– Guest Article By Grisel E. Knowles
At 25 years old I have seen much beyond the years I hold and seemingly of all I have seen , the one thing that brings me to a screeching halt is the abuse of children within our nation.
Headlines of late since the case of young Marco Archer have been utterly disturbing. From near abductions to molestation and killing of our youths; I question where is the sense of brotherhood within this country. Many persons may feel that abuse is a topic we should shield our ears and eyes from but I beg to differ. Maybe it is because I was once a victim of childhood abuse on levels unimaginable that I feel a responsibility that was not given to me as a child to offer to some wounded child in hopes that they one day can mend and fly.
“Abuse is like a death sentence; you carry it day in and day out hoping for that day to come when you may release it and find your solace in knowing you no longer have to look over your shoulder- you can breathe again.”
Many persons may think that abuse of children is limited to homes that are stricken with poverty and lack the basic foundation of love but that is far from true. I grew up very fortunate in that I was afforded the opportunity to attend private schools from K-12, went on trips yearly, had the best that money can afford, my family was very affectionate and protective but yet never had a peace of mind. At an early age my eyes was opened to the world and the harsh truths engulfed my soul- that truth we call Molestation.
It is no hidden fact that many children go to bed at night in fear, in hopes that someday they are rescued from their realities. In our country abuse is the taboo that families hide and the victims are the ones who tend to live with the scars that they are the ones who did wrong. It is time that we as a nation help our children to mend who are victims because it is my opinion that once a victim always a victim until you decide to break free of the chains. Breaking free of the chains first start within.
Acknowledge The Abuse
It can be a very hard time to acknowledge the fact that you are a victim but if you ever wish to heal and be whole again it is the hardest part. Once you have done so; weigh the pros and cons of stepping out into the light. It is much harder to eat abuse alone than it is to share your pain with a trusted loved one. I never shared my pain with anybody. Rather, I used poetry as my outlet and channeled my pain into helping others who were in my position. Some persons are stronger than other’s so know where your strengths and weaknesses lay. My weakness at the time was my family- they came first.
Grab the Bull By The Horns
This is the part where the most uncertainty comes in as you are not sure how those around you will take the news and cope. But remember it is no longer about them coping or the predator who stole apart of you; focus on getting out what you need to. For me it all boiled down to can I allow this person to continual hurt me and possibly my younger sister or was it time to take a firm stand and reclaim my life. I chose to reclaim my life, I left home as I felt I needed the space to feel safe and I wrote a long letter to my aunt because I knew from early on she was my protector. The rest as they say was history but like all battles the war continued.
There are places such as The Crisis Center which offers support to victims. You are now on the transitional path of Victim to Survivor. If you do not feel at ease sharing your pain, your past then use a positive channel such as art, music, or anything which can offer you a release to let it all go. It is not as easy as it may sound because there are going to be many issues that comes with being a survivor. There will be times you have flash backs, there will be times you wish you kept it all in, you will gain enemies along the way but just remember your strength lays in the fact that you made it this far and our Creator has a plan for your life.
You ultimately determine how your story will end. I encourage victims turned survivors to talk about it, it will be hard at first because it is such an intimate experience and most of the times the trauma of being molested becomes apart of who you are. But you made it this far so let us separate the pain and turn it day by day into a celebration- a liberating experience.
Move From Being a Survivor of Abuse to a Thrivor of Abuse
So you have taken a stand and placed you first for once in your life. The journey may not have been easy but the rewards will be sweet. Remove the stigma of being a survivor off of your shoulders slowly but surely and step into the realm of being a thrivor. A thrivor is one who not only overcame their circumstance but also became a productive citizen and not a circumstance of their past. It is too often women and men alike allow the chains of their past to bound them endlessly to the demons that they once knew. You have the key to your freedom and only you can unlock it.
Abuse especially at a young age places so many doubts within the mind- doubts about who you are, doubts about do you deserve to be loved, doubts about your self worth, doubts about those in your life. As a current thrivor I am still overcoming hurdles within my life but I am comfortable enough to open up my wounds to the world and our Bahamian society because it is time that we take a stand and acknowledge that Molestation is real within our country and it can happen to anybody.
It is my hope that through education, safety programs and community outreach that we may remove the stigma associated with abuse. We the Bahamian people need to become familiar with the channels available to help us namely The Crisis Center. Abuse is a crime- report it. Abuse knows no sex, race, creed, religion or age; we have a responsibility to our children to provide them with love, protection and the basic necessities of life.
I leave with you this:
Children Learn What They Live
If a child lives with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive,
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves,
If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy.
But do not despair …
If a child lives with tolerance, they learn to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If a child lives with praise, they learn to appreciate.
If a child lives with fairness, they live with justice.
If a child lives with security, they live to have faith.
If a child lives with approval, they learn to like himself.
If a child lives with acceptance and friendship.
they learn to find love in the world.
— Dorothy Law Nolte
What will your child live?
Grisel E. Knowles- Founder of See No Evil