We Are The Champions

imageSexual abuse is a topic that tends to make many people uncomfortable. I suppose that’s understandable. What is not understandable is the culture’s tradition of sweeping it under the rug rather than addressing it head on. Whether the abuse is by a family member, clergy, teacher, or stranger, the end result is the same. Trauma, and the need to heal it. Secrecy and silence are the enemies of healing. There is a saying in 12-step recovery: “We are only as sick as our secrets”. Covering up sexual abuse leaves the victim of it alone, isolated in a landscape of shame, fear, and self-doubt. How does a person begin to recover from betrayal and trauma when they are expected to keep silent about it?

I have openly shared that I am an incest survivor. Another 12-step recovery principle I’ve incorporated into my life is about “sharing our experience, strength, and hope”. I love that one, because it tells us that anything that someone else has done, we can do. Reclaiming our capacity to trust, our joy, our sense of self-worth, is a part of the healing journey for any survivor of sexual abuse. Breaking the chains of secrecy, shame, and silence begins that journey.

I love music. It has been a healing agent for me over my entire life. One of my favorite artists is Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of the rock band Queen. Freddie Mercury was a genius, in my opinion. Queen’s performance at Wembly Stadium for the benefit Live Aid is considered the greatest rock performance of all time. I watch it on YouTube periodically when I need a lift, or I just want to rock out and sing along. Last night, as I was watching it for the umpteenth time, the lyrics to “We Are The Champions” made me very emotional. I realized that what I had been seeing all over the News for the past few weeks about the molestation of those little girls by a family member, and the ensuing cover-up, had affected me more deeply than I had originally realized. It made me consider that perhaps it might be triggering other survivors, as well. So to all of the survivors out there, I’d like to share some of the lyrics from that song. ” I’ve paid my dues, time after time.   I’ve done my sentence, but committed no crime.  And bad mistakes- I’ve made a few. I’ve had my share of sand kicked in my face, but I’ve come through.   We are the champions, my friends. And we’ll keep on fighting till the end. We are the champions. We are the champions. No time for losers, ’cause we are the champions of the world.”

What a perfect anthem for survivors. And I have no time for the losers that pedophiles and molesters are. Molesting, violating, and raping others is a choice. Period. A sick one, certainly, but a choice, Our healing is not dependent upon understanding that choice, or forgiving it. Our healing IS about seeing the truth about that choice, that in no way was it our fault, ever. And then taking the steps to build a new life, to become the Phoenix, rising out of the ashes of our past, renewed. Free from the sadness, the shame, and the paralysis that sexual abuse leaves in it’s wake.

I dedicate this blog to all of the survivors out there. As Carl Jung said, we are not defined by what happened to us. It’s what we choose to do with it that matters. For each of us on this healing journey, remember, “We Are The Champions”. No one knows what it’s like to rebuild your life from the ground up, sometimes alone, sometimes with a trusted few to support that rebuilding. That takes guts. Courage. Tenacity. Faith. We are each champions. Heroes. Never forget that. And one more thing. Thank you, Freddie. I still miss you, dude. You made my world a better place with your music. R.I.P., man. I love you.