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Resources for Survivors

ASCA (Adult Surviving Child Abuse) Australia

ASCA is a national organisation which works to improve the lives of adult survivors of child abuse throughout Australia.

Our long-term strategy is to ensure that all Australian adult survivors of childhood trauma will be able to access the specific services they need, to ensure health, well-being and meaningful engagement in their communities .

ASCA (Adult Survivors of Child Abuse)

Adult Survivors of Child Abuse (ASCA SM) is an international self-help support group program designed specifically for adult survivors of neglect, physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse. The ASCA SM program offers:

  • Community based self-help support groups
  • Provider based self-help support groups
  • Web based self-help support groups
  • Survivor to Thriver workbooks

Domestic Violence Resource
Domestic violence statistics show a steady increase in volient crimes at home. Domestic violence facts are hard to come by as victims maybe scared to come forward or trying to build up some kind of domestic violence defense. This website has been split into sections to help people get the right advice in dealing with the situation and getting domestic violence help

HealthyPlace.com
HealthyPlace.com is the largest consumer mental health site, providing comprehensive, trusted information on psychological disorders and psychiatric medications from both a consumer and expert point of view. We have an active mental health social network for support, online psychological tests, breaking mental health news, mental health videos, our documentary films, a live mental health tv show, unique tools like our “mediminder” and more. We’re glad you found us.

National Domestic Violence Hotline  (NDVH)

NDVH is a nonprofit organization that provides crisis intervention, information and referral to victims of domestic violence, perpetrators, friends and families.

1-800-799-7233

Safe Horizon

Safe Horizon is the nation’s largest provider of services to victims of crime and abuse. Our mission is to provide support, prevent violence, and promote justice for victims, their families and communities.

  • Domestic Violence Hotline: 800.621.HOPE (4673)
  • Crime Victims Hotline: 866.689.HELP (4357)
  • Rape, Sexual Assault & Incest Hotline: 212.227.3000
  • TDD phone number for all hotlines: 866.604.5350

Survivors of Incest Anonymous (SIA)

We are a spiritual, self-help group of women and men, 18 years or older, who are guided by a set of 12 Suggested Steps and 12 Traditions as borrowed from AA, along with some slogans and the Serenity Prayer. There are no dues or fees. Everything that is said here, in the group meeting or member to member, must be held in strict confidence. We do not have any professional therapist working in our group. SIA is not a replacement for therapy or any other professional service when needed. The only requirement for membership is that you are a victim of child sexual abuse, and you want to recover.

United Way First Call For Help

United Way is a worldwide network in 45 countries and territories, including nearly 1,300 local organizations in the U.S. It advances the common good, creating opportunities for a better life for all, by focusing on the three key building blocks of education, income and health. The United Way movement creates long lasting community change by addressing the underlying causes of problems that prevent progress in these areas. LIVE UNITED is a call to action for everyone to become a part of the change.

Women Organized Against Rape (WOAR)

Women Organized Against Rape is a non-profit organization in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania whose mission is to eliminate all forms of sexual violence through specialized treatment services, comprehensive prevention education programs, and advocacy for the rights of victims of sexual assault. We provide free counseling for survivors of rape and childhood sexual abuse. Please explore our website to learn more about sexual violence and the array of services that WOAR can provide to survivors, family members, and the community. 

24 Hour Hotline: 215-985-3333

SVU: 215-685-3251

The Wounded Healer Journal

Hello and welcome to The Wounded Healer Journal. TWHJ is the oldest point of presence on the web for psychotherapists and others who have experienced the devastation of trauma including child abuse. Created and maintained from 1995-2002 by Linda Chapman, TWHJ is now managed by Carol McClure.

TWHJ has both forums and chat rooms for Adult Survivors of Trauma and Abuse. We also have a Resources site that can assist you in finding more information about many of the topics found in the forums.

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*The following information is taken from the Domestic Violence website.

COMMON MYTHS AND WHY THEY ARE WRONG

Domestic violence is not a problem in my community.

  • Michigan State Police records from 1997 show that a woman is killed by a partner or former partner about once a week in Michigan.
  • In 1998, the Michigan State Police reported more than 5,000 victims of domestic violence in Oakland County.

Domestic violence only happens to poor women and women of color.

  • Domestic violence happens in all kinds of families and relationships. Persons of any class, culture, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, age, and sex can be victims or perpetrators of domestic violence.

Some people deserve to be hit.

  • No one deserves to be abused. Period. The only person responsible for the abuse is the abuser.
  • Physical violence, even among family members, is wrong and against the law.

Alcohol, drug abuse, stress, and mental illness cause domestic violence.

