Last September when I met my MP to air my views about mental health services in the UK, I was unsure of the consequences but went ahead nonetheless. I remember telling him that I would like to be a spokesperson for other survivors of abuse and I stand by that statement. Now that I have the strength to come forward and speak out I don’t think I’ll ever look back.
A letter was sent on my behalf to Mike Penning MP (Minister of State for Policing, Crime, Criminal Justice and Victims) outlining my views on the lack of counselling facilities for CSA survivors. I highlighted the lack of resources in the south London area in particular. In Mr Penning’s response he stated that in recognition of the demand for services of rape support centres, the Ministry of Justice has awarded an uplift of £2 million to organisations it supports. He also said that I should contact Rape Crisis if I am in need of counselling services. I am aware of Rape Crisis and the good work that they do, however, last year when I perused their website they didn’t appear to offer counselling for CSA survivors.
In reply to Mike Penning I explained the difference between rape and sexual abuse and the fact that they shouldn’t be compared although they may appear to be similar. As I have experienced both I know that it is possible to come to terms with rape in 6 counselling sessions and move on with one’s life. In contrast, CSA is a complex subject and a survivor will need ongoing counselling sessions throughout his/her lifetime. Therefore, the type of counselling needed by rape and sexual abuse survivors is very different.
It seems that my perseverance and correspondence paid off because a small but significant change has been made. Since January of this year additional support has been made available via Rape Crisis for survivors of child sexual abuse. I’m quite proud to be a part of this change in society and it has given me renewed hope. The first step I took last year was just the start of my campaigning journey; I will keep taking small steps and believe they will lead to big results.