Sexual Abuse - Speak Out

A few days ago I read this post from Jane at Practically Perfect Mums about historical sexual abuse. It struck a chord with me, and brought up emotions I thought I had hidden forever. I haven't slept properly since I read that post.

This is a blog post I have never considered writing. It's something which I have been so ashamed of that I haven't talked about it. I've kept it locked away for about twenty-five years. There are good reasons for that, but the main one is shame. I realise now that I have to get rid of that shame. Hopefully part of doing that is telling my story.

When I was a child, I was sexually abused by a stranger on a bus on my way to school. 

I was unlucky. 
Bad timing. 
Wrong time. 
Wrong place. 

But if it wasn't me, it would have been someone else. The likelihood is that if an individual is going to sexually abuse a young girl on a bus in public, that I'm probably not the only victim.

I filmed a video, because this is one topic which I've found is so much easier to talk about than to write about. Don't feel you have to watch it, I just found it good to actually talk about it.

Truth is, I'm still ashamed, but for different reasons. 

I am ashamed that I didn't speak out.
I am ashamed that I didn't stop him.
I am ashamed that because of my lack of action, he may have done it to someone else.

What happened to me is a part of me. It makes me who I am, but I have never let it define me, and I never will.

The thing is, when I worked in prison I met sex offenders and scarily they appeared to be ordinary people. Nothing different stood out about them. There's no particular 'type' of person who is a paedophile. I am not trying to scaremonger. I want people to be aware that there is no set age and no set appearance. 

I know that the chances of something happening to young girls by a stranger is far rarer than abuse from someone you do know. I can't speak out now. There's no point reporting a crime when I don't know the perpetrator and I can't even remember how old I was or what year it was. However, if you know your abuser, you can speak out. You can stop it from happening to others. You can make a change.

If this post and video help one person to speak out about what they are going through then I have done the right thing in publishing it. This wasn't an easy decision for me, but I feel it's the right one. I have always found writing to be cathartic and if there's one story in me that should have been told, then this is it. 

If you have experienced abuse as a child in any form, then check out the NSPCC website. There is a huge amount of information there about historical abuse and also a helpline for you to call if you need to speak to someone.