Horrific memories, nightmares, and other forms of PTSD burden survivors of sexual abuse. Memories of violent sexual abuse become too painful to endure. The natural response of those overwhelmed by horrific memories is to bury the memories, cover them up, ignore them, push them away. Many try to flood the memories in drugs and alcohol to dampen the pain and anguish. These approaches attempt to keep out the harmful memories, but they can’t be buried.
While we may not consciously remember the sexual abuse, the emotional memories are present—always. This gives rise to other emotional effects such as depression, low self-esteem, fear, anxiety, etc. Sometimes we are not aware of the impact of the unconscious memories. Sometimes we cannot get the emotional baggage out of our conscious, day to day, activities. Sometimes these memories can attack us in terrifying nightmares.
CHILDUSA points out that memories of violent sexual remain buried until the average age of 52! This delayed emergence of memory is especially true of those sexually attacked as children. My view is that memories of our abuse surface when we have the strength of character to face them. In my case, the most violent and horrific memories did not surface until I was 63.
I believe that the best path forward is to acknowledge the memory, incorporate them as part of who we are as a full person. It is an incredibly difficult process but a process that will eliminate the imprisonment of memories that controls our lives. It can be liberating.
Several elements ensure the success of the integration of harmful memories. It is a challenging journey, and gathering support is necessary. The first is to embrace those closest to you and seek their support, such as family or close friends. The second is to engage with a therapist who specializes in sexual trauma. The third is to participate in a support group through SNAP, a local rape crisis center, or find an agency of support.
I had great success with using the therapy practice of EMDR. (Wikipedia definition) It requires courage and strength. The benefit is that you bring include all your memories to become your true self, the good and bad.
I do not say that the burdens of PTSD and depression won’t disappear. But it does give us hope and the ability to thrive.
This chapter discusses major categories of child abuse: physical abuse, physical neglect, emotional or mental abuse, and sexual abuse and includes signs, symptoms, and behavioral indicators of abuse. The chapter also discusses child sexual exploitation and trafficking and how human trafficking organizations are set up, how they retain control of the victim, and indicators of trafficking for law enforcement and child protective services workers. Investigation techniques for law enforcement are included. Child fatalities, sudden infant death syndrome, and homicide are also discussed in this chapter.
Children are suffering from a hidden epidemic of child abuse and neglect. Every year more than 3 million reports of child abuse are made in the United States involving more than 6 million children. The United States has one of the worst records among industrialized nations – losing on average between four and seven children every day to child abuse and neglect. The WHO reports that over 40 million children, below the age of 15, are subjected to child abuse each year. Domestic violence in the home increases that risk threefold.
Child Abuse Investigation Field Guide is intended to be a resource for anyone working with cases involving abuse, neglect or sexual assault of children. It is designed to be a quick reference and focuses on the best practices to use during a child abuse investigation. The guide explains the Minimal Facts Interview, the Forensic Interview, and the entire process from report to court. It is understood that every state has different statutes regarding these topics; however the objectives of recognizing, reporting, and investigating cases of this nature are the same. Just as every crime scene is different, every case involving a child is different. Best practices and standard procedures exist to help ensure cases are discovered, reported and investigated properly, to ensure good documentation is obtained to achieve prosecution and conviction. This field guide will be a useful tool for law enforcement, child protective services, social service caseworkers, child advocates, and other personnel and agencies working for the welfare of children.
Includes protocols and best practices for child abuse investigations
Explains the Multidisciplinary Team approach and why it is useful
Describes the Minimal Facts Interview and the Forensic Interview
Walks the reader from the initial report, through the investigation process, to pre-trial preparation and provides tips on court testimony
Portable and affordable, the guide is tabbed for easy access of specific information while in the field and can ensure that team members are “on the same page” throughout the investigation
Child abuse, Child neglect, Child sexual exploitation, Emotional abuse, Human smuggling, Human trafficking, Physical abuse, Sexual abuse
The Premier of NSW, Nathan Rees made an apology to the ‘Forgotten Australians’ on 19 September 2009. On 16 November 2009, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made a formal apology in the Federal Parliament to the ‘Forgotten Australians’. 500,000 people, including over 7000 former British child migrants were part of the apology, which acknowledged the many instances of neglect and abuse that was the result of their time in government institutions, church organisations, orphanages, homes or foster care. The plight of the ‘Forgotten Australians’ has been identified in three Senate committee inquiries, with each making unanimous calls for an apology.
FAIRBRIDGE FARM SCHOOL, MOLONG
The NSW Migration Heritage Centre supported the Fairbridge Heritage Association Inc.’s heritage project to record the experiences of former British child migrants at the Fairbridge Farm School, Molong, which documents a chapter of Australian migration and settlement history.
The Fairbridge organisation operated child migration schemes for underprivileged British children in Canada, Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and Australia from 1912 until 1980. Parents were persuaded to sign over legal guardianship of their children, on the promise of a better life in these Commonwealth countries.
The isolated, rural Fairbridge Farm School near Molong in New South Wales operated from 1938 until 1974 during which time about 1000 boys and girls passed through the school and were trained to be “farmers and farmers’ wives”.
