We live in times where in a remarkable and unprecedented way, at the social and public level, Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) has been denounced in the media and social networks, exposing and raising awareness about this problem. Recent events such as the "me too" movement, the "Unbreakable Project", the complaints of sexual harassment by the film producer Harvey Weinstein, the increasing attention to cases of sexual abuse such as those which occurred in Pamplona for "Manada", the interview of Risto to the famous pianist James Rhodes, survivor of sexual abuse, in the program of Chester of the Four in television. These are the first steps for its eradication. The silence that for centuries has muzzled the survivors of CSA, finally begins to break.
However, after the complaint, exposure and awareness, much work remains to be done.
These actions are only the beginning of a necessary transforimation, which is deeper and more complex:
to heal the survivors who have been marked and scarred by this type of aggression and to educate the child, adolescent and adult population in order to prevent future aggressions. If we limit ourselves to just reporting the cases of CSA in the media, we will be putting a patch on
instead of mending the tears in the clothes of the psyche of survivors of sexual abuse.
According to the Protocol Against Sexual Violence of the Principality of Asturias, sexual abuse of minors is a serious public health problem that affects a significant number of the population. In Spain, 23% of girls and 15% of boys currently suffer from some form of sexual abuse. This means one in four girls and one in five boys. (Ministry of Presidency and Citizen Participation Technical Assistance of Ms. Yolanda Fontanil and Ms. Angeles Alcedo September 2018. Government of the Principality of Asturias. Government of Spain. Ministry of the Presidency, relations with the Courts and Equality.)
There are studies that indicate that at some time in their lives one in six women have experienced a rape or attempted rape, of which more than half have been before the age of 18.
We found other significant data such as those of the Ministry of Interior, which in 2016 reported 4,393 crimes against the sexual freedom of children, representing 50.1% of the total complaints for these crimes. (UNICEF)
The consequences of CSA very greatly and fall within what is known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The consequences of sexual abuse of minors, both short and long term, have extremely negative effects on the psychological and physical functions of those minors. Among the long-term effects are extreme emotional disturbances, depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation and suicide attempts, post-traumatic stress disorder, problems in interpersonal relationships, vulnerability to new victimization, sexual disorders, eating disorders, drug or alcohol abuse, development of gynecological, gastrointestinal or coronary disorders, etc.
Not all survivors are able to process these memories and are affected in harmful and unhealthy ways in their day to day lives. The statistics of the number of people who have suffered CSA are overwhelming.
We consider this a problem that deserves special attention, especially from the approach of healing damaged emotions, learning new behavior patterns and thus favoring a greater integration of the CSA survivor into collective life. There are too many cases of survivors living in social exclusion, with a significant lack of basic skills leading to a state of greater vulnerability and helplessness.
“When I started dating boys, I always seemed to attract that guy who verbally abused me. I got involved in a horrible relationship for months, hoping to change the boy into someone sensitive and caring. Finally, I ended up totally defeated, emotionally exhausted, because of all the abuse I received. And for the greater misfortune, after several unfortunate relationships, I married only to discover that I had married a violent alcoholic. I felt trapped but also forced to continue in this marriage relationship, no matter what I had to suffer. ”(Door of hope. Jan Frank)
The traumatic event is a thing of the past, however, it persecutes the survivor in the present. A situation that is no longer real continues to torment and martyr the minds and emotions of thousands of people who have never found a place with the resources to break free from the influence this event exerts on them.
“My grandfather started abusing me with touches when I was 12 years old. I was frozen. When he finished, he gave me money. There was a moment, in the middle of adolescence, when I needed money I was going to look for him to abuse me. This continued until 19 years. Why wasn't I able to stop him? How was I able to let him abuse me for money? The guilt, shame and disgust I felt towards myself was paralyzing. The anger I felt made me get into serious street fights. (CSA Survivor. CSA Guidance Guide. Chrysalis Association)
The consequences of CSA are not only limited to the survivor, but also to their social environment. Depression, anxiety, suicide attempts, outbreaks of anger, helplessness, dissociation, eating disorders, drug dependence, etc. directly affect family members and coexistence with the rest of society. Offering support to this sector of society translates into an improvement not only for the individual, but also an improvement in collective living.
In the words of the psychologist Albert Bandura: “People who believe they have the power to exercise some degree of control over their lives are healthier, more effective and more successful than those who have no faith in their ability to make changes in their lives".
We believe that the use of creativity, expressed in various artistic forms and group support are very effective tools when it comes to healing the trauma of sexual abuse.
- We will work to establish intimate relationships in a healthy way and understand the limits of affection and the erotic.
- We will learn to use healthy behavior strategies in dealing with others.
- We will break the silence about the traumatic event of CSA.
- We will reflect on what a healthy identity is, identify the consequences of CSA in our daily lives and adopt behaviors that help us fully integrate into the social collective.
- We will acquire the necessary skills to recover a sense of control over ourselves and our situations.
- Through the testimonies of others and other survivors, group and artistic activities will gain confidence that a better future is possible.
We are aware of the great lack in the Principality of Asturias, of a space with necessary resources to overcome the consequences of sexual abuse. That is why we are excited to propose this project, which we believe offers support to the survivors, through workshops, seminars, Mutual Aid Groups, Psychodrama and prevention activities to heal our society from this scourge.