Personal Views

I am a survivor

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: (Published 16 September 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:758
  1. Ron Wiener

    I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. I prefer the term survivor to that of victim, which implies a passivity—once a victim, always a victim. Survivor means that however terrible the experience it is possible to come to terms with it and grow through it.

    I am not alone. About 10% of the population will have experienced some form of childhood sexual abuse, ranging from inappropriate cuddling or being flashed at to oral, vaginal, or anal penetration by one or more older people. As in most cases my abusers were male, though as a male I was less likely to be abused than a female would have been. In addition there will be many other adults who, as children, were physically or emotionally abused, and adults, primarily women, who are victims of rape and for whom many of the points in this account will be equally valid.

    This means that at any general practitioner's surgery, hospital clinic, training session, dental waiting room, or any place where there are patients, there are likely to be some survivors. The percentage will be higher if it is a service dealing with mental health problems. You might say, “So what.” The fact is that the medical experience can prove particularly …

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