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
Thursday, 9 February 2017
Child Sex Abuse Victims Talk About How it Affected Their Relationships
Excellent article in honour of Sexual Abuse and
Sexual Violence Awareness Week
If you are a victim of sexual abuse, remember you are not alone (File Picture: Shutterstock)
If you’re a victim of sexual abuse, a common reaction is
to deny it ever happened.
Admitting it to yourself is hard let alone having the courage
to tell somebody else.
But by not speaking about it, it can have drastic effects on your mental health so it is always advisable to seek support from someone you trust.
Fortunately, there is a lot of help and support available for victims of sexual abuse, such as Victim Support,The Survivors Trust or Survivors UK as well as the Rape Crisis national helpline.
To mark Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness week, we spoke to two extremely brave victims of child sex abuse who reveal just how much the abuse affected them.
Do not fear seeking help if you are being or have been abused
(Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)
Amy* was sexually abused by her step-father as a child up until the age of 15 years old.
Her first vivid memory of being abused was when she was 11 years old.
She told Metro.co.uk: ‘One morning I was doing my usual routine, which was to get up, say goodbye to my mum as she headed off to work then have a shower.
‘As I was getting changed my step-father walked in and started sexually abusing me by playing with my chest and genitals area, he then penetrated me.
‘It felt like something was wrong but he told me and assured me it was completely natural.’
Despite knowing her step-father for seven years previously, the abuse continued, becoming more and more regular and more violent.
She said: ‘He would abuse me every weekend when I went to visit him and my mum after school on a Friday until Sunday. And every school holiday including the 6 weeks summer holidays.’
What is sexual assault?
A sexual assault is any sexual act that a person did not consent to,
or is forced into against their will.
It is a form of sexual violence and includes rape.
It also includes groping, forced kissing, child sexual abuse
or the torture of a person in a sexual manner.
This would often involve him walking into her room and touching her without her consent.
‘He made me stand up, bent me over and rubbed his genitals on me until he penetrated. He also got me to rub his genitals to help him penetrate me as it wasn’t easy for him to do so.
‘I was told by my step father that this was natural to do as a teenager, but he said I wasn’t to tell anyone.’
But throughout it all, she didn’t seek help from anyone out of fear of what her step-father would do.
‘I remember on a couple occasions I said no to him and he hated it when I did. I told him when I was 13 that I would tell my mum or someone and he got very angry and he scared me.
‘He told me to keep it hidden and said that if I told anyone he would tell them that I was lying. He did that so that I’d never tell anyone.’
It was only when Amy turned 15 did she get the courage to finally speak out and tell someone about the abuse.
She told us: ‘At the age of 15 I finally decided I was going to tell someone. I visited a very close friend and told her what had been happening. She told me I needed to tell the police, so together we made the call.’
Where you can seek help
If you are a survivor of sexual abuse or sexual violence, here is where you can seek help or support:
Rape Crisis UK – 0808 802 9999
The Survivors Trust – 0808 801 0818
Survivors UK (for male survivors of rape) – 02035983898
National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247
A hospital accident and emergency (A&E) department
A genitourinary medicine (GUM) or sexual health clinic
A contraceptive clinic
A young people’s service
The police, or dial 101
In an emergency, dial 999
(File Picture: Shutterstock)
Eventually, Amy approached Victim’s Support and decided to take him to court where he was convicted.
Amy explained: ‘The experience of taking my step-father to court wasn’t easy at all. It was terrifying but with the help and support from my police officer, witness support officer at the court and my Victim Support case worker they helped me prepare for court.
‘They showed me around the court and told me who would be there and where they would be standing. I did find court scary, hard and emotional but I knew I was doing the right thing to make sure he got punished for what he did and to prevent him doing it to others.’
After the court case was over, Amy finally felt able to get some closure about what happened to her.
‘It will always remain in my mind what he did to me, but I haven’t let it ruin my life. I feel a lot safer now that he has been convicted and that I have prevented it from happening to others.’
Yet she still suffered significant effects from the abuse and said it was hard getting close to the opposite sex.
She said: ‘After the abuse, I felt like I couldn’t trust any boy and wouldn’t let anyone get close to me. I felt like I wouldn’t ever have a boyfriend and it took me 10 years to trust men again.
‘I eventually got a boyfriend after seeking help from the charity Victim Support and my college counsellor to talk about what happened and how I could not let what my stepfather did to me ruin my life.’
‘But it has definitely made me very wary around boys. The abuse has changed the person I am today. I used to be someone who was confident and near enough did what any normal teenage girl would do, but I now feel limited and have very low self confidence.
*Victim’s name has been changed to protect her identity.
(Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)
Brian* was sexually abused by his Cub and Scout masters between the age of 4 and 15 years old.
The abuse by his Cub master, Richard Gilbert, took place between 4 and 11 and by his Scout master. Edward O’Donoghue, from 13 to 15 years old
Gilbert was never convicted of abusing Brian as he committed suicide before Brian could disclose his abuse to the police.
O’Donoghue, who was also a paediatric counsellor at Great Ormond Street Hospital, was the first person Brian trusted to share his story.
