The Difference We Make
It’s sometimes difficult to know the difference we make, but we have the story of “M”, who, very courageously and kindly, agreed to share her experiences.
She first rang the Line, because in her own words:
“It’s easier to talk behind a screen. That’s the main thing. And the hardest thing is to talk.”
“M” was a thirty-nine year-old mother of three, originally from Devon, who was sexually abused as a child, by a paedophile ring. The shame and guilt had affected every part of her life, and she suffered from the many difficulties and behaviours, that often result from such abuse. She was clinically depressed and suicidal, and the only thing that kept her going was the thought of her children without their mother. Eventually, her marriage broke down and she decided that she needed to talk to someone about the traumatic experiences that had dominated so much of her life.
She could not find the courage to talk face-to-face with anyone, so she rang our RSAL helpline. The fact that the line was anonymous meant that she felt safe to talk, at last, with no fear of consequences. It was her first proper disclosure, and also her first experience of being really believed, and truly heard by someone. It was powerful and it quickly gave her the strength to move on with her life.
Eventually, she felt ready to take the huge step of talking to a counsellor face-to-face. Through our knowledge of agencies to help, she was able to access a local counselling service, which had a sliding rate of charges, so it was affordable for her. From there she went from strength to strength. She made many big decisions about her life and the changes she wanted, and sometimes it was very hard for her, but she felt she was moving steadily forwards on her journey.
She, along with a fellow survivor, set up their own safe website to support other survivors of sexual abuse. It was one, very powerful means to witness, support and respond to people, until they were ready to talk. The reason for telling this particular story, and there are many such, is that, ‘M’ herself, credits the line for initially giving her the strength to address these powerful, long-held issues. Most importantly, she says she would never have had the courage to begin her journey, if she had not been able to talk to someone anonymously, without fear of being judged, and knowing she would be heard and believed. “