The 27th has come and gone but Blagging for Hope continues until the 10th of October. So you can still join us in making history.
When October 10th comes and all the social networking busyness dies down the need to continue Blogging about this subject will more than likely haunt me until the day I die because my brothers and I were abused as children. I don’t want to turn this Blog into a sob story about me but if my parents could find a way to torment a child they tried it at least once. It comes up often in “The Crone’s Daily Groan” and is the sole reason “If It Ain’t One Thing It’s Your Mother” exists where I Blogged about preventing child abuse with a cross post.
Today I want to talk to you about an agency in town and one of their programs that I was once involved in. In fact I moved to Madison primarily so I could take part in this program. The agency is The Parental Stress Center and the program is Oasis, family sexual abuse treatment. These are both non-profit organizations who depend on funds from the City and County and The United Way as well as private donations.
First let me tell you a little about The Parental Stress Center. Aside from Oasis they help parents in a multitude of ways. From their website:
The Parental Stress Center serves Dane County through three coordinated programmatic efforts-the Families United Network program, the Oasis family sexual abuse treatment program and the Parent Stressline. The three Parental Stress Center programs are linked by a common thread-breaking isolation. Through the use of therapy and support groups, clients and participants are supported by others who share their experiences. The Parent Stressline breaks the isolation many parents and caregivers feel, by providing a listening ear from six o’clock in the morning until midnight.
I began treatment at Oasis in 1989. At the time they were treating the WHOLE family rather than isolating the perpetrator, often complicit parent, and victim from each other. They were using the Parents United International model of treatment for families affected by Incest developed by Dr. Henry Giaretto of San Jose, Ca who published the first accounts of treating sexual abuse cases in the United states. It was the most beneficial therapy I have ever had in my entire life.
Obviously I’m an adult and my parents were living in Nebraska with my father resting comfortably in the Clay Center cemetery. How on earth was I going to derive any special benefits from a treatment program that treated the whole family? Well at the time Oasis was offering Triad group therapy that consisted of mothers of children who had been abused, perpetrators (generally fathers or step-fathers but sometimes uncles, mother’s live-in companions or older siblings are family perpetrators) and Adult Survivors of childhood sexual abuse This group therapy was the most compelling and empowering experience I have ever had in all of my years of recovery.
In group the Perpetrators had to talk how they were going to gain control of their lives so that they would not re-offend. Some of them were facing trials and the possibility of prison. They were often asked to discuss this in group. Mothers talked about about how they had lived in denial and complicity sometimes for years while their children were abused. Some of them had even chosen the perpetraor over the child and refused help the child when they were told.
Their children had had to somehow fined the courage to tell someone outside of the family and ask for help. Sometimes more than once. The stories were heartbreaking. We survivors got to say BALONEY whenever we heard banal excuses for their behavior from the perpetrators and denial from the mothers that they didn’t know something was happening right under their noses to their children or excuses for not seeking help sooner.
There was a lot of healing that went on in that group for me. I couldn’t confront my own father since he was moldering in the grave and my mother simply refused to be confronted on any level about her part in the family dynamics so this was the next best thing. It WAS the best I was going to get and I can’t tell you how grateful I was for it.
If you need help because there are sexual abuse issues in your life, The Parental Stress Center and The Oasis Program is there to give your family a helping hand on the road to recovery. They have a Help line that you can call staffed by a volunteers who has been trained to help you find the best resources to serve your needs and get help.
One in four children have been sexually abused this year. Those are the reported cases. The experts who study these things believe that the incidence of child molestation is probably much higher. This is not about sex. It is about power and very often about dysfunctional family dynamics where the child is placed in the hotseat in the middle of the warring adults.
The Parental Stress Center deserve your support. When you give to The United Way you can designate Charities you wish to support. Please make The Parental Stress and Parents United International one of them. You can also make donations directly to the Parental Stress center AND directly to The Oasis program and Parents United International program. The Parental Stress Center also has fund raising events throughout the year and they are always in need of volunteers to do things like baby-sit for the children while parents are in parenting classes.
The children need your help. The children need hope.