Thursday, 12 April 2012

A survivor speaks

To survive abuse, and then to draw strength from the difficult times is one step in the direction towards greatness. But to survive, to draw strength from the difficult times, and to use those experiences to help others in a similar situation is simply par excellence. Tara Laracuente is simply an anthropomorphic representation of that stellar institution of strength and courage. Tara blogs regularly here and tweets as @silence_no. Here’s a short interview that DeltaWomen had with Tara.

1. If it something you wish to talk about, could you tell us about your childhood?       
Growing up was pretty hard. I was abused physically, mentally, emotionally and sexually. I was molested by my stepfather, an act which started from when I was 9 or so and lasted until I grew to the age of 14. I never spoke of it until last year. I spoke out for the first time only online. My mother never believed my sister when it happened to her so I never told her about the abuse from my stepfather.       

2. "Saying No"... is that enough, sometimes?        
Saying no, I believe isn’t enough sometimes, because you can say “No, no, no ... please stop!” but the abusers will keep going because they are in control. It helps to say it but at times it doesn't stop the abusers from doing it still.
Tara Laracuente

3. How do you believe that schools and parents can help prevent the sexual abuse of children?
I believe that schools should hold classes on sexual assault and how one can try to prevent it from happening, what to do when it happens to them and the like. Also for the parents I believe that they should believe their children no matter what. It is hard when a parent doesn't believe a child. It just shows that what happened isn't important and it is ok to happen. 

4. As a victim/survivor, to reach out to victims and survivors across the world, your work is simply amazing. We salute you for the courage you've shown in professing your story despite the pain and trauma. Do you believe that a victim/survivor could share his or her tale- even if anonymously, to heal?         
Thank you for your kind words. Yes I believe that to heal you should share you story with others even if it is anonymously done. If you are familiar with Mariska Hargitay - who is my inspiration, she plays the role of Detective Benson on Law and Order SVU. In one of the newest episodes she says these words to the victim “True healing comes to those who bear witness”. I think what that means is that if you speak out about what happened to you, you can heal and help others heal just by sharing your story. 

5. There is a lot of talk about how children should open up and tell their parents, but sometimes, children simply cannot bring themselves to express their pain - either because they are too young to understand what's happening, or because of fear and shyness. What do you believe is the best way to handle the issue?           
Well in my case, it was hard to tell my mother about what happened to me because of fear of her not believing me. I think the best way to deal with these issues as a child is maybe find a teacher you trust in and tell them what happened and explain that you don't understand what is happening to you. I think that is one way you can go about this. 

6. There are researched theories that suggest the likelihood for the development of a proclivity on part of child victims/survivors to turn into bullies or abusers themselves, in the event of being subject to CSA themselves. What are your thoughts on this?    
My thought on this theory is that I believe that if you were abused as a child and not sought out the proper help then you may become an abuser yourself. Because, as a child victim you thought it was okay to be that way. I was afraid that I would become an abuser because I know women can be abusers as well - but I thank God I am not one! 

7. Victims/Survivors go through the initial phases of denial anger and then plunge into self-abhorrence. Is there a means to intervene before this happens? What signs should one watch out for?         
Well I was in denial for over ten years before I came to terms with what happened to me. I began to cut because I was overwhelmed with the emotions. I think the signs would be just watch how they act around this topic. You can tell if someone was abused because this topic would make them uncomfortable.

8. Your story has made you a stronger person, says your blog. Could you tell us how you turned struggle into strength?
The way I turned my struggle into strength is by seeing so many people follow my blog and encouraged me to keep speaking out and telling me who much I inspired them. Some came out for the first time. I know that what I went through was hard but in the end, I survived and I can use my experience to help spread the word on abuse and how being silent can damage your body and spirit. Mariska Hargitay is another reason I was able to speak out. She is such an inspiration to so many and I thank her, my sister as well because she went through the same and is so strong as well. 

By Kirthi Gita Jayakumar

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting my story. I appreciate it. I hope this reaches out to many survivors to come forward.