I’m currently spending every spare minute editing the final draft of my manuscript.
I never intended The Flying Child to become a book. I wrote the first chapter ‘The Kingdom of His’ late one night in a moment of determination, desperate to get the words that were so impossible to speak, out.
“If you had been physically disabled by a past trauma and chose to run a marathon—people would call you brave. But we don’t do that with emotional wounds. They are invisible and the parents who rise to the occasion—and parent with love and purpose—who give what they never got—they are unsung heroes.”
This is so true. Navigating parenthood as a survivor of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) can be an isolating experience and this starts at the very beginning. Nobody speaks about it. There is limited or no opportunity to bring conversations into antenatal appointments. There is no mention of trauma in parenting groups. We deal with the often highly triggering process of pregnancy and birth on our own, we might struggle with breastfeeding, to bond, or even have fears around gender – but we crack on because we have to.
The Last Taboo: Produced by Redzi Bernard and Phoebe McIndoe. A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4
Hurt People Hurt People goes round in our heads and we can’t risk our struggles being misunderstood as poor parenting. We want to be good parents. To break patterns, not be accused of causing further hurt. So we stay silent.
Here’s to all the CSA survivors doing their best to parent without the support they deserve. The ones doing their best to work it all out… to heal, to stop trauma passing to the next generation.
Most people have little idea of what to say when someone discloses Child Sexual Abuse.
Some react brilliantly – a hug, a kind word or two (it’s rare). There is usually a shocked pause (forgivable – after all it is a shocking form of abuse). I sense the cogs turning as they search for something, anything to make this uncomfortable, unfathomable and perhaps unwelcome moment in time feel a bit better. For them.
This is me; this is my story. But of course, it’s not just mine. This story has happened to and continues to happen to many people. The details may differ but the impact is devastating.
At best, we might experience feelings of shame, confusion or lack of self-worth. At worst, we might feel our lives are blighted by unbearable emotional distress or physical illness. A lack of support for Child Sexual Abuse survivors might lead some to develop coping mechanisms such as the ones described in this blog.
If you relate to anything here, I hope you are reassured to know that you’re certainly not alone. Navigating your way through life as a CSA survivor can feel overwhelming. At times, it might feel insurmountable, but it’s not. There is always hope. There is always a waythrough.
When you were seven, and the stranger wearing a grey suit and driving a red car said through the open window, if you get in I’ll take you to see some puppies, and you pedalled home into the arms of your abuser, it was Not-Love when he told you how proud he was and how clever you were, not to get in a car with a stranger.