In a CNN interview, actress Thandie Newton, reflects on the sexual abuse that happens to young women, specifically in the world of acting and casting auditions. In her account, Thandie describes a particularly exploiting and scarring experience when she was young. During an audition, the movie director exercises his power and intimidation to have Thandie provocatively reveal herself to the camera — all while under the guise as normal audition protocol. Uncomfortable by the situation at the time, Thandie felt as though she was obligated to follow orders.
Experiences of sexual abuse, especially towards the young and children, have a very particular affect on the survivors. In many cases of abuse, maltreatment can affect how the the child’s brain develops cognitively and emotionally. In Thandie’s situation, she was a bit older and in her interview does not discuss any long-term emotional impacts, but that, of course, is her particular experience. One that is real and not to be ignored.
Yet, if we take her story as a small indication — a door to open into the conversation of the effects of child abuse, it’s very telling. In its basic experience, it’s a common scenario: there is a person of authority, who carries the guise of “trusted, older figure” who takes advantage of a younger, vulnerable type, who is searching direction from him. Dr. Peter Levine, trauma specialist and founder of the healing technique, Somatic Experiencing, explains that this is the most common dynamic in sexual abuse. Children are most often abused by parental figures that should be looking out for them. The relationship between the abuser and the survivor complicates because of the confusing associations between provider/nurturer and abuser. Not working through these associations and helping the child heal and overcome trauma, will have lasting effects on how the child develops emotional skills, associative skills, and just general cognitive skills.
So how does this play out later in life if left unaddressed? Children have been known to grow up and have a difficult time accepting love, forming trusting relationships, trusting in general, academically, and find themselves with feelings of shame and worthlessness. It prevents them from being able to address the necessary steps needed to grow up and mature — the trauma often triggering back into the emotional state of when they were abused. Somatic Experiencing, EFT, Matrix Reimprinting, are just three types of very successful trauma healing techniques. Many of the speakers, including Peter Levine, at the Worldwide Transformational Summit, will be able to share the practices, techniques, and philosophies of such healing methods. We hope you take this opportunity to learn from some of the greatest healers, and bring hope and change into your lives and the lives the ones you love.