For First Time Visitors
If you are a first time visitor to this blog, I invite you to start from the beginning, especially if you are unfamiliar with the potential emotional impact of long-term child abuse.
Trigger caution to unhealed survivors!
Trigger caution to unhealed survivors!
Understanding the Incomprehensible
Children of incest or long-term sexual abuse grow up to be wounded adults with complicated emotional issues. Unfortunately, some symptoms are misinterpreted or often dismissed as "crazy", only serving to maintain a tormented victim status. We, as a society, have the power to change this dynamic. Each of us can make a difference.
Sep 13, 2008
Offending the senses
The following information is a culmination of my own recollection of abuse, my personal research, knowledge shared by other survivors both in person and online through support networks, and my experience as a therapist with recovering clients and colleagues who treat dissociation. To cause an infant or child to dissociate, various techniques are used. I’m only going to offer a brief view of two of the most commonly recalled techniques by victims at all levels of pedophilia: bombarding the senses or depriving the senses with a “special” twist.
Overwhelming the senses is when the child is subjected for long periods of time to:
Listen to loud music, bells, or other ear piercing sounds
Eat extremely foul tasting substances
Non-stop talking (usually taped or broadcasted messages of loyalty under threat or subliminal instructions for “x”)
View extremely graphic video/movie
Have glaring light shine into eyes (eyes held open with tape or other means)
Several people constantly touching exposed areas of skin
Sexual abuse in conjunction with any of the above
Placement in very cold environment (tub, large freezer) or very warm/hot environment
Repeated submersion in water
Usually each sense is overwhelmed by at least one method.
All senses overstimulated simultaneously causes a child’s coping mechanisms to be too overwhelmed to “stay” in the body. This is where many survivors will describe viewing the memory from “floating on the ceiling” or standing next to what was happening. You might recall the scene in Conspiracy Theory where Mel Gibson is subjected to bright lights while repeatedly immersed in water. That's a bit of insight for what happens to children.
Remember when Michael Jackson had a sensory deprivation tank for calm and relaxation? Okay I’m giving an age clue. Absence of sound or light can be very soothing when desired. When forced upon a child, however, there can be emotionally damaging consequences.
The following are common elements of abuse that fall into the category of sensory deprivation (see, speak, hear no evil combined with no taste and no smell):
It’s not just the elimination of the senses that causes the trauma for intentionally perpetrated sensory deprivation. It’s the one element that introduces terror while the child has no ability to defend or even scream. This would be memories of being “buried alive”, closed in a box, or otherwise shut off from light, ability to speak, ability to move arms or legs. The terror element is intentionally inflicted. The unbelievability factor definitely applies here. It's something most normal people cannot possibly imagine and so it is difficult to hear and easier to dismiss than believe pedophiles are capable of such harm to a child.
These are examples that have surfaced worldwide for survivors: pick an insect—any insect—crawling around on the child, snakes placed in the container or room. I’m afraid that’s all I will divulge here. It gets worse. Think CSI, Bones, Dexter.
Can a child be made to believe certain things are on her when eyesight cannot confirm? Of course. The Halloween “fun house” where you place your hand blindly into wet spaghetti is an example. I can safely state that most survivors cannot even fathom allowing themselves to enter any “fun house” on purpose. We like to know exactly what is what. No tricks. A young child is very impressionable. It doesn’t matter if the terror element is “real”. The child believes it is real. They are told it is real. The validation for survivors is when seeing ants or snakes or spiders or (fill in the blank) causes an over-the-top startle response. When a child has no ability to physically escape or defend, the only alternative is to “leave the body”—otherwise known as dissociation.
Sensory deprivation can be used effectively by a single perp with a single child to induce the desired dissociative response. It has been used for centuries passed down through the generations by incestuous families and is a proven method for organized pedophile rings.