I'm a suvivor...
...of sexual abuse and incest.
Today I am 51 and realize that most of my life I have lived with fear and shame deeply embedded in my soul.
As a child I have told my mother who in turn gave me a hiding for being such a liar and a slut.
At the age of ten I ran away from home for the first time, I slept in the forest and made my way to the nearest village and confided in a priest, after I finished he pinched my face and told me to get on my knees and pray for forgiveness for speaking of such evil things.
At the age of eleven I tried to commit suicide the first time, I ended up in hospital and told the nurses what is happening at home. To my horror they called my parents to come and fetch me.
I could give you a lengthy list of people who knew about the abuse in our home, and this list would not include any sympathetic ear.
At the age of sixteen I left home for good and at seventeen I had my father arrested for sexually abusing my little sister. He was sentenced for seven years of which he spent two years behind bars, and returned back home to his family.
It would take me thirty three years before I finally had the courage and strength to return home and confront my parents.
I was received as if nothing had ever happened, both of them denied me an apology, and explanation or even just plainly acknowledge what the had done to us. At this very first meeting I found out from my sister that my younger brother had been abused too.
For years I have carried a deep rooted anger inside of me; anger against the system, against society and organized religion for failing the child who suffered and was robbed of her innocence.
At the age of 46 I went on a pilgrimage to Spain (in search for the spirit of the child I once was) and on my return I started to write. I started to write poetry, I turned to internal dialogue and slowly I found answers to the purpose of my life, I found peace at last.
And today I am busy having my book edited and we are close to publication.
My reason for telling the story, an universal story, is easy to explain. We do need to give voice to the suffering of the innocent, to the voiceless victims out there. And yes, we have to come forward and stand by each other in unity and with deep compassion and create awareness.
I often wonder where are the girls/mothers of my age who have experienced the same ordeal as me. For I am sure that many raise children and still deny themselves to grieve their loss. I am sure that many live in dysfunctional families and the circle of abuse is not broken and the next generation will suffer the consequences too.
The consequences of abuse are for ever by the victims side. It does take years of therapy and brings a lot of pain.
It takes courage to find your self and to gain trust again.
Today I am a loving mother and the wife of a loving husband, yet, shadows do come up every now and again. Yet, I am grateful for my extraordinary life and I am blessed beyond words with love and a compassionate heart. I life my life with passion and joy; I have broken the circle of abuse.
May all of you out there find the courage to ask for help. if you are not heard the first time, do it again and again.
But most of all; learn to love yourselves, love yourselves free and know you are not alone.
Live each day and experience the joys life has to offer, it is your birthright.
Blessings and peace to all of you.Gabriele