Last week i had the overwhelming opportunity to talk to our high school's health classes about dysfunctional families - as a survivor of one. It was sobering and i was shaky about it but got through it OK. I talked about the verbal, emotional and physical abuse I experienced but did not go into or even mention the sexual abuse at all (too chicken) except to say that all types of abuse spill over into other categories and it is hard to separate them in their original or later effects. I also encouraged them to reach out for help if they felt that they had been abused in any way.
I didn't get too graphic but enough to let them know that we looked better than the average family from the outside and how bad it really was on the inside. the kids were very quiet and listened intently. A few days later i heard from both the teacher of the course and the school counselor that several of the students have contacted them for a chat, prompted by that class session. IF it helps even one have a better life it was worth the discomfort i felt.
"the scariest thing about abuse of any shape or form, is, in my opinion, not the abuse itself, but that if it continues it can begin to feel commonplace and eventually acceptable."
- Alan Cumming, "Not My Father's Son"