Monday 21 July 2014

7 Ways to Help a Male Sexual Abuse Survivor Heal

While any kind of victimization is traumatic and life-changing, survivors of male childhood sexual abuse have the greatest challenges. Even in our enlightened age, society dictates that boys and men need to be tough, that to be considered "weak" is a disgrace and to have been placed in a powerless position is shameful. How can a man who has been stigmatized into silence believe that this terrible experience is not his fault?

I want to underscore, from my own personal experiences, that recovery is possible—and even empowering—but it takes tremendous courage, perseverance and understanding on the part of both the survivor and his family. It's a tough road but an unbelievably rewarding journey of self-discovery. I want to share what I have learned from all of my experiences in dealing with trauma:

The Only Way Out Is By Admitting That What You Went Through Still Affects Your Life 
Every journey begins with a single step, and this one is huge. Denial is very powerful, and because of the stigmas mentioned above, admitting the effects of sexual abuse is almost an insurmountable task. However, as loving spouses, we must remember that we cannot force this, only encourage it. Fortunately or unfortunately, timing is everything.

You Are Not Alone: Find a Support Group 
One of the most powerful tools is a support group, where you become a member of a group that really understands what you are going through. Finding your way to this is empowering: You will be heard and believed. It's a validation and justification of your experiences, with the tools to help you recover. Many organizations have resources including moderated chat rooms, referral lists, workshops and retreats, suggested reading lists and support for family members. 

Ask for Help: Find a Good Therapist 
Most support groups not only have a referral list but also detail how to go about finding the 
therapist that is right for you. Do not be afraid to "phone interview" a potential therapist, putting right up front what the situation is to make sure that they have therapeutic experience in this subject. Spouses: If your husband [or partner] is not ready, find a therapist who can give you the tools to help your family.

You Can Run, But You Cannot Hide: Examine Your Self-Destructive Behaviors 
Suffering is something we all feel we cannot bear, and most victims seek out things they think will take the pain away. This practice of "self-medicating" merely dulls the pain and does not take it away. These are usually self-destructive behaviors, also caused by self-loathing. Why are you punishing yourself?

Letting Go: Forgive Yourself 
No one is ever ruined for life, even though it feels helpless and impossible. The mantra needs to be: "It was not my fault." Every day is a new beginning, and it's never too late. You must believe this! Don't endow the person responsible for this with continued power over you—break away. The only one holding you back is you!

The Glass Is Full: Turn Adversity into Strength 
The remarkable thing is that what you will learn from this will make you a more powerful person. Ironically, [my husband] Curtis would not be the man he is today if it wasn't for his victimization and recovery. My husband is my hero. Though Curtis' personal story is somewhat sensational, he has chosen to share his experiences and has been speaking publicly about abuse and recovery. He has worked with government and social service agencies, local and national law enforcement, judicial offices and parent organizations to erase the stigma of being victimized, help keep children safe, encourage men to speak out and seek help, advocate for victims services and revolutionize sex offender management.

Because he speaks, our daughter Jenny speaks. Diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome in fifth grade, she found many challenges upon entering middle school, with relentless teasing and ridicule from her classmates. However, following her dad's example, Jenny had the courage to speak publicly at her school on what it's like to live with a disability, and as a result, garnered respect and empathy from her school and peers. You never know how far your work reaches. What gift do you have?

It Takes Time: Understand That Recovery Is an Ongoing Process 
Unfortunately, recovery does not happen overnight—it's a process that builds upon itself. You must also realize that for every two steps forward, there might be one step back. Allow yourself to feel sad for the slips, but celebrate and focus on the forward movement. From a spouse's point of view, it is not an easy road, and a lot depends upon timing, support, patience, humor, perseverance and love, but most of all hope—hope to believe that all things are possible. Come out of the shadows—you can be who you were meant to be.

Let the healing begin.

By Ilene Lieberman-St. John

Sunday 20 July 2014

Ten Signs Of Child Abuse

Below are ten signs of child abuse according to ChildSafe San Antonio, an organization that provides services to children who have been abused, neglected and sexually abused.
1. Changes in behavior:
Abuse can lead to many changes in behavior. Abused children often appear scared, anxious, depressed, withdrawn or more aggressive.

2. Returning to earlier behaviors:
Abused children may display behaviors shown at earlier ages, such as thumb sucking, bedwetting, fear of the dark or fear of strangers. For some children, even loss of acquired language or memory problems may be an issue.

3. Fear of going home:
Abused children may express apprehension or anxiety about leaving school or about going places with the person who is abusing them or exhibit an unusual fear of a familiar person or place.

4. Changes in eating:
The stress, fear and anxiety caused by abuse can lead to changes in a child’s eating behaviors, which may result in weight gain or weight loss.

5. Changes in sleeping:
Abused children may have frequent nightmares or have difficulty falling asleep and as a result may appear tired or fatigued.

6. Changes in school performance and attendance:
Abused children may have difficulty concentrating in school or have excessive absences, sometimes due to adults trying to hide the child’s injuries from authorities.

7. Lack of personal care or hygiene:
Abused and neglected children may appear uncared for. They may present as consistently dirty and have severe body odor, or they may lack sufficient clothing for the weather.

