I was quite surprised when listening to many of you considering the meaning of survival in that everyone thought survival meant having to go through some kind of physical hardship or accident of some sort. Amputations, disease, shark attack and the like were presented as major needs for survival. Famine and floods were other stressors. My biggest surprise in all of this was that no one mentioned emotional disorders although it was agreed by those in my discussion group that it first requires emotional strength to attain physical survival as recovery is almost impossible without the mental will to survive.
Many of us may have stories of survival that are unknown by others we interact with on a daily basis. Survivors are usually quite experienced at hiding their pain, especially if the reasons for their need to survive are considered to be social taboos or subjects that are not easily talked about. Two of these areas are mental health and sexual abuse.
Over the next term I will regularly be posting entries on this blog from the diary of an actual sexual abuse victim who has also suffered intense emotional trauma because of the damage this has caused in her life. This woman wrote a journal as part of her counselling therapy not only to explore her own feelings but also as an encouragement to fellow victims to seek help and know that there is life at the end of the pain. As you read the selected entries, I would like you to consider the following 2 questions – Is SURVIVAL living or merely existing? At what point do you stop being a victim and become a survivor?
(A Note from Mr Bates: Due to the sensitive nature of the posts in this series, all of the posts will be password protected. You will need to get the passwords from either Mr Bates or Mrs Lokot to read them.)