Safe Spaces, Abuse and Conversations

How does that fit together?

Now I've finished writing my book “Dangerous Animals in the Home” and preparing for my book launch I've had the opportunity to speak to a variety of people; young, old, male, female.

What I have discovered is when I speak with someone face to face or in a very small group, people have started opening up and sharing their personal stories with me about abuse. Some are sharing stories never shared before.

This got me thinking, “how can we create more conversations and safe places for these conversations: places where there are no judgments allowed as this is a controversial topic – abuse.

Safe Spaces, Abuse and Conversations
Safe Spaces, Abuse and Conversations

Creating a movement of people around the world where young, old, male and female together are creating conversations and letting people know they are not alone and to be able to talk about their abuse. This would be such positive therapy and grow and spread empathy and love.

I've heard so many storeys of abuse and so, I want to share some of this over time. Letting you all know it is ok to share (with a trusted friend or a person you know that would be open to listening).Be part of creating a movement of safe spaces, abuse and conversation.

NOTE I will never break confidentiality so any identifying factors of a person will be removed. These stories need to be shared. Letting others know they are not alone; abuse is abuse in whatever form it takes physical, mental, chemical, sexual, seclusion.

Abuse Storey #1

Mary, which isn’t her real name, was 16 years old young and naive. She met a guy she guesses in his mid-30s at night school. Mary had left school at 15 and was choosing to do her year 11 and 12 in the evenings and work throughout the day. Night school was equivalent to today's TAFE.

Sam became friendly with Mary, flirting a little and suggested to Mary they have a drink together during the evening break. Off they went to the local pub with a few of the others for a quick drink, easy. Although interestingly to note Mary, plus a couple of the others were underage some like Mary by five years. You see this was back when the legal drinking age was 21.

Mary is now 69 and has never told anyone this Storey before

It became a habit twice a week that Sam and Mary and a few of the others would head off during the break and then eventually Mary and Sam did not go back to TAFE from break. They would just hang out together and they even started kissing and hugging. Mary said she felt wanted and love the special attention from Same. She didn't consider if what she was doing was wrong, it was just drinks and then cuddles. She has no idea why she didn’t consider why he didn’t want to see her at other times apart from class nights.

One evening Sam suggested that instead of going to the class next week that why don't they just skip class altogether and do something special. Of course, Mary was really excited as she was being taken on a date with this older guy who she remembers thinking he was pretty cute. So, they planned to meet outside TAFE prior to the next class, he would pick her up in his car near the front entrance. Mary hadn’t even asked where they were going to go but all week Mary busily planned what she was going to wear without making her parents suspect that she was doing something different than going to night school. She was only 15 and her Dad used to drop her off and pick her up for each class.

So, the night came, it was a Tuesday night and Mary recalls him pulling up in his quite large sedan and she jumped in and off they went. She was so nervous and excited she could hardly speak. Off they went in his car and he drive to the local park, a children's playground and he parked in a dark area. Mary was still thinking well she actually can't remember what she was thinking. Sam leaned over and they started kissing and then Sam suggested they should get in the back where it would be more comfortable. Mary did just that still not being aware of what Sam’s ultimate plan was.

The kissing became cuddling became touching first her breasts and then travelling further over her body. Mary can't remember how she was feeling at that point she just knows that she allowed it to happen she didn't know how to say stop she just knew it wasn't right .

When things became more intimate Mary realised what was happening and she asked him to stop. He just insisted and she had no idea what to do, he just kept rubbing and pushing himself onto her and they ultimately had sexual intercourse. Mary can re-call every detail of those minutes. After he had finished, they just got dressed as if it was no big deal. Mary did not say anything to him about what had happened she was confused, and it didn’t even enter her head that she had just been raped.

Mary remembers that on the way back to where she was to meet her Dad Sam was chatting as if nothing had happened. It wasn’t until Mary asked him about what he was going to do over the weekend that she discovered he was not only married but had young children.

Mary blames herself still that she allowed it to happen.

From mine and Mary’s conversation together and reflection on what had happened Mary realises that she just always wanted to be a good girl. She did not know that it was a okay to say no. Mary always quietly did what she was told.

The lesson from this is that we all need to make sure our young people know that they can speak out, that if something makes them feel uncomfortable empower them to say no. To remove themselves from the situation, to be brave and speak out. It is not easy and especially when you played a sheltered life like Mary did.

Thank you, Mary for sharing your story and I hope by sharing Mary's story that others will reflect and open up conversations. Speaking about abuse, the different types of abuse that they may have experienced. Importantly let's have the conversations with our young ones creating a more enlightened and positive generation of openness, love and empathy.

Stay strong and let’s grow together remembering kind is a BIG word.

Karyn xxox

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