We need to talk about childhood sexual abuse

You might be wondering why we need to talk about childhood sexual abuse

Young girl wear blue denim jacket and jeans. Sitting on ground elbows on knees and hands over face
Childhood sexual abuse – most victims don’t tell

Content/Trigger Warning: Please be advised, this article mentions trauma-related topics which could potentially be triggering. The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) 2019, estimated that 7.5% of adults aged 18 to 74 years experienced childhood sexual abuse before the age of 16 years (3.1 million people). This includes both adult and child perpetrators. That’s why we need to talk about it! This is the fourth in a series talking about child abuse.

Child sexual abuse statistics

“The majority of victims did not tell anyone about their sexual abuse at the time. ‘Embarrassment‘ being the most common reason”, according to The Office for National Statistics (ONS) 2020. So, if victims are unable to tell or talk, someone else needs to! If no one talks about childhood sexual abuse, it will carry on. Trust me. Perpetrators will be free to continue to abuse our children.

Other figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) include:

  • The abuse was most likely to have been perpetrated by a friend or acquaintance (37%); around a third (30%) were sexually abused by a stranger.
  • In the year ending March 2019, the police in England and Wales recorded 73,260 sexual offences where there are data to identify the victim was a child.
  • At 31 March 2019, 2,230 children in England were the subject of a child protection plan (CPP) and 120 children in Wales were on the child protection register (CPR) for experience or risk of sexual abuse.
  • Sexual abuse has become the most common type of abuse counselled by Childline in recent years; it was also the most commonly reported type of abuse by adults calling the National Association for People Abused in Childhood’s (NAPAC’s) helpline in the year ending March 2019.

Are you shocked?

Black & white photo young girl head in hands
Emotions and childhood sexual abuse include sad, anger, rage, fear, hurt, disgust

If these figures don’t shock you, I don’t know what will. Anyone who’s experienced childhood sexual abuse might not be shocked by the numbers. However, I’m sure they’ll have a varied and wide range of other emotions; extreme sadness — both for the other victims and themselves, hurt or fear, disgust, anger, possibly rage. They probably feel shame, dirty, or bad and have low self-esteem.

What is child sexual abuse (CSA)?

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), offers this explanation: “When a child or young person is sexually abused, they’re forced or tricked into sexual activities. They might not understand that what’s happening is abuse or that it’s wrong. And they might be afraid to tell someone. Sexual abuse can happen anywhere – and it can happen in person or online.

It’s never a child’s fault they were sexually abused – it’s important to make sure children know this.”

Types of sexual abuse

The following information is from The NSPCC in the UK, who say “there are 2 types of sexual abuse – contact and non-contact abuse. And sexual abuse can happen in person or online.

Contact abuse

Youth head leaning on forearm, crying
Child sexual abuse can happen to anyone, including young boys and youths

is where an abuser makes physical contact with a child. This includes:

  • sexual touching of any part of a child’s body, whether they’re clothed or not.
  • using a body part or object to rape or penetrate a child.
  • forcing a child to take part in sexual activities.
  • making a child undress or touch someone else.
  • contact abuse can include touching, kissing and oral sex – sexual abuse isn’t just penetrative.

Non-contact abuse

is where a child is abused without being touched by the abuser. This can be in person or online and includes:

  • exposing or flashing.
  • showing pornography.
  • exposing a child to sexual acts.
  • making them masturbate
  • forcing a child to make, view or share child abuse images or videos.
  • making, viewing or distributing child abuse images or videos.
  • forcing a child to take part in sexual activities or conversations online or through a smartphone.

Signs of sexual abuse

Young boy leaning on bridge just staring out
Would you know the signs of child
sexual abuse? Image from Japeth Mast
on Sunsplash

Emotional and behavioural signs:

  • Avoiding being alone with or frightened of people or a person they know.
  • Language or sexual behaviour you wouldn’t expect them to know.
  • Having nightmares or bed-wetting.
  • Alcohol or drug misuse.
  • Self-harm.
  • Changes in eating habits, making themselves sick or developing an eating problem.

Physical signs might include:

  • Bruises.
  • Bleeding, discharge, pains or soreness in their genital or anal area.
  • Sexually transmitted infections.
  • Pregnancy.

If a child is being or has been sexually abused online, they might:

Child sexual abuse can happen online
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
  • spend a lot more or a lot less time than usual online, texting, gaming or using social media.
  • seem distant, upset or angry after using the internet or texting.
  • be secretive about who they’re talking to and what they’re doing online or on their mobile phone.
  • have lots of new phone numbers, texts or email addresses on their mobile phone, laptop or tablet.

