Are you being sexually abused?

This is exactly what I wish someone had said to me when I was being abused at home, and felt I couldn’t tell anyone.

If I could say one thing to my younger self, it would be this: speak out. Now. It’s not your fault.

Childline: 0800 1111 https://www.childline.org.uk/

NAPAC support line: 0808 801 0331 http://napac.org.uk/resources/

Samaritans: 116 123, email: jo@samaritans.org http://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-…

Me: info@beamproject.co.uk

How I feel about the abuser

This was one of the tougher subjects for me to talk about; but I’m glad I did. Over time, I’ve become better at seeing how one thing led to the other, even if the details are not clear. I think my process from anger/depression to feeling detached is similar to the cycle of grief. Familial abuse often involves a feeling of sheer loss – loss of the functional family member we might otherwise have had.

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Why do some people abuse children?

A basic understanding of empathy helped me to have a framework for understanding my experiences. Where there is an absence of empathy, evil acts may occur. Empathy should apply to any being who has feelings; who is capable of suffering. That goes for all adults, children and… another group of sentient beings who are utterly defenceless.

The book I mentioned is ‘Zero Degrees of Empathy’ by Simon Baron-Cohen.

Compulsory relationship & sex education in schools

‘Just let children be children!’

I think that if the only thing which defines someone’s childhood is NOT having sexual education then that’s a separate problem. In other words… how is being clued up about sex and safety compromising someone’s childhood?

You know what DOES compromise someone’s childhood? Abuse.

Yeah, I’d say that was a pretty compromising situation for me.

I sure do wish someone had come along and told ME about sexual abuse: what it was, why it was so difficult to tell someone, and why it’s never the child’s fault. Perhaps that would’ve helped me to speak out sooner.

So what’s more important? Educating children in a way that protects their physical/sexual boundaries… or leaving them vulnerable to sexual abuse just because YOU still think sex is some kind of dirty subject?

Education, as in so many other instances, is the way forward.

Learning from lived experience

Hi to all my new subscribers! We made it to over 100 – thank you! That’s my first milestone.

Today’s episode is inspired by a viewer all the way in Australia! She wrote requesting this topic on the case for a survivor-led approach to improving services.

When I speak at conferences and training days, I often hear how valued it is to learn from firsthand experience – and I wish I could offer more than just my own! As with any other social issue, learning the pitfalls and improvements from someone who’s actually been there is invaluable.

I am taking topic requests now, so get in touch at info@siobhanpyburn.com if there’s anything you’d like me to do a video about.

Please subscribe to my channel on YouTube for weekly updates about child sexual abuse, both from a prevention point of view, and about recovery and living a positive life as an adult.

Three signs of progress in recovery

There’s nothing like charging up your old phone that’s been hidden in a drawer for years to make you feel some intense nostalgia.

Because life has changed. And when we allow ourselves to change with it, we can let go of old grudges and see how one thing led to another and it all served the purpose of getting us to where we are now.

This video is about how I recognise progress in recovery after child sexual abuse. To me, recovery is all about being able to recognise my unhelpful behaviours and where they are really coming from. And nowadays I’m much more peaceful and kind to myself than I was even three years ago.

The trick is to bring awareness to our own behaviour, without judging ourselves for what we discover. Just notice… and let go. At last.

How the law is letting children down

There is no legal duty to report known or suspected cases of child abuse to social services or the police.

Today’s episode is a video produced by Fixers, in which we reveal a crucial gap in the child protection law in England.

‘The law regarding child abuse is full of coulds, shoulds and woulds but no MUSTs.’ – Tom Perry, founder of mandatenow.org.uk

I repeat: There is NO legal duty to report known or suspected cases of child abuse to social services or the police.

Reading that, you will likely belong to one of three groups:

Group A: ‘yes there is. It says so in my organisation’s policy document.’ – Yes, but this is not the same as a law. There are sanctions for failing to comply with legal duties. There is no legal sanction for failing – or refusing – to report child abuse.

Group B: ‘That doesn’t sound right. Are you sure?’ – Yes, I’m sure. The Children’s Act creates a general duty to act in the best interests of children, but this does not create a specific duty to report. Instead, the government has released various documents of ‘statutory guidance’ which are 100% optional to follow. Statutory guidance is an oxymoron. It’s either statute, or it’s mere guidance.

Group C: ‘I know there’s no legal duty to report child abuse, nor should there be.’ Watch the video, and let me know your thoughts.

Do we really mean to ‘learn the lessons’ from previous cases where it was later revealed that people knew or had reason to suspect, but did nothing?

… or do we just talk about it?

For more about this topic, including a comprehensive breakdown of how a CHANGE IN THE LAW might work in practice – and piles of EVIDENCE – go here:

http://mandatenow.org.uk/why-we-exist/

Why is there a rapist on the stage?

I am not someone who likes to be on the anti for the sake of having something to be indignant about. But sometimes a thing really is how it looks. Or is it? You tell me, because so far I am just baffled.

Today’s episode is my response to the TED talk where a lady tells the story of her rape and how she forgave the man who raped her. She is co-presenting on stage with the man who raped her. Watch it here.

Ahead of their invitation to present at W.O.W festival (that is, the Women of the World Festival), I’m outlining my thoughts on the message that could be sending, for those of us whose abusers/attackers are not so forthcoming in accepting responsibility for what they’ve done – if the man in the TED talk has truly done that.

Bottom line, for me, is this: stop applauding a rapist for admitting he raped someone. This is the title of a commentary article also released today, which you can read here.

As always, happy to hear your thoughts. Oh, and, SUBSCRIBE! Thanks. 🙂