The end of a social taboo?

Today I’ve been walking with a very dear friend.   It was her birthday, so we had a lovely Autumnal walk, kicking leaves, sliding about in the mud and dodging the advances of over zealous dogs. We were chatting as we walked, the conversation rarely pausing for breath as we talked our way along the banks of a Hampshire canal.  It was only when I was driving home, that some of the ‘dots’ of the conversation began to join up, as I reflected on what we’d talked about.   Continue reading The end of a social taboo?

The Yellow World

I read about a book in The Sunday Times yesterday, The Yellow World, and I thought it was definitely one for me.  Those of you that know me, know that I love the arena of positive psychology, of moving towards joy, happiness, enlightenment… of maximising the strengths within us rather than focusing on improving the ‘weaknesses’ (too much corporate nonsense in the latter for me, know your weaknesses, yes, but I’m not all about trying to ‘fix’ them…. perhaps food for another blog).  I think this book could be a real gem…. Continue reading The Yellow World

Big and small coincidences..

I believe in coincidences, that they are the Universe nudging you along a path of fate.  My husband scoffs at such thoughts.  Our birthdays are a couple of weeks apart, we are both Aquarians.  Nothing really in that, but is it a coincidence that when we first got together, that we were both given the book “The Celestine Prophecy” by James Redfield.  A book all about coincidences, synchronicity.  It made for fascinating discussions at the time!  In recent weeks, I seem to have stumbled, or rather, have perhaps been nudged, through a series of synchronous events. Continue reading Big and small coincidences..

Theresa May launches another inquiry – but let’s herald Tom Watson

In Parliament on Wednesday (6th November) Theresa May announced another inquiry, into the allegations of child sex abuse that took place in north Wales in the 1970s and 1980s.  There was an inquiry before, but it was restricted in what it did and whom it listened to.

The alleged abuse centring on children’s homes in north Wales – and specifically the Bryn Estyn home at Wrexham – began to emerge in the 1990s. They were highlighted again last week when victim Steve Messham said the Waterhouse inquiry had uncovered only a fraction of the abuse.

I read in the Times yesterday that Tom Watson had rather bristled Theresa May, urging that the truth is sought out.  No more half-baked inquiries, we’d hope.  I wish I’d heard the exchange.  Tom Watson spoke on behalf of the children that have been interviewed but have not been believed. Tom Watson is to be heralded for the following comment (excuse the screen shot, but I’m learning about technology all the time):

Still, in most cases, children do not disclose to anyone that they have been sexually abused. According to a recent study on behalf of NSPCC, more than one in three children aged 11-17 (34%) who experienced contact sexual abuse by an adult did not tell anyone else about it. (1) 
Perhaps the tide will begin to turn as more people speak out about childhood sexual abuse, more parents ask their children and more people understand the nature of grooming and what a paedophile is (and isn’t).
(1) From: Radford, Lorraine, Corral, Susana, Bradley, Christine, Fisher, Helen, Bassett, Claire, Howat, Nick and Collishaw, Stephan (2011) Child abuse and neglect in the UK today. London: NSPCC.

Hiding in the open

When I was researching Hurt, I read a lot, spoke a lot, and thought a lot about paedophiles.  I felt I needed to in order to write with any authority about the sexual abuse of children.  In the opening chapter ‘ the unspeakable truths’, I wrote about the myths surrounding paedophiles.   The media, at the time, would have us believe that they are gruesome monsters, grotesques.  I was challenging that view in my introduction, exploring not the possibility, but the reality, that in most cases paedophiles are nicer than nice.

Here we have the sordid truths unveiling of how prolific sex offenders get away with it.  By hiding in the open.   The archetypal wolf in lamb’s clothing.   The case of Jimmy Savile is well documented today, as people struggle to reconcile this magnanimous, generous, popular figure with another aspect – that he was a sexual predator of children.   The same is true in the US, the football coach Jerry Sandusky.  This time, it was a case of manipulating his role in sport to access children. Like Savile, his persona and work for charity was a cover.  Sandusky was sentenced in October 2012 to a long term in prison (30-60 years) for sexually offences against minors following decades of abuse.   There can be no case brought against Savile.  His death has saved him from prosecution.

In my work at Mosac, a common theme would be the cry of “how did I not know”, from the non-abusing parents.  This cry has been echoed down the helpline phone lines, and reverberates around the therapy rooms.  They did not know because the paedophiles were not grotesques, they did not present as demons, but as caring, warm people.  Grooming of the parent is as much a part of the manipulation in order to sexually abuse their child or children.

It is my hope that in exposing Jimmy Savile as a prolific child sex offender that the general public may stop looking in the shadows for those who steal the childhoods from our children, and start looking in the open.