Children and young people might also drop hints and clues about the abuse. If an adult responsible for caring for a child is suspected of sexually abusing a child, the local child protection services should be contacted.  If an adult not in a caregiving position with a child is suspected of sexual abuse, the local police should be notified. Concerns about child pornography can be reported to either the local police or:

To report abuse in the UK:

Call The NSPCC on 0808 800 5000, email help@nspcc.org.uk or fill in their online form.

Big red question mark with little white man standing against it thinking
Clipart.com

I’ll end here for now — I’m sure you’ll appreciate, it’s a tough topic to research and write about, particularly if you’ve experienced childhood sexual abuse. Next post will cover what to do, who’s at risk and more support agencies. In the meantime, I’m happy to answer any questions and look forward to reading your comments.

One last thought: if you’ve been affected by any of the above, please talk to someone – tell a friend, speak to your GP or find a therapist. You don’t have to suffer alone, you are not alone.

Yay! I got nominated for the Liebster Award

Yes, I accept the Liebster Award, thank you!

Grey circle with Liebster Award written on it, surrounded by pink spots on white background
Discovering new blogs

I’d like to thank Christina from ckyranis.com for nominating me for the Liebster award, and I accept it with gratitude. Christina is a Certified Professional Coach, and specialises in relationship coaching. Why not pay a visit to Christina’s fabulous blog where. by the process of self discovery, she helps people make healthier, more loving and fulfilling relationship choices.

As you all know, I’m quite fond of the blogging awards because it’s a great way of meeting new bloggers, finding out about them and their lives and becoming virtual friends.

Rules

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you, and provide a link to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions given to you.
  • Share 11 facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 5-11 other bloggers.
  • Ask your nominees 11 questions.
  • Notify your nominees once you have uploaded your post

11 questions for you to answer

  1. What is your greatest life lesson so far? Understanding that I was not to blame for what happened to me
  2. What is your favorite pass time? Now — it’s probably blogging and other than that, spending time with our 2 beautiful grandchildren 🙂
  3. What has been your greatest challenge in the past month? Having to stay indoors in a one bedroom flat with hubby — seeing other people out and about!
  4. What is your ideal romantic relationship look like? Exactly like the one I have; loving, mutual trust, respect and understanding and being able to laugh with and at each other 🙂
  5. Share one thing you’ve never shared before about yourself. Me and a pal sold raffle tickets for some fake charity when we were about 9 – one house we visited, the lady recognised my pal as being the window cleaner’s daughter so she told on us! We had to go back round about 5 doors to return the money
  6. Whats your definition of friendship? Almost the same as romantic one lol
  7. Which is your best tv series? Does it have to be just the one? I loved Luther, Bosch and Casualty
  8. Whats your favorite food to eat? Mmmm! I just love food but favourite’s got to be seafood and fish (monkfish), calamari — getting peckish just thinking about it 😉
  9. Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate — every time!
  10. Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Introvert with extrovert traits?? When I’m with my really close friends and family, I’m always the one that makes everyone laugh and play games
  11. What are you most afraid of? While I know it’s inevitable, the thought of my mum or dad dying! They’re both 78 this year and are relatively fit – I want to spend as much time with them, either in person or in our virtual world via Facetime 🙂

Eleven things about me

  1. Okay, here goes, I’m young and in my fifties now
  2. Other than my physical disability and mental illness, in the last ten years, I’ve had no other ailments like coughs, flu or broken bones – yay!
  3. I have Transverse Myelitis (TM), which is not unlike Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  4. I have two gorgeously amazing adult sons who have 5 degrees, 2 Masters and 1 PhD between them (proud mummy moment)
  5. I have a very special partner who always looks out for me and looks after me
  6. I love travelling and have had some real fun holidays in the States, Cuba, Egypt, Mexico, Portugal, Spain, Gibraltar, France skiing, South of France, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia (to name but a few lol) and my favourite of all time, Israel, where I spent a year on a kibbutz
  7. Prior to becoming physically disabled, I worked as Ward Manager in Mental Health and I loved it — for me, it was the best job ever
  8. I’ve put on weight since I stopped working — I’m not saying how much tho 😉 suffice to say, I’ve got that muffin top thing going on
  9. My favourite times are with family and friends, whether it’s at the beach, around a pool or in the garden, eating fantastic food and enjoying lots of wine
  10. I was born in Scotland, where my mum and dad, my brother and his wife and twin boys, my sister and her hubby together with their five children and partners with lots of little kiddies, all still live – so I visit often 🙂
  11. My older sister lives in the USA so I’ve been able to visit her in both Houston and Philadelphia

My nominees are

  1. Carol Anne @ therapybits.com/
  2. Ayesha @ bloggingfilter.com/
  3. Heather @ unrulyneurons.com/
  4. opane.home.blog/
  5. Arisha @ mybookofhonour.wordpress.com/

I hope you’ll all participate and I’m looking forward to reading your answers so we all get to know a bit more about you.