But O’Donoghue abused his position of trust and started molesting Brian.
Fortunately, he was convicted after pleading guilty to four specimen counts of indecent assault and was sentenced to two years in jail in March 2007. He was also placed on the sex offender’s register for 10 years and was banned from working with children for life.
(File Picture: Shutterstock)
Here’s Brian’s story in his own words
The abuse began after Richard struck up a friendship with my mum and dad. He started coming round to the house often and would take my mum out dancing.
As far as my brother and I could remember, Richard was always there – he never had any children or wasn’t with any women or men during the time I knew him.
He would stay at ours and that’s where the abuse would take place. My first recollection was when he came up to my bedroom and slid his hands underneath the sheets.
It would happen regularly. He’d pretend he was ‘going upstairs to tuck Brian into bed’ when really other things were happening.
If I was in the shower, he would stand outside, look through the keyhole and masturbate or if we were in my bedroom, he would masturbate in front of me. I was five years old when this first happened.
When I turned nine, I started pleading for him to stop abusing me because I knew it wasn’t right.
I started pleading for him to stop abusing me because I knew it wasn’t right.
I worked out quite quickly that it was wrong. But it was weird because he would buy me presents, so I was sort of groomed into thinking he was a nice person.
He just kept saying to me ‘it’s our secret’.
I became very angry as I grew up, especially with my parents because I wanted to quit Cubs, which I was in from eight to 11 years old, but my mum would always make me go and help out thee.
I wanted to give up but I felt like it was my responsibility to keep on doing what he wanted me to do. I was petrified that if I ever spoke about, it would tear my family apart.
Three quarters of people who approach Rape Crisis for help were assaulted over 12 months earlier and 42% were adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
Around 58,000 individuals receive an ongoing Rape Crisis service, an increase of 16% since 2014-15.
95% of all service users were female
The largest group that contact Rape Crisis Centres continues to be those who prefer to self-refer (44%)
Where age is known, 1,700 were aged 15 or under, an increase of 13% on last year; those aged under 25 represented 33% of service users, an increase of 8%
Where ethnicity is known, 27% of Rape Crisis services users were Black or Minority Ethnic, an increase from 23% in 2014-15
23% of all service users identified as Disabled.
On some levels, I think I knew my parents knew what was happening but they didn’t want to acknowledge it.
Then the abuse randomly stopped when I was 11. I don’t know why because he continued to come to my house.
By this point I had joined Scouts and became friends with my Scout master Edward O’Donoghue.
I confided in him because I really thought he had my best interests at heart. He was the first I told about Richard.
But then the abuse started again. Edward plied me with alcohol and would then masturbate in front of me and perform oral sex on me.
He would me take me on weekends away under the pretence of looking for camp sites for the Scouts and he would then touch me in the tent.
The abuse only stopped when I moved away.
Eventually I mustered up the courage to tell my parents and got Edward arrested. To this day, I still think my mum knew about it.
But it felt good to be finally free. I had carried all this crap with me for a long time,so the moment I could share it, it was like verbal diarrhoea. I felt like no one owned me anymore.
After I told my parents, I didn’t realise how much the abuse had actually affected me.
I spiralled out of control, became reliant on alcohol and was really possessive and controlling towards girlfriends.
The strangest thing was though, out of all the abuse it was the intimacy of kissing that was the most painful part. Kissing was destroyed for me for a very long time because every time I would do it, it reminded me of Richard sticking his tongue down my throat.
I also felt incredibly guilty for walking around with this secret for so long. Because if I had told someone about Richard earlier, it may have stopped other children being abused by him.
It is really important to tell someone otherwise if you keep it inside, it will eat at you like cancer affecting your body.
Following Edward’s conviction, I received £80,000 in compensation from The Scouts Association, which gave me the chance to start my life again but the scars will always remain.
I’m still in therapy which has helped but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to stop it.
*Victim’s name has been changed to protect his identity.
Lucy Hastings, director at independent charity Victim Support, told Metro.co.uk:
‘Making the brave decision to speak out about sexual abuse and violence shows tremendous courage, and can encourage others to come forward and seek help too. We know from supporting victims of sexual abuse and violence that this harrowing crime can have a long-lasting impact on people’s lives. It’s crucial that victims are aware of the support available to them.
‘Victim Support is an independent charity. We can offer free and confidential practical help and emotional support to anyone affected by crime, no matter how long ago it took place or if it’s been reported. You can call our support line on 08 08 16 89 111 or visit victimsupport.org.uk to find out how we can help.’
‘An NSPCC spokesperson said: ‘Child sexual abuse is a deeply traumatic experience that if untreated can lead to serious mental health problems, robbing victims of their childhood and having long-lasting effects into adulthood. Our programme Letting the Future In is designed to help victims express feelings that they can’t put into words through messy play, writing, storytelling and art.
‘We also work to try and prevent sexual abuse with our Speak Out Stay Safe programme, where a team of volunteers visit schools to teach children about abuse; how to recognise the signs, how to protect themselves and where to get help, including our Childline service.’