It takes a lifetime-not a month…
April is designated nationwide as both Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Child Abuse Prevention Month. A sexual assault takes place in this country every two minutes, though it is estimated only about 30 percent of the assaults are reported and only one assailant in 16 will ever spend a day in jail. In addition, statistics tell us five children in America die each day from abuse or neglect. Seventy-five percent of those are less than four years old. Most know their attacker.
For international author and speaker, Shannon Deitz, these national awareness campaigns are an opportunity to reach more people with the message that the abuse need not define the victim. Having endured not only the anguish of being abused as a child and condemnation and feelings of worthlessness that most often accompany rape violations, Deitz knows firsthand just how detrimental sexual assault and child abuse can be to emotional and spiritual wellbeing. Today, her goal is to help other victims regain their sense of self-worth.
“Both sexual assault and child abuse are so distressful to most of us that we don’t even want to think about them being present in our society,” Deitz says. “This makes it almost impossible for any victim of assault or abuse to feel comfortable enough to speak out, which is, of course, exactly what they need to be able to do. Be it a child, a teenager or an adult, anyone who has been abused needs to be able to speak about what has been done to them without question or judgment.
“But instead of being made to feel safe talking about it,” she adds, “more often than not, they are made to feel as if they are the ones at fault. As a result, they tend to repress the experience, stuffing it down deep inside and allowing what has happened to define who they believe themselves to be. They begin living out a victim mentality where nothing good can ever happen because they think of themselves as unworthy or not good enough to deserve it.”
A little reminder when you feel lost…