[NOTE: I wrote this about a month ago, before the newest round of discussion generated by my proposal concerning the word “SIC”. I have no attachment to the word, in fact my use of it was to play with the concept of accepting ones self as is, and to firmly connect it to sexual identity confusion. I accept the feelings expressed in the posts and am delighted that it is generating discussion.
This is posted in its original form with apology to others for my laziness in not editing out the word SIC – actually how about using SI-CONFUSION
I also had received comment that the idea of considering sexual identity confusion as a syndrome rather than a symptom might tend to make some feel stuck in it as a label which would pathologize and shame them even further. In addition, concern was expressed about how to monitor access that minors might have to the site. I hope these issues and the ones raised below will generate more discussion of this important topic.]
Concerning Sexual Identity Confusion, SIC
In looking at some of the web sites concerning sexuality and child abuse (example: Coalition for Positive Sexuality, http://www.positive.org/Home/index.html),
it occurred to me that a number of sites touch on the issue of sexual identity, often with the purpose of informing young people about gay-lesbian-bi-transgender orientations at a time when they are sorting out their own sexual identity.
I found that these sites lacked inclusion of adequate information and reference sites concerning sexual abuse and nowhere did they mention sexual identity confusion, “SIC”. SIC is a recognized symptom of childhood sexual abuse which results in/from arrested sexual identity development and sexualization of a child's thinking process. SIC often causes victims to question their sexual orientation during development and if unresolved, for the rest of their lives.
I believe it is important to include information about SIC for young people seeking information about their sexuality along with references to sites which provide support and information for those suffering from having been sexually abused. It is important for victims to recognize that it is a symptom. Early recognition can be the first opportunity for sexual abuse victims to see their need to seek help rather than to live in silence about their abuse. Abuse victims often suffer in silence, living out the effects of their symptoms for the rest of their lives.
In fact, it is my belief that SIC should be considered an alternative designation of sexual orientation for those who must live with it. We must begin to see it as a disability, similar to other physical, mental and learning disabilities. Doing so, would highlight the fact that it is a present-ongoing condition that does not easily solidify into the more traditional orientations. Self knowledge about this difference would encourage victims to work on themselves as well as learn to accept their confusion as a difference/disability which exists in the present.
I believe that NOMSV should advocate to other sites for inclusion of this information in and offer itself as one of the resources to those needing more information or help. I also feel that NOMSV should consider its response to young people seeking help. This population has special needs to which no reference is made on the NOMSV site. More information and resources targeted to young people should be provided. Young people could be encouraged to communicate with each other in a special chat room, or a special time on the main chat room could be designated, in which a moderator could help facilitate communication.
When we consider the percentage of children who experience some kind of sexual abuse,
1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before they turn 16. (FBI, 1990) Source: Center for the Prevention Sexual and Domestic Violence, http://www.cpsdv.org/
we can not ignore the fact that many developing children will face the problem of sexual identity confusion, not to mention the host of other symptoms which accompany abuse.
Early recognition and response is essential. How many times have I expressed my envy of those who, early in the lives, recognized and dealt with their abuse. A thoughtful response to this problem is well within the aims of NOMSV and I urge further consideration and discussion about it.