  • Alcohol use, drug use, and stress do not cause domestic violence; they may go along with domestic violence, but they do not cause the violence. Abusers often say they use these excuses for their violence. (Michigan Judicial Institute, Domestic Violence Benchbook, 1998, p. 1.6 – 1.7)
  • Generally, domestic violence happens when an abuser has learned and chooses to abuse. (Michigan Judicial Institute, Domestic Violence Benchbook, 1998, p. 1 – 5)
  • Domestic violence is rarely caused by mental illness, but it is often used as an excuse for domestic violence. (Michigan Judicial Institute, Domestic Violence Benchbook, 1998, p. 1 – 8)

Domestic violence is a personal problem between a husband and a wife.

  • Domestic violence affects everyone.
  • About 1 in 3 American women have been physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives. (Commonwealth Fund, Health Concerns Across a Woman’s Lifespan: the Commonwealth Fund 1998 Survey of Women’s Health, 1999)
  • In 1996, 30% of all female murder victims were killed by their husbands or boyfriends. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 1997)
  • 40% to 60% of men who abuse women also abuse children. (American Psychological Association, Violence and the Family, 1996)

If it were that bad, she would just leave.

  • There are many reasons why women may not leave. Not leaving does not mean that the situation is okay or that the victim want to be abused.
  • Leaving can be dangerous. The most dangerous time for a woman who is being abused is when she tries to leave. (United States Department of Justice, National Crime Victim Survey, 1995)

    MANY VICTIMS DO LEAVE AND LEAD SUCCESSFUL, VIOLENCE FREE LIVES.

What is Abuse?

*The information below was taken from the Domestic Violence website. They also have some other good articles and resources available for anyone who may be in a dangerous situation.

Many people who are being abused do not see themselves as victims. Also, abusers do not see themselves as being abusive. People often think of domestic violence as physical violence, such as hitting. However, domestic violence takes other forms, such as psychological, emotional, or sexual abuse.

Domestic violence is about one person in a relationship using a pattern of behaviors to control the other person. It can happen to people who are married or not married; heterosexual, gay, or lesbian; living together, separated, or dating.

If your partner repeatedly uses one or more of the following to control you;

* pushing, hitting, slapping, choking, kicking, or biting
* threatening you, your children, other family members or pets
* threatening suicide to get you to do something
* using or threatening to use a weapon against you
* keeping or taking your paycheck
* puts you down or makes you feel bad
* forcing you to have sex or to do sexual acts you do not want or like
* keeping you from seeing your friends, family or from going to work

YOU HAVE BEEN ABUSED!!

Remember threatened or actual physical violence may be illegal. Consider calling the police for help

Well hello WP friends and viewers!

Been gone a while.First I didn’t have internet connection, then things in my world were a whirlwind. Now, I’m trying to get back in the groove. You can consider this an “all things shattering update.”

Therapy- It’s going about as well as can be expected. I’ve had two therapy sessions, and I’m feeling slightly more comfortable with my therapist. The bulk of our meetings thus far has been about my current situation in my marriage. It has been difficult to face the reality: I am in an abusive marriage. But, at the same time, realizing it means that I can a) bring it to my spouse’s attention so it can, hopefully, be handled and our marriage can be made stronger b) not hide inside myself and accept the abusive behaviors any longer.

Next week in therapy we are supposed to talk about medication and my psychiatric evaluation from two years ago. It will be nice to have a break from discussing my marriage, and give me a little down time in trying to deal with all of this. At least, that’s what I’m hoping. 😉

Self-Injury- I made it sixteen days without cutting. Then I fell. It was really bad. I don’t usually cut so deep. But I couldn’t seem to get the red to stop flowing. It took lots of constant pressure. It still is not healed, but is getting a little better.

I am battling this compulsion with everything I have. Last night I wanted to cut so badly, felt so triggered. I did just a small one, and then forced myself not to do it more than that. Instead I called a friend. It didn’t really help me not think about cutting, but it kept me occupied in some capacity, enough to not cut. I took some Tylenol pm and laid down on the living room floor. I fell asleep there.

Sleep & Nightmares- I’m not sleeping well at all. The last few nights, excluding last night, I have only managed 2-3 hours of sleep each night. Last night I passed out on the living room floor and slept 8 hours. That would have been great, except that even when I do fall asleep I’ve been waking screaming and crying from a bad dream.

The dreams are awful. Many of them are about the self-injury going too far. A few have been about my abuse as a child. It’s hard to know what is real and what isn’t. Most of the time the dream is scary or tragically sad. I wake up feeling on edge, my heart pounding in my chest. Often my spouse has woken up from the crying, screaming, etc.