Many of those children, now aged in their 60s and 70s, are now talking for the first time about their experiences. Loneliness was rife. Food was often inedible. The standard of education was limited. Disturbingly, more than half of the 39 oral histories recorded by the Fairbridge Heritage Association Inc. document physical and sexual abuse. All the oral histories have been lodged with State Library of NSW and are accessible for research purposes.
The oral histories were subsequently incorporated in David Hill’s book The Forgotten Children and some of the accounts also appear in a documentary entitled The Long Journey Home screened on ABC Television on 17 November 2009.
Vincent McMullen came as a 7½ year old from Dumbarton in Scotland to Fairbridge in February 1961. He came to Australia as part of a later Fairbridge ‘Family’ scheme, with his mother and father, four brothers and two sisters and spent a total of 4 ½ years at Fairbridge. This interview was recorded in Vincent’s home in Sydney on February 6, 2006.
Stewart Lee came as a 4 year old from Manchester to Fairbridge with his three brothers, 11 year old Syd, 9 year old Graham and 8 year old Ian Bayliff, arriving in Sydney in March 1955. Stewart was to stay at Fairbridge for 13 years. This interview was recorded in Gloucester House at Fairbridge Farm Molong on February 9, 2006.
Eddie Baker came as a 10 year old from Winchester to Fairbridge arriving in Sydney in May 1948. He stayed 6 years at Fairbridge. This interview was recorded in Eddie’s house in regional New South Wales February 8, 2006.
Malcolm Field came as a 10 year old from England to Fairbridge with his 14 year old brother Laurie, arriving in Sydney in December 1952. His younger brother Keith, aged 6 and sister Jane, aged 5, were already at Fairbridge having been sent out in 1951. Malcolm was to stay at Fairbridge for 7 years. This interview was recorded in Malcolm’s home in regional New South Wales on February 17, 2006.
Margaret Watt left England for Fairbridge as a 10 year old with her 12 year old twin sisters Joy and June and 13 year old sister Rosemary in 1940. With the outbreak of the Second World War the party of 30 children sailed via Canada and was to be the last group of child migrants to Fairbridge for another seven years. Margaret left Fairbridge after 6 years in 1946 to be with her mother who had followed the children out to Australia. This interview was recorded in Margaret’s home in Sydney on January 31, 2006.
Scottish Margaret McLauchlan left Northumberland and came to Australia as 5 year old with her 6 year old brother Frank in 1938. Originally they were sent to the Northcotte children’s home in Victoria but were moved during the Second World War with 38 other children to the Fairbridge Farm School at Molong in 1944. Margaret left Fairbridge as a 17 year old in 1949. This interview was recorded in Margaret’s Sydney home on February 8, 2006.
Gwen Miller came as a 10 year old from Grimsby to Fairbridge with her 7 year old sister Kath and her 4 year old brother Reg and 9 year old Doug, arriving in Sydney in June 1952. An older brother, 14 year old Hughie, joined them at Fairbridge in July the following year. Gwen stayed at Fairbridge for 7 years. This interview was recorded in Gloucester House at Fairbridge Farm School Molong on February 9, 2006.
Peter Bennett came from Suffolk to Fairbridge as a 6 year old in 1940 with his 9 year old sister Marie. With the outbreak of the Second World War Peter and Marie sailed with 28 other children via Canada in what was to be the last group of child migrants to Fairbridge for another seven years. Peter was to stay at Fairbridge for 10 years. This interview was recorded in Peter’s home in Sydney on February 15, 2006.
Joyce Drury came to Fairbridge as a 10 year old from Birkdale, Lancashire arriving in Sydney in June 1938. She was to stay at Fairbridge for 7 years. This interview was recorded with Tony Myers at Joyce’s home in regional New South Wales on February 21, 2006.
Dennis Piercy came to Fairbridge as an 8 year old with his 5 year old brother Barnie, arriving in Sydney in May 1955. Dennis stayed at Fairbridge for 9 years. This interview was recorded at Gloucester House, Fairbridge Farm School, on March 3, 2006.
These days, children can become victims of sexual exploitation in a variety of ways. If the sexual predator is a parent, the incest is likely to be a closely held secret. Whoever the predator, sexual abuse has long-term, devastating consequences.
The warning signs of sexual abuse include the following :
A young child who suddenly has difficulty sitting or walking, suggesting injury to the genital area.
A child who suddenly refuses to change for gym or take part in other physical activities at school.
A child whose hygiene changes suddenly, since children who have been sexually abused may feel “dirty” and stop bathing (or become obsessed with cleanliness, and wash constantly).
A child who demonstrates unusual knowledge of sex or sexualized behavior.
A child who becomes pregnant or contracts a venereal disease, especially under the age of fourteen.
A child who says s/he has been sexually abused by a parent or caregiver.
We assume that the predator parent or caregiver (uncle, boyfriend, etc.) is likely to be secretive and isolated. This is not always, however, the case.
The sexual predator may be unusually “protective” of the abused child, often sharply restricting a child’s contact with other children – particularly those of the opposite sex.
We are the only guardians children have against the darkness of this world. It is vital that we remain vigilant on their behalf.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5: 8).
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