12.03.2008

Revisiting the double language

The more I learn from survivors and new answers from my own past, the more insidious the abuse. Children are provided with benign terms that are used to describe sexual or other abuse activities. A child has no language for such acts and so uses what the abusers call it. Recently it became known that "having a date" or "going on a date" has a terrifying meaning for Tyler (see first entry of this blog). He's only about 9 now but heard the term and expressed great fear of "going on a date". It connected to harm by his good parents as stated by the abusers. He has been safe from them for about two years but still deals with many triggers and fear of being taken by the abusers.

A few weeks ago I learned the term "washing hair" was terrifying to one of my littles. It was an awful meaning. That's been processed. But if someone witnessed and then reported to a safe adult, "Joe washed Jimmy's hair," no one would hear abuse. Another innocent word had been connected for me to abuse. "Exercise" was sex...sexual abuse. I have always had an aversion to exercise. That finally was processed when the meaning came out yesterday. Instead of trying to convince myself that "exercise" was a safe word, I created my own term since "exercise" still caused a visceral reaction in me. My new term is healing energy work. I can do healing energy work.

So how do we fight this? A child tries to tell and no one hears. An adult hearing a child tell something that seems innocent needs to notice behavior and emotions of the child reporting. Is the child frightened by telling you? If so, it should be reported. Let the child trained interviewers find out what the phrase means. At least it might help get more children out of dangerous situations.

I can imagine when I had language and may have tried to tell my mother, "Daddy made me exercise when you went shopping". Her response would likely have been, "Exercise is good for you." All these terms the perps use are so calculated to prevent the world from ever knowing. We need to start listening very differently.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Grace,
What an excellent blog post....you are so accurate. I remember before the truth came out about my ex brother in law, all the symptoms on my sister's little disabled daughter. She became terrified of the PE teachers at both of her private schools, and the first one was even accused of molesting her. Poor man, he was being set up to take the fall for the real perp.

Now i know that the perp "father" used to call HIMSELF the "PE teacher" when he r*ped my niece. Yes, he "taught physical education" to untold numbers of children.

The only time that this little disabled girl ever told the truth to officials was during legal investigation after our children began talking. She said that "dad had a bottle that shampoo came out of". There was no doubt in her wording and speech of what the true meaning was. Explained also was the reason for our own son's terror of having his hair washed from the time he was tiny.

(Later during court hearings, the file papers which documented my niece's account, actually disappeared. Within a week, they came back, but the incriminating statements had actually been altered. We were so shocked, and couldn't understand how this could be. There were many other witnesses, however, and despite a terrible battle, we won the case, and perp was found to be a "sadistic pedophile" who ritually abused children. He was never supposed to again be around a child without adult present. Yeah, right! He is still free today despite the court findings.)

Bunches of this kind of deceptive language and manipulation was used on our children also. They told me of much of it, and i've later remembered/realized a lot of it for myself.

Sorry this is so long again...
Thank you!
LJ

Grace said...

Thank you for your comments. I keep using the word insidious but I haven't found a better word yet to describe these tactics. One little boy had "tool" words. So hammers were put inside him...jackhammers. That's why law enforcement, the entire judicial system, society needs to listen to what a child is trying to tell.

Anonymous said...

Hi, thanks for this blog. It's good to know that there are people that put effort into stopping abuse. I wanted to share the following:
I witnessed the following in an abuse situation - one of the children being abused insisted on sexually touching the family dog under the blanket while being read a bedtime story. He also insisted on having a blanket covering him and the dog while the story was being read.

His sister would often tell secrets. She was 3, and would put her hand over her mouth and whisper her brother's name and the abuser's name and then giggle. She wanted to tell what was going on, but didn't have words for it.

The children being abused were trained, much like Pavlov's dog to do other things on cue, and had fun doing them. One item was saying things in unison when the phone rang.

The trigger to the abuser was eating. The abuser could not eat in the company of children without becoming extremely agitated. Eating a the bar areas of restaurants was very important to them in order to avoid angry outbursts. If a child was in the bar area, they would be very particular about where they were sitting so as to not face the child.
An agitated state became very prominent when the abuser was in a room of children. They often couldn't take it and would need to leave the room. They often stated they had an upset stomach or were catching something. This occurred at weddings, church events, children's plays, and any other situation in which children were numerous. If for some reason they couldn't leave, they would have an angry outburst directed at an adult, typically a female.
They often said they shared a "connection" with the child they had targeted as a victim.
I know that not all these things were told by children, but they might be helpful anyway.

Grace said...

Hi Anonymous, Thank you for sharing what you witnessed in that very dysfunctional family dynamic. Interesting about the eating. My father's eating noises were a huge trigger to me. I'm still triggered by certain eating noises included on television.

My father's personality profile included being highly triggered by anyone's neediness and that's what children represent. We come into the world completely dependent on parental care and attention. Then factor in that each of our needs sets off instant rage in the one who is supposed to protect us.

It's an explosive, abusive situation for any baby whether "training" is involved or not.