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Why we should talk about sexual abuse

Ok, so I have a feeling that this post won't get many views ... no-one likes to talk about sexual abuse ... it's uncomfortable and scary and waaaay too close to home for many of us.

It is for this exact reason that I think we should talk about it. It happens on an epidemic scale all over the world to children, teenagers and adults alike. The vast majority of victims are women but there are huge numbers of boys and men who fall prey to this type of behaviour too.

I should add a trigger and content warning here ... I will be discussing difficult topics such as childhood sexual abuse and rape. If you are not ready to read this kind of thing, you might want to close this down now.

I recently read a facebook post by a friend of mine who stated that the number of people committing acts of sexual abuse are so vast that punishing them all would be too great a feat. His suggestion was that we treat these people as sick and as symptoms of our sick society.

An image of a face from the nose down with the word hope emerging from between the lips
Hope - Kate Steiner 2015

Whilst his post was very intelligently written and I agreed with many of his points, I couldn't agree with all of them. Yes, I believe that the abusers of children have a psychological disturbance that makes them predisposed to finding children sexually attractive ... however, whether or not a person acts on their desires is another thing altogether.

You might have a sexual fantasy of non-consent or reluctance, or you may have a fantasy of forcing/manipulating a person to do your sexual bidding ... OK, maybe it's not the conventional 'ooh, yeah do me with a cucumber' fantasy ... but as long as it stays a fantasy, there is not really any harm done. Anytime a person acts on a sexual desire that is going to harm another person, then it becomes a problem. Watching child or real rape pornography is a problem ... manipulating a child into something they are not old enough to understand or comply with, is a problem ... forcing yourself onto an unwilling or unconscious party, is a problem ... writing out your sordid desires and then beating off to it later, is NOT!

We all have the power to decide whether or not we harm another person ... and if we decide that our sexual gratification is more important than the safety or health of another, then we are simply an asshole or a psychopath or both.

If we are not able to restrain ourselves and act out our fantasies causing emotional distress, physical and psychological problems, years of trauma and sometimes even suicide, then we are a fucking selfish psychotic asshole! Goddamit, control yourself!

Get help if you can't control your urges or if you feel that you are going to harm someone ... and let's just clarify here; YES, it is still harm if the person said 'yes' to begin with and then changed their mind halfway through but you chose to carry on anyway. YES, it is still harm to use gifts, compliments and attention as manipulation tools in return for sexual favours from someone who is otherwise too young or simply uninterested. YES, it is still harm if the person was too drunk to stop you and YES, it is still harm if the person was asleep when you started believing that you had any kind of entitlement to their body!

Let's just put it this way: - Ask yourself this; is there another being involved in my fantasy? Is this being old enough, sober, awake and responsible enough to resoundingly agree with what I want to do?

If the answer is YES to these questions then no problemo hombre ... you two (or more, depending on your fantasy, I guess) go crazy! If the answer is NO ... then check yourself in somewhere, look for help and don't be an asshole!

I literally can't believe that in 2021, I have to write about goddam consent! You may think to yourself 'wow, she's all fired up! Calm down!' ... No, I won't. I'm done with this now and as a survivor of sexual abuse where the perpetrator knew exactly what he was doing and did it anyway, I'm entitled to be enraged about this. As are ALL victims of this shit!

We need to talk more about this ... we need to overcome our fear and discomfort surrounding this issue. We need the victims and survivors to know that they are not to blame ... that they can let go of the shame and disgust that accompanies the fall out from this type of abuse and give it back to the person who did this to them. We are ALLOWED TO BE ANGRY and we have a right to be! We don't have to forgive anyone to achieve peace of mind (another toxic positivity narrative that can be as harmful as helpful when used incorrectly, by the way).

