Recently circumstances have “pushed” me in the direction I felt strongly about. I am now taking the plunge to be a full time do-gooder. I want to serve others. I want to make a difference in a field I feel passionate about.
The trouble is it’s an area or topic nobody wants to talk about. I’m sure if I decided to fight for the rights of animal abuse I would have a whole lot of support... but child sexual abuse makes people cringe... It makes them go into ostrich mode. If we don’t think about it or talk about it, it might just go away right? Not so.
The aftermath and fallout of a child having endured sexual abuse or any other kind of abuse will ultimately affect us all because it’s not just about sex... Have you ever wondered why there are so many people who are angry, nasty, promiscuous, bitter, and violent and who abuse alcohol and drugs? Go back to their childhood and you will discover why. Many a times they themselves may not have been abused, but they have a parent that was... and who never had the opportunity to “work through” their issues... and the vicious cycle continues.
Children and adults who have been sexually abused very seldom speak out about abuse. And the reasons are obvious. Most people are abused by people they know and trust. Studies on reported abuse cases show that:
- An estimated 60% of perpetrators of sexual abuse are known to the child but are not family members, e.g., family friends, babysitters, childcare providers, neighbours.
- About 30% of perpetrators are family members, e.g., fathers, brothers, uncles, cousins.
- Just 10% of perpetrators are strangers to the child.
Sadly here in South Africa just a fraction of that 10% is reported in the media and for the most part the other is kept hush-hush for fear of a family scandal or because the adults don’t want to offend their neighbours or acquaintances. Adults always seem to choose self preservation above the wellbeing of children. Just look at the way some schools treat reports of teachers sexually abusing their learners. The reputation of the schools is much more important.
And the silence continues...
Silence however only serves to perpetuate the abuse. It is time we move “Beyond the Silence”...
Stories have always been a very effective tool of persuasion. They have been used to convey messages and influence behaviours since before the written word and I believe strongly that survivors should be telling their stories and offering hope to those who find themselves in seemingly hopeless situations.
I thread telling my story and my fight to move from victim to survivor to thriver with the facts about child abuse so that the audience are given the knowledge that can help them prevent the abuse of our children.
I have spent the past couple of years putting together a workshop and fact sheets and have presented this to groups of people. My aim however is to now do this fulltime. But if I want to make a difference at all I will need schools to buy into this and get the teachers and parents to attend. I need employers to get me to address their workers during working hours. I need NGO's working in the area of child services to see the benefits of joining me in a partnership and I need YOUR support please.
My wish list:
· Printing of fact sheets, brochures and business cards and stationary
· A banner
· Names and contacts of people I can approach about hosting a talk or workshop