“I want to help – what can I do?”

By Sophie Olson

The Flying Child ‘leads conversations about Child Sexual Abuse through survivor-led training, campaigning and support.’

The most effective way for us to lead conversation is through Twitter. There is good engagement, and because our work is quite varied, followers are from all walks of life. As well as the amazing survivors, there are people from different professions including teachers, social workers, medical practitioners, counsellors, priests, journalists, academics, police and creatives. At times we find it almost impossible to keep up with the conversations.

When posting on social media I used to fear I was speaking within my own echo chamber but things have changed and I don’t think I’m speaking to the converted anymore.

Many of the tweets are challenging because I believe survivors are treated appallingly in society, and that the damaging public perceptions of survivors, victim-blaming attitudes, pathologising and discrimination is a huge problem we face and one we can challenge together

This is a comment from someone who is not a survivor of CSA. We need allies like Kate, prepared to take a stand. People can do this by engaging in conversation, sharing social media posts, volunteering to put flyers for our peer support groups in venues such as cafes, churches and pubs.

If you have a school age child, would you consider asking the school about their training in relation to CSA? Have they received lived-experience training? Let them know about The Flying Child Project.

If you are local to our organisation (we are based in Surrey), can you help us find venues willing to take a stand and host survivor-led work? Check out Upfront Survivors and see how towns across the U.K. are beginning to support the CSA survivor community.

Perhaps you could share our latest public events within your own networks.

We want to raise awareness on a much bigger scale. If you have contacts in media, let them know about us. Suggest they get in touch (we have media training and are supported by the brilliant Heard).

You could choose to share The Last Taboo – a BBC Radio 4 documentary co-produced by another survivor ally Redzi Bernard. Many survivors find their way to our peer support because of this documentary. The simple act of sharing on your own social media might make a huge difference to someone’s life:

And the more we spoke about her experiences, the more it became clear that the thing that was really shocking is that, as a society, we refuse to talk about childhood sexual abuse. It is so unpalatable, so uncomfortable, so distressing, that we prefer to shut down whenever it is mentioned. Change the subject. But where does that leave survivors, and where does it leave children experiencing abuse right now?

Redzi Bernard

What child and adult victim/survivors don’t need is adults who turn away. It is uncomfortable to think about CSA, it is distressing and yes, we would all prefer not to think about it at all, but this is a mentality that will change nothing. As with any societal issue, we shouldn’t have to experience it to care about it.

This is about the sexual violence of children.

Be brave. Please help us raise the conversation.

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