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Injustice Meets Justice

May 05, 2017

Hearts.jpgMost of us hold a worldview that life should be fair and justice should be served. There is a sort of symmetry and balance to this belief that many of us take for granted. We want to believe that the world we live in is a just place.

For adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse the world is, however, not a just place. The moment a child is sexually violated he or she finds out immediately that there is no justice in their world. There is no explanation, no logic, no sense to be made, and certainly no fairness when a child’s sense of safety and trust is shattered. It is safe to say that an abused child’s view of the world is neither balanced nor just. 

Certainly the violation cannot be undone. And what is perhaps at least as destructive is the silence and stigma that surrounds the sexual abuse of a child. We know that most children do not tell of their abuse because they take upon themselves the responsibility for the actions of their abuser. We also know that most adults are not vigilant or aware of the signs of sexual abuse in a child and the secret remains secure. It’s pretty easy to do the math on his sad equation. Children continue to blame themselves in the absence of evidence to the contrary and the rest of the world goes on oblivious that this silently destructive epidemic wreaks havoc in the life of each and every survivor.

So what, exactly, does justice mean for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse?

I believe justice begins with the willingness to acknowledge the reality of childhood sexual abuse and the understanding that sexual violation in childhood most often causes deep and lasting harm across the victim’s lifetime. Justice also means that we, as a community, make the very best and most skilled help available for adult survivors as they reach out for help.

We, at Shepherd’s Counseling Services, understand that the act of sexual violation cannot be reversed, the damage to one’s sense of safety in the world cannot be undone, nor can the years of suffering be erased. But we can and will stand firm in our belief that it is just and fair for every survivor to find a place to heal and to begin to reclaim their lives and that financial barriers should not limit their ability to access help. This, we believe, is the beginning of creating justice.

In fact, our Hope in Healing Scholarship Fund was created for just this purpose. We want to be able to provide therapy services to every survivor who comes to us for help and we invite the community to join us in this justice endeavor.

We have no way of knowing how possible policy changes may affect medical benefits for therapy services in the coming year or how this will impact those who seek our help. Please be assured that we will remain steadfast in our commitment to serve each and every survivor who comes to Shepherd’s with the help and support of our caring community.

May 10th is the one-day scholarship fund drive for the year. We strive to raise all the funds to meet the need of the lowest-income survivors who come to us for healing in the year ahead and who rely on scholarship availability to fund their therapy.

Please join us and spread the word about this one-day online fund drive to support our Hope In Healing Scholarship Fund for survivors this year! 

~Janice Palm, MA, LMHC, Shepherd’s Counseling Services Executive Director



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