat down beside my uncle.  Why?  Because he was an adult and my uncle.  I didn't know that I had the right or ability to say no to what he was doing.  Mainly, I didn't want to hurt his feelings.  I was taught to aways be nice to others and to take care of their feelings.  I never thought that my feelings might be important.  I was just a kid after all.

Why did I choose to share the above memories?  Because I wanted to let you know how easy it is for a child molester to get to your children.  A child molester can be a stranger but they are more likely to be a friend or a family member like my uncle.

This uncle talked my mother into letting me go fishing with him the next day.  I didn't want to go but I wasn't asked. It was like I was invisible during their discussion.  We didn't fish that day.  He drove down to an isolated spot on a point of land along the creek bank. 

In the back seat of his car, my uncle raped me a number of times.  Then we got dressed and he took me home.  That night he talked my mother into letting me go home with him to visit my grandmother who he lived with for a few years.  Again, I wasn't asked. I would have said no. 

When we got to my grandmother's house, she was away for the weekend.  My uncle had lied about her being home.  I spent the weekend being raped at his convenience.  I remember being so sore that I silently cried through each rape.  I had already learned to suffer in silence.  My pain was being ignored.  I learned that I only had value as someone else's sex object.

When I was a child, my feelings were never of any consequence to my abusers.  My parents never gave me choices of any kind.  Everything was decided for me by the adults in my life.  My dad was a dictator in my family.  A few weeks later, my dad started to sexually abuse me too but that is another part of the story of incest.  This post is about the first memories that I have of being sexually abused.

Parents please do a better job of protecting your children than my parents did.  Please talk to your child about sexual abuse and teach them the following things that will help to keep them safe from molesters like the ones that were in my childhood.

1.  Children have control over who touches them.  Discuss what touches are okay and which ones are inappropriate and tell your child what to do in case someone does touch them in an inappropriate way.  Use language that your child will understand.  Don't wait until they are 10 or 11 like I was.  That may be too late.

2.  Tell your children that they can tell you anything.  They can talk to you about what ever they need to.

3.  Feelings matter even if they belong to a child.  Let your children know that their feelings are important.  In my family feelings weren't safe so I stuffed them or denied that I felt them. As an adult that created many problems for me.

4.  A child needs to know that they can say no to anything that makes them uncomfortable.  Just because an adult or an older child says something is okay doesn't make it so.

5.  Do what is necessary to keep your children safe from child molesters.  If you think that something may be wrong, it probably is.  Don't second guess yourself where the safety of your children is concerned.  Ask them questions.  Learn to read body language because sometimes children are afraid to tell you the truth the first time you ask.

6.  Your children are not here to meet your adult needs.  Be a parent to your children.  Don't expect them to parent you like my parents did.  A child's responsibility is to be a child.  You are the parents.

7.  Secrets between children and adults are not healthy.  Secrets allow children to continue to be abused.  So tell your children to say no to secrets.  Molesters look for children who will keep their secrets.

8.  Teach your children that they can trust you and their own "gut" feelings to protect them.  Listen to your children when they talk and when they play.  Stand up for your children and don't let them be bullied by others.

9.  If you child tells you that they have been touched inappropriately or that someone has sexually abused them, believe them.  Do not invalidate their pain or downplay their pain or their story.  Let them talk as much as they need to.  Don't shut them up because you are uncomfortable.  Nurture your child as they need it.  Judgments from you can do more damage to your child if you blame them than any physical abuse can ever do.  Do not ignore what happened to your child.

10.  Most important of all is parents do not sexually abuse your children.  Incest is a lifetime sentence for a survivor.

Patricia Singleton
Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker
http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/

22 comments:

  1. Jacquese, thank you for asking me to write a guest blog article for you to post here. I appreciate the opportunity to meet other survivors who read your blog. I just wrote a post on my blog Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker sending my readers here to read my guest article. Thanks for helping me to come up with a title for what I write. This post is the first time that I have shared all the details of being raped by my uncle with anyone. I have mentioned my uncle but I haven't revisited that day in the way that I did in this post. Again, Jacquese, thank you for the opportunity that you have given me here.

