Grace

Grace
She takes the blame
She covers the shame
Removes the stain
It could be her name

Grace
It’s a name for a girl
It’s also a thought that changed the world
And when she walks on the street
You can hear the strings
Grace finds goodness in everything

Grace, she’s got the walk
Not on a ramp or on chalk
She’s got the time to talk
She travels outside of karma
She travels outside of karma
When she goes to work
You can hear her strings
Grace finds beauty in everything

Grace, she carries a world on her hips
No champagne flute for her lips
No twirls or skips between her fingertips
She carries a pearl in perfect condition

What once was hurt
What once was friction
What left a mark
No longer stings
Because grace makes beauty
Out of ugly things

Grace makes beauty out of ugly things

(Grace by U2)

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hello again blog-o-sphere

Its been a while since I properly blogged. As in wrote a blog – in fact, not since the 24th January 2013 (I did republish a blog a few weeks ago because I felt stirred to). But its been six months since I’ve written anything new. The intention had been to have a break, a quiet, unannounced break from blogging. 3 months. Not 6, but here we are 6 months on.  And here I am writing again. I’ve been penning a few blog’s the last week or two which will appear at some point.

There have been one or two milestones that I would have usually written about during these 6 months, including reaching the 5 year ‘anniversary’ of when I tried to commit suicide. Instead of blogging, I spent the day tweeting with the hashtag of #gladtobealive – it was beautiful to see many people join in celebrating with me in that way, that day, and to also celebrate by texts, emails, calls and visits to the pub with friends who have and do mean so much to me.

I’ve also now been driving over a year, which has been amazing. A real sense of freedom, that makes me wonder I never really did manage to get act together to sort it out before now.

The last 6 months have also seen me in and out of hospital with much frequency, I’m starting to lose count now. Several times have been pretty serious. One being the most serious of all when it looked like it might not have been something I would come round from. Luckily I did, and am still here to tell the tale, granted still in and out of hospital, still on and off, and back on again many medications etc, and currently in the process of being referred to more specialists elsewhere, with the hope they can help pin point what is going on. Its pretty hard going at times, and is proving to be quite life changing. I’m having to make many changes, some really practical ones, some a bit harder, and some tough decisions like having to bail out of a trip with the Church to Africa next year to spend a few weeks with friends who run a YWAM base. But something else will come out of this, I’m trusting there is a reason for all of this.

The last six months also saw me volunteer at Spring Harvest, having been as a guest for several years in a row, I felt it time to offer something back. I was not quite sure what I could possibly give to them, but was found a role supporting young people with learning disabilities, in the teenage youth venues. It was an exhausting week, a week with such fun and laughter, hard work, tears and tiredness, but a week of absolute beauty. I’m not sure if I could do it justice by trying to describe it really, but I might give it a go sometime, as it deserve some space on its own really. I was changed, again, that week.

Anyway, some of the above things I’ll write in more depth about in the coming weeks and months and I have some other topics/things I have half penned/half thought out to write more on.

But for now, if I still have any reader/blog followers, hello again – how are YOU guys doing?

When was the last …?

A few years ago I spent the night praying. AND I wrote 2 things. I’m reposting/blogging them tonight because I have a sense of needing to. And a sense of needing to re hear the words myself too.

I think Part 2 is the most important tonight. 

when was the last ….? – Part 1

Stop … just for a minute …

 

When did you last say ‘I love you’ to someone?

Anyone ? … a friend? Your family? Jesus?

 

When did you last say ‘I love You to Jesus’

When did you last speak to Him?

When you last pour out your soul to Him?

When did you last tell Him whats on your mind?

 

Why not try it now …

 

He loves You! He is waiting …

 

He is waiting to hear from you … He wants you to talk to Him … He wants you to pour out your heart to Him

 

He longs for the day when all is surrendered

He longs for you to stand before Him, in prayer, in worship. He longs for you to come to Him.

