Monday, October 1, 2012


Today I came across a post in a closed Facebook group devoted to rape and sexual assault where the poster said she'd like to blog about what happened to her, but is hesitant to do so, especially in a public blogging platform like the one I use.

That is, of course, a very valid concern. Before we open up and come out from under, be it to one person or a group, let alone to what could be a world-wide readership, there are many things to consider:

1) Are you truly ready to speak openly about the abuse you suffered? Doing so can be daunting and re-open many wounds.

2) Who will be affected by what you write, even if you keep the real names out of the blog? Who will recognize themselves and may be upset by that? Are you ready to handle how they react and what they might throw back at you?

3) Is your abuser still alive? Nearby? Will he/she deny your accusations and if so, are you ready to stand up to them?

4) Once you blog in a public forum like this, will you invite comments and be prepared to receive both praise and criticism. (Be sure to select option to approve comments before they are posted!)

5) Is your immediate family aware of the abuse, all the details, and are they ready to support you or will they be horrified that you've let the family skeletons out of the closet?

6) What if the family says this will ruin them, cost them their jobs etc? Will that hold you back yet again from telling?

There's so much to think about before you start telling all, especially in public. But while you are busy worrying about everyone else, holding back as you've always done for everyone else's stake, what about YOU? Most likely, like the rest of us, you've kept your secret hidden for years ... how many ... 10, 20 30 and counting. What is it doing to YOU keeping quiet all this time?

When I started this blog, and decided to even write a book about my own sexual abuse, I waited until I'd told my husband and children all about my "sordid" past. Their response to the idea of my making it all public was universal: "You have to do it mom! He had no right to do that to you. He got off scott free and now he's dead; he won't even pay for it, but you've been paying all these years!"

They were right. Their words encouraged me.  They also reminded me of one other thing: all the others out there like me. They felt if I told my story, maybe one other person out there, one other victim of incest or sexual abuse might say "Wow ... this could be my story!" The family said that reading my words might be just what that one person needs to get out and change their lives. All the more, I felt emboldened, ready to do this.

Since I began this blog a couple of months back, I've been shocked, pleasantly, by the number of men and women who have subscribed to my blog and joined my OUT FROM UNDER page at Facebook. Every day, as more join, I am reassured I did the right thing in blogging about my past.

I have also realized how the subject of INCEST is indeed, most likely, the greatest taboo when it comes to child sexual abuse.  Try as I might with my Facebook page, members were, for the most part, reluctant to talk openly about their own abuse in a public forum like Facebook when so many of their family members are also on Facebook and can see what they're written. Thanks to the suggestion of one of my members, I decided to form a private, CLOSED group for those who are wanting and needing to share their stories but only with others like them and in privacy. That group, SPEAK OUT FROM UNDER, is now growing quickly. All posts are not visible to anyone but members. And most  importantly to me, they are speaking out and up and other members are consoling, advising, comforting and encouraging them with their own similar experiences.  It's truly beautiful and for me, so personally fulfilling.

I'm going to finish this post about whether we should blog or not, with this wonderful note I got from a friend in England when he realized what I was doing. He wrote:

"Your recent revelations of sexual abuse that you experienced when you were young were heart wrenching to read. Yet the spirit in which you presented spoke of a human being who was not going to live by someone else's terms or behaviour. Because you chose to reveal this on the internet you must know that your inspirational words will have immediately affected and comforted hundreds of thousands of other sufferers, probably still enduring that worst crime that anyone can commit against a defenceless child. Child abuse is probably the last 'taboo' subject and it is due to public and international exposure that the victims may now be protected and helped."

In his closing sentence, he also wrote: "If life was the Olympic Games, you would have a Gold Medal for the Courage Event."

Do you know how good that made me feel to read that? But if I were the person handing out medals for courage at the Olympic Games, I know I wouldn't have enough of them to give to all of you who have withstood years of abuse, shame and blame. That, my dear friends, takes even more courage than writing about it. But, in the end, if you have been able to do that, you have it in you to go one step further to come out from under and write about it, even if you only do it in private, closed groups like my new one, SPEAK OUT FROM UNDER. If you'd like to join us, send a request from the Facebook group page.


  1. So true, I was not afraid to blog about my abuse and incest, now my abusers have passed on, my family all know about it, but when I started my blog back in 2008, I wasn't worried about anyone and how they felt about it, it helped me in my healing to post my poems on my blog, it was a release for me, and still is...Thank yo for posting this and to come out from under and write about it is a step in our healing...:)

    1. Thanks Mary. As always, wise words from you. Knowing your story as I do, I can certainly understand any reluctance by incest victims to blog but you rose above that and knew you had to do it for yourself. That's what we all have to remember: we need to put ourselves first in this case, not second or third. We've done that for too long by keeping quiet. However, there's no doubt it's easier for us whose abuser has died and where the rest of the family already knows the details to blog about something so personal. I wish for all others, like Tyla who has also commented here, that sooner or later they will put themselves first this time and truly come out from under. There are too many of us out here. Each one of us who speaks openly of our own abuse, opens the door for those still afraid to walk through it. Thanks for commenting Mary. Your poems and input to our private group are invaluable.

  2. I will admit I am still afraid of blogging about my demons. Incest. I still pen under a ghost name. Another thing to be ashamed of. Many days I avoid blogging to heal by writing about other topics totally unrelated. Sometimes months go by when I don't blog at all. I'm not blogging for traffic obviously, my intention is to help myself heal. I'm likely failing at that though. I'm out, but still under. I would like to join your private group. Thank you.

    1. Dear Tyla ... when I see you write "another thing to be ashamed of" I am so saddened. Shame is the cross we bear, undeservedly, until we can accept that it's the abuser who should be ashamed, not us! But you know, even if you are blogging under a ghost name, you are making progress. Is the reason for the ghost name for fear of other family members learning all about it and perhaps upsetting them? If they know, and support you, then you don't need a ghost name. If the reason is concern about friends, work associates knowing etc., realize that many of these people, contrary to what you think, will be most sympathetic and understanding. Yes, they may be a bit shocked initially, but ultimately they will admire your courage and support you. And those that don't aren't worth your time or consideration. Incest, unless you were the abuser, is nothing to be ashamed of or blame yourself for. The responsibility for what happened to you lies squarely on the shoulders of the abuser.

      Forge on as you are doing. One day, you will be ready to say your name, just like those who join AA. When it all comes out, it's like the sun beaming through after days (in this case, years) of rain. The relief is enormous. Don't be afraid.

      By the way, you don't need to blog daily and you don't need to blog non-stop about incest either. You are MORE, way more, than an incest victim/survivor. Blogging about other things keeps you focussed on the good things in your life. And there are some, aren't there?

      Lastly, you've just made another huge step toward fully coming out from under by joining my private group at Facebook. Perhaps there, amongst fellow survivors, you will find the courage to go all the way and come out from under.



    2. I want to join your private group as well. I joined your blog, but not sure if it was the private one. Thank you. Family is not supportive, unfortunately. My FOO I mean. My husband and children are fine with it.

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