Everyday thousands of children are being sexually abused. You can stop the abuse of at least one child by simply praying. You can possibly stop the abuse of thousands of children by forwarding the link in First Time Visitor? by email, Twitter or Facebook to every Christian you know. Save a child or lots of children!!!! Do Something, please!

3:15 PM prayer in brief:
Pray for God to stop 1 child from being molested today.
Pray for God to stop 1 child molestation happening now.
Pray for God to rescue 1 child from sexual slavery.
Pray for God to save 1 girl from genital circumcision.
Pray for God to stop 1 girl from becoming a child-bride.
If you have the faith pray for 100 children rather than one.
Give Thanks. There is more to this prayer here

Please note: All my writings and comments appear in bold italics in this colour

Saturday, 30 December 2017

One Woman's Heartbreaking Account of Being Sexually Abused by a Family Member

One Survivor's Story

The first time Beth remembers being sexually abused she was three years old.

While the details are vague she recalls feeling uncomfortable around her abuser and fighting for him not to change her nappy or to take her to the toilet.

At 15 years old, Beth’s mother died after a long illness, leaving her alone to cope with both the grief of her loss and her continued abuse by a family member.

This is the story of one extraordinarily brave Cardiff woman and her journey to help others cope with being a victim of sexual abuse.

Beth – whose name has been changed for legal reasons – is now in her late 20s.

Beth was sexually abused by a family member (picture posed by model) (Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire)

To everyone else her abuser was just a “loving man being affectionate”.

“In public he would hold me inappropriately, pick me up, and touch me in private areas,” she said.

“For people around us he portrayed a loving man being affectionate – he had everyone fooled. I grew up quickly as a child and learnt to get dressed and go to the toilet by myself at an early age."

“The abuse would happen every week. He’d find some way of separating me from other people so we were alone together.

“I would be peeling potatoes or helping to chop vegetables and he would start touching me and trying to be intimate.

“I tried to limit the times when we’d be alone together. I didn’t want him anywhere near me.”

By using threats and conditions Beth’s abuser made sure his actions remained a secret.

She said: “I was so confused. He used to tell me that the abuse was ‘our little secret’ and that I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone about it."

“I knew that I didn’t like him doing what he was doing but didn’t know if it was normal or not. He’d pretend it was something special for us."

“If there was anything I wanted, like a new toy or sweets, he would buy them for me and then threaten to take them away if I told anyone about what he was doing to me.”

For Beth the abuse got more severe the older she got. But so did her determination to fight back – once hitting her abuser so hard at the age of 13 that he fell to the floor.

From then on the more she resisted the worse it became.

She said: “I began to understand that the abuse wasn’t right or normal when I was 12 and I started to fight back.

“We used to have physical arguments where I would lash out at him. I was so conflicted because I didn’t want him to die but I didn’t want the abuse to continue."

“After that the more I fought back the worse the abuse got and the more it seemed to urge him on. He seemed to get more of a thrill if I fought.”

Instead the teenager learnt that words were her most powerful weapon by threatening to tell her mother.

For two years she was able to reason and plead with her abuser until he became fearful of being reported and left her alone.

Then at the age of 15 Beth’s world was turned upside down when her mother died.

Beth said: “My mum was my only bargain to get him to stop and his words to me were: ‘Your mum’s not here, you can’t tell her. What are you going to do now?’

“The abuse continued after my mum’s death. I was dealing with the grief of mum’s passing as a 16-year-old."

“The strength of her character gave me strength so I acted in memory of her and the support she would have given me.”

Beth was able to receive help from the NSPCC after being referred by a friend (Image: Rob Browne)

For Beth things only started to change after her mother’s friend became worried about how she was coping.

Breaking down in tears, the teenager risked everything and told her what was happening.

From there the friend contacted the NSPCC helpline on Beth’s behalf, who referred her case onto police.

Beth said: “I didn’t know what support I needed but I knew something had to happen for the abuse to stop.

“Some people don’t know how to receive support and especially at that age I didn’t know how to reach out.

“It was hard to speak about with anyone but to stranger it was easier to open up as they didn’t know me.”

After being supported by the children’s charity throughout the legal process Beth’s abuser was sentenced to three years in prison and placed on the sex offenders register.

But for Beth the time after his convictions was equally tough.

She said: “After the conviction my family still treated me like I was the person in the wrong for reporting him. I don’t believe they meant it intentionally but it’s how I was left feeling.”

This happens far too often. It's disgusting!

Beth continued to receive support from the NSPCC after her abuser’s conviction. When things got too much to deal with, however, she resorted to other means of coping.

At the age of 18 she began drinking and self-harming, leading to several suicide attempts.

“I went into this path of self-destruction – I felt unworthy. I was going out too much, drinking too much, and feeling that everyone would be better off if I wasn’t around."

“I needed an outlet and that outlet was to harm myself.”

After several years without any support Beth realised her only way to get the help she needed was to get back in touch with the NSPCC.

She said: “The NSPCC were there in my darkest times when I was suicidal and made me realise that everything that happened was in the past.

“They made me realise my thought process was wrong and that I didn’t need to end my life.

“It’s not overnight and it’s something that will always be a part of me.

“It wasn’t an easy time and there’s still a part of me which will slip back into old ways of thinking so the continued support they give me is invaluable.”

With a combination of support from friends as well as practising yoga and meditation Beth has been able to come to terms with what has happened to her.

Speaking about past relationships she said: “With any relationship you need that level of understanding so any problems I may face or dealing with poignant memory I will be supported by loved ones. If they’re not supportive they’re not the one.”

To help others in the same situation Beth now runs her own charity helping others build self-empowerment and belief.

She said: “Even if it is a family member who is abusing you you still need to speak out because, whatever relationship they are to you, what they’re doing isn’t right.”

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