When something is broken in a child, it remains broken in the adult too. Childhood trauma of any kind, especially sexual abuse, carries on with a person well into adulthood. You have probably heard it said that “pain not transformed by love will be transmitted.” This rings loud and clear in the experience of adults still bearing after effects of childhood sexual abuse as well as the shock of sexual violence in adulthood. One in three women and one in four men have been victims of sexual violence. Though our current society is riddled with sexual messages and misuse of sexuality being played off as normal, it is simultaneously filling with movements like “Me, Too” and case after case of victims finally speaking up and perpetrators getting outed, at least, if not punished. It seems to me that the ideologies of free sex, have sex but be safe, women’s lib all means women can be as sexual as men. Free love has left us with people who thought they were set free but who are actually burdened and hurting from trauma. All that misguided freedom was several decades of a great big sexual traumatic event leaving a whole generation traumatized and trying to raise the next generation in their brokenness.
That is apparent in the culture today behaving so much like an individual who has never been cared for and healed after a traumatic event or multiple traumatic experiences. What the media and the common person seems to call “American culture of varied free sexuality” is not a developed culture but rather unhealed wounds caused by the traumatic event of the false messages and misuse of sex and sexuality.
A person burdened with the pain of sexual abuse readily gets angry and defensive. They are easily offended. They tend to blame others and systems for their troubles. They inordinately seek behaviors and products that ease their pain such as drugs, alcohol, sex, workaholism, perfectionism and “I-don’t-give-a-darn-ism.” Victims of trauma struggle to trust or connect and they are confused about their identity as well as their role in their life and their relationships. Victims of trauma have much internal division and many broken relationships. How many of us can honestly say that we do not see these same troubles happening with our culture at large.
In my private practice and in my ministry, Dawn of Mercy, I focus on helping people heal from the trauma that remains from their traumatic life experiences, especially sexual assault and abuse. I would never look at their misguided anger or any of their remaining distorted thoughts, feelings and behaviors and encourage them to continue, to let “you be you,” nor teach them to force their loved ones to accept their distortions as normal. That would not help them. So why do we do that as a culture or society?
When a person’s pain is transmitted through harmful and unreasonable behaviors and expectations; we have an obligation to share the truth for their sake. We seek to transform their pain through loving truth so that they are no longer living according to trauma created lies and accidentally harming the people around them. It is important that they heal so that they too will recognize distortions and unacceptable behaviors so that they can set healthy boundaries to save themselves from being hurt by others.
If you or someone you know has been harmed by some traumatic event including sexual abuse or assault, I encourage that you actively seek professional help to heal from those experiences. Identify and correct your distorted thoughts and behaviors bringing yourself—mind, body, and soul more in line with truth rather than the various lies you may have been living by since your abuse. You do not have to live a life of fear as though you are reliving or may at any moment relive the trauma of the past. As you heal, your family heals, and our world heals. As Saint Pope John Paul II said, “As the family goes, so goes society.” Be the start of your family going towards truth and healing, and trust that you are doing your part to heal our world.
Dawn of Mercy longs to do our part to transform the pain of sexual abuse and assault with love and truth into strength and a life of healthy relationships and reasonable happiness.
- It’s Trauma Not Culture - October 27, 2022
- Experiencing Grace & Hope While Grieving During the Holidays - October 20, 2018
- Journey Of The Living Through Grief - November 1, 2017
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