Scott sent me this unexpectedly this morning. I didn't ask him to write anything. I'm so grateful for his willingness to share his thoughts with all of you. -- Kiersten
BY SCOTT HATHCOCK
From time to time a person or persons who care greatly for me or even people who don’t care at all will ask me this question,
“When is Kiersten going to be done talking about this old abusive relationship?”
To which I tend to shrug off a response as if to say, “I don’t know.”
But, the real answer is that it is not for me to say. This is her story, her path. And, she, as one of these articles suggest is “stepping into her bravery” by talking about it. The difference in us, as a couple, and perhaps you and your significant other is that she has opted to also be public online and in speeches about her past. We will get to the “why?” later.
I recently came across an article online called “How and When to Talk to About Past Relationship Trauma with a New Partner” by psychotherapist Jodee Virgo https://verilymag.com/2016/11/relationship-trauma-sexual-assault-sexual-abuse-survivors-dating-advice.
Full disclosure, I found her article and the next one I will reference just by doing a Google search and asking, “Is it good to talk about abuse?”
As of May 2, 2018, these are the top five most searched articles that came up:
As this blog post is intended to discuss mine and Kiersten’s journey with regards to abuse, I will only be referencing articles 3 and 4, though I am both grateful and saddened that the victim abuse hotline is the number one sought after search followed closely by ending child abuse and talking to your child about sexual abuse.
I first want to refer to this online article, “How and When to Talk to About Past Relationship Trauma with a New Partner” because my initial instinct is to say, “Immediately, once you’ve made a meaningful connection with someone—you should talk about it.” BUT, I think this is where I am wrong because unfortunately we still do live in a society that shames women and men who have been abused. PERIOD. It is still a big deal to have to come out about it. The fact that Jodee has written a “how to” on how one should set the stage for this type of conversation with a “new partner” is in itself proof to my opinion. We as a society still need help framing this type of conversation. By the way, this is a great article and is greatly needed by some abuse survivors.
The next article that came up is called, “21 Things That Shouldn’t Be Said To Sexual Abuse Victims” by Sarah Bessey. http://sarahbessey.com/21-things-shouldnt-said-sexual-abuse-victims-guest-post-mary-demuth/ There’s simply too much here in this article to discuss- please read it. But, I will share her written intention for the article.
“My intention in writing these is not to shame those who want to help or make them walk on eggshells. Instead it’s to help friends and family members of victim’s best love and understand the sexual abuse recovery journey.”
Again, what Sarah is saying is we as a society still need help. Perhaps it is because people just aren’t comfortable enough having the conversation because the conversation doesn’t actually happen enough. As Sarah suggests the sharing and how a person shares are part of their own healing journey. For any of us listeners and partners to advise a victim otherwise is simply hindering their healing process.
Is the way they, or in my case Kiersten, dealing with it the way I would? Of course not! It’s not my journey. Mine is a different path. And, I would like to believe that you too are on a different path which is awesome and the way life was intended.
Now, for the “why?” Hopefully, by now I don’t have to mansplain “her why.” So, I will say this. People don’t choose to be victims. As Sarah points out in her article, “Telling is the hardest thing to do for a sexual victim.” Kiersten is an authentic person. She is open about success, scars, sacrifices and even scandals. This is the woman I love and am blessed to have in my life. When she speaks and writes she may not be talking to you and that’s truly ok. It’s simply part of her healing process and processing is important. I have come to see firsthand, there is a higher purpose for her doing so. It may just be that only one person needed to hear or read her words, needed the validation, the support, the reminder that they were not alone in their story and her voice perhaps gave them the courage to stand in their own bravery.
Note from Kiersten
I am incredibly grateful for Scott's support AND I understand the questions people ask him. And that he asks, too. It's incredibly hard to understand the depths of pain and healing needed if you are not a survivor. I just want to say that—as an intuitive medium—I have gotten used to doing things that go against the grain. I still weigh in my mind, "Is is something I'm feeling guided to write about or is it someting that I will silently push through?" Mainly, I know that by sharing my journey, others who are reading silently might not feel like they are the only ones dealing with abuse on some level. Recovering from any kind of abuse is not an easy road. Recovering from emotional/verbal/narcissistic abuse is one of the toughest, according to therapists and counselors. There's no black eye to point to, but rather a slow and steady tearing apart of the fabric that is you. Many don't make it out. I feel incredibly lucky I'm one of the ones that did.
I've heard from women I know and from strangers I've never met that something I shared resonated with them and helped them get to a better place. Or simply helped them understand they aren't crazy.
As I write this, I know two women who are struggling to leave verbally and emotionally abusive marriages for a number of reasons. I personally know four women who have been granted restraining orders against their spouses or ex-spouses. And this is just in MY circle. I also know ten women who are still recovering from childhood abuse. I know atleast twenty who have endured some sort of sexual abuse during their lifetime.
Sexual, spousal and relationship abuse is an epidemic. In my opinion, no matter how hard it is to wake up to this reality, those of you who haven't endured anything like this must. It's going to take all of us. It's the reality of our world, but one that we can change together. One word at a time. One admission at a time. One compassionate hug at a time.