During the Presidential campaign, many women and men who are adult survivors of child sexual abuse were particularly distressed by the contrast between the public declarations of respectfulness of women by then-candidate Donald Trump and the observations and accusations to the contrary.
• “Nobody has more respect for women than I do!” 03/30/2016 [www.nbcnews.com]
• “You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. … Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.” 10/08/2016 [www.nytimes.com]
• “Fifteen women have come forward with allegations against Donald Trump, each accusing him of inappropriate conduct. Their charges range from an unwanted touch from behind to aggressive, sudden kissing to fingers groping up their skirt and into their underwear.” 10/14/2016 [www.pbs.org] • “The events never happened. Never. All of these liars will be sued after the election is over,” Trump said during a speech Saturday in Gettysburg, Pa. 10/13/2016 [www.npr.org]
Of adult women and men who had been sexually abused as children, over 90% were abused by a perpetrator who was significantly older, known to the victim, and held a position of authority and/or power over the vulnerable child. Most of those ‘trusted adults’ had a positive public image … and the secret behavior of being a pedophile. As I have written in my book-in-progress, There Is Hope! Practices and Interventions for Successful Treatment of Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse ©:
“These have been the titles of some of the “trusted roles” …
- “Father” “Mother” “Brother” “Sister” “Grandfather” “Step-Father”
- “Uncle” “Cousin” “Mom’s Live-in Boy Friend” “Foster brother” “Babysitter”
- “Neighbor” “Family Friend” “Doctor” “Teacher” “Clergyman” “Coach”
- “Scout Leader” “Counselor” “Policeman” “Fireman” “Bus Driver” …
… the titles of the “trusted roles” of the vast majority of perpetrators whose innocent victims we therapists have assisted in their healing in our counseling practices, agencies, and institutions.”
With the reality of what they had experienced in their childhood and the media political coverage of the campaign, election, and ‘The First 100 Days’, this potentially reminds each survivor daily of what happened to her or him by another ‘trusted male’. Most child sexual abuse survivors are not sleeping very well!
As advocates and mental health providers, we must be aware of this private-public connection and, particularly, of its impact on this Child Sexual Abuse Survivor population. They need us to be sensitive to their possibly feeling even more vulnerable, having sleep difficulties, and having increased flashbacks and nightmares. They need us to reach out to them and offer our appropriate support now.