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.