Most of you celebrating Self-Injury Awareness Day (SIAD) 2013 are well aware of what self-injury is and are self-injurers yourselves or love somebody who self-injures. This is our day to let the world know and get a peek into what self-injury is and what it means to be a self-injurer.
It’s a mistake to assume all of you raising awareness are teens. People assume self-injury is a teenage problem or a female problem. There are a number of different statistics on the Internet about self-injury but the latest aggregated research shows there’s little to know differences in the prevalence of self-harm between males and females. While most self-injurers do begin in their teens (about 90% begin in adolescence or pre-adolescence) you’d be wrong assuming none continue into their 20s, 30s, 40s, or even older.
There are so many myths about self-injury. That it’s mainly seeking or a failed suicide attempt or done for the purpose of manipulation. Self-injurers have to deal with these assumptions by the misinformed and Self-Injury Awareness Day is when we can raise our voices and speak the truth.
Even within the self-injury community some assumptions are made. That self-injury is an addiction, there are comparisons to smoking or drinking from time to time. That people who bare their scarred arms are attention seeking. That those who are not quiet about their self-injury are attention seeking.
We need to band together and accept that self-injury is self-injury, not being silent, not hiding, can be something to be celebrated. I remember speaking out about self-injury at seventeen for a school assignment, coming out as a self-injurer to that particular class. It was scary and exciting and the people in that classroom fortunately were understanding and lovely about it. Many were unaware self-injury existed so the stereotypes that have become prevalent since then didn’t really exist for my classmates. This is your day to speak up or to support those who do speak up about self-injury.
I wear short sleeves on days I’m feeling brave or when it’s too hot to consider otherwise. I think today I’ll wear short sleeves if the weather is the same as it’s been lately and if somebody asks about my scars I won’t answer with my usual ‘Nothing’ or a blank stare, I’ll say, ‘I did those. Did you know today is Self-Injury Awareness Day?’
A good and fruitful Self-Injury Awareness Day to you all.