Decades of childhood sexual abuse
I attended a meeting last week, which highlighted the of lack of knowledge regarding child sexual abuse victims and the overall impact abuse has on their lives. Most cases are multiple incidents of abuse, which happened in places of what were perceived as places of safety and trust. We are looking at one in five people being abused in institutions, organisations, schools, churches etc. which continued to grow without being stopped; enabling abusers to thrive behind closed doors by stripping individuals of their childhood and security to trust authorative figures. Children still have the right to feel safe without being harmed.
Unfortunately, although there are still many incidents still going on in this day and age, but getting this noticed and addressed by people in power means they can stop this now. In years to come it would be highly unlikely, more victims would be added to this current list. During the time when these children were growing up, they were prevented from being seen or heard; the expression used by grandparents/parents “don’t air your dirty washing in public”; made people turn a blind eye and silence was used by abusers as leverage for victims not to be believed by others. Who would believe children and what they had to say in those days? People do not like stigma associated in connection with their institution or organisation. In a child’s case how many adults does it take to be believed?
Can you imagine as an adult, having had something physically done to you and being told do not to say anything because no one will believe you or how someone close to you maybe threatened or even harmed as a consequence of your actions? Don’t tell, don’t tell… can’t tell? Where do you go? Who do you turn to? Then your thoughts and behaviour are overwhelmed with feelings surrounding silence, depression, anxiety, isolation, withdrawn, trapped, low self-belief, low self-esteem are all stressors, which have an impact on a persons psychological and emotional state.
Stand up… look down where your hand is… imagine a child that height experiencing those exact same feelings as you, helpless and powerless. If you are struggling as the adult, can you imagine how difficult this would be for a child to cope? And the emotional child gets trapped from within as the years pass by.
Now… you have a greater understanding awareness of how a survivor of any abuse could still feel the same way, decades later as though it happened yesterday.
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About Catherine Sonaram-Taylor
I have worked within this field for over 10 years working with male and female survivors of different forms of trauma and abuse. I currently specialise in the area working in private practice with individuals and couples in the East Surrey, West Kent and West Sussex area.