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
Sunday, 29 January 2017
Why One Woman Devoted her Whole Life to Helping Children Affected by Sexual Abuse
Fed up of the lack of support for child victims of sexual abuse, Diana Porter, 70, took matters in to her own hands
Diana set up her own charity (Photo: Diana Porter)
I first encountered children who had been abused when I fostered two little ones, siblings of four and five years old. While I was bathing them before bed, the little boy turned round and said, "When are you going to hit me?" I said, ‘I would never hit any children.’ He asked, "Why not? Don’t you love me?" He was so confused. I quietly comforted him by saying that if he ever did anything wrong we would just explain it to him.
I started fostering in the late 1980s when I had three grown-up birth children of my own. My husband Colin was reluctant at first, but after agreeing to care for troubled children short-term, we ended up making two of them, Robert and Michelle, our official children, after taking them in when they were 10 and six years old.
One night when Robert first arrived I was tucking him in bed and he said, "If my dad keeps doing what he’s doing, they’re going to put me in care, aren’t they?" I explained he was already in care with me and I will never forget the smile and relief on his face as he said, "This is care? That’s all right then."
He had visions of a care home being some sort of horrible place. It was that, and working with the team at the children’s centre, that inspired me – I wanted to be a social worker.
Shortly after I was in my new job, Colin’s work for the government took me and Michelle (who was 16 at the time) to Mozambique. I used to spend my days travelling to the poverty-stricken villages, giving supplies to as many people as I could. I’d buy tinned food, blankets, toys – anything I could find. I was able to get a lot. Produce was so cheap out there.
I met a man living in a straw shack, who had two very poorly children. His three-year-old son had such terrible scabies he had never stood up in his life. His little girl, six, was blind and deaf. So I was very proud of Michelle when she agreed to sell the horse we’d bought her back in England to pay for the girl to have an operation. It saved her eyes and ears. She knew we couldn’t possibly allow ourselves to have a horse when people were suffering so much.
While living there we built a little shower in the garage for the villagers. I also had medicine, plasters, vitamins, so I was almost running a little doctors surgery too. One girl was crippled so I got her crutches. It changed her life. I could do so much for so little.
Once we settled back in England, a friend of mine who worked on a project for a large national children’s charity asked if I’d lend her a hand a few hours a week. There was a waiting list of 75 children who had been raped, who needed treatment. I couldn’t bear that, and eventually, after seeing a huge demand for it, I used my own savings, £6K, to start my own charity, Fresh Start – new beginnings, which focuses on children who have been sexually abused.
Diana in Mozambique (Photo: Diana Porter)
'My 13-year-old son was sexually groomed on Facebook... by his own father'
From the day we opened in October 2012 until now we’ve had 775 referrals from professionals, whether that be the police, social services or a GP. We work with about 100 children at any one time, and our service is therapeutic, helping children emotionally through their traumatic experiences. The oldest who come to us are early teens and the youngest are about four. The youngest child I have had referred has been six months old.
One of the hardest cases I have seen was a nine-year-old girl who came from a wonderful, perfect family. She was abused, on a one-off occasion, by her grandad. Because her childhood had been so loving, the abuse meant that her world collapsed.
She stopped going to school and seeing her friends. The grandad admitted it and now he’s in prison. But it was a shock to the whole family. We helped her, and that little girl actually sent me a picture of her recently in her prom dress, which was lovely to see. I don’t ever write back – I mustn’t, she needs to move on – but God do I love receiving those kinds of things.
The most common abuser is the birth father, and 95% of the people we treat have been abused by someone they know. It’s more rare, but we do get cases of mothers abusing children too. Tragically, although we can’t support our victims through a court case, many of these abusers walk free. Why? Many reasons, but children aren’t the best witnesses.
We recently lost a case because the child, aged 11, gave three different dates when asked when the abuse started. At first they said aged five, then five and a half, and then six. But it was a long time ago for them and also traumatic. They managed to give clear evidence of the rape and how the abuser punched a hole through her bedroom wall above her bed when she resisted, but no, the inconsistent dates meant he walked free. Now that poor girl is suffering because she thinks nobody believes her.
That's disgusting! Like children can remember dates and ages accurately after they have been sexually abused.
We’ve also had the same GP who has been tried three times and walked free. He wears smart suits and answers every question beautifully. The children answer questions terrified from the next room. That man always walks free. It’s even worse when it’s the father who gets found innocent and he asks for contact with the kids. The kids don’t want it, but often the courts can allow it. That puts children in awful situations.
And it happens all the time!
I’ve tried to campaign for starting basic sexual education for younger children in schools. I’ve seen so many kids who have said, "I didn’t know what it was until I had my sex education. I thought it was happening to all children." Or many of them talk about ‘white wee-wee’ which is horrendous. It’s literally as simple as this – if they know what’s right, they will know what’s wrong. So I commissioned a book called A Touch Too Much aimed at kids aged 4-12. I hope to get it into as many schools as I can.
Our charity logo is a smiley face that was drawn by a little girl we were treating. She drew herself as a rotten apple when she first arrived because she said she was bad inside. After a few sessions she told me she was looking forward to a school trip and drew that smiley face. It meant so much to us. I hear kids say, ‘I look at the sky and ask to die before morning,’ so often, and that smiley face has become our ethos. Children looking forward.
Now I have a bigger team and we get a lot of help from local foundations and trusts, but we just need to keep fundraising so we can offer the best service we can. I started taking a small wage but I’ve had to cut it, which doesn’t matter to me. I still raise money every Christmas to send back to Mozambique too. I’ll never stop doing that.
I’m meant to be retiring in a year or so, but I know I’ll still interfere! I will always be involved. The children need our services more than ever. But when I do finally retire I’ll be looking after my eight fantastic grandchildren. For me, it doesn’t get much better than that.
God bless you, Diana! You've made a big difference in this world.
Diana set up her own charity to help youngsters (pic posed by model) (Photo: Getty)
Child abuse: The facts
● Nearly a quarter of young adults experienced some form of sexual abuse during childhood.
● In 2016, NSPCC phone lines received 7,000 calls regarding sexual abuse.
● 50% of abuse suffered at home by children is committed by someone under the age of 18.
● Disabled children are three times more likely to be abused than able-bodied children.
To find out more, or make a donation, or if you or a child wants to ask for help from Fresh Start – new beginnings, visit Fsnb.org.uk. The NAPAC offers support to adult survivors of childhood abuse: Napac.org.uk or call 0808 801 0331. If you think a child is being abused, or if you need to talk to someone, call the non-emergency police line, 101, or contact Childline on 0800 1111