My daughter was sexually abused between the age of 9 and 12 and it wasn’t until many years later, with serious mental health issues and some significant behaviour challenges that she finally felt able to disclose. We knew by that time that something was seriously wrong and by the age of 14 that it involved sexual abuse. It wasn’t until she was 15 that we knew the full horror of what had happened.
The abuse happened outside of our family but even so, it left us all damaged, distrusting, exhausted and struggling to know how to manage her significant trauma. Whilst our priority was our daughter, the rest of our family’s psychological damage was virtually ignored, not only by professionals but also by us. I had to stop work which significantly affected our finances and looking back, our son’s childhood passed us by in a blur of trying to keep our daughter alive.
We struggled to understand her behaviour and how to support her, fought for services that we did not know existed and battled the mutli-agency involvement that often left us feeling that no-one knew what anyone else was offering, let alone what they were actually doing.