I have been looking for places to volunteer. My T and doctor believe this is the next phase of healing. My T is a big proponent of the last step of the 12 step programs that recommend living the awakening we have learned on the healing journey. To many this is sharing and giving back to others.
I have been asked to speak with several families in the past who lost an adult from the effects of CSA. I found the experiences healthy and fulfilling for me, but to those who lostsomeone I saw pain, guilt and sadness from most and one sense I had not expected, callousness. The latter was troubling because it was denial of everything that happened to the survivor who was lost. It made me realize as survivors we can help the victims and hopefully educate those around them of the pain, betrayal and sense of loss we have felt.
Last week I become aware of an organization CASA when we were out with friends. One friend is a donor to the organization and said I may want to explore volunteer opportunities. He explained it is a national organization founded to advocate for children who are victims of abuse in the home or surroundings. The volunteers become the advocates for the child in the judicial system along with social workers, therapists and lawyers. The local judicial system has to invite the organization to be part of the process. Many jurisdictions have embraced and these jurisdictions supposedly have a more enlightened view of victims and survivors in the courts and police system.
There was an introductory meeting on Saturday at one of the local chapters. I attended and brought my friend for her insights. It was a highly informative meeting. Listening to the volunteers made me realize the anger I have for those that put these children into these abusive situations. I was stricken that many of the cases do not involve physical or sexual abuse but rather emotional and psychological abuse as well as neglect. The stories were heartbreaking. Abuse occurs across all socio-economic levels. However, emotional and psychological abuse is the most difficult and seldom identified. Many parents follow the ways and words of their parents, believing they were brought up in perfect homes. But it is not the case for many. There is no visible physical wounds or signs of neglect so it goes undetected but the family self-destructs, the child fails to thrive, isolates,becomes destructive or abusive, and many times these issues continue throughout life. All abuse is horrific and brings sadness to my heart. Hearing the cases made me realize the world has to stop denying the reality of all forms of abuse. They also told us the emotional and psychological abuse generally accompany physical and sexual abuse. Children suffer and the wounds are the same, life threatening and borne throughout life, until support and counseling is obtained and allows the victim to heal.
It was good to hear therapy, support groups and counseling are integral parts of the program. It can give hope and a life if intervention is early. Sadly, many victims are not identified and do not receive treatment.
As we were talking with others after the formal session, people asked why I am interested in this program. I told them my story (the abridged version) and all I wanted was to help a child have a life they deserve and not one that someone else created when they abused the child. As I was driving my friend to the airport she said you told your story without skipping a beat. I said I am no longer ashamed and after hearing what these other children have lived reinforces that no one but those that abuse or deny the abuse should have shame. I am weighing if I have the ability and time to give to the program. For a volunteer program the hours can be extensive. I do not want to short change the child or program.
I spoke with the director and she recommended some other programs if the time commitment is too much. I will explore these programs. I want to give back because so many have given to me. I heard how the child was betrayed by those around them and realize many of us as adults have been betrayed as children but once again as adults.
I was wondering if anyone here has found or been involved in volunteer activities that helps victims/survivors of CSA. Any thoughts or ideas would be greatly appreciated.