There are so many amazing bloggers out there but I’ve just recently come across the 5 blogs above. I’d appreciate you taking some time to check out their wonderful blogs.

My questions are

  1. Tell us a bit about your blog and why you started it
  2. Tell us a bit about you
  3. What are three things you like about yourself?
  4. What is the one thing about you that you dislike and why?
  5. If you could share your last meal with anybody who would it be, alive or dead?
  6. Where do you live and what’s it famous for?
  7. When were you last in education and what did you study?
  8. Who are you in lockdown with?
  9. What are your thoughts on blogging awards?
  10. What do you enjoy and not enjoy about the blogging community?
  11. What’s the weather like where you are?

I look forward to seeing who participates and reading their answers. In the meantime, just letting you know I’ve been unwell — yes, again! So hopefully, I’ve managed to respond to your your much appreciated comments and also to read and comment on your blogs. If not, bear with me, I will get round to it cos I’m on the mend.

Help?

Big red question mark with a little white character leaning against it
Clipart.com

I’m wondering which post to complete next? Should I continue with “My psychotic journey” (it’s been a while since my last episode here) or with “Childhood sexual abuse”? Or do something more uplifting peeps. I’d appreciate your input.

How to spot child abuse

Would you know how to spot child abuse?

Little girl with ponytail, side view with hand over her ear. Spot the signs of Child Abuse
Spot the signs of Child Abuse

This is the third in a series of Let’s talk about Abuse. Today we’re going to look at Child Abuse but before we start:

Content/Trigger Warning: Please be advised, this article might mention trauma-related topics which could potentially be triggering.

First, let’s take a look at the following Child Abuse statistics for year ending March 2019 from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), 2019. If you’re not too interested in statistics, just scroll down the page.

  • The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) estimated that one in five adults aged 18 to 74 years experienced at least one form of child abuse, whether emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, or witnessing domestic violence or abuse, before the age of 16 years (8.5 million people).
  • Many cases of child abuse remain hidden; around one in seven adults who called the National Association for People Abused in Childhood’s (NAPAC’s) helpline in the latest year had not told anyone about their abuse before.
  • In the year ending March 2019, Childline delivered 19,847 counselling sessions to children in the UK where abuse was the primary concern; around 1 in 20 of the sessions resulted in a referral to external agencies. So yes, let’s talk Child Abuse.

What is the UN convention on the rights of the child?

Lit up photo young child holding up broken chains
All children have the right to be treated
with dignity and fairness……

In 1989, governments across the world adopted the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), recognising that all children have the right to be treated with dignity and fairness, to be protected, to develop to their full potential and to
participate.

Their rights, according to UNCRC, include that: Governments must do all they can to make sure every child can enjoy their rights; to life, to adequate standard of living and non-discrimination, from child mortality to combating disease and malnutrition, preventing violence and injury, ensuring rehabilitation and support for children with disabilities, or abolishing traditional practices that harm children such as early enforced marriage and female genital mutilation.

So, what is Child Abuse?

Head of baby lying on his back, with black eyes and blooding dripping from his nose
Shocking — One month old baby

The World Health Organization (WHO) describes child abuse as a single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there’s an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress.

Who are the abusers

Sometimes people who abuse children were themselves abused as children. A cycle of abuse might be difficult to break if it’s not dealt with effectively. It can be passed down through generations within a family.

Child abusers come from all walks of life and abuse could happen anywhere i.e. in the home, at school, at the local swimming pool or park. Child abusers can be anyone from parents, caregiver, close family members, family friends, teachers and/or coaches. In fact, an abuser could be anyone who has access to a child — whether through action or failing to act.

People who’ve experienced abandonment, witnessed family violence or experienced various forms of abuse during childhood are at greater risk of poor mental health, behavioural and interpersonal skills in later life.

