Thursday, August 16, 2012

Hands Off! to Sexual Abuse

As a child, teen, and even adult, I cannot count the times I was sexually violated. Touched, felt up, felt down, forced up, forced down and made to touch others. Gross! It turns my stomach to think about it. My abusers, like most sexual abuse victims, were those I (or my family) put our complete trust in; neighbors, friends, and even relatives. (RAIN statistics say that 70% of sexual abuse is by someone the victim knew)!

By the age of two I was completely bald. I had pulled all my long blonde hair out, strand by strand. Even worse, I hit my head on our hardwood floors for hours. I rocked so hard in our family rocking chair that I broke it. However, nights were the worst. Every night I had severe nightmares (now I realize they were night terrors), that had me gasping for air and so afraid I couldn’t go back to sleep.

So why didn’t I just report the abuse and get it over with?

Like most victims of sexual abuse, I was threatened by my abusers not to tell, and I was afraid if I did tell, no one would believe me, or I’d be the one in trouble. Besides, I was ashamed. I felt dirty, disgusting and nasty. There was no soap or hot water in the world that could clean all that filth up. I was totally embarrassed by what had been done to me. I hated myself and I knew others must too. I knew I must deserve the abuse, though. So I learned not to fight, to stay still until it was over, all the while pretending I was in a safe, good place.

My safe, good place never came until the age of 26. Reality hit me like a hammer over the head when my husband of seven years turned his dreaded porn addiction onto our three small children and sexually assaulted them. That’s when I chose to stop the cycle of abuse and make a better life for me and my children. Yes, it was hard, being a single mother of three, battling horrible panic attacks, and trying to overcome Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. But I refused to be a victim—I made up my mind to be a survivor. It took a lot of time, but I have healed, and am still healing, and have a passion to help others become survivors too!

Sadly, stories of sexual abuse today are only getting worse.

Infants, children and teens are physically, verbally, and sexually abused by their own parents or friends of the family every day. The most horrific part is, these people are the ones we’ve taught our children to trust. Sex offenders are lurking around in every aspect of society.

Just read the stories that are making headlines today! (News Stories just in: Among Worst Sex Child Abuse Case, Man Accused of Sexually Abusing Infant/Toddler, 5 Year Old Girl Abused, Teen Sexually Assaulted)

Coaches are sexually abusing their athletes. (News Stories on coaches: Swimming Coach, Football Coach from Penn State, Judo Coach) Daycare workers are sexually abusing children entrusted to their care. (Read Story) Two different babysitters are even being charged in unrelated deaths of two children. (Read Story).

Pastors, priests, and those in religious authority are sexually abusing those under their provision. (News Stories on pastors: LDS Pastor, Youth Pastor, Priest) Boy Scout Leaders are sexually abusing those in their troops. (Boy Scout Perversion Files) Teachers are sexually assaulting students. (News Stories on teachers: Worker for Troubled Youth,  Teacher, Teacher Terminated)

Movie Stars are taking advantage of their co-star children on set. (One Dad on set--Hey Dad! Star Robert Hughes ) Truck Drivers are now taking minors across state lines so they can sexually abuse them. (Read Story) Police officers are even taking advantage of their position and using sexual abuse tactics on innocent victims. (EX-Dare Officer, Former Sheriff’s Deputy & Prosecutor)

Scary world out there isn’t it?

Even scarier, many of these perpetrators told their child victims they loved them, including the coach of Gold Medalist Olympic Winner, Kayla Harrison. Some of these young victims even agreed to the terms of the sexual conduct, confused at the time, and thinking it was okay. However, sex with a child or a teen under the age of 18 is never consensual, it's more like statutory rape. (Read Story)

Some mothers, like Laney Wyble, are trying to protect their young children from sexual abuse by their own fathers, and not much is being done. (Read Story)

We need to do more before it’s too late.

One soccer club is doing something to ensure the safety of athletes and children in the future. They have put into place a Code of Conduct for Coaches. Some of the rules state that mentors/coaches should not be in dressing rooms, cars, etc. with an individual player, no inappropriate touch, get parental permission before taking photos of players, use open door policy and have another adult present when counseling players, no social networking with players, no gifts or cards to individual players, and report all abuse to proper authorities. (Read Story)

Those are all great tips for sure. Still, sexual abuse is everywhere. It’s even rearing its ugly head online too. With everything from pedophiles and pornography now sexual harassment is showing up virtual video games too. New systems have the capability to chat, so people are being bashed, especially those who are LBGT, but even worse when they learn the player is a woman, she suddenly becomes a sexual target. (Article: How to Fix the Problem of Sexual Harrassment Online)

Most of my life I lived in shame and blame for the horrific abuse I suffered. Today I'm free! That is why I founded It’s a hands-on non-profit organization designed to break those feelings of guilt and shame and stop abuse, bullying and violence in all realms. We work with others to raise awareness, educate, provide safety and prevention methods, and offer complete healing to victims, bystanders, and even those who abuse. We write blogs, books, host motivational healing workshops, do pet therapy, and play interactive games with children and teens while teaching an invaluable message “hands off” about standing up for yourself and others.

Written by: Lisa Freeman, Sex Abuse Survivor & Advocate, Founder & CEO of, Healing Projects Specialist for Bully Police USA, Bully Advocate for Dreamcatchers for Abused Children

Other Help, Hotlines, and Links to Stop Sexual Abuse:

For help dealing with sexual violence, call the Safe Connections Crisis Helpline at 314-531-2003.
For children, call the Child Abuse Hotline at 800-392-3738.
If you’ve been the victim of a sexual assault, call the Crime Victim Advocacy Center at 314-652-3623.

'America's Most Wanted' spotlights man wanted in strangling, sexual assault of a Beaverton woman


Anonymous said...

I am very interested for this post.This site is so helpful. So i want some information for sharing this side with some of my friend. Thanks!

Lisa Freeman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.