1. the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous,etc., done by oneself or another: She was overcome with shame.
2. susceptibility to this feeling: to be without shame.
3. disgrace; ignominy: His actions brought shame upon his parents.
4. a fact or circumstance bringing disgrace or regret: The bankruptcy of the business was a shame. It was a shame you couldn’t come with us.
verb (used with object), shamed, sham·ing.
5. to cause to feel shame; make ashamed: His cowardice shamed him.
6. to drive, force, etc., through shame: He shamed her into going.
7. to cover with ignominy or reproach; disgrace.
Why is it that shame, guilt and humiliation are often the first emotions running through our bodies when we are sexually abused? When I am sexually abused. Let me own the truth of my story. Let me speak the words that have been silent within me for way too long. Silent in words but present in my body.
I am tiny, small for my age. Am I five years old or six? Close to five, I think. I am a Magical Child, meaning that I live easily within the Realm of Possibility, the world of my imagination just as real to me as the physical world around me.
So I am five, maybe six, years old, and am sent next door to the Wilson’s to fetch my younger sister. She often goes next door to have tea with Mrs. Wilson or to play with their youngest child, Tim. Mrs. Wilson is busy in the kitchen and I’m sent down to the basement to see if Susan is there. Monsters live in basements.
Down the wooden stairs in the unfinished basement are two things I remember. Black wrestling mats and a large pool table with enticing coloured pool balls. And grey cement walls. I remember the cold, stark walls and the many colours of the pool table balls. I remember Timmy standing, silent and afraid, on the black wrestling mats.
There is something else in that basement. The monster. He is big, with big hands and big, fat fingers, and I’m sitting on his lap. Or rather, he is holding me on one of his big, fat legs. His legs are spread apart and my tiny, little girl body is being held on one of those legs, his big arm wrapped around me. His left arm. The hand of that left arm is inside my little girl underpants and his big, sausage finger is pushed inside my tiny, little girl vagina.
He is violating me in a way no little girl should be violated. And I am filled with shame, humiliation and guilt. Where does this come from? What kind of world is it where a big man sexually assaults a little girl and it’s the little girl that feels shame?
I remember being held on the monster’s knee at the side of the pool table being told to play with the brightly coloured balls. The very same brightly coloured balls that were so enticing, now revolt me. I focus on the cool smoothness as I reluctantly roll the yellow ball back and forth.
Disassociating, I learn many, many years later, separating my Self from my body as those fat sausage fingers claim my vagina. Disassociating, as my tiny right hand is wrapped around the monster’s erect penis, cupped within the monster’s own right hand.
I am five, maybe six years old. I told no one.
Until fifteen or sixteen years later and the long suppressed memory surfaces with amazing buoyancy while watching a TV show about childhood sexual abuse. The body remembers what the mind cannot.
I told my then husband the biggest truth of my life. I gave voice to the shameful secret and was met with silence. I tried again, but again the words were doused with a blanket of uncomfortable silence.
And so I buried my poor silent Wounded Child far deep inside me.
Until now. Now I surrender my voice. Wrong words. I give my voice with love to my Wounded Child. To my Magical Child. One day a horrible thing happened to my Magical Child that wounded her greatly. She did nothing wrong and everything right.
Today I invoke The Opening of the Mouth*
It is time for what has been silenced to be heard.
It is enough! It is enough!!
IT IS ENOUGH!!!
With these words I release that which is no longer serving me. Which never served me – the guilt and shame that silenced my voice.
May all beings who need to be healed by touched the grace of healing.