The West Australian
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
Wednesday, 8 March 2017
Shocking Reality of Child Sexual Abuse
Douglas committed suicide at 25 after being abused as a child
The West Australian
It is a disturbing fact that many women stay with a child abuser, even when children are at home.
There are also families who allow the offender back into the home after their prison sentence is served.
It can be difficult to understand why but the reality means experts must work out strategies to stop the abuse from happening again.
They must also find ways to treat those who fear they may offend. Adult survivors of child sexual abuse can give insight on the helpfulness, or not, of post-abuse contact with the offender.
The mother of a child sex abuse victim
Perth mother, Yvette Strawbridge, reflects on the tragic impact of sexual abuse on her child.
Our first child, Douglas, was born in 1969. My husband, a policeman, had been mentored as a child by a man down the road who was wonderful and who taught him everything he knew about fishing. That was such a positive experience for him, so when our next-door neighbour, who was a handyman, invited Douglas to join him we thought it was wonderful Douglas could learn things like cleaning windows and gardening. Douglas was 10 and now we understand it was all part of the grooming process because only many, many years later did we find out that man would get Douglas to swim naked in the swimming pool and he took lots and lots of photographs. For about the next seven years this man would take our son out on a boat because our son loved diving, fishing and boating. We thought Douglas was having this wonderful experience but we later discovered he was being sexually abused. Our son died one week after his 25th birthday in 1994 and the only reason we came to know Douglas had been abused was because the child sexual abuse squad came to us in September 2011 and told us.
“He must have felt so fearful and unable to tell us
what happened before he took his own life.”
This was 18 years after Douglas committed suicide. They said they had interviewed a man in a South Australian prison who told them his story of what had happened to him in his childhood. He was actually in prison because, sadly, he — the survivor of child sex abuse — had gone on to become an offender. While he was in prison he wrote to the the WA Police Commissioner and the policeman who took it on, who was commended in court for his diligence, noticed he had mentioned another boy in his statement of evidence — a boy called Douglas. He said Douglas, the boy who lived next door, was also abused. When the police came to our house and told us I remember thinking “This cannot be true”. This man had taught our son how to manicure lawns and mow gardens in Nedlands, Dalkeith and Cottesloe. Also, I was a nurse so I couldn’t understand how, under my watch as a mother, this could have happened to him. Douglas suffered a profound emotional and psychological trauma yet he courageously tried to live a normal life with us. That man was sentenced to 10 years in prison but he was released in April last year and never verbally expressed remorse or apologised to us for what he did to Douglas. It may come as a surprise but I have supported the victim in prison in South Australia. He had actually taken himself to a psychiatric facility asking for help but didn’t get it and shortly afterwards he offended. But through this man’s disclosure about his own abuse and the resulting arrest by police we have learnt what happened to Douglas. The offender made threats to this man and we presume he did the same to Douglas, which is why he never said anything. We grieve the loss of Douglas and want to honour him. He must have felt so fearful and unable to tell us what happened before he took his own life.
The offender’s wife
A Perth mum, who asked to remain anonymous, offers insight into why she chose to let her husband return home.
It was absolutely horrendous to see my husband arrested by police. We had brought up our children to be fabulous citizens with great morals and ethics. We had been married for so long and I just could not believe my husband — a very intelligent man, the loveliest father and the best community member — would do this. I was totally numb with shock. When I explained to our children that I needed to talk to them about something that would change their world, one thought we were going to announce a divorce and one was frightened one of us had cancer. One child’s response was very black and white: ‘If you do the crime, you do the time.’ My husband had been taking photographs of children in public places. He actually uploaded those photos to the web. The police came and took all of our technological devices and all he could say was “I’m sorry. I’m sorry”. He was sentenced to 13 months in prison and is now on the sex offender’s register for 15 years. When I asked him why he did it, he told me he just couldn’t stop and that it was an addictive mindset. I know from experiencing depression myself how the mind controls everything you do. I asked him “Why children?” and he basically said it was because they wouldn’t know what he was doing whereas an adult would. I’ve been asked if I was going to leave him and the short answer is no. I have been married to him and I know who he is — a lovely man, a great father and a good friend — who had a horrible secret he just couldn’t talk about.
“Yes he hurt children but what he has put us through as a family means I know he would never ever breach that trust again, ever.”
He had depression and we discovered through a lot of psychological help that back in his youth he had some sort of fetish with underwear and this was triggered because he was spending hours and hours alone. He was working FIFO (first in, first out) so I think it was also due to loneliness and boredom. Our house needed no work done to it either so he spent all his time on the computer. The media went to town on him and we had to move suburbs and get away from people who knew and there are countries we can’t travel to now. Every now and again I feel angry. It is so demoralising for an educated, intelligent man to have to live like that (in prison) and he hated every minute of it but he wore it because he knew what he did was wrong and he is so glad to be out of there. At first my husband was planning to kill himself but he said if one of his kids spoke to him and didn’t ostracise him because of the offence then he could survive this. My daughter called him that night to say she supported him and even though we have lost lots of friends, the family has stuck together, including in-laws. I believe children are the most precious things in our lives so we need to help these men who are psychologically unable to help themselves to get help before it gets to the stage they are incarcerated. There is nothing available for these men who get caught up in this dark web before they start acting out. While incarcerated, my husband signed up for every program he could but only the long-timers get to do the programs. Even the judge didn’t talk about the psychological problem my husband had — he basically said: ‘You did this and you are going to prison’. But I’m not going to ditch him for a mental problem. Yes he hurt children but what he has put us through as a family means I know he would never ever breach that trust again, ever. There are reasons men do these things and sometimes it can’t be helped and they feel like they don’t have a way out and I want them to get that help. They have rehabilitation centres for drug addicts and I think it would be good for the government to have similar therapy centres for them (child sex offenders), even if they have to live there for a year or however long to get to the bottom of the offending so it doesn’t happen again.
The Protective Behaviours Program — what is it?
It’s an international child abuse prevention program which aims to develop personal safety skills in children, young people and adults. It helps identify unsafe situations, problem-solve them and direct people to help and support. Source: WA Child Safety Services (WACSS)
Find fact sheets and more about courses available at wachildsafetyservices.com or call 1300 310 083. Also safe4kids.com.au or 9497 7685.