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“Then one day Princess Marissa was on her way back to the castle when she was attacked by a pack of gypsies. They tore her beautiful purple dress right off her and ran away, leaving her with nothing to cover herself. Princess Marissa was so upset, but she did not shed a tear. She was so ashamed and embarrassed, but she told no one . . . (The Tearless Princess, by Anonymous, used by permission).
The words taken from this story were written by an adult survivor friend to describe her molestation. This creative exercise was a powerful tool that has aided her in her healing process. She chose to express her pain in the language of a children’s book. It helped her remember. It gave her a voice.
Nothing can silence a human being like shame. Nothing can elicit such deep personal humiliation like childhood sexual abuse.
My friend concludes this paragraph in her story with these sad words, “The princess went on with her life as if nothing had happened, but a piece of her soft heart became hard like stone.”
So this week, I once again have my “what if” questions: What if her parents had taught her about sexual abuse? What if they had built a bridge of communication with their daughter regarding abuse so that she could possibly cross over and tell them what had happened? What if she had known that she could trust them with her shame?
Once again we will never know the answers to my questions. Sexual abuse is a complicated issue. But wouldn’t it be comforting, to know as parents, that at least we tried?
Let’s begin the conversation about childhood sexual abuse with our children. So they will know. So they can tell.