Binging & Restricting- My eating is out of control. Last night I ate a whole jar of pickles- gag. If that wasn’t bad enough, I prefaced it with a bowl of ice cream. Just two hours earlier I had eaten chick-fil-a for dinner. Its so bad. I wanted to get so sick last night but just couldn’t do it. Too many people around. Restricting would be so much better.

Depression- I’m still really depressed and some days I cannot function. I struggle to get dressed and take care of myself. It’s so difficult. I’m trying every day to get up and shower and do at least one chore around the house. But still it’s not enough to pull me out of this funk. I try to take my children places and do things with them, and for those moments I am okay, but once we are home the cloud of darkness overshadows me again.

Well, I think I’ve written enough on all that’s going on with me. Just wanted to catch anyone up who might be reading and wondering. I wish you all well on your journey towards healing. ~ss

Internet Back Up

I have finally gotten my internet situation worked out, for now. I will update as soon as the inspiration strikes me. I hope you are all doing well and glad to see people are still reading. Best wishes on your journey ~SS

Internet Down

Hey readers,

My internet at the house is down, well actually the computer is damaged- possibly a broken harddrive, so I cannot check in and update regularly. Please leave a comment and let me know you were here. I will get back as soon as I can. Best wishes on your journey to healing ~SS

Another thought occurred to me this morning that I’d like to share in relation to this topic of “abuse” and “abusive” behavior. For many of us who have struggled with understanding these terms, one of the biggest “lies” we accept is that just because we do not have “many physical scars,” somehow that means we were not abused or our abuse wasn’t severe.

In conjunction with this, we also struggle because many adult survivors of child abuse do have happy memories of their families. We ask ourselves how can people who created such good memories in our childhoods also create such heartache and violence. There are no easy answers for the survivor.

We minimize the events of our childhoods, sometimes blocking them out all together in our effort to survive. We press our feelings down so far that the events become like pebbles in our mind. In reality, they are large, jagged boulders, but we have believed the lies so long that we cannot see the reality of our past. Often times, we are not ready to see it for what it was- tragic.

When we come to counseling and begin therapy, the process is painful. We are asked to bring in pictures of us as children, to confront and reassure our inner child, to dredge up the past bit by bit. The pain seems endless, robbing us of functionality for a time after each memory surfaces.

Therapists gently push us through this stage, for they understand what we cannot- to stay in this state of recovering memories would render us incapable of living. It is an ugly, heart wrenching process, and so to spare us additional pain, they prod us on week after week until we are empty of the memories, the purging complete. Only then can we begin to tackle each brick of our past and find healing. Only after we have acknowledged the horrors and owned them as our own, can we begin on the journey to wholeness.

Acknowledging the abuse happened to us, and not some detached version of our former selves hurts, because with this acknowledgement we feel, perhaps for the first time, the pain as our own. It didn’t happen to the child we were or the stranger from our past, it happened to us. Feeling this is both essential and cruel. The pain would be unbearable if it were not for the hope of recovery and healing. Admitting that we were abused and understanding the gravity of that abuse produces in the survivor both sadness and acceptance. From this place, we begin to move forward….

I am reading a book by Dr. Henry Cloud titled Changes that Heal. The book emphasizes bonding, boundaries, and grace, truth, and time as agents which bring about change and healing in those who struggle with depression or a less than ideal past.

One of the most difficult parts of the book is the use of words like “abuse” and “abusive”. The abused struggles to categorize behavior as abusive, wrong, overstepping boundaries, violating the self. We question if the actions perpetrated against us are truly wrong or if we just have wrong perceptions. We often wonder if the events or actions actually occurred or if our minds are turning against us. For the abused, “abuse” and “abusive” are grey areas which we cannot define.

What defines sexual abuse? Is it the act of forcing one to have relations against their will? Certainly. But what about the married man whose wife treats him like an object and only uses him for her own pleasure with no consideration of his needs or limits, or the child whose grandfather makes her uncomfortable when he kisses her goodbye and does so on the mouth? What about the grey areas? The things that make us FEEL wrong, but lie within the boundaries of familial relationships? Are these abusive too? One would not deny that they are traumatic to the person experiencing them, but defining them as abuse is much more difficult, especially for the abused.

If we say that abuse is something which makes one feel violated and has at its core a selfish motive, then what is abuse to one person may not be abuse to another. This removes the objectivity. What happens then when an abused person takes the case to court and the judge does not feel that the actions perpetraited against him qualify as abuse? So, clearly, this is a complicated issue. There is no list defining abuse by the acts that have been perpetrated across time. It is something the abused must rectify and work out in his own mind, a puzzle to be strung together like any other puzzle in life. It’s no wonder that books on healing bring about such confusion in the mind of the abused, when we struggle to even define and apply the terms used therein. Just some food for thought on this Friday morning as I continue reading about boundaries of the physcial body.

