A baby’s capability to dish out abuse is nil. Babies kick their feet, make little fists and shake them towards you. They cry, not in aggression to harm, but in need of a changing soiled diaper, a desire to be fed or simply a need for love. A baby’s agitation is a means of communicating her physical and emotional needs. More often than not, when those needs are met, the commotion fades away, replaced with content.
All babies, human and animal, are born like this. They are pure, sweet and innocent. They have no more power over an adult, who is bigger, faster and stronger, than an ant has over a human.
Sexual, Physical and Emotional Abuse Destroys Innocence
Child abusers manipulate this innocence as a means to justify sexually, physically and emotionally abusing children. How often have we heard news stories of caretakers shaking or hitting a child to quiet her down?
I know because, I remember. In an unfinished basement of our second house, by a brick fireplace, the innocence of a child, on her mother’s request, taking a cup of coffee down to her dad. I remember asking him why I couldn’t tell mom about the special sexual act I had performed on him. Why it had to be our little secret? I remember my dad’s response: “I will go to jail and it will be your fault that the family is broken apart. You wouldn’t want that, now would you?” my father had said, and forty-seven years later, I still see the look on his face.
Further, cowardice actions continue as the abuser places the blame on the child. To stay alive, I moved five thousand miles away in my mid 20s. In the 30 years since, I flew back once, to confront my father. I asked him: “What happened between us when I was a child?” At least he didn’t deny it. “It was nothing. It was no big deal.” When I contacted police years after this and read my brothers’ statements, I was not shocked to learn my father had stated I approached him once when I was six and touched him. He went to his grave believing what he did was okay and that I was to blame. I was a child; he was a grown man. My brothers’ responses to their father’s acts as well as their own, was to blame me. I was a sexual object to all in my family.
This is why I know the way grown men think when they abuse little babies and kids.
Resources for Healing from Child Abuse
In 1989, my first therapist gave me a copy of The Courage to Heal, A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse by Ellen Bass and Laura Davis. This book was one of the first of its kind to help survivors. Years after the abuse, so many suffer from anxiety, sexual and emotional difficulties, self-worth leading to suicidal ideology and relationship issues. We spend a lifetime thinking “I’m more afraid to live, than I am to die.”
I remember a woman quoting:
“A father can put his hands in his daughter’s underwear in 30 seconds. The rest of her life will never be the same again.”
The impact of this statement on every survivor is the basis of this slideshow, and in fact, the DS website. Regardless of the healing we do in our lifetimes, the stark reality remains. In a span of time it takes to brush our teeth, make a hot drink, or even feed our pet, our dads take our innocence away at a period in our life when innocence is all we know. It is a beginning to a lifetime of loneliness, pain and fear.
I strongly recommend this revolutionary book for all survivors, whether you are new to therapy or a ‘veteran’ to healing. Wikipedia offers a great article on this wonderful self-help book.
Abuse Survivors Are Innocent, Stripped At Birth, They are Lonely
Many people reading this article may think comparing a shaken baby and sexual abuse as different as apples and oranges.
I tell survivors, “Abuse is Abuse.” There is no such thing as mild abuse. No matter the act. When the denial sets in and the thoughts of ‘mild’ abuse enter your mind, think what that ‘mild’ abuse has cost you in terms of living your life. Ask yourselves: ‘How much pain are you in? ‘How often do you avoid people not wanting to risk more hurt?’ ‘How much fear do you live with in a day?’ Then remember: Abuse is Abuse. They are both against the law. That first act of abuse sets the child up for a lifetime of pain and suffering.
When we lose our innocence at such a vital young age, every action and reaction builds from those 30 seconds.