EndCAN Co-Founder &
Episode 4: Speaking Out Against Child Abuse and Neglect, Lori Poland’s Story – Part 3
Even though the abuse may end, the impact does not. In this episode, Lori explains why it is so important to speak out against child abuse and neglect.
Transcript of the Louder than Silence Podcast
Episode #4: Speaking Out Against Child Abuse and Neglect, Lori Poland’s Story – Part 4
Transcribed by Adam Soisson
[Inspirational theme music plays.]
>> Lori: Thank you for joining us. In this podcast, we are real people, talking about real things. Child abuse and neglect: a topic that is all too often left in the shadows of silence, leaving survivors alone, fearful, and oftentimes without a voice. We’re having conversations to become louder than silence. It is here, where we will invite you to join us and be the change needed to end child abuse and neglect.
>>Lori: Hi everybody, my name is Lori Poland and I am the Executive Director of the National Foundation to End Child Abuse and Neglect. I’m so happy that you’re joining us here today on our podcast. Our mission is to end child abuse and neglect in our lifetime and I genuinely believe that we will do that by uniting our voices by speaking up and speaking out. So today that’s our topic – speaking out. Who is it for? We are speaking out about child abuse and neglect because it is for every single one of us. Child abuse and neglect affects everything that it touches. It’s like one drop of poison ruins the whole barrel of water, everything is impacted by child abuse and neglect. Initially the child themself is the one impacted, oftentimes the offender, the bystander, the siblings, the neighbors, the friends, the teachers, the doctors, the therapists, the lawyers, the animals, you name it, everybody around that watches it, sees it, knows about it, suspects it. It impacts all of them. There’s the survivor’s guilt, the survivor themself feels responsible and guilty for their abuse. They feel shameful, they feel sad, they feel isolated, they feel alone, they feel scared. They feel mad, feel a lot of shame and the shame comes from layers and layers, especially when the perpetrator is somebody that they love and trust. Because we’re supposed to love and trust this person and yet we know what’s happening isn’t right and sometimes it feels good, sometimes it feels very scary, sometimes it feels very painful. There’s so many things and it’s just awful the impact that it has.
The unfortunate part is that once that abuse ends it doesn’t, the impact doesn’t end. It’s like the abuse is just the planted seed but the impact just grows and grows and grows and grows and for the survivor themselves the impact goes on and on. It affects everything, it affects friendships, it affects intimate relationships, it affects grades, it affects focus. It can affect body weight, it can affect depression, ADHD, ADD, depression, anxiety, smoking, addiction, substance abuse, alcoholism, suicidality, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, autoimmune diseases, lung disease, brain development, neuropsychological impacts, you name it. It affects relationships, it affects our children, it affects our neighbors, it affects our neighbor’s children. It can affect our work. It just doesn’t end. It just doesn’t end. Oftentimes when we have so much shame and so much guilt and so much anger the only thing that people know what to do with that is to cause harm. So they either repeat the cycle by being abusive to their children or others’ children or they’re abusive to their partners, they’re abusive to their communities, to their neighbors, to their friends. It just doesn’t end. The cycle is so long and so impactful it just doesn’t end. Those offenders have so much shame and so much guilt, many of them do. Some of them don’t. The bystander, that’s another person that is impacted. The guilt that the bystander has, the neighbor that says, “I was wondering, those kids did not look good. Those people were a little off. I didn’t have a good feeling about that house. I saw weird things happening there. It just wasn’t my business. It wasn’t enough for me to say something, or I called it in, I called it in, I called it in, social services didn’t do anything, right?” We live in a society where our systems are a little skewed. What we have isn’t quite working as best as it could or it should but it’s what we have. But until we all come together and speak out and join voices, nothing will change unless we change it. So I invite you to join me and be a part of the change. Because we’re not just doing this for those children, we’re doing this for those children who grow up to become successful, strong, resilient adults. Those children who grew up that became drug addicts and died from it. Those children who grew up that committed suicide or re-offended or those children who grew up who are just trying to get by who are still suffering, who can’t get past it, who are aching and hurting and trying in every way they can to cope with and deal with the trauma they went through.
That’s who we’re doing it for. We’re doing it for all of us because every one of us knows that person and so many of us are that person. I’m doing this because I’m that person. I am the person that has spent the better part of 37 years trying to do well, trying to do right by the world and continually tripping on my face over and over and over again. Feeling shameful, feeling scared, feeling rejected and abandoned and worried like I’m an imposter. Feeling guilty, feeling like I should just shut up and get over it and move on. Hearing the voices of those that don’t believe in me or are mad at me because I just won’t stop talking. Hearing the voices of those I’ve hurt without even meaning to, hearing the voices of those people that just are so angry and hurting themselves that they lash out and they say horrible, horrific things because those are certainly the people that I’ve attracted in my life. I believe their words and then I can’t, and then I know that what I’m doing is right because their words are just words out of fear and pain and that is exactly why I am speaking. That is exactly why I am here doing what so many other issues like the LGBTQ movement and suicidality and AIDS and breast cancer, mean so many things that 50 years ago nobody was talking about. Nobody was talking about breast cancer 50 years ago. If you had breast cancer you got a wig and you got chemo and you were at home by that afternoon and you were cooking dinner and you were making sure that everything was fine. But nobody talked about your cancer.
When I was a little girl if you were gay, you lived in a closet and I genuinely thought that people lived inside closets and then I realized when I was ten people started coming out of those closets and I was like, “well that’s good because nobody should live in a closet.” But the message that I grew up learning was that every single person has a right to their own choice. I’ve watched the LGBTQ movement really come into the light. Policies have changed, people of the same sex are getting married and having kids and sharing health insurance and buying houses together and doing what heterosexual couples do too. And I’m like, “that is amazing. All because they came together. They united their voices and not just people who are LGBTQ but friends and family and communities that believed that was a human right. They all came together and stood with the LGBTQ community because it wasn’t just going to take the LGBTQ community. It was going to take all of us.
I’m inviting you to do the exact same thing for child abuse and neglect, a topic that I genuinely don’t think I’ve ever met anybody, ever, say, “well, I don’t think we should stop child abuse and neglect.” I’ve never heard anybody say that. I’ve certainly heard a lot of people, including people in the system say, “yeah that’s not going to happen.” And you know what I want to say to them? “Watch me. Watch me. It will happen because I believe it will. That’s why I’m speaking out. And I’m willing to lose family members, friends, spouses, partners, anybody who can’t get behind that because I believe that we can end this.” And I ask you to join me and I’m so excited about what we’re doing because I have met a lot of people these last few years who are so excited to stop this and who are willing and open and eager to speak out with me. So join me, be a part of the change. Let’s all be Louder Than Silence. Thanks so much for listening today, I’m Lori Poland, I’m the Executive Director of the National Foundation to End Child Abuse and Neglect and I am so honored that you are going to join me in speaking out and being Louder Than Silence. Have a great day.
[Inspirational theme music plays.]
>>Lori: I want to thank each of you again for joining us today and listening in. If you or someone you know is being abused, please call 1-800-4-A-CHILD. To learn more about EndCAN, visit www.endcan.org or find us on all social media platforms. Join us in being Louder than Silence and being a part of the change. Please leave a comment, like our podcast, or share with your friends. The more the word spreads, the more of a collective impact we can have. If you have a question or you know someone who would want to be a guest on our podcast, please contact email@example.com. Thanks again, and have a great day.