Just a note to inform I wrote this blog approximately 6 weeks ago. But given it’s heavy content and the way in which it heavily impacted my soul, I haven’t been able to go back to it. I’ve been approached by several journalists asking to interview me. I’ve declined every one of them because what has upset me and added to my sleepless nights as much as the abuse of children, is the way in which it is voyeuristically reported.
TRIGGER WARNING… I’m about to get unapologetically real.
Why is it that what happened to a 13 year old lion in Africa has ignited more media coverage, outrage and empathy here in Australia and around the world than what happened to a 13 year old girl in Perth? Don’t get me wrong, I am just as appalled as the next person that this innocent lion was killed and I understand that we can be equally outraged over different tragedies. But when a little girl is sold by her father here in Australia to other men and it doesn’t even make the six o’clock news, we need to seriously look at ourselves. Or when it is reported, the media continue to sensationalise that which needs NO sensationalism, and a little girl’s unimaginable terror and suffering, in one careless sentence, has been minimised and reduced to a grotesque click bait title.
When it comes to writing, while I appreciate my gift, I never realised how much I have taken the written word and my ability to articulate difficult subjects for granted. Crafting ugly truths in a particular way to make it less shocking and more digestible for others. I somehow find a way to keep people at a safe distance while absorbing the raw pain in clever analogies and effortless flow on sentence structure. I inject humour at the right moments after eluding to but carefully dancing around the detail… until now.
To be completely honest with you, I’m struggling to protect people from the ugly truth and the evil we blindly walk past in our daily lives. And when I read the paper or watch the news, on the abhorrent reporting against abuse victims, each time, something inside of me dies. The conversation then flowing from this at times leaves me frustrated as well. Ignorant comments such as, surely these things don’t happen in our first world countries. Because that is the lie we are content to believe, granting us permission to turn the other cheek and remain blissfully ignorant in our indifferent bubbles. But as much as this one gets to me, my new favourite mindset would have to be this; (and I do hope my sarcasm isn’t lost on you all here) Surely looking at child pornography on a computer doesn’t constitute as a criminally indictable offence. Looking at it and making it – two different things. Really? Is it though? Allow me to elaborate…
When an individual is paying for, viewing and getting off on images of children being ABUSED, they are placing their sick perversions above the safety and welfare of innocent children. They are not thinking of that child as a person. A human being with rights. They are willingly participating in the rape and abuse of minors. They sit anonymously behind their computer in the safety of their own home while these children whose images they view are forcibly removed from their homes and taken to remote locations. Or and probably more often than the former, these children are being abused in their own homes by those who should be protecting them. So really, what these “innocent” men are willingly viewing is not a pornography studio, but a crime scene.
When children are exploited, dehumanised, consumed and commodified for the pleasure and gratification of men, that is a crime that should carry significant penalties.These images are not of child actors pretending. Contrary to whatever lie people tell themselves to justify the viewing of images containing children, this isn’t a victimless crime. These images are of real children being brutalised for the harmless pleasure of men. And that “innocent” man behind the computer is driving the market demand on this global epidemic.
Now, allow me to introduce you to these children 30, 40 and 50 years later. Todays adults who were once these sold and exploited children, repeatedly raped and used in pedophile and pornography rings for the viewing pleasure of the “innocent” man engaging in criminal activity behind his computer. I must warn you, and forgive me for the following difficult paragraphs, but what needs to be told is the truth. And forgive me again, and perhaps forgive me especially, for no longer having the desire to protect people’s natural preference to rather not know about what happens to these young victims who grow up to often become broken adults because of the physical, mental and psychological damage inflicted upon them as children.
I have heard from many broken adults who have suffered extreme childhood abuse but I want you to meet Michael. He is from Canada and was brave enough to allow me to share part of his story. What he had to say is raw and real and exactly what we need to understand and what nobody wants to know.
Im a victim of childhood sex and physical abuse as well. I was lured by one of my best friends into a pedophile ring that my grade five teacher used to sodomise us. The judge ruled that they should be put to trial. I was assigned a lawyer, whom I heard from twice, and then never again.
I’m sure I didn’t remember [parts of] the abuse because he and his friend beat me into submission and then sodomized me until my [rectum] collapsed. These memories stayed buried even when I saw [my abuser] at the hearing. The memory of his other friend’s abuse which took place on the same school sponsored field trip was less violent and easier for me to remember.