Types of abuse

Child abuse is behaviour toward a child that is outside the ‘normal societal behaviours’. Four types of abuse are generally recognized:

Girl with long blond hair wearing blue denim jacket and jeans. Sitting, leaning against a wall and covering her face
Emotional abuse harms a child’s
mental and social development
  • Emotional abuse includes any act that results in the child suffering significant emotional deprivation or trauma. Emotional abuse harms a child’s mental and social development, and over time, can cause severe emotional harm.

Shouting at a child or at other parent in front of them is child abuse. Being threatening towards a child, saying things like “If you don’t behave, I’ll cut your rabbit in half”, or “If your gonna sulk I’ll smash up that bloody laptop” is child abuse.

Putting a child down or criticising them, particularly in front of people, shaming or making the child feel guilty is abuse. Letting children hear adult themed conversations, talking about divorce or separation or putting the other partner down in front of a child is also abuse.

Psychological abuse is often the hardest form of abuse to identify. However, if a child is abused in another way i,e, physically or sexually, psychological abuse might not be far behind.

‘My greatest wish is that my kids always know how much I love them, and that they walk through the rest of their life knowing I’ll always be there for them anyway I can.’

Unknown

Signs a child might be emotionally abused might include:

  1. Withdrawal from friends and activities they used to enjoy
  2. Sudden loss of self-confidence, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, OCD or unusual fears
  3. Looking sad and lonely, different from how they’ve been in the past
  4. Changes in behavior — such as anger, aggression, hostility or hyperactivity and being spiteful, bullying others such as younger siblings, school friends and even parents
  5. Rebellious or defiant behavior, deliberately breaking all the normal family or school rules
  6. An apparent lack of supervision, possibly always out on the streets
  7. Running away
  8. Frequent absences from school or sudden changes in school performance
  9. Reluctance to leave school activities, as if he or she doesn’t want to go home
  10. Self-harm; pulling out their hair, cutting or scratching self, or suicide attempts
Young boy wearing blue jeans and white t-shirt. Sitting on the floor with his hand up defending himself as females hand that look like they're about to hit or slap
Young boy looks like mum’s angry,
– Image Shutterstock/Speedkingz
  • Physical abuse is when a parent, family friend, teacher or caregiver purposely causes physical injury to a child. There’s lots of signs of physical abuse, some of which are listed here:
  1. Bruises, black eyes, blisters, hair pulling, cuts and cigarette burns, scars or scratches
  2. Severe visible injuries like burns or welts, possibly hit with a belt or stick
  3. Broken arms, legs or hands, dislocated joints
  4. Internal injuries like stomach; perhaps being kicked and punched or brain damage
  5. Lifelong injury as in brain injury, death

Be aware if a child doesn’t want to leave, say a friend’s birthday party, to go home, or they’re afraid of adults, including other parents

ID 9388190 © Monkey Business Images | Dreamstime.com
  • Neglect includes any serious omission or act that constitutes a failure to provide the essential conditions for the healthy emotional and physical development of a child (within the bounds of cultural tradition). Some examples are:
  1. Leaving a child alone without appropriate supervision i.e. leaving a baby with a 6/7 year old sibling while parent goes off to a bar or party
  2. Not receiving comfort, affection, and appropriate stimulation from caregivers; no smiles, hugs or appropriate physical bonding. No emotional support such as ignoring their cries, their feelings or other emotional needs
  3. Not getting medical help when required or quite the opposite, Munchausen syndrome by proxy (a mental health problem where a caregiver makes up or causes an illness or injury in a child
  4. Infection because of lack of medication or poor hygiene which might result in scabies, head lice, diarrhea
  5. Not enrolling a child at school or not making sure a child attends school

Signs of neglect in children would include things like:

Whiteboard with someone writing in large blue letters - child neglect
Dreamstime.com
  • Nasty body odour, matted hair, dirty skin and/or nails
  • A child being ill-kempt, extremely dirty clothing or wearing clothing that’s way too small or too big
  • Untreated sores, scabs or severe nappy rash
  • If a baby isn’t meeting appropriate physical and developmental milestones without an underlying medical reasons
  • Being hungry and stealing food or what might appear as gluttony – eating really quickly and furtively
  • A child is always tired, late for school or not attending school
  • Feeling bad about themselves, not making friends
  • Being involved in serious accidents like falling down stairs, constantly bruised or broken bones

I have consciously left out Childhood Sexual Abuse in this article, as that’s a whole other post.