8. Risk taking behaviors:
Young people who are being abused may engage in high risk activities such as using drugs or alcohol or carrying a weapon.

9. Inappropriate sexual behaviors:
Children who have been sexually abused may exhibit overly sexualized behavior or use explicit sexual language and may exhibit symptoms of a genital infection.

10. Unexplained injuries:
Children who have been physically abused may exhibit unexplained burns or bruises in the shape of objects. You may also hear unconvincing explanations of a child’s injuries.

Be aware that some children may show ALL or NONE of the signs above. Trust your instinct. Suspicion of abuse is enough of a reason to take action.

Saturday 19 July 2014

UK-wide operation snares 660 suspected paedophiles

An unprecedented six-month operation coordinated by the NCA and involving 45 police forces across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland has led to the arrest of 660 suspected paedophiles.
More than 400 children across the UK have been safeguarded.
Some of those arrested had unsupervised access to children in the course of their work. They include doctors, teachers, scout leaders, care workers and former police officers. 
Of the 660, 39 people were Registered Sex Offenders but the majority of those arrested had not previously come to law enforcement’s attention.
The operation targeted people accessing indecent images of children online. It has stayed covert till today in order to protect children, identify offenders and secure evidence. The NCA and its partners are not revealing the methods they used to track down suspects so that they can use the same tactics again in the future.
Charging decisions are awaited in most cases because of ongoing enquiries but so far charges brought range from possessing indecent images of children to serious sexual assault.
NCA Deputy Director General Phil Gormley said:
“This is the first time the UK has had the capability to coordinate a single targeted operation of this nature. Over the past six months we have seen unprecedented levels of cooperation to deliver this result.
“Our aim was to protect children who were victims of, or might be at risk of, sexual exploitation. A child is victimised not only when they are abused and an image is taken. They are re-victimised every time that image is viewed by someone.
“Some of the people who start by accessing indecent images online go on to abuse children directly. So the operation is not only about catching people who have already offended – it is about influencing potential offenders before they cross that line
“We want those offenders to know that the internet is not a safe anonymous space for accessing indecent images, that they leave a digital footprint, and that law enforcement will find it”.
Chief Constable Simon Bailey, the National Policing Lead for Child Protection and Abuse Investigations, said:
“Sexual abuse is a complex crime taking many forms.  The vast majority of forces around England and Wales are dealing with an unprecedented increase in the number of reports of sexual abuse of children.  Forces are investigating exploitation of children and young people by groups and gangs, non-recent abuse including large scale investigations into abuse in institutions over many years and sexual abuse by parents and family members.
“During this operation, we’ve targeted offenders accessing child abuse images.  Police must continue to use a range of investigative techniques targeting all forms of abuse if we going to protect children and bring offenders to justice.  Chief officers are committed using all the tools available to them because nothing is more important in policing than protecting vulnerable people”.
John Carr, Secretary, UK Children’s Charities’ Coalition on Internet Safety: 
“This huge operation provides another distressing illustration of the scale of online offending against children but perhaps more importantly it also sends out a very clear warning to paedophiles and collectors of indecent images everywhere that the internet is  increasingly becoming a very hostile environment for them. Police forces all over the world are co-operating on an unprecedented scale in pursuit of online child sex offenders and they are deploying technical tools to track  them down with ever greater effectiveness.
Claire Lilley, Head of Online Safety at the NSPCC: 
“This is an important two-pronged operation which has rescued children from abuse and also identified many previously unknown sex offenders. Direct action like this sends a strong message to those who subject children to harrowing sexual assaults that they can and will be traced and prosecuted.
“But law enforcement agencies alone cannot deal with the vast problem of illegal images which continue to flood the market. Industry has to find inventive ways of blocking the flow of such horrendous pictures which are only produced through the suffering of defenceless children – many of who are not even old enough to go to school.  
“So while this operation must be rightly applauded we should view it as yet another warning sign that far more needs to be done if we are to stem the sordid trade in these images, which are often used by those who go on to abuse children.”

Notes to editors

If you have concerns about a child or young person, or if you are a child or young person and someone has asked you to do something that makes you feel uncomfortable either on or offline, you can report through the CEOP safety centre at
CEOP's Thinkuknow programme provides information for children, young people, parents and carers about staying safe online and preventing sexual abuse and exploitation. Parents and carers can visit Thinkuknow for advice on keeping their children safe.
If you are a child and you want to speak to someone in confidence about any issue that is upsetting you, you can contact ChildLine on 0800 1111 or visit the Childline website to  to chat to a counsellor in confidence.
If you are an adult and you have concerns about a child you can speak to the NSPCC adult helpline on 0808 800 5000 or email
If you have a real emergency or need immediate help you should call 999 or contact your local police.
The Lucy Faithfull Foundation is a registered child protection charity dedicated to reducing the risk of children being sexually abused. It works with entire families affected by sexual abuse, including adult male and female sexual abusers, young people with inappropriate sexual behaviours, victims of abuse, and other family members. More information for adults concerned about their own behaviour, or that of someone they know, is available from Stopitnow. More information for parents is available from ParentsProtect.



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