the HAES® files: What If??
Why it’s so important for me to advocate for myself…I never know when it will impact someone else’s life in a positive manner and give them the strength to advocate for their own needs.
by Deah Schwartz, Ed.D, CTRS, CCC
What if I told you an obscene number of girls between the ages of three and sixteen are being abused against their will and that:
- The victims are unwilling and passive?
- The targets of the abuse are the bodies of the victims?
What if I told you the collateral damage of the abuse includes:
- Increased feelings of self-hatred and damaged self-esteem?
- Development of guilt feelings and self-blame?
- Development of maladaptive behaviors in order to cope with the abuse (e.g., restrictive or binge eating)?
- Disassociation from the body?
What if I told you that frequently, adults stand by and do not intervene?
Most of you would be fairly certain that I was talking about sexual abuse. And you wouldn’t be completely incorrect. When a girl is sexually abused, she is an unwilling victim who paradoxically feels guilty and blames herself.
Because the abuse is focused on…
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