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Letter of Support – Claire

A Mothers Story

Below we share this small excerpt from Why Go Back? 7 Steps to Healing from Childhood Sexual Abuse – where Claire, a mother of a victim of abuse speaks about the devastation she has experienced as a secondary victim.

We know just how brave Claire has been in telling her story, which will go a long way to helping so many people to understand a mother’s perspective and demonstrate that the victim is not the only one affected by abuse.

We are asking other women like Claire, to share their experience and join the campaign. The more politicians that read real experiences, the better understanding there will be. This hopefully will wake up our politicians and ensure they push forward the much-needed funding

A Mother of a Victim of Child Sexual Abuse

My name is Claire and I’m a lone parent of two children a seventeen-year-old boy, Sam, and my daughter Marcia, who’s eleven.  My brother, Tommy, had Marcia on a sleep over at his house.  Afterwards, Marcia told me that Owen, her teenage cousin who was then fifteen, had sneaked into the bedroom in the middle of the night and touched her private parts while she pretended to be asleep.

I was shocked and devastated.  I felt that I had failed my daughter.  When she told me that this had been going on for some time and that she had been afraid to tell me in case it broke up the family, I felt sick. I felt stupid.  Why didn’t I see something?  Why didn’t I know?  There must have been signs that I just didn’t see – or did I see them and ignore them?  For days, this was spinning round and round my head. I couldn’t eat, or sleep and I felt like throwing up all the time.  It was so hard trying not to bawl my eyes out all day but, for the sake of the kids, I had to be strong.

I went to the police which, was awful, I felt guilty and it didn’t help that, at the time, they seemed dismissive and judgmental.  They informed me it was my duty to report this crime and, for a while, I thought they were going to arrest me for the delay in reporting it.

After I did report it, it was full speed ahead and I met a lot of professionals over the next few weeks.  I met with the local police, therapists and counsellors to try get help for Marcia.  They all appeared to be really interested in our predicament but once they went through the process of taking statements, hearing what Marcia had to say and doing a full assessment, we were left to get on with it alone.  There was no follow up, they never contacted me, it was always me chasing them down, looking for any news of what was happening – even now it’s like pulling teeth.

No one offered me support.  The focus was on helping my daughter, and rightly so. I had to minimise my need for support in order to ensure Marcia’s needs were met as at times Marcia’s pain was manifesting through tantrums and unmanageable outbursts or anger.

The lack of information I received and how difficult it is to get anyone to explain to me, exactly what was happening, was also very concerning.  Seriously, when I chase up the police for information, they constantly end their sentences with, ‘You know what I mean?’ I wanted to scream at them, ‘No I don’t know what you mean.’ But I kept quiet, I just didn’t have the confidence.

Although we are the innocent parties, we are being treated like lepers by the rest of my family.  The loss and isolation both me and the kids feel is unbearable.  I can’t help but feel the responsibility – if only I had known, had stopped it, had protected my daughter then none of this would have happened.

When I involved the professionals, I didn’t think for one moment that it would take three years for the case to happen.  Three years is ridiculous, it prevents us moving forward.  I can’t understand why it takes that long.  My daughter’s interviews supported the fact that she was telling the truth, the assessment stated her story was credible. I didn’t know that all the people involved do not share information.  Why wasn’t that information shared amongst all those involved with the case?

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