 

He is stood with His arms open wide, waiting to embrace you … To surround you with Love, Grace and Mercy. He wants to shower you with blessings after blessings.

 

Stop …

Praise Him,

Worship Him,

tell Him how much You Love Him!

when was the last ….? –  Part 2

When was the last time someone said to you ‘I love You?’

 

Stop ….

Listen …

Hear the voice

 

Maybe it’s the smallest, faintest sound.

Maybe it’s a whisper, blowing in the wind,

Maybe it’s a loud bang, so loud it hurts your ears,

Or maybe, just maybe it surrounds you in the every day noise.

 

Have You ever stopped to listen? … to hear …?

 

Try it now …

 

What do you hear? What do you want to hear?

 

Don’t be scared, or afraid.

 

Listen to Him say ‘I love YOU’

 

Surround yourself in the whisper, the wind, the loud bang, the everyday noise. Listen to Him saying ‘I LOVE YOU’

 

YOU are LOVED

YOU are PRECIOUS

YOU are VALUABLE

YOU are FORGIVEN

YOU ARE HIS CHILD!

Whoever you are, wherever life has taken you, whatever you’ve done …

 

Just stop, and listen …

 

Listen to Him saying

 

‘ I LOVE YOU’!

a response to ‘Paedogeddon’.

I’ve been trying to write this for weeks. In fact since the 15th November. Since I read the ‘Paedogeddon: of God and Monsters’ written by Sara Kewly Hyde and published on Threads here;

http://www.threadsuk.com/paedogeddon/

I’ve been trying to respond since then. And I have written and rewritten this blog several times now. And then I decided I would write it, and try and put down in words some of my personal thoughts. The thoughts I had initially.

Because however hard I try to come up with something deep and meaningful, I am not sure I can. However hard I try to come up with something that is ‘seen’ as ‘theological’ I am not sure I can. In fact I am sure I cant.

I’ve discovered all I can actually come up with is my own personal, deep down, gut instinct response to what Sara wrote.

I have been challenged. Big time. I have not been able to stop thinking about it. Since I first read what she had to say, it has played on my mind, and I have thought about it at least once a day, often more.

I am a survivor. I grew up being abused by the people who should have been caring for me. By the people I should have been able to look up to. The man who should have been a father to me abused me. I was abused by someone else who was unable himself to deal with being abused. 

I also, as a young adult, in my early twenties was assaulted one day, in the street, just down the road from where I was living at the time. When that happened, that day, my life changed. Forever. Yet another thing was taken away from me.

I had nothing left. It pushed me to the brink of death, because just over a year later, I would try to kill myself (here by the grace of God and all that).

 Sometimes I am able to eloquently describe and talk about what it is like to be abused, and raped. And sometimes I am not. Sometimes I am able to put into words the pain, shame, fear and torture that fill your mind. It is torment.

However hard you try to wash, scrub, cry, scream, cut and plead away the pain, the memories, the nightmares, they don’t go.

They will never go. They will always be there. And even though in time, you may be able to try to start living a life, a different life again, those memories will always exist. Sometimes they are more painful than others. But a day does not go by, when some memory surfaces. Somewhere, sometime during a normal day, something will trigger a memory. It could be a smell, a word. Something. Anything.

But what I have learnt as I grow stronger (and I shall be forever grateful to those people who support me in this journey) that life can be lived, and lived well. And that is the journey I am on, learning to live life, and live it well.

I am learning to laugh again, to smile, to be loved, and to love.

And it is going well. I think.

But then every now and then something comes along that halts you. Makes you stop. Makes you remember even more intensely than you already do. Makes you reflect more so than ever before. And makes everything so loud once again in your head.

That has been my experience since the Jimmy Savile expose happened. Since it was revealed that he was a predatory child abuser, and that his victims could be as many as 500 and counting.

