Monday, February 28, 2005

Homelessness - Survivors of Sexual Violence

Many survivors of childhood sexual abuse, and also sexual assault will some time in their life become homeless.

Many survivors of incest runaway from home -- if they don't have a friend or family member to run to, they end up sleeping in parks or on the street.

Many survivors who are excommunicated from their families or communities, especially if this happens in their late teens or early twenties, may be faced with homelessness.

Why does this happen?
What are we going to do to help?
Would you let someone in a crisis situation stay in your home? What if you don't know the person?

We need to talk about this.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I was 18 I was homeless. I confronted my mom about being molested by my father. As a result I was kicked out of our home. I had no place to go. After spending a few nights sleeping in my car, I finally called an older sibling who was going to college.

They took me in. I slept on the floor in a sleeping bag for 6 months, until I could save enough money for my own place.

Even though I had a roof over my head, I had no home.

None of my relatives would talk to me. I was seen as mentally disturbed -- evil.

I definately was emotionally destitute.

February 28, 2005 11:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

During my high school years, my father's rage would get out of control. I would sneak out my bedroom window in the middle of the night and sleep at a local park inside this thing you climb on. I felt safer there, then in my own bed.

I still had my home, but I felt homeless. I didn't feel safe and secure there. I didn't feel love. I was just an object to be beaten and raped. Then the next day I was expected to go to school and act like nothing had happened.

There was no one to go to for help. No teacher or rabbi cared. I was a nobody.

February 28, 2005 11:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

when I was eighteen I would run away and spend the night in seedy hotels. I remember putting pepper spray under my pillow. I was acting out,asking for help.
When I was a young I was homeless. The friend I had been living with didn't work out and I stayed with other friends for a while, a couple nights here, and a couple there. Three of them were survivors and told me I would have to leave because It was too much for them to deal with me on top of their own stuff. I promised God that If he would help me heal, one day if I had the means I would open up a safe house for survivors. It's so awful not having a place to belong. I don't want anyone to have to feel that way. I am at a place now where I may have the opportunity to do this soon.

March 01, 2005 6:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a teenager, I ran from the house one night wearing only a t-shirt and a pair of underwear after my father tried to kill me. Ran two blocks down to a neighbors, called my best friend, whos family took me in for four days. I didn't want to go home.
Back at home, everyone pretended nothing had happened, all was normal.
Most of my life I still have a fear of becoming homeless, of having to flee to somewhere else, even though I feel safe now.

March 01, 2005 8:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My father had an explosive temper. You never knew what was going to set him off. Often he objected to the tone in my voice when he came in and I said hello.

The night before something in raged him. I remember as if it happened yesterday of him taking me by the hair and dragging me from room to room, up the stairs into my bedroom. He brutally raped me that night. The next day was Sunday, which meant he would be home all day.

I went down stairs and I could see that look in his eye was still there. He grabbed me and told me I was grounded. He took my eye glasses from me, took all of my shoes from me. He went downstairs. I knew he would come back.

I jumped out my bedroom window into the snow wearing nothing but my socks. I ran across the street to a neighbor that I baby-sat for. Something inside me told me they were safe people. I knocked on the door and they let me know. They knew something was up because it was minus 10, without the wind-chill factor outside, and I had no coat, no shoes, no hat. I begged them to let me live with them, and told them my father would kill me. Within 20 minutes I saw my father outside walking up and down the sidewalk with our dog. I knew the hunt was on. I was afraid he followed my footprints. They hid me in the basement, when the doorbell rang. They knew it was my father.

I was so relieved when I over heard them saying that I wasn't there, and that they hadn't seen me. They then came down and said it wasn't safe for me to stay with them. Was there a relative I could call to come get me. I called my Aunt and Uncle, who came a few hours later. I stayed with them a few days and then was sent back home.

I wanted to be homeless -- I wanted to be a foster child. Instead I was returned to my tormentor.

March 01, 2005 10:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I would take someone in who was in a crisis situation, but to be honest I'm going through so much in my own life, I don't know if I would be the best person to bring them in.

But if I don't do it, who will? What's better? for someone to stay with me when I'm feeling insane? or letting them sleep on the streets?

March 01, 2005 10:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I would take in someone going through a crisis... I finally have my own Home (though it's a one bedroom apartment) and I feel so blessed. I was thinking of becoming a foster parent but I work full time so I don't think I'd be able to really be there for a child.

March 01, 2005 11:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The trauma expressed in these posts is so horrendous. My heart goes out to the little who was d by her father and ran away only to be sent back. I am so grateful that we have this blog to tell our stories and support each if only more rabbi's would read it.

March 01, 2005 12:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is going to sound awful, but I really need to know....did anyone else who was sexually manipulated/abused/raped by a rabbi here, have them initiate a re-enactment of their childhood abuse, sexually, their being in a "daddy" role, also?

March 01, 2005 12:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wasn't sexually manipulated/abused or raped by a rabbi, but I was assaulted by a therapist I had.

My therapist would get me to a point where I was reliving my victimization as a child (I was having abreactions), and then would assault me. I think my abuse turned my therapist on.

I don't think it matters if it was a rabbi or a therapist, the problem is the manipulation and the offending behavior.

March 01, 2005 6:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I don't think it matters if it was a rabbi or a therapist, the problem is the manipulation and the offending behavior."

The only way in which it matters is that the rabbis who abuse need to be exposed to protect communities and others.
Therapists can have their licenses revoked. I hope your therapist is now out of business?

"I think my abuse turned my therapist on."

I know that adult women with histories of childhood sexual abused turned on this rabbi.

March 01, 2005 6:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm lucky. My therapist who sexually assaulted me is dead. I know this is barbaric to say, but it brings me pleasure that they have been rotting in their grave. It brings me solace.

I heard rumors that they assaulted other clients too. I never met anyone directly. But I did hear rumors.

March 01, 2005 9:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

" I know this is barbaric to say, but it brings me pleasure that they have been rotting in their grave. It brings me solace."

If that's barbaric to say, then I've been barbaric as well to have been happy that my father died.

(thinks a moment...)

No. What they did was barbaric.
The relief we feel is normal.
I don't apologize to anyone for having been happy that my father died.

March 01, 2005 10:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about forgiveness? Is there healing in that? I have my anger,and it pops up right and left when I think of my childhood. But how do you get past that? I wished my offenders dead. But to be honest, I love my father. I miss him a great deal, but it is too dangerous for me emotionally to be near him.

March 02, 2005 9:06 AM  
Blogger Naomi said...

The first person any survivor needs to work on forgiving is her/himself. Forgiveness of others will follow naturally. I don't believe It is helpful to focus on this when healing. It is usually healthier to hold on to your anger. Especially when you feel depressed and like hurting yourself.

March 02, 2005 6:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was wondering if anyone knows if there is at halacha of parents throwing their child on to the streets? It's like throwing your child away, like they are garbage.

That's the way it felt to me when it happened. I was nothing more then trash.

I never did drugs, never slept around, was an average student, and was active in my school. But to my parents, I was in the way. An unwanted nobody.

So if anyone knows what Torah says about how a parent is supposed to treat their children. I would be every so grateful.

March 02, 2005 9:54 PM  

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