I started reading Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur and I’m getting goosebumps. I love every single poem and during the next few weeks, I’ll extract the ones I liked the most and tell you why I chose them.

the therapist places
the doll in front of you
it is the size of girls
your uncles like touching

point to where his hands were

you point to the spot
between its legs the one
he fingered out of you
like a confession

how’re you feeling

you pull the lump
in your throat out
with your teeth
and say fine
numb really

– midweek sessions

This poem made me shiver. It’s raw, it’s painful, it’s child abuse. Not by one man, but by many “uncles” who like to touch. The pain is almost visceral as the words picked to describe it pop up like massive bold spots. “teeth”, “lump”, “fingered out”, “numb”.

Carolyn Knight wrote a book called Working With Adult Survivors of Childhood Trauma that states:

“Trauma, by definition, is the result of exposure to an inescapably stressful event that overwhelms a person’s coping mechanisms.” – United States Department of Health and Human Services

She points out that an important aspect of an event (or pattern of events) is that it exceeds the victim’s ability to cope and is therefore overwhelming. A child should not have to cope with abuse, and when abuse occurs, a child is not equipped psychologically to process it. The adults in their lives are meant to be role models on how to regulate emotions and provide a safe environment.

Note: If you suspect that you or a loved one is suffering from child abuse, please report it to your local Child Protection Services – or the police, if a child is in immediate danger. The longer that abuse continues, the higher the risk of causing severe symptoms.

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