Monday, January 14, 2008

Violence

Cadex by Leonora Carrington

I feel discouraged. Before I moved from Seattle, I was going to try group therapy for adult women survivors of sexual abuse (notice I used "survivor" instead of "victim".) Group therapy is especially effective for sexual abuse survivors, I've read. There is a lot of shame and isolation with rape and sexual abuse, which makes connecting with others who share both the traumatic experience and the aftermath a possible lifeline. The challenges people face in the aftermath is often hard for people who have not experienced it to understand, even if they are sympathetic and compassionate. It is hard to fathom what it does to your sense of yourself and your worth. So I tried to find a group in L.A., called two different help lines for mental health and victims of abuse and rape, and they could not have been less helpful. They were overwhelmingly unhelpful, bored, maybe. I wonder why these people decided to work a help line. Maybe they were confused about the concept.

So, no luck so far. I'm trying not to give up. There must be literally thousands of abuse survivors in the city of Los Angeles, ergo; there must be support groups and therapy group. I feel like this is really important for me, to get this kind of support and affinity. There is a part of me that knows what I need to get better, and this is something I've wanted for a while. Calling strangers and trying to even say the words "sexual abuse" and ask for help is terrifying. I've gotten to point that I can say that my dad was abusive. I can kind of put on the tough girl act and say, "yeah, my dad beat me" and I can feel like a survivor. I don't feel like a survivor when I think of the sexual abuse or the rape. I feel weak and powerless, like a doll, limp and dull. The feelings of horror, disgust, and fear are still intense. The flashbacks are oddly like in movie, images, not memories. The kind that hit you, make you close your eyes and grimace as if you were slapped in the forehead. The pain is fresh; I feel exposed. I wish I felt like a survivor, but I feel like a victim.

1 comment:

Juliana said...

I think that people in Seattle make more of an attempt to form communities than people in Los Angeles. As a result, they're more likely to have support groups like you describe. I haven't lived in the L.A. area since 1989 and I was young then, but that's the impression I was left with. That said, you are by no means alone, so there's a group out there for you.

Good luck,

Juliana