Anyway, you have my support and empathy.
I’m not sure why Ontario has a problem recognizing and dealing with pedophile rings like the one I have pointed out that I’m sure still exists?
Reading your story helped me; thanks.
I responded to Mike and asked if he would allow me to quote some of what he told me. He kindly and bravely agreed.
Hi Carrie; thanks for responding. Please feel free to use my name, or not; I’ll leave it up to you. I am pretty focused on “getting” these idiots, even though my last effort failed miserably.
I am also truly sorry for your pain Carrie.
I am really happy you survived, and that you are still strong.
I still see my friend who was abused with me. He lives in an apartment with his ninety year old mother. The apartment is literally behind the school where this happened. Other victims live there as well. They are jobless and in some sort of paralyzed state.
As I mentioned, I have been struggling to craft this blog for the better part of a month now. Most of which I have written on my phone as I tend to do. And for the most part where I have been doing my writing and thinking has been in doctor’s offices, during scans, procedures and recovery rooms. My lower back pain is chronic and has been a part of my life since I was a child. It was my therapist who pointed out to me the cause. ‘Carrie, the bodies of little children were not meant to be banged around and violently forced upon as yours was.’
Sciatica has been a part of my reality for most of my life. I knew I had herniated lower discs. When it flares up and I can’t sleep at night, it tends to be then when my anger and sadness sometimes get the better of me. I also just discovered that I now have arthritis in the facet joint of my lower spine. Last month I had two epidurals and a cortisone injection in hopes to provide me relief. Sadly, I’m still waiting.
The reason I tell you this is because remaining ignorant, stuck in denial or taking our time coming to terms with child rape being a huge problem in this very broken society in which we live, does nothing to help the little girl or little boy who is being sold to be raped and abused as I write this piece.
Child sexual abuse is difficult enough to recover from. But imagine the added trauma of knowing there are pictures and videos out there of your abuse. Think about how devastating it must be to know that your lowest, darkest, most traumatic terrifying moments were captured and are being viewed over and over and over and over and over again. That men are bypassing the terror and dead expression in your young eyes and failing to acknowledge your suffering so that they can get off on your image. Derive pleasure in your pain. I mention in my book to this day I cannot have a polaroid photo of myself taken. I can still smell the chemical on the film and it makes me sick to my stomach. I still feel the humiliation and the dread. Sometimes I shake uncontrollably because moments like those come back with terrifying clarity. To put much thought into where these images may now be, 30 odd years later, is a luxury I cannot afford to entertain because it causes me such anxiety and limits my ability to function in life.
We need to properly address and prioritise violence against women and children. Have the solution based discussions and stop sticking our heads in the sand and denying the issue. God forbid we risk feeling uncomfortable, overwhelmed and helpless for a minute in order to get deliberate in our intentions and ability to be honest with ourselves. Yes abuse of this magnitude happens in our so called First World, developed countries and it is far more common than we would like to believe. Are we really so naive to believe otherwise?
So to that 13 year old girl who still has her entire life ahead of her,
Despite how you feel, you can still be ok. Despite how this is being reported, you will never be placed in the broken beyond repair category. You are able to rise above this. And you were never anybody’s sex slave. Nothing that happened to you was ever your fault. It was never about you and everything to do with their inability to be decent human beings.
Promise me, when people reach out to you, you will reach back. When someone opens their arms to you, you will fall into them. When someone offers you love and compassion you will accept it without hesitation because you no longer believe that lie holding you prisoner. You are worthy. When the anger makes way for the sadness you have been too scared to own and those tears burn like acid in the backs of your eyes, you will let them fall freely. I promise you they will stop.
That shame you still hold onto, not that it was ever yours but someone had to carry it and they were all incapable. Promise me you will let that go. It was never yours to bear. You likely haven’t heard it in a while, but you will laugh again. Your heart always remember how to smile.
You will not be defined or limited by what was done to you. Your freedom starts now. Your life can still be significant. You will find the treasures that were put on this planet for you alone to discover. That is the journey. We all have a destiny, and if there can be a silver lining taken from our brutal beginnings, I believe it is this;
There is a knowing that exists inside our souls that will remind us for the rest of our days, our spirit holds immeasurable strength and our character, infinite courage. Remaining grateful for the life you have been given and letting go of time that’s passed, this is the gift of perspective and it has the power to hold you in good stead for the remainder of your tomorrows.