Knowing how to help a child who is being abused and how to respond if you think a child is suffering is very complex. So too is understanding why most children don’t disclose, but I’ll try to cover that in my next post childhood sexual abuse. Listed here are support services you might want to contact for advice and support if you know of a child being abused:

  • NAPAC because the damage caused by child abuse doesn’t always end in childhood. NAPAC offer support to adult survivors and training for those who support them. Call 0808 801 0331
  • NSPCC 0808 800 5000 to report concerns about a child
  • Childline call 0800 1111 for advice and support

Though it’s crucial to raise awareness of child abuse, researching and writing this article brought up many old thoughts and feelings. It’s been depressing at times, anxiety provoking, soul-destroying and shocking. I’m guessing that many of you will have had similar anxieties reading it. If so, I’m sorry for what you may have gone through and, please take a few moments to self-soothe and to take care of yourself.

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Clipart.com

I hope you’ve found this post useful in some way. Do you think I’ve covered most angles, or do you need more? Would you ever report to the authorities if you saw signs of child abuse? I’m really interested to hear your opinions and I’m happy to answer any questions you might have.

You might be interested in the two other posts in this series, Let’s talk about Domestic Violence here or Let’s talk about the various forms of abuse here.

One last thought: if you’re having relationship problems, please – tell a friend, speak to your GP or find a therapist, but please don’t take it out on the children.

I went through a psychotic depression VIII

Don’t look back — Eric Johansson

This is the 8th in a series of “My journey through Anxiety, depression and psychosis. Please click here for Parts I, II, III, IV, V , VIand VII if you wish to read the backstory (It might make more sense).

For those of you who don’t already know, I started writing about my journey some months ago and only intended to write it in four posts. However, it’s become clear that my journey was a lot longer and more painful than I remembered, making it difficult to get the words down on paper at times. I’ve taken breaks and written other posts in between, giving me time to reflect and bounce back a bit stronger each time.

My angry son

………….. I held onto Nic tightly and let him sob into my shoulder — until his howling became a whimper.

Finally, he looked up at me angrily and backed onto his bed “I’ll kill him. If I knew all that, I’d have kicked him out myself mama. Aarrgghhh!” he screamed. “I’ll bloody well kill him,” he cried as he jumped down from his bed and paced the tight space between me and his bunk bed.

“Do you know what he told us Mama?” — “He’s had me and Dan in tears nearly every weekend for over six months….. Aarrgghhh! He told us that you were cheating, seeing other men!”

“Oh, my word, Sunshine, that not true,” I blubbered, “You know I’d never do that. You know how I feel about cheating.” They knew what their Nana had gone through in her life with my dad. They’d always been taught never to raise their hands to partners and if they’re unhappy with someone then leave, before meeting someone else.

“I know mama, but he was so convincing, crying and everything.”

“He’s hurt Sunsh……”

“So. the b*stard — sorry Mama. He should be flippin’ sorry. And he’s with Bel now anyway. Is that who he was cheating with? What’s his flipping problem? I hate him mama.”

“No Sunshine, you’re angry and upset. You don’t hate him. Come on, let’s get some sleep and we’ll talk more in the morning if you want.”

“Okay. But I still hate him and I don’t want to see him any more mama.”

Can’t get to sleep — Getty Images

“Please Sunshine, don’t tell Dan yet, let me talk to him first,” and off we both went, to our beds. But sleep wouldn’t come. All this was turning over in my head and I understood how Nic’s behaviour had changed towards me. Not that I’m making excuses for him drinking, his moodiness or his sometimes foul language — I’m not. Each of these issues will be addressed openly and sensitively at some point because I’m a great believer in being allowed to express your self, but in an appropriate manner.

My angry ex

Tony was coming to take the boys the next day so I was up early because I thought it best to give him some warning. I called him “Tony listen, I’m sorry but Nic knows about you hitting me. I had to……….”

“You f*cking stupid bitch,” he screamed, “What did you do that for? F*ck sake.”

“Look, I’m sorry. I had to tell him — you’d told them I was cheating; seeing other men.” I’d later remember I’d apologised to him — twice — doh!

“I’m coming round – now.”

“No don’t, Nic doesn’t want to see you. Leave it today.”

Teenager on sofa with smartphone —
image by Canva

“B*llocks,” he yelled and I heard the phone slam down. He lived across the road, he wouldn’t be long. Fortunately, the boys were up anyway, they’d eaten and Dan was dressed and waiting on the sofa for his dad. Nic, I knew, certainly wasn’t going anywhere with his dad and he turned to go up the stairs. At that the front door burst open and in thundered Tony, “What’s going on? Nic, get ready, we’re off mate.”

