Survivor's Bill of Rights

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Survivor's Bill of Rights

Post by Gizmo » Thu Jul 21, 2011 11:10 am

This is from the book, The Right To Innocence, Healing the Trauma of Childhood Sexual Abuse, Barbara Engel, MFCC, Ivy Books, 1989

1. I have the right to direct the course of my own life, based on what I feel is right for me, regardless of what others feel I should do. This includes the right to decide what course of action I take to recover (therapy, support groups, assertiveness training, anger release, and so on).

2. I have a right to remember, discover, and tell the truth about the abuse and the abuser, about my parents and family of origin.

3. I have a right to be believed.

4. I have a right to all my feelings (anger, fear, pain, love, joy) and a right to express these feelings.

5. I have a right to confront those who were and are abusive, neglectful, and hurtful to me.

6. I have a right to break free from the negative behavior patterns of my family of origin and to break the cycle of abuse.

7. I have a right to choose the people I will relate to and relate to them in a manner of my choice (emotional or nonemotional, sexual or nonsexual, friendly or impersonal).

8. I have the right to say NO.

9. I have the right to leave the company of any family member or anyone else, temporarily or permanently, who either deliberately or inadvertently fails to respect me as a person or treats me in any way that I don't like.

11. I have the right to privacy and personal space.

12. I have the right to trust my feelings, perceptions, judgment, intuition, and inner experience.

13. I have the right to loving, nonsexual, nonabusive relationships with friends, parents, and children.

14. I have the right to a healthy, loving, sexually exciting, nonabusive relationship with a person I choose as a lover.

15. I have a right to have healthy, happy children who are safe from abuse.

16. I have a right to choose a life-style, including a sexual life-style, that is comfortable for me.

17. I have a right to happiness, love, health, and peace, regardless of the past.

18. I have the right to refuse to accept responsibility or blame for the actions and decisions of anyone except myself.

19. I have the right to decide whether or not I choose to work toward forgiving anyone. This includes the right of never forgiving anyone or never telling anyone of any forgiveness.

20. I have the right to develop myself as a whole person, emotionally, mentally, physically, psychologically, and spiritually.
Last edited by Gizmo on Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Edited to add copyright information

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Re: Survivor's Bill of Rights

Post by Silent » Sat Aug 06, 2011 1:29 am

Thank you, Gizmo.

I really needed to read this tonight and it had me in so many tears I struggled to finish it.

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Re: Survivor's Bill of Rights

Post by earthhorse » Wed Aug 10, 2011 2:16 pm

I have always loved this. Thank you Giz!
"One kind word can warm three winter months"

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Re: Survivor's Bill of Rights

Post by Tajiri » Fri Aug 12, 2011 2:28 pm

Thank you Gizmo for reminding us that we have the right to be happy and whole. This gives us official permission to declare, to the world, that we have rights and emotion and freedoms.

Thank you, thank you, thank you...after last night, I really need this.

de profundis clamavi ad te Domine
Amicus optima vitae possessio.

salted lipstick
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Re: Survivor's Bill of Rights

Post by salted lipstick » Sat Oct 08, 2011 2:09 pm

What a wonderful list. I feel a sense of calm for having read it.

Thank you for posting. I will come back to read it again when I need to be reminded of these rights.

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Re: Survivor's Bill of Rights

Post by Butterfly » Sun Oct 09, 2011 2:15 pm

That is lovely.

"But I tell you life is sweet, in spite of the misery."

"Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it."


Re: Survivor's Bill of Rights

Post by SparklingDawn » Sun Oct 09, 2011 8:19 pm

Thanks so much.

Last edited by SparklingDawn on Sun Jun 17, 2012 8:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Survivor's Bill of Rights

Post by Bay » Sun Nov 20, 2011 9:42 pm

That's wonderful. Thank you.

Needed to read that today.


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Re: Survivor's Bill of Rights

Post by LK » Fri Dec 02, 2011 10:53 pm

Thanks for posting this. I, too, needed to read this. My husband tells me I deserve to be loved and happy, although he knows I don't believe it. I know I should believe I have a right to heal from my past and to work through it. I feel very selfish for spending my time trying to heal or deal with the past. This helps.

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Re: Survivor's Bill of Rights

Post by rednails » Sat Jan 21, 2012 11:01 pm

Gizmo, thank you for posting this. I have a difficult time incorporating these things into my being.
LK, I relate to what you're feeling. I feel selfish for taking time to heal rather than put myself back out there again. In my mind there's something telling me I have to put a time limit on my healing process. It's so difficult because just as I begin to think I'm making the progress that will allow me to be a whole person I falter and end up dealing with the emotional torment all over again. I fear I will never heal.

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