I was on the America Tonight show with Kate Delaney today. It was a short interview, but a poignant one, entirely about ritual cult trauma. As I was doing the interview, it became obvious to me that I am being set up to be a spokesperson and poster child for ritual abuse. Those who do escape from ritual trauma (like most victims of abuse), escape with little to no evidence except the bent and broken parts of their personalities and lives. Their pain is the pain of having no witnesses. Or Their pain is the pain of having witnesses, who themselves are too traumatized to speak. I have met other girls who crossed paths with me in childhood. They are convinced that publicly talking about ritual abuse is a death sentence. They would never dare speak and I would never dare injure them by exposing them. Their fear of exposure drives them away from me. They sit in their living rooms, hiding but watching me as if I am walking with open arms into the center of a battlefield. I get at least one e-mail every month from people who have experienced ritual trauma first hand. Here is an example of one:
Dear Teal Swan,
I have grown up in a cult. My dad was part of it. When I was ten my dad sold me to lots of mens and I couldn’t get away from them so I got away in my mind. I am older now and I ran away from home and lived on the street for a little. It was cold there and I got addicted to meth and sometimes I had sex for the drugs. And then I tried to kill myself and when I was in hospital I decided I want to live. I started cleaning up my life and someone I met in AA told me to watch your videos and I love every one of them. I love them so much that I looked up your website and seen that you have the same past as me. And I fell on the floor and I just started crying cause I cant believe that you look as happy as you look and have gone through the same things as me. I cry because I was sad and then I cry because I was happy. Because you exists in the world, I have hope for myself. I believe that I can do it too. I see a bright future ahead of me and I feel like you do not know what you do for me. You are the voice I do not have and am too scared to have about what I saw and felt. I could crawl on hands and knees and never do enough still to tell you how much thankful I am. I love you. You saved me and because of you, I believe in myself and that myself can heal.
(She included her name, but for her sake, I’m not including it)
Letters like this, fuel my commitment to filling this role. Most of these people are too afraid to talk about what happened. After they escape (if they escape), they vanish. They hide for the rest of their lives, convinced that they could be taken back at any moment. I lived that life for a while. It does not suit me. In truth, it does not suit any of us. And if one of us doesn’t step forward, no one will. The silence and secrecy that is imposed on us, is the veil that these groups hide behind. Maintaining it, means maintaining them. We cannot heal what we are unwilling to look at.
People don’t want to look at ritual trauma. They would rather believe that it doesn’t exist. They would rather believe that reality is kind and that those who say they were ritually abused, are simply mentally ill. They would rather preserve their view of reality and disbelieve victims than believe them, because to believe them is to have to re evaluate the reality of the world we live in. It feels better to most to live in denial. But by doing so, they cut the delicate strings holding us to society and condemn us to the lives we once lived. They guarantee that the perpetrators will continue doing what they do and never find healing themselves. When people deny that this dark underbelly of human kind exists, they condemn those who are injured by it, to the shadows. They are not only betrayed by those who hurt them as children, they are also betrayed by those who are in the position to welcome them back into the light.
To come out as a victim of any kind of abuse in this day and age, is to walk right into a waiting crowd of people hell bent on discrediting you. Coming out with it will show you just how many people love you and just how many do not. You will feel the wound of realizing that many people care much more about how they are perceived and much more about preserving their comfortable reality than they care about you. But those who are brave enough to look it all in the face, no matter how uncomfortable it makes them, will be with you forever.
The reality is that when we set ourselves free from the silence, we are setting all others like us free as well.
Their hearts feel the liberty of their own confession in our confession. I don’t want to see one more tear shed behind closed doors.