My son is a childhood sexual abuse victim by a family member.
When my son disclosed my whole world fell apart in 4 short words ‘mum someone touched me’
I nurtured and protected this boy as a mother and I felt i had failed him.
On referral via the police it felt like someone understood, understood why I felt I failed him but ensured I come round to see I hadn’t. I wasn’t the one who abused him, the perpetrator did.
I wanted to self harm, I thought about ending it all and then feeling selfish that I wasn’t the victim, who am I to feel like this, it didn’t happen to me but I couldn’t get what happened to my boy out my head, images swimming in my brain of child abuse and rape but our Independent Sexual Violence Adviser (ISVA) kept my head above water, she stopped me from drowning in an invisible river of trauma. She became a secret member of our family, she was our rock, she encouraged me to keep going, she supported my campaign work around inter familiar child abuse and told me I had a voice to create change.
Without her I felt like my strength was gone, I couldn’t tell anyone because my child has legal anonymity, she became my confidant, my champion so I could be my child’s strength.
Without Sheffield Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre (SRASAC) I don’t think both of us would be here. My ISVA has a place in my heart forever. She built me up, piece by piece, and now I stand strong.
When my boy disclosed 3 years of abuse he suffered, he shut down, he couldn’t get in the school gates anymore, he wouldn’t open his curtains, he couldn’t sleep without medication, he hated the world and so did I.
My ISVA referred my boy for SRASAC pretrial therapy, some days he ran off and they just sat with him, someday he didn’t say a word, somedays he drew his feelings, somedays he cried, but then somedays he laughed, and while the amazing team at SRASAC counselling service were breathing life back into my boy our ISVA sat in school meetings with me, liaised with police, to ensure his future needs and the investigation was on track.
When I needed support they surrounded me with hope, and diminished my fear for his future.
He is now, I’m glad to add back in school, he opens his curtains, he smiles, he laughs. He will forever remember the horrors he endured, but SRASAC made us see we are the writers of our story, The perpetrator took his childhood but he certainly isn’t taking our future.
I talk as a mother of a child affected by abuse to other mothers suffering now, you are not alone, I know how it feels, I truly do, one phone call and you will be wrapped in comfort and support, you deserve it too.
Child Sexual Abuse affects so many others, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters, grandmas and grandads, teachers and friends, all dealing with the trauma of a young persons disclosure. It’s affects are felt across the board. A (non abusive) parent has to deal with professionals and police, let SRASAC be your crutch. The one you can depend on. For you.
For me SRASAC is a silent saver in Sheffield, quietly picking up the pieces of rape and assault on victims so they can process and deal with trauma and aid in recovery. It’s time for Sheffield to say ‘Thank You’ to those people who work within its walls, and let’s give them the tools and donations to carry on the life saving work it does all without very little public thanks due to the anonymity of victims.
For more information and to contact SRASAC you can click on their website here.