Since everyone has been talking about child abuse, and rape. Since it has not left the front page, and Internet, the conversation in the street. Since the topic has been everywhere. And that is why I wrote this:

http://fragmentz.org/2012/10/13/some-thoughts-on-being-a-survivor-and-jimmy-savile/

 

To put into words, and convey some of my thoughts and feelings that had been aroused so much more than they usually are.

However, reading Sara’s Paedogeddon article made me realise that my response was just that. It was my response. It was the emotional and personal response of someone who has experienced the pain of abuse.

And this is where the clanger kicks in for me: it was NOT a Christian response. And it was not a response that considered the offender. In fact I never really thought about it from those points of views. I never really thought about what it means to be a Christian and a survivor, to the point where I have to then think about how I think about and respond to people who rape and abuse. Not properly anyway. Not deeply. Not with any meaning.

Until I read Sara’s thoughts. Her article was so well written. And it touched on topics I have not wanted to, have not been able to, and have tried to ignore.

But I have no choice but to. I have no choice, as a Christian but to confront these issues.

So how would I respond? If I was face to face, or in the position where I had to be with or engage with an offender.

And this is where I come a little stuck. This is where my head goes round and round in circles, and this is where I have written this blog so many times, and still not managed to write a coherent answer.

The best I can offer is I don’t know.

The best I can offer, after chatting about this to many people, including close friends, other survivors, and my minister is this: I don’t know.

The truth is, I really know how I would respond to someone who I knew was or had been a child abuser, or a rapist. I don’t know how I would love them, or even if I could. I don’t know how I would respond to someone sitting in front of me in church, who was a known sex offender.

Maybe I would want to hit them. Maybe I would want to scream at them. Maybe I would want to walk away and never have to think about them again. Maybe.

Or maybe I would want to talk to them. Maybe. I don’t know. Maybe I wouldn’t.

But I ask myself this: do I have a place myself, a place in a Christian community if I am not willing to accept this line that Sara wrote:

‘The church needs to be a place of acceptance and healing for the abuser and the abused’.

Ouch.

But it is true. Painfully true.

If I talk about, and expect, and desire, and wish to see His church, THE church understand, accept and have a place for a survivor of abuse, then surely I have to accept that it is also a place for an offender. I have to accept that there can be/is/has to be a place for them too. That they also need to be part of a community that will accept, love and support them. I have to accept that they are people too.

She says this

‘There has to be grace for those who have committed even the most atrocious, life wrecking crimes , and those cripples by the effects of these crimes, otherwise the cross is a nonsense’.

As a survivor, and a Christian I HAVE TO BELIEVE that Jesus came for the people who abused and raped me too. That He came for people who abuse and rape others. Otherwise, as Sara put it so well ‘the cross is a nonsense’. And deep down, no matter what state my relationship with God is, I know it is not nonsense.

But that is big. That is big stuff to get my head around. But I am trying to. Slowly.

But how does this actually play out?

And again, that’s where I come to ‘I don’t know’.

I could give you the answers I’m ‘meant’ to. The answers where I say I would greet them with open arms, welcome them into my community, my family, and love them. But whether I would or could, I don’t know?

I could give you the answers that I have thought about for the last few weeks, that have gone round and round in my head, the ones where I have tried to be deep and super spiritual, but actually those answers wouldn’t be being true to myself. Because the answer I have is I don’t know. I simply don’t know.

But I do accept that there has to be a place for them. The church has to have a place for them. Because deep down, deep down where it hurts so painfully, I know Jesus has a place for them. He loves them, like He loves me.

Knowing that is not easy. Trust me. I don’t say it in a blasé way.

But it’s the truth.

I have to accept that these people have the right to be engaged with, supported and part of Gods Kingdom, like I do.

But I also have to accept that I do not have to everything and anything to everyone and anyone.

When I threw this topic out on to twitter a few weeks ago, I had a chat with Jon Beech who you can find here: @_jonb

I asked something on the lines of, how as a survivor should I/could I engage with offenders. His response startled me. I was not expecting it.

He asked back whether I should have to.