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  2. Patricia's commitment to spreading awareness so that we will be educated and taught how to protect our children, is outstanding, such a brave, brave lady.

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  3. Fantastic article Patricia. I admire your dedication! Keep on.

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  4. Fantastic article, thank you for sharing this with us. Your message is so so important.

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  5. Mother4Justice, thank you. I don't feel any braver than all the other abuse survivors who are speaking out against child abuse which includes you and Jacquese. We are all needed to be able to stop child abuse. Thank you for the job that you are doing on your end.

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  6. Alene, thank you so much for your support. I believe in passing healing on to others. We can all support each other and help out those just starting on their own healing journeys. That is why I share my journey through my blog posts.

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  7. MyStoryMyPain, thank you and you are very welcome. It is together that we will stop child abuse. Breaking the silence of our own pain of incest and educating others on the signs of abuse are most important in this race to stop child abuse.

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  8. Great article, Patricia. You are doing great things to bring light on this subject!

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  9. Colleen,thank you. This is one of the most difficult posts that I have ever written. More light needs to be shred on incest so that we can stop it.

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  10. great content here on the site with an abundance or resources. I was raped and molested at 8 years of age and I am in the process of healing. Everyday is a struggle.
    My blog is www.frommolestedtomaajestic.blogspot.com I also have a book coming out with the same name on 7/4/2011

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  11. Fantastic post Patricia and so important to cause awareness. Thank you for sharing.

    I have my own blog too, about living as a survivour and living with the MS disease.

    Meeting new survivours makes the world feel smaller and less alone <3

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  12. Telecomwiz1967, yes, Jacquese does offer an assortment of resources here on her blog that are helpful to sexual abuse survivors. Thank you for stopping in. I will be sure to check out your blog and look forward to seeing your book come out.

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  13. Janne Helen, thank you for your comment here and on my blog. For anyone that doesn't know, you should be able to click on Janee Helen's name about and that will take you to her blog to read about being a survivor of child abuse and also living with the disease of MS.

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  14. Patricia, That is a very powerful telling of what happened to you! It's both an inside story and a very scary reminder of what can happen right under a mother's nose. Thank you.
    Jane

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  15. Jane, thank you. I understand my mother's part in my abuse better than my dad's part. I learned to do rage from my father and I learned to deny my feelings from my mother, both unhealthy extremes. I didn't know what healthy anger felt like for many years.

    I wanted to share my story with this blog post but I also wanted to let everyone know the beliefs from my parents that set me up to be abused. Awareness is so important in stopping child abuse. Again, thank you for your comment.

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  16. You are such a woman of strength Patricia. Your story will surely inspire others who have been in a similar situation to bravely deal with it and inspire others to continue their battle. Definitely an eye-opener!

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  17. Alyana, thank you. I don't see myself as any stronger than the other incest survivors that I know in our online community of survivors. It is my hope that I can inspire others to step up and speak out about incest.

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  18. Patricia, this is such a powerful telling of your story. Thank you for sharing it with the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse.

    Also, the list at the end, of things to do to keep children safe, is SO important!!

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  19. From Tracie, Thank you. I was honored that Jacquese asked me to write this guest post. I haven't told this part of my story before. As I was writing it, I could see all of the rules that my parents both taught me that made it easy for me to be abused by the adults in my life.

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  20. Thank you for raising awareness through this guest blog. The safety list is very good. You're right--incest is a life sentence for the survivor. And it tends to go inter-generationally. We must break the cycle!

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  21. Marj, thank you for your comment here and on my blog. You taught me by your example how to be an advocate for children and survivors of child abuse.

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  22. I submitted this article to the Blog Against Child Abuse - July 2011 Edition. The link is here:
    http://www.fromtracie.com/2011/07/blog-against-child-abuse-july-2011.html

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