I’ve only been awake a few short hours and I am already agitated and uncomfortable. It’s exhausting.
There are stories on the news claiming Sir Clement Freud is a paedophile, that he invited the McCann’s to visit his place near where their daughter Madeleine went missing in Portugal, followed by an item on BBC Breakfast about rehabilitating criminals by teaching them how to work in a restaurant. Honestly, I don’t know what to think about any of it and I certainly don’t know how I feel part from horrendously kerfuffled.
Being a ‘survivor’ of childhood sexual abuse, a victim of a paedophile, the triggers for the resulting PTSD which we no doubt will suffer from are everywhere, every day and they are not preceded by public warnings so that we can ignore or prepare for them.
I didn’t realise when I woke up this morning that I would be confronted with these news stories and items and have no defences in place for the all engulfing black hole that has now swallowed up my insides and is slowly creeping up through my oesophagus and filling my throat so it’s incredibly hard to breathe. I feel like I have been punched in the gut. And all this before breakfast.
My feelings upon hearing how criminals are given incredible opportunities to change their lives leaves me wondering, “Who is giving us those same opportunities?” Whilst the gentleman explains that many criminals have low self esteem and are shy, I can’t help but think whether anyone has been concerned about our low self esteem and confidence issues? No one has ever rushed to offer me training for a job and made sure that whilst doing so the environment is appropriate to my needs. No.
From my personal experience, even when sitting in front of my own GP (many of them throughout my adult years to date) literally begging for help and explaining that I am so afraid that I curl up in a ball in a corner of my flat at the bottom of the staircase because it’s the only place hidden from view of all of the windows, I am asked whether I want to have my name put on a waiting list for six sessions of counselling but it may take up to three months to actually see someone. No.
In fact, once in my early 20’s – only a few years after the sexual abuse stopped) – when I was forced to see a male GP about excruciating pains in my tummy, he asked if I was suffering from stress. Deciding that I was in a ‘safe’ environment, I nervously confessed to being a victim of longterm childhood sexual abuse. The GP then stood up and said, “Okay, well you won’t mind if I give you a rectal exam?” No?
Well, actually yes. More abuse.
When I pay for private counselling, the best advice I am given by this particular person who happily takes my money is, “Don’t you think other people have it worse than you?” What?! Sorry, did I miss a sign on the way in that announced that I would be abused further in the course of my recovery? No.
My question is “who is helping us?”
I am hoping that in response I will be able to compile a list of websites, telephone numbers, safe places that adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse can go to and get the effective help that they need immediately – not in three months and not in a way that makes it all far worse. We may only need a few sessions, or the help may be required long term or intermittently forever more. Right now, though, I would settle for ‘at all.’
To clarify, I’m not saying stop helping criminals and anyone else in need – I am just asking who is helping us?
If you know, please let me know, so that I can share that information.
*For all the posts in this series, please click here: