by Scott Garver, attorney at law
If a child is abused from an early age, how is he or she ever to become aware that the world they live in is not the way it should be? How is a child supposed to know what behavior is not acceptable to the larger society?
Emotional and physical abuse is bad enough, but it is often compounded with sexual abuse by a family member or friend. Sex is confusing for any adolescent, but the damage is enormous when the abuser is a person in a position of authority.
As a family and criminal lawyer I too often have seen cases like this. The child-victim grows up to become an adult with huge unresolved emotional and psychological issues. Often this results in alcoholism and drug abuse. The adult-victim falls into all sort of legal trouble: criminal behavior, failed marriages, unemployment and bankruptcy. Worse, they have kids who are dysfunctional themselves and have school problems or wind up in Juvenile Court.
I have just finished reading a very inspiring book by a Connecticut author who fought her way out of the cycle of generation dysfunction abuse. By her own grit and determination she saved herself and her son.
Crawling Out is an autobiography by Casey Morley. She spend 25 years coping with and crawling out of family abuse, Her book chronicles some of this abuse and follows her as she struggles to overcome the negative things she was taught about herself and shed the shame and guilt that were not hers to carry.
As a family lawyer and criminal lawyer I deal with some of these issues with my own clients or even opposing parties. Casey’s book raise my awareness and compassion for these victims. And as a professor at UConn in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies I recommend this book to my students in Family Law.
According to the Connecticut Coalition against Domestic Violence, 60% of emergency visits are due to domestic abuse and 15.5 million children are exposed to it annually. www.ctcadv.org. With better awareness we have the ability to end domestic violence and its ugly legacy to future generations.
Check out Casey’s website at http://www.crawlingout.net