His point was: I cannot, and not have to engage with absolutely anyone and everyone I come across. I do not have to be all things to all people. I can’t be.

So I have to accept my limitations. Whilst accepting child abusers and offenders may have a place in my community, and probably already do, that I just don’t know about I have to accept I don’t HAVE to engage with them. And that unless God somehow struck me with lightening and convicted me in such a way that made clear that I was meant to, that actually I can keep myself safe.

At the top of Sara’s article on Threads, it says this in a blue box ‘ who has all the answers? Not us, that’s for sure. But ignoring the questions doesn’t make them go away’.

And that’s the truth. Who has all the answers? I certainly don’t, but the questions will not go away. So we must keep discussing them. We must keep talking about them. And we must be honest.

So, I bring this to an end, probably without writing about what I started out intending to. I am a Queen of tangents.

But rest assured, these topics are ones that roll around my head on a daily basis, and are never too far away from my thoughts, so if you ever want to join in the conversation with me, feel free to contact me. I’m open to all thoughts.

 

there IS hope.

Most days I sign into here and I often glance over how people have ‘found’ my blog. Its often by googling something, and then they land here. And often the things people type are relating to surviving abuse, depression, church, mental health, self harm amongst other things.

Sometimes people land at Fragmentz by typing something like ‘is there hope …’. Is there hope for … a self harmer? A depressive? A survivor?

My response to those people is YES. LOTS. And I really hope by stumbling across this blog that those people who are typing those things are able to find hope in this space.

And that those people are also able to find hope in the life they are living.

Because there is hope. Maybe it is small grains of sand shaped hope, and maybe it might be something bigger. Maybe it is something very quiet, or something very loud.

But however big or small, quiet or loud there IS hope.

Whatever it is you are facing, whatever storm you are in the middle of, keep hanging on to hope.

If you are unwell with depression or other mental health issues: there IS hope.

If you a survivor of abuse and/or rape: there IS hope.

If you battle with self harm: there IS hope.

If you struggle with suicidal ideations: there IS hope.

If you are fighting to stay above the water, for whatever reason: there IS hope.

I believe this for you, if you are a Christian. I believe this for you if you are not a Christian.

However some of the searches people have typed and found my blog with, related to battling issues and Jesus. I truly believe Jesus still loves you, whether you are depressed or not. Whether your self harm or not. Whether you battle with God or not. Whether you are a survivor or not.

He loves you. And has a hope and a future for you.

One of the most important bible verses when it comes to hope, and my own life, is this:

Jeremiah 29 verse 11 –  ‘I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for’ (The Message)

Please know, wherever you are, whoever you are and whoever you believe in,

you are precious. 

You are valuable. 

You are beautiful. 

There is a hope. 

There is a future. 

As I sat writing this blog, the last verse of a poem I wrote called ‘the whisper’  came into my mind. It is this :

As the years pass by, the scars never go, but begin to get lighter
She sits down, and watches life go by, and the sun getting brighter
And as she confronts all of the things in her life she fears
In the stillness the previous whisper of ‘I love you’ is all she hears.

I dont pretend there is an easy way for life to happen. There isnt. Life is tough. But please know and live in hope that brighter days can exist. That even though the memories never go, they can be lighter, things can be brighter.

Please know you precious, your are valuable, you are beautiful. 

You are loved. Loved. LOVED. 

Thank you: a reply to the response of my last blog.

I simply can not write a new blog without mentioning the previous one. So this is just a little blog as a response to that blog. The one just before this one that I’m typing right now.  The ‘Some thoughts on Jimmy Savile, and being a Survivor‘ one.

It was a blog I wrote in reply to several weeks of press coverage, and several weeks of intense conversations with people, all over the place, from work to queues to twitter to all over.

It was a blog I wrote in the space of an hour, after several days of ‘attempting’ to put something into a coherent piece of writing. And then, all of a sudden, after being out and about one day, having a flu jab, meeting a friend for coffee, I got home, turned on the computer and there it was. In my head. And I just typed. My thoughts. On the Jimmy Savile eruption and being a survivor.

