My T has suggested my next step in healing would to be to give back. I have done some volunteer work for CSA, have met survivors and spoken to the families of several survivors. I have been on a panel to discuss my abuse to help those inflicted and to educate. But I have been looking for something more recurring. I saw in a local paper the child advocacy center needing support and help. Last week I went to an introductory session. The center works with children of abuse up to the age of 18. These children have experienced emotional, physical and sexual abuse. It was an eye opening experience—so many children suffer and the impact was so evident in their faces and actions. We learned there are children there who falsely accused a parent or someone close to them of abuse, mostly sexual abuse. Someone asked the frequency of false accusations and why would a child do this. It is higher than I expected with estimates of 10-25% of all abuse allegations may be false. Why, several reasons, manipulation and control of the child by another parent or caregiver to gain love, parental discipline, permissiveness of parents to allow children to control the house and so on. They are there because they suffered emotional abuse. When they were speaking of the false accusations I thought of several people on this board who have experienced such destructive accusations. It made me realize most children who make false accusations are doing so from their own emotional abuse. It is a sad and vicious cycle that can repeat and repeat.

It was an eye opener and I realized it takes a special person to work with children who need to heal. I was sad to see the children and hear of some of the stories. I admire people who are able to help these children. I left feeling sad and remembering so much of my own abuse. I did feel good that these children are getting help to overcome the abuse but as the personnel said, resources are limited and it takes time to heal the children. At age 18 they are no longer able to avail themselves to the facility.

More needs to be done to ensure facilities and help is available to children and post 18 and to educate the public. It was quite clear, the sooner the child receives help after the abuse, the better chance the child has to live the life he/she deserves. Silence has been our ally but also our enemy. I also realize I am an adult but part of me was stuck like these children in the period of the abuse. This Board and MS has done much to bring the issue to the forefront but clearly more needs to be done.