This blog post is a little different than the norm but it’s sitting so heavily on my heart tonight that I can’t help but write it down. I’m praying immensely that God will use this post to touch your heart today.
There are topics we tend to avoid talking about. Eating disorders, drug abuse, domestic violence, relationship breakdown, mental illness, self-harm, depression and anxiety. Emotional abuse. Violence. Death and grief. And the biggie – sexual abuse. Or more specifically, child sexual abuse. We don’t like to talk about it because it’s not comfortable and hearing it being discussed makes us feel ill and sad and disturbed and horrified. And scared. More than anything, it scares us. We’re scared it might happen to us or our children or we’re scared that it’s happened to someone we know. We’re scared it’s happened to someone close to us and that we have no idea. It has been estimated within Australia that 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys are victims of childhood sexual abuse (before the age of 16). This statistic is enormous. So why isn’t is being talked about? What’s holding us back from talking about it openly?
I blog about eating disorders because no one talks about eating disorders. How can people recognise that recovery is possible, albeit the challenges, without someone being open and honest about their own recovery? So then, why have I avoided this topic for so long?
This blog is not my journal. It is not a diary. It is merely a resource, a way of educating individuals about eating disorders. It’s here to (hopefully!) inspire others in their own recovery journey. It’s a record of my recovery.
Just like you guys, I’ve been scared of talking about sexual abuse, or childhood sexual abuse.
We’re scared of what others will think. We’re scared people won’t know what to say. We’re scared we’ll be seen as too whingy or clingy or needy. So we never talk about it.
I currently attend a wonderful place once a month in Wollongong called West St Centre. They provide ongoing counselling for children and adults who have experienced sexual assault. Due to state budget cuts, West St Centre has been allegedly recommended for de-funding. This place, a service that provides counselling to people who have suffered much trauma. A place that has a two-year waiting list because the need is so great.
This de-funding would mean that West St Centre would cease to exist.
So there’s a few things we can do. We can sign this petition, for example (and I can’t even articulate how grateful I would be). You could show your support to the centre and like their Facebook page over here. You can circulate the petition amongst your friends or share it on your Facebook page. If you haven’t felt the ramifications of sexual assault yourself, it’s highly, highly likely that someone you know has. It’s not something we should be ashamed to talk about. It’s not something we should be ashamed to share. Our friends and our families and our children and our siblings and our partners … there are people amongst us who need these services. So why shouldn’t we give it as much attention as we can so we can preserve counselling services such as West St Centre?
I’m not particularly brave or clever, it’s not particularly brave of me to sit here and say, yeah – this happened to me and it’s happened to many of us and we need to support these services to keep them going. I’m not going to play victim, and this isn’t something I want to be pitied for. But I would like your help in saving West St Centre. Because it’s needed. Because it’s necessary. And not just for me, but for many, many individuals in our community. More than you realise. So pop over to the petition or the Facebook page and show your support. Please.