Albany must approve the Child Victims Act
By Thomas Travers
Childhood sexual abuse is a systemic problem in our society. It is in our homes, schools, institutions and clubs. It destroys lives. It takes an abuser moments to inflict trauma and victims a life time to heal. Most survivors of child sexual abuse live in a sea of emotional, mental and spiritual confusion.
Imagine a boat. At its helm, a pedophile searching for the next victim, justifying their actions. Beside them sit enablers; trusted organizations glossing over complex and uncomfortable issues, individuals who know better but remain silent, and a society uneducated on the lifelong negative impacts sexual abuse has on children.
Behind the boat, in the turmoil of its propeller, floats countless suicides, individuals trapped in addiction, and those paralyzed by post-traumatic stress disorder. Most of us spend our lives treading water with the boat still in sight. We struggle with suicidal thoughts, depression and a deep sense internal disconnect.
If we’re lucky, we find something grab onto. With our heads above water we peel away layers of confusion, shame, guilt and anger. We slowly realize we are not to blame, we were not active participants in our abuse, and we must face the many personal issues that have plagued our lives. Only then can begin healing and mourn for ourselves and the child inside. Once again we pick ourselves up and begin rebuilding our lives. This takes time. For me, decades.
Want to learn more about the Child Victims Act? A panel discussion featuring Tom Travers (the author of this piece) and the Stop Abuse Campaign’s Melanie Blow will be held at the University of Buffalo South Campus on Saturday March 10. The event is free; register here.
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