Survivors of sexual abuse now have a safe space to tell their story at the Talk Show #YoDigoNoMas, the program that raises its voice in the face of this silent pandemic. Every Wednesday you will see a new episode at 8pm (EST).
Nathalie Méndez was sexually abused by her grandfather, but for many years she suppressed that memory and it was only until adolescence that she began to remember what had happened to her in a diffuse way and through nightmares.
At 15 Nathalie went out with her “friends” to a party, where they got a bit drunk, trying to act like adults. Nathalie began to feel very dizzy and disoriented, she had taken more than she could and she did not understand very well what was happening, but she did not imagine that this party would end so badly. The moment she managed to regain consciousness of her, she saw two of her “friends” trying to force her to have sex, that was when she took all her strength to get rid of them and flee the place.
Nathalie ran to catch a bus, but she didn’t know what she was going to do, she didn’t have people around her to support her at that moment and she felt that they would make her feel guilty because she was the one who drunk alcohol and skipped classes to go to a party, so she decided to keep quiet and shut up the pain that had caused her that afternoon.
But inside she did not stop feeling uncomfortable and affected by what she had experienced, in fact that situation unleashed nightmares that she could not understand but her feelings were not only associated with what her “friends” did to her, but also with a close past. Nathalie’s despair was such that she decided to tell her mother about these strange dreams, and it was at that moment when she discovered the family’s dirty secret. When she was a child her grandfather had abused her, but that was not all, the same happened to her mother who had been abused by the same man, both were survivors of that abuser.
For many people, the story of Nathalie may be shocking, but it is actually more frequent than we can imagine, 80% of sexual abuse occurs by relatives or acquaintances, so we can affirm that the monster is at home, millions of children are abused by adults who are nearby and are forced to keep quiet.
Many survivors of abuse tend unconsciously to erase memories of very traumatic events as a form of self-protection, in the case of children it is due to, to a great extent, the fact that these experiences exceed the cognitive and sensory tools that they have developed to interpret the environment. Childhood abuse marks children and forces them to have sensations in their body that they cannot understand or fit into their growth process.
Sexual abuse is a subject that is recognized as taboo, many are uncomfortable, ashamed or find it inappropriate to speak in public about this problem, but this vision allows abuses to continue to be silenced and perpetuated over time. The survivors feel guilty because the abusers have the complicity of social silence, while the children are forced to be silent, instilling fear so that they can go from generation to generation hurting and hurting as happened with Nathalie, their mother kept her abuse a secret and then Nathalie had to go through the same experience.
Nathalie had the courage to break the chain of sexual abuse and raise her voice to say no more, abusers will not have the benefit of our silence anymore.
If you are experiencing a situation similar to that of Nathalie, the first step is to speak and have the professional accompaniment of a mental health expert, these are some of the most used therapies in these cases:
- Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) (0-5 years)
- Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) (3-18 years)
- Child and Family Traumatic Stress Intervention (CTFS) (7-18 years)
- Culturally Modified Trauma Focused Treatment (CMTFT) (Ages 3-18)
The fault does not lie with the victims, it is with the abusers, no more complicit silence for the aggressor, raise your voice. Tell us your story