Having worked with hundreds of adult clients who have been sexually abused as children, the common trait has always been that child sexual abuse is about having access to children, authorised or otherwise.
Sexual predators, who prey on children almost always put themselves in positions of authority, trust or are already family members, friends or relations.
The sexual predator of today does not wear the obligatory dirty old Mac, nor does he or she hide in alleyways or dark places, they seek their prey in everyday occupations and walks of life, from the unemployed to highly respected members of many organisations.
Underneath the masks of everyday people, sexual predators will groom, coerce, manipulate, dominate, blackmail, tease, ridicule, finance, threaten or isolate in an underlying and underhand manner in which to abuse, assault and psychologically disempower children, tearing away at their right to a childhood.
Before the abuse even takes place, the perpetrator will have told or threatened their victim in one of the ways mentioned above, into believing that not only might they be encouraging and causing the abuse to happen, but also that they won’t be believed and/or harm will come to them or those they love in some way if they tell. So, in a never-ending cycle of abuse the perpetrator fulfills their twisted fantasy by actually acting it out, this then magnifies its effect, seeking then, to further satisfy their depravation upon more vulnerable children, in keeping their victim/s silent they are able to ensure continued access, guaranteeing silence and the power to further abuse.
When a child who has been sexually violated moves on into adulthood, the fact that the physical/sexual touching and assaults have stopped can seem like the end. Unfortunately, this is not always the case; metaphorically, childhood sexual abuse can be likened to a deepening barbed splinter within the body, the more the ‘victim’ holds on to the ‘secret’ locked away inside – the deeper the splinter embeds and the sharper the barbs impale on their soul, leaving scars that, for many, seem impossible to heal.
On reflection, in later life, survivors look back at their abuse with the eyes of an adult and not the terror of a vulnerable child. It can often be too late to seek justice against the perpetrator/s but it is never too late to start to heal and with the right help, that metaphoric splinter can be slowly removed.
It takes a huge amount of guts and courage for survivors of paedophiles to finally find a voice and speak out against those who have molested them and the recent disclosures about Jimmy Savile have opened the floodgates, almost giving permission for others to do so in a safe and more accepted way, all of those affected by any form of sexual violation in childhood deserve the very best help they can get, even if for some, this is remaining safe within their silence.
Sue J Daniels
MBACP & UKRC (Snr. Accred).
Professional Counsellor &