Examining abuse in all it’s forms

Warning: Please be aware that some information contained in this blog may trigger you.  My wish is to hold your hand as you move through your journey and support you in the best way I can. Reach out to me if you feel you need to – let me support you as I have been supported.

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Is sexual abuse and incest the same thing?

Sexual abuse takes on lots of different forms.  The most common identified sexual abuse experiences are those that include physical interactions.  Nonetheless, sexual abuse experiences come in the form of harassment, indecent exposure, coercion into pornography, manipulation to perform sexual acts while others observe, and even being forced to sexually abuse others, are just some of the most common forms of sexual abuse.

Incest

Incest is a form of sexual abuse.  Sexual abuse can be defined in many ways, but no matter what we call it, or how we define it, it is an experience in which one is forced, manipulated or otherwise made to have sexual interactions or is exposed to sexual experiences, against their will.  If there was no consent, or if there was an inability to consent, there was abuse.

Rape

Then there is rape, forced sexual interactions that sometimes include other forms of violent behavior.  Rape can be as violent as including multiple perpetrators and the use of objects and weapons.

How, who, when?

Sexual abuse can be between known and/or unknown parties.  Although, often the perpetrator is known to the survivor in some way.  Whereas, incest is defined as sexual experiences between relatives, by parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents and siblings and a younger or less able, child. Similarly, childhood sexual abuse can be between student and teacher, coach and mentee, clergy and parishioners, or an authority figure and a minor. 

Childhood sexual abuse

Childhood sexual abuse usually includes a power disparity due to age or capability. Consequently, Individuals, who have been abused by relatives, or authority figures, don’t always consider it incest or sexual abuse, sometimes because in those experiences, there can exist quite a bit of confusion, guilt, and shame, stemming from the psychological/mental abuse, emotional manipulation, and intimidation, inflicted by the perpetrator.

Grooming

There is also the common experience of what is called “grooming”, where the perpetrator, over time gets the survivor to trust them, depend on them, and ultimately obey their request.  Often, the grooming memories and experiences affect and impact the sense of guilt and misplaced responsibility survivors often feel. Survivors, often wonder if they allowed it, wanted it, or wanted the gifts and favors that were offered in the “grooming”, regardless of the demands and solicitations made.

Do you identify as a sexual abuse survivor? Were you a victim of Grooming?

Stick with me.  In the next blog we will be looking at healing from these traumas.  Stay tuned.

Be well, Be Blessed

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RUNNING THROUGH DARKNESS
MEMOIR OF A SPIRITUAL WARRIOR

BY SANTA MOLINA-MARSHALL ‧ RELEASE DATE: MAY 3, 2022

This debut memoir chronicles a woman’s spiritual exploration and growth as she overcame a disturbing childhood and helped others heal.

Brought to America from the Dominican Republic as a youngster, Molina-Marshall should have led a happy life. Her father was a diligent worker, and his large family wanted for nothing. But the author recounts that her dad had a drinking problem and was a serial philanderer. Molina-Marshall’s long-suffering mother left him for a woman. Then it was all downhill for the bright, 12-year-old girl, who was shuttled between foster care and relatives. According to the author, she was sexually abused by the husband of one of her siblings. This resulted in Molina-Marshall becoming alienated and moody. By 15, she simply tried to survive. In her favor were grit and a restless intelligence. She quit school, rented a room, and found a factory job. Time went by, and for a while she was happily married. Yet when her husband left her, her life truly began. She turned to religion for answers but decided that blaming God for her woes was a cop-out. 

In this absorbing and moving memoir, Molina-Marshall’s vivid storytelling is fearless. She frankly discusses the truths she discovered and the indignities she suffered. These admissions are disclosed with a touch of resignation and plenty of bite. However painful, everything she experienced was a lesson, and she bravely realized that she was part of the problem: “The fear of being hurt, rejected, or abused often led to me feeling lonely and misunderstood. No one knew the agonizing pain I felt being trapped in my thoughts and anger. I was becoming my biggest threat.” 

The author skillfully recounts her intricate spiritual journey. To deal with her psychic wounds, she searched for an inspirational system. Her open-mindedness led her to the interfaith concept—cherry-picking from various religions and spiritual movements, yoga, and Indigenous beliefs as a way of finding peace. Along with her female partner, she built a therapy practice, making use of every spiritual element that aided her and others. The road was bumpy, and she found that women of color in same-sex relationships were not welcomed everywhere. To do good works—and finally live on her own terms—she effectively overcame bigotry.

An engrossing, cathartic account of empathy and success through determination and confidence.

Pub Date: May 3, 2022   |    ISBN: 978-0-578-38315-6  |   Page Count: 264    | Publisher: From Trauma to Triumph  |   Review Posted Online: June 13, 2022