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I’m taking a stand.

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take a stand

My daughter is 5 years old. She loves to play with her imaginary friends, ‘do’ fashion, swing as high as possible on the swings at the park and make a mess whenever possible. She is happy, stress-free and safe.

When I was 5 I was carrying around a dirty secret. It was horrible. When I look at my daughter now, and then reflect back on the child I was, our lives couldn’t be more different. I was filled with anxiety and guilt, every single day.

I was sexually abused over a period of time from 4 years of age. At around age 5 I revealed the secret to my sister, and she told my parents. I was mortified, but partially relieved. I’ll forever have a special bond with her, because she saved me. She stopped the pattern of it all happening ever again. I was finally safe. A 5 year old shouldn’t even know those emotions, should they? Mortified. Anxious. Scared. Guilty. It should be all about rainbows and unicorns, surely.

Being a victim survivor of child sexual assault isn’t something that is fleeting. It’s something you carry around with you for your whole life. As a child it was a heavy burden to carry around, sitting on my shoulders weighing my tiny little frame down. My teen years were hard, perhaps the hardest. Processing it all was really difficult, especially when being a teen is hard enough as it is. There were times when I didn’t think that it was all worth it.

And just when I thought I was through the hardest parts, the counseling, moving past the anger and betrayal, and then rejoicing when he died of cancer… came another hurdle; parenting a daughter the same age that I was when it happened to me. Realising that I missed out on so much childhood. Seeing the joy and freedom exude from within her, and knowing at that age I was anything but free. Trying to keep her safe, without her missing out on the good bits of life, or sharing my burden with her in any way.

This isn’t my dirty little secret anymore. This isn’t something I did, or created. It happened to me, but I was a victim. I’m now a survivor. I am triumphant.

Sadly, 1 in 5 children in Australia will experience sexual assault before their 18th birthday. It’s disgusting and it’s happening. That’s 59,000 children around Australia ever year. While I can keep my daughter as safe as possible, while allowing her to live the life she deserves to enjoy, I can’t keep all the children in Australia {or the world} safe. But I do have a platform where I can help create awareness. Bravehearts have a campaign called 1in5 where they encourage people to spread the message, as well as raise funds to help other victims – including offering counseling for kids which is something that I know would have helped the healing for me back then}. You can read more about Bravehearts here. I encourage others to get involved, if that’s something you’re comfortable with.

What were you doing when you were 5? Will you take a stand too?


You can read my story here: The Road To Here
And my story of overcoming it all: The Healing