Bridging the gap - Childhood trauma and suicidality

Hello people!!! 

 So I have decided to bridge the gap in my own little way between the ivory tower (institutions of learning) and the layman by bringing on to your lap some of the findings in research in the field of psychology and/or to become the voice of the voiceless by sharing their story… of course along with my musings… This I intend to do randomly. So watch my space for when I post!!! ?????? 

So today am going to be sharing the voice of one of the voiceless from mixed-method research done on some women who had experienced childhood trauma and as an adult are now suicidal. 

In one participant's story, a woman told of her assault that was perpetrated by a family friend when she was 6-years-old. She remembered that after being raped, the family friend shamed and blamed her for the incident, calling her a "bad slut”: 

I begged to get a lock on my bedroom door, and finally, I got my way, and my mom got my uncle to put it on. And I remember standing in my bedroom watching my mom in the doorway, and my uncle putting it in place, and thinking, "How can neither of you ask why?" I mean, I can't think of a stronger symbol of sexual abuse, or a child being unsafe than a lock on the inside of their bedroom door? (P3)

After reading this particular participants statements, my very own thought too was why??? Why didn't they ask "Why she needed the lock on her door?" Then again, I asked myself if they had actually asked? Would she had tell? If she did tell, what as a parent should or would they have done? If she hadn't tell, what as a parent would they have done? How observant are we of our children? How would you fault this "child"? Although this child faults herself all the time for all the wrong reasons. 

She continued to experience systematic abuse and neglect over the course of her childhood and into her adolescence. So they didn't ask, she didn't tell, and even with the lock, the abuse went on. 

How well do we empower our children? Do we randomly ask them what is going on in their life? If they had experienced unwanted touch? Do your six-year-old girl and boy child even know the difference between a "good touch" and a "bad touch"? Do they know what to look out for, and do you as a parent know what to look out for and do you even care? 

I have personally attended to clients who were assaulted at the age of six and older by security guards, cousins, neighbours, uncles, etc., and just before you throw the religion card, my clients are from both faiths (I attend to both Muslims and Christians) and in my own practice, I have had an almost equal number of individuals experiencing this kind of things from both faith. And while some parents never knew what happened to date, I have had some clients whose parents eventually knew and either blamed the child for being vulnerable (too open/ too free/ too...) or denied it altogether. 

How is a six-year-old or even a 10-year-old to know not to be vulnerable!!! Who is to protect who??? 

So while my musing and my sharing of these voices are completely non-judgemental, it is solely for us to learn and take heed!!! My question to you is what as a parent would you do differently going forward...

NB:  As a parent if a child ever "tells" kindly note that they are 99.999% telling the truth. Children don't lie with things like this especially a child less than 10. Why will a child less than 10 lie that so and so had canal knowledge of them, or tried to do so...

When children don't tell but suddenly have changes in personality like suddenly becoming more withdrawn, avoid social events, become shyer or unnecessarily self-conscious, make a weird request or ask for odd stuff etc it is time to wear the detective hat... 

Kindly spare a minute or two sharing what you could have done if you are the parent?

Kindly share to others as much as possible too. 

Thank you.


Arinola Sururah Bello

Date 6/10/2021

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