Tell your story
For many survivors of sexual abuse, the prospect of telling their story can be daunting. Many survivors spend years, even decades, trying to forget.
TREE Climbers believes that telling is the first and most vital step towards healing. We also understand that the process of remembering and telling can be difficult, even traumatic. As an organization founded by two CSA survivors, both of whom told their own stories in a very public way, we understand this dilemma. However, we believe that with the proper support, all survivors can benefit from disclosing.
The benefits of telling your story
1. It can be personally therapeutic- Recent studies have found that survivors who do not disclose have higher rates of PTSD and major depressive symptoms (Ruggiero et al., 2004) It is important for individual survivors to have support in their journey of disclosure-ideally this includes a therapist with a background in trauma psychology. Telling is a process, not a single event, and access to professional support is vitally important. For all survivors that disclose, TREE Climbers will provide assistance in accessing these resources. But studies have also shown that for survivors, telling their story to a supportive and understanding group is also vital. In the words of renowned Trauma Psychologist Judith Herman: “Traumatic events destroy the sustaining bonds between individual and community. Those who have survived learn that their sense of self, of worth, of humanity, depends upon a feeling of connection to others. The solidarity of a group provides the strongest protection against terror and despair, and the strongest antidote to traumatic experience.”
2. It helps other victims- Sexual abuse is a crime that almost always happens in isolation. Because of the shame and stigma around the issue of sexual abuse, most survivors continue that isolation even after their abuse ends.It is one of the reasons that this crime is seldom talked about.
Every survivor who tells their story helps to shatter the silence around sexual abuse. Not only does this help other survivors feel more comfortable sharing their own stories, they help to raise awareness about the issue of CSA in general. This public awareness and understanding is crucial to prevent CSA, and to help children who are being victimized.
How to tell
Survivors of CSA should disclose in the way they feel most comfortable with. TREE Climbers provides a variety of platforms for survivors to tell their stories
“We are the 1 in 5″
“We are the 1 in 5″ is a photo blog platform for CSA survivors and those who support them. Survivors may submit their story in the form of an image-usually a handwritten message. For more information on how to submit your story to the “We are the 1 in 5″ blog, please view our submission page
Tree Climbers Blog
The Tree Climbers Blog is a platform that allows survivors to submit their stories in writing. They will be republished by one of our blog administrators. To submit your story for publication, send an email to Roxine@treeclimbersinc.org. We will notify you via email when your story is published. You may remain anonymous.
Tree Climbers Message Board
The Tree Climbers message board, located here, is a forum for survivors of childhood trauma. You may create an account and post on the Survivor Stories forum. Unlike the Tree Climbers Blog, this forum is closed and only viewable by other forum members.
Tree Climbers at Daily Kos
Tree Climbers first started as a community diary series at the website Daily Kos for survivors of trauma-from Child Sexual Abuse to military combat and everything in between-and those who support them. Founded in May 26, 2002, Daily Kos is the premier online political community with 2 million unique visitors per month and 300,000 registered users. It is at once a news organization, community, and activist hub. Tree Climbers at Kos is open to all trauma survivors, regardless of political affiliation. To join our community, you must first create an account at Daily Kos, and then send a message to our blog administrator SallyCat. If you have any difficulty with the sign-up process, please contact the Helpdesk
There is nothing more powerful than hearing a survivor tell their story in their own words. The hidden epidemic of Child Sexual Abuse first came to light in the 1970′s as a result of the women’s movement and public “speak-outs” against rape. Eventually this led to the discovery of Child Sexual Abuse as another problem of almost epidemic proportions, which resulted in political and legal reforms as well as the creation of Child Advocacy Center (CAC’s) which provide a sensitive and supportive environment for child abuse interviews, provide victims and their families with medical and child protection services, and coordinate abuse investigations. (2)
While organizations like SOAR (Speaking Out About Rape) and Take Back The Night provide an important platform for rape and sexual abuse survivors to speak out publicly and raise awareness, until now there has been no national speak-out platform specifically for CSA survivors.
On April 17th, 2013 TREE Climbers will hold the first national “speak-out” event for CSA survivors at the nations capitol. We encourage all survivors to participate in this historic event. We also encourage survivors to host their own “Speak-Outs” within their communities, and will provide resources to help plan and organize these events.
TREE Climbers is currently in talks with an acclaimed documentary filmmaker to produce a film about Child Sexual Abuse, and how our culture and society have reacted throughout history. We are looking for survivors of all walks of life- Men, women, people of color, LGBQT, rich and poor, young and old, to participate in this groundbreaking film. If you are interested in participating, please send an email to Rebecca@Treeclimbersinc.org, including a bit about yourself and your history.