Crikey, Nic was now thundering down the stairs so I stood at the bottom with my back to him, trying to stop him getting to his dad. I really didn’t want to see them fight. As I’ve mentioned before, Nic and Dan are black belts in karate and I wasn’t sure how a fight would end but what I was sure of, is that Tony wouldn’t ever give in!

My angry ex is a pig

Then he started, “I bet she ain’t told you about all her crap, has she?”

“Leave it Tony,” I begged. I didn’t want the boys to find out about how I’d endured childhood abuse — and certainly not in this way. However, and as expected, Tony just wouldn’t stop.

“Ask your mother why I cheated…. go on, ask her.”

Angry man — Simplerecovery.com

I could feel the tension in Nic behind me as I kept my arms stretched out to hold him off. “Go on ask her, ask her why she let some dirty old c*nt do ……….. and she f*cking did all that but she won’t f*cking give me ………. Go on. Ask her,” he goaded. “And — ask her why I hit her, the f*cking frigid cow. But she’d give it away to anyone else.”

“Aaarrgghhh! You effin’ b*stard. Move mama! Please, move out the way,” Nic begged.

“No Sunshine. Tony – go,” I pleaded. I could see Dan on the sofa, wide eyed pale skinned and white lipped, in panic. “Just go. You’re upsetting everyone,” I hissed.

“Nah mate. Dan come on, we’re going cinema…….” he smiled and tried to drag Dan off the sofa. But Dan wasn’t having any of it.

“No, I’m not going anywhere with you. Go dada, I don’t want to see you. I hate you.” Dan fumed and I watched my poor boy’s fear and anger pumping through his young body, his fists clenched, face white and lips pale. Big fat tears spilled from his huge brown eyes and I saw how he tried to blink them back, but in the end he snatched them away with the sleeve of his sweatshirt.

“Tony just go,” I insisted.

Anger, upset and tears

However, now it was Tony’s turn to pale as he realised how upset both boys were with him and I know it would have been like a kick in the stomach for him, to hear them say “I hate you!” Ouch! He gave up and slouched out the front door. We could see from the kitchen window, how he was kicking at loose stone, angrily. Nic went up to his room and I went to mine, to breathe and calm down. Dan followed me and was down on his knees staring up at me sitting on my bed, “Mama, did dada ever rape you?”

“No Sweetheart, never.”

Boy talking with mum —
Hopehighpnline.org

“Well why was he saying all that stuff? Why was he talking about an old man? Who was he? Did he rape you mama?” My heart was breaking for him, this young innocent boy having to hear Tony’s pathetic tale, all just to get back at me. He’s such an ignorant pig, the boys knew it too, but this — this was something else.

True to their word, the boys refused to see him for about six months, despite my protestations i.e. “Look Daddy’s angry at mama, not you two. He loves you both.”

“Yeah, well he’s got a funny way of showing it,” Nic tutted,”and he’s hurt you mama. All that crap he fed us. No, I still hate him.”

“Me too mama. I hate him and I don’t care if I never see him again. He shouldn’t have hurt you mama, I don’t want you to be upset any more” Dan said tearfully, while trying to appear brave.

Telling the boys I’m okay

Boys at breakfast with mum — niddk.nih.gov/

“He’s gone now Sweetheart. Shall we go out for lunch?” I trilled in my happy voice, trying to minimise their pain. So we did; we talked things over and I gave the boys only the very briefest details of the childhood sexual abuse because they’d asked me and because they wanted to know. Dan said very wisely, “Mama, we’ve always been honest and open, it’s better we know and hear it from you.” so I told them “Boys, it’s happened and it hurts but it’s all over now -and I’ve got a good therapist to talk to when I’m feeling overwhelmed. I’ve also got nana and Liz so please try to stop worrying about me.

They also asked how long he’d been hitting me but I didn’t want to tell them. “Mama, now we know, he did hit you, how often?” And I’d told them a very short version; as any mum would. I don’t believe they were old enough or emotionally mature at the time and said that perhaps they could speak to their dad about it. I got an emphatic no!

So, eventually, the boys settled once more…….

I’ve only got one more episode of this particular journey and I hope you’ll bear with me. I hadn’t realise how exhausting this process would be and I’m pleased it’s coming to and end — almost there.

This my story and Tony might argue or deny, which he’s always done. Do you think I could have handled the above situation differently?

If you’ve been affected by anything in this post, please seek support from your GP.