|# of Howard County adults we've trained.|
Sexual abuse is a serious violation of the body's pain/pleasure center. During the abuse, a healthy body may respond as if there is pleasure, even if the healthy mind is in agony. Sometimes the body is in pain and the mind has been manipulated by the abuser into thinking that it is receiving pleasure. This is why abuse causes such extreme long term damage if this issue is not addressed and treated.
When an abuser abuses, then cries afterwards and apologizes to the child, or even threatens suicide because of the guilt, this continues that cycle of muddy, mixed up messages. The child feels empathy for the abuser, even if they know intellectually that the abuser has done something to hurt them.
Sexual abuse has layers of mixed signals, even on the community level. When Penn State let Paterno go, some of the alumni and students were outraged and upset. Although I feel that this decision was the right one, I understood why the dismissal caused so much anger. It was a mixed abuse. And, although the Sandusky case was seen on a macro level, it is the same exact emotions that are felt on the micro level. Mixed messages that need to be healed, cleared, and respected.
With training, parents can teach their children that abusers are the ones who should be held accountable, and feel guilty for the acts they have committed. Children should never feel responsible for any ripple effect, and we can teach them that when it comes to people respecting their bodies, there are no gray areas, and absolutely no muddy waters.