It is a horrific ordeal, and nobody should ever have to go through it. The recovery is a long, slow process. The psychological scars run deeply and painfully. I can tell you there is a lot more support out there than there used to be though.
It’s ironic that the internet, which has helped paedophiles distribute their vile images is now helping survivors get help. Note that I say survivors not victims. I hate the word victim; it sounds and feels helpless. And these children are far from that, even if they don’t know it yet. The very fact they have survived such atrocities is testament to their inner strength.
The media demonises the perpetrators of these crimes to the extent we start to believe they must look like monsters. But the cold hard truth is they look ‘normal’ (another word I hate, but I’m allowing it here). They can even appear to be charming to the outside world. But what happens behind closed doors can be oh so different.
Survivors of abuse usually feel alone and frightened. The threats made to them by their tormentors are all too real. That is why they are often that kid in the playground who is away from everyone else and withdrawn. This is such an important indication for teachers to be aware of. It’s obviously not always the case; some children are naturally quiet and not all survivors display this characteristic. But it is an important indicator to be aware of nonetheless.
I truly believe we should discuss this topic more openly. It is still with hushed voices we offer opinions. But through awareness we can all do our bit to help bring an end to this torment.
It is why I have written Broken & Damaged Love. I honestly wanted to show survivors they are sadly not alone; that this happens a lot, and there are people who understand, are trained and will help if sought out. The survivor just need to reach out.
I also wanted to raise general awareness. It’s important that we all are alert and are willing to help survivors get the help they need.
Broken & Damaged Love is Tina’s story of survival. It shows how everyone can find love and peace in their lives; that the past does not have to hinder our future.
There is a really sweet love story here; you just have to get through the dark to reach the light.
A small selection of the help out there:
HAVOCA - http://www.havoca.org Help for Adult Victims Of Child Abuse
HAVOCA is an international resource run by survivors for adult survivors of child abuse. They provide support, friendship and advice for any adult who’s life has been affected by childhood abuse.
The ethos at HAVOCA is ‘Every Survivor has the right to become a Thriver.’
Mind – www.mind.org.uk
There can be a side effect/impact on our mental health when we go through trauma.
Mind are there to help you with this aspect. They help people with many kinds of mental health issues, such as depression, self harm, eating problems, anxiety and panic attacks.
Tel. 020 8519 2122
RAINN – online.rainn.org Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network
Based in the USA, and has been voted one of “America’s 100 Best Charities”
They created and operate the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE and online.rainn.org) in partnership with more than 1,100 local sexual assault service providers across the country and operates the DoD Safe Helpline for the Department of Defense.
In 2015, the Online Hotline expanded to offer services in Spanish at rainn.org/es. RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual violence, help victims and ensure that rapists are brought to justice.
SOSAA - http://www.sosaa.org.uk/ Survivors of Sexual Abuse Anon
They run 12 step meetings, using a modified version of Alcholics Anonymous. It is free, ongoing, non-faith, but spiritual group for both males and females age 18+.