By a survivor
JCW wasn’t around when I was growing up. I wish they were. I spent my childhood searching for someone to share my secret with. I had so many questions. What was happening to me did not feel right. I was afraid all of the time. I was in pain. There were bruises and cuts I could not explain in places nobody else could see. I struggled to stand up each morning, I thought I might split in two, or that my insides might just fall out.
But we did not talk about things like that when I was little. When I tried I was told that he loved me, he would never hurt me. They said I was a hypochondriac. They said I made mountains out of molehills. They said I lied.
I didn’t have the words to describe what was happening to me. I did not understand it myself, so how could I ever try to explain it to anybody else? And if I tried, what would they think of me? Would they think I was dirty or disgusting? I thought they might because that it is how I saw myself. Would children stop playing with me? Would I get taken away? Where would I go? So many questions, nowhere to go with them.
At 17 I tried to tell. I was alone. There was no one to stand beside and guide me through the process. It was a disaster. Everything I feared really happened. My mother said I lied. My father cried. The police took me away in front of all of my friends. Everyone was yelling. Everyone was blaming me. It was too much to handle all by myself. I took it back. I said I was wrong.
It was over 30 years before I spoke again. This time I had a therapist who really listened to what I had to say. I found JCW and they gave me a voice. I could write and they would post it. All the words I could never say finally came pouring out of my fingers. I told my story piece by piece and shared it with the world. I was finally able to purge myself of all my deep, dark secrets. I had been silenced for far too long. I will never be quiet again.
It is so important for survivors to be able to tell their stories any way they can. JCW provides us with a safe place and supportive people. There is always someone willing to listen or read what you need to say. They offer support with no judgment. They tell you that you’re strong when you feel so weak. I am so grateful for the opportunities they have given me.
They have worked so hard, but there is so much more to do. Every day children are being abused and they are too afraid to say anything. We must educate children, teachers, rabbeim, and the community at large. We must teach them that it is ok to talk about this. It is not something to be hidden away. We must use the correct words and say them without embarrassment. We must teach our children that they can tell us anything and we will listen and we will help them. Most importantly, we will believe them.
JCW is sending a message- “Don’t look away. When you see a problem, face it. Hold out your hand and ask how you can help. Speak for the people who can’t speak for themselves.”
Help support JCW’s lifesaving work. TODAY, every dollar you donate will be quadrupled! $1 = $4 www.charidy.com/JCW