Watering The Cracks in the Sidewalks
Watering the Cracks in the
Cultivating Hope With Child Abuse Survivors
A woman bends close to gray concrete,
Watering the weeds that grow between the sidewalk cracks.
Some would call her insane.
But she is witness to the life that bends,
Twists and grows determinedly
green in a gray, unwelcoming place.
She waters weeds between sidewalk cracks,
aiding, honoring, paying tribute to
the life of hope.
From Common Threads: Stories of Life After Trauma
“The human mind is naturally divided into parts. The parts of
one person demonstrate different temperaments, talents desires,
ages and gender. Together they form an internal family, which
organizes in the same way as other human systems.”
Richard Swartz & Regina Goulding - The Mosaic Mind, 1995
The goal of this book is to bring awareness and understanding to
the struggles of children.
Growing children is like growing plants -all of
them need individualized care.
As human parents and caregivers we make mistakes. For that
reason all children are vulnerable to abuse. Trauma is measured
in degrees, longevity and by the depth of psychological wounds.
As authors, we share our stories from an inner place rather then
a historically accurate place. Human beings experience traumatic
events through parts of their internal emotional system.
Different parts of us wrote these chapters, poems and
As you read, take time to notice the different parts of you that
become emotionally activated by the writings.
Welcome all of your parts because like children, whether they
have grown in primarily supportive or inhospitable places, they
are all good.
Marcel A. Duclos
“Entering into the world of
trauma is like looking into a fractured glass: the familiar
appears disjointed and disturbing.”
Francine Shapiro & Margo Silk
Forrest - EMDR
Trust, is the most basic
foundation of any healthy relationship. Trust is one’s point of
security, one’s umbrella in the rain that both comforts and
protects. As basic as this concept is to a sense of others and
our sense of ourselves what happens when trust is broken, or in
some cases never fully realized.
Children are born trusting. It
takes a lot to shatter the trust of a small child; they are
forgiving beings. Even when they are mistreated within minutes
they appear to have forgotten the traumatic event. The sounds
and images are stored in their bodies like small time capsules
waiting to erupt at a later time. It is the body that holds the
memory of the trauma.
Without language to voice or synthesize the experience
they swallow it like rocks.
In this chapter we witness the premature loss of
innocence when adults fail to attune to the emotional well being
Beyond Our Two Stories: Trends
in Our Current Culture:
Estimates in the United States
of sexually abused children rose from 119,200 in 1986 to 217,700
In cases reported to the police
(1991 – 1996), 34% of child sexual assault offenders were family
members of the victim.
In 49% of the cases, the victim was under 6-years old.
(Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2000).
52% of maltreated children in this country suffered neglect, 25%
physical abuse, 13% sexual abuse, 5% emotional abuse, and 14%
other forms of maltreatment.
More than half the children were under the age of 8; 26%
were younger than 4.
About 52% of the victims were girls; 47% were boys. (Nation’s
More then 3 million cases of abuse and neglect were reported in
Child Abuse America).
At least 20% of American women and 5 - 10% of men have been
sexually abused as children. (Finkelhor, 1994).
Family members constitute 30 – 50% of the perpetrators against
girls, and 10 – 20% of the perpetrators against boys.
In 2002, 2.6 million reports concerning the welfare of 4.5
million children were made.
(Vincent Iannelli, MD, 2007).
84% of all suspected abuse cases in schools are never reported.
According to a recent
of New Hampshire
study, one in five children face online solicitation (Paul
Grendon, May, 2008)
Connections with your own
Think of a place in your
childhood where you felt safe.
What specifically do you remember about this place –
smells, sounds, colors, images?
Did other people share this place with you?
In what ways did your safe place change when other
people were around?
Write/discuss a time in your
childhood when you felt scared.
How old were you, and what were the circumstances that
caused these feelings?
Who could you turn to then?