A child is never to blame for sexual abuse. A woman is never to blame for being raped, even if she agreed to have sex with a person first and then changed her mind later, was drunk or wearing the sluttiest clothes ever made. Even if a rape survivor unwillingly orgasmed during the rape (which happens more often than you might think), it does NOT mean that they wanted it. Victim blaming must STOP NOW ... it is no longer ok for the police to ask what a woman was wearing when she was attacked. It is no longer acceptable for family to protect abusers or try to silence victims with fear or warnings of breaking up the family ... the family is already broken if that shit is happening within it and staying silent ONLY benefits the abuser so SHOUT IT OUT, my warriors!

Your voices need to be heard ... this must end NOW!!!

On the flip side ... we also need to treat those who come forward and actually admit that they have these desires with compassion ... they are admitting it because they too are shocked and disgusted by their thoughts and fantasies and they want and need help.

The assholes are the ones who are in denial ... the ones who use covert manipulation, lies and deceit to get their sexual rocks off. The ones who actively look for vulnerable people to take advantage of. These are the ones who deserve to be punished, they are not sick ... they are cruel and selfish. They know that what they are doing is wrong and they are still doing it.

We need to make new legislations surrounding this type of crime and educate people about sexual abuse. My god, a friend of mine once sent me a message saying that her ex-boyfriend had come over to her house for a chat and had innocently fallen asleep on the sofa. She had gone to bed, only to be woken up later with him having sex with her! She wasn't sure if this was wrong or not as they had made out a little beforehand! YES, it is wrong! It is rape! A person can't say YES if they are sleeping! It should not be tolerated and the perpetrators should be held accountable for their actions.

It is not only women who are victims of this kind of behaviour. Men are also victimised and need to be made aware of the boundaries. So many men engage in sexually predatory behaviour simply because our society takes such a patriarchal view on what is wrong and right.

Boundaries should be made abundantly clear from childhood onwards. We should not allow 'Uncle Whoever' to hug or kiss our child if they are obviously uncomfortable. We should never force our attention onto someone who doesn't really want it and we should teach our young girls and boys that their bodies are their own. They should be allowed to say NO, thank you to an unwanted kiss without being made to feel guilty for 'hurting Auntie So-and-So's feelings'. Fuck the feelings of others, in cases like this ... our children should learn from a young age that no matter how hurt or upset people act when they are rejected it is NO excuse for allowing unwanted touching.

We need to teach all of our children that you don't just grab people and we need to train them how to look after themselves if they are the victims of unwanted touch!

Boys need to be educated that they have absolutely no entitlement to a woman's body and that laying hands on a girl uninvited (even just to grab her arm) may end up with them getting a broken nose and they need to know that they damn well deserved it! ... They need to learn how to deal with trauma responses in themselves and how recognise trauma responses in another person. They need to be able to see when they are being physically intimate with someone and that person begins to show signs of dissociation or other coping strategies so that they can stop and react with empathy and understanding. Yes, I am aware that it's 'not all men', (eye roll) but it's ENOUGH men for it to be a massive problem ...

Men, if you are reading this and you haven’t had any experience with this ... go and ask literally ANY of the women in your life if they have ever been on the receiving end of unwanted touch or inappropriate behaviour (don't ask the age that this happened or how many times it has happened unless you want a heart attack) ... you will be shocked by the result ... it will be almost EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.

We should teach our boys that respect and listening are much more desirous attributes than being aggressively masculine and that toxic masculinity is DEAD and will not be tolerated.

Whilst the problem of sexual abuse and assault is obviously not going away anytime soon ... we can't simply sit back and think that all of these people are sick. We have to stop making excuses for the inexcusable.

Some of them undoubtedly are and they need help but just because the problem is big, doesn't mean that we stop trying to combat it. We just need to allow more truthful expression on the subject, less judgement of survivors and those who genuinely need help and more education for all of our young people.

C'mon people! This is 2021 ... when are we going to stop this friggin' rape culture and just live in equality and peace ... am I asking too much here?!

Join my facebook group if you are a survivor of childhood sexual abuse for tips, trauma sensitive yoga and meditation, inspiration and healing :)


There is hope, but only if we speak out, speak up and speak loud! Together, we can heal.

Feel free to share this far and wide. Folks need to hear this.

Sending love to you all ... you goddam warriors!

<3 <3