I am reading a book by Dr. Henry Cloud titled Changes that Heal. The book emphasizes bonding, boundaries, and grace, truth, and time as agents which bring about change and healing in those who struggle with depression or a less than ideal past.

One of the most difficult parts of the book is the use of words like “abuse” and “abusive”. The abused struggles to categorize behavior as abusive, wrong, overstepping boundaries, violating the self. We question if the actions perpetrated against us are truly wrong or if we just have wrong perceptions. We often wonder if the events or actions actually occurred or if our minds are turning against us. For the abused, “abuse” and “abusive” are grey areas which we cannot define.

What defines sexual abuse? Is it the act of forcing one to have relations against their will? Certainly. But what about the married man whose wife treats him like an object and only uses him for her own pleasure with no consideration of his needs or limits, or the child whose grandfather makes her uncomfortable when he kisses her goodbye and does so on the mouth? What about the grey areas? The things that make us FEEL wrong, but lie within the boundaries of familial relationships? Are these abusive too? One would not deny that they are traumatic to the person experiencing them, but defining them as abuse is much more difficult, especially for the abused.

If we say that abuse is something which makes one feel violated and has at its core a selfish motive, then what is abuse to one person may not be abuse to another. This removes the objectivity. What happens then when an abused person takes the case to court and the judge does not feel that the actions perpetraited against him qualify as abuse? So, clearly, this is a complicated issue. There is no list defining abuse by the acts that have been perpetrated across time. It is something the abused must rectify and work out in his own mind, a puzzle to be strung together like any other puzzle in life. It’s no wonder that books on healing bring about such confusion in the mind of the abused, when we struggle to even define and apply the terms used therein. Just some food for thought on this Friday morning as I continue reading about boundaries of the physcial body.

The office was quiet, but comfortable. A couch, two chairs, a desk in the far corner. Natural sunlight streaming through the window overlooking the trees. Peaceful. It was the sort of couch that people could lay on and drift off into uncharted territory. I could see myself there, one day. Instead I chose the chair furthest from the door, to keep myself from running. She sat in the chair on the opposite side of the couch and smiled, pen and paper in hand. And so it began….

An hour of my life, gone. And yet, redeemed. An hour of talking and listening, of sharing and being shared with. An hour on the road to recovery. Perhaps, the most peaceful hour of my day. I left feeling lighter, maybe almost hopeful that things could change.

Then something unexpected happened. Something for which I have no understanding. As the rain poured down outside our little suburbia style home, I felt a compulsion to run out into it. I took the hand of my five year old and pulled her out into the driveway, ignoring the neighbors. Actually, I’m not even sure I saw them at all, until after the fact, as we were heading back into the house. It felt cool on my face, it pelted against my bare arms and soaked into my dry skin. We raised our hands heavenward and enjoyed the fresh water as it flowed over us. I swung her into the air around and around until I felt dizzy with life.

It wasn’t the rain that made me feel so intoxicated, it was the rush of life through my body. I felt alive… and as I stepped back into my house and sopped the water from my hair, I felt thankful for that life. For the first time in a long time, I had lived in a moment, and it felt good.

Stigma, lies, misinformation, misunderstanding. We deal with these ills every day. The person who suffers from schizophrenia, the man homeless and insane, the self-injurer, the rape victim. But how often do we stop and ask if they need help? How often do we reach out a loving hand or a strong arm to those who feel so alone, isolated? The truth we don’t like to face is that many of us don’t, ever. Sure, there are those in high serving professions like nursing, counseling, and other mental health related fields, but what about the rest of us?

I’ve lost more friends to suicide than I care to share about here. That’s not what this place is for, but I think something needs to be said somewhere. I couldn’t help them any more than I can help myself, but I tried anyway.

I never write anything here for sympathy, so please don’t tell me you’re sorry. Understand, that there are people in the world who need a friend but have no one to ask to fill such a role. Reach out to the hurting, the destitute, the socially unacceptable. Write love.. maybe not on their arms, but on their hearts.

 I write love every day. I write it over my own scars, over my own pain, on  the mirror I gaze into every morning. I’m still fighting this fight. I’m still struggling in this war against my own self-destructive tendencies, but I’m still here. For today, I will be thankful for that. For today, I will reach out to another struggling along side me. For today, I will count the scars on my wrist and remember all the times I didn’t die but could have. For today, existing is enough. Perhaps tomorrow I will find the courage to live.