Saturday, February 17, 2018

History of Private Family Matter

Private Family Matter began years ago as a simple check list for battered women to document their abuse. It became apparent their children were suffering as silent witnesses to this violent life. For a test I asked some women to check off the experiences their children were exposed to so the mothers could see , in black and white, how their decision to stay in a violent relationship were damaging their own children.

Suddenly the women began checking the squares. Once finished I asked, "Is that everything your children experienced?"

"No" they replied, "this is what I experienced as a child."

It was then that I understood why they accepted beatings. Violence was deeply rooted in the earliest memories. Chronically battered women were raised in violent families and marry violent men. (And visa versa, I learned later.)

In 12 step and treatment programs, men and women would recount tales of extreme violence and whisper snippets of child sexual abuse. In addiction, there is always child sexual abuse. Always. Unfortunately it is hushed and passed over quickly, the shame still burning in the heart of the "chi-ult", who even decades later remains emotionally stunted.

Still keeping the secret. And by doing so remains forever locked at that tender age.

As Private Family Matter grew, the damage of a child witnessing traumatic events could be as painful as the acts itself. For a helpless child, powerless to prevent their loved one from feeling pain, the anger and rage instills life-long helplessness.

Once the link was made between early child sexual abuse and addiction Gentle Sobriety was born.



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