I pressed send, and as per usual tweeted that I had blogged.

Within the space of an hour, the blog had been RT’d (retweeted – for those not on twitter this means re posted by a twitter user so their followers can see it) by many people. And it continued in that way. So that by the next evening, 24 hours later that post had had more people read it than my whole site has ever since I very first started this site.

It was immense. I had emails, messages, tweets, RT’s, texts, and it continued to be passed around the blogosphere and twittersphere. I never could have imagined how many people would end up reading it. How many people are reading it. Even now, every day I get a regular stream of people coming by to Fragmentz to read that post.

I was also very honoured to have it included on the www.threadsuk.com site, which is a great space for articles written by twenty something christians on a really wide and varied range of topics so its definitely worth checking out sometime.

I never thought my little post, my little blog, my little piece of writing with some thoughts from ‘just me’, an unknown person who just tries to make a little dent in the world she lives in, would be so popular.

I also never thought the response would be so immense. That I would feel so overwhelmed by it. But it was. I did.

And so, I’d like to say thank you.

To every person who read it.

To every person who Rt’d, or emailed it, or passed it on to someone else for them to read.

Thank you to every single who took the time to engage with what I had written. Who responded. Who contacted me. Who texted me, emailed me, tweeted me. From the people who mean so much to me and have played/do play such a huge part in my life, to the people I have never connected with before and everyone in between.

Thank you to everyone who has been incredibly kind and supportive. To those on a deep and personal level and to those who have connected in other ways.  I know there are some amazing people that surround me, that I could simply not do life without. So, again, thank you to you.

There have been several times when I have just cried from the simple emotional of feeling so valued and listened to. Because ingrained into the way I think about myself is that I am of no value and not worth listening to what so ever. Which on a rational level I know is not true, but programming your mind to totally think something completely opposite to what you have grown up with can be a challenge sometimes.

But I am growing, learning that is not true, developing and starting to raise my voice more and more. Over the years, as I have grown, been nurtured, been loved and supported and continue to be so, I have found that voice. My voice. The voice that is able to speak out, type out, talk out about my experiences.

And if by using the voice I now have, and am learning to use more and more, I can connect with people, raise awareness of the issues that are relevant to me, and so many other people then its worth it. Worth being vocal. Worth the emotional cost that can occur when you spend hours in a day talking about such emotive topics.

I have had the huge privilege of being able to connect with people who have contacted me over the last few months, and the last few weeks in response to things I have written here. Its an immense honour to be able to chat with them, have coffee, email, and talk with them. About the issues that effect them. Issues that have also affected me.  And although I can offer no professional help, and don’t ever suggest I can, I can offer an ear. A tissue. I can walk along side their journey just like I have had and do have people who walk along side me in mine.

I have also had the huge privilege to have been contacted by/and to connect with people who have read my blog and have been challenged on their views of survivors/mental health issues and how society and the christian church responds to them.

And that is why I write. That is why ‘www.fragmentz.org’ exists.

If one person can feel less alone because of something they have read here, or because they have been able to connect with someone else who has been abused, and survived, who has tried to die, but survived, who has depression but is surviving, then deep down in my heart it makes me realise that good IS starting to be weaved out of some of the most traumatic events in my life. If one person has been challenged and is able to go away and then start speaking out themselves, and raising awareness of the issues then that IS good starting to be weaved out of the traumatic too.

I do not believe for one moment, any more, that God intended/created it all to happen so something good could come out of it. Not at all. BUT I do believe that out of chaos, deep deep pain, black living and darkness, God will eventually weave it together and bring something good out of it. And I cling on to that. That hope.

And so that is my hope with this whole blog space. That is/was my hope with the blog about being a survivor and the Jimmy Savile thing. That by writing and sharing, something, however big or small would come out of it. And it feels like it has.

So, to everyone who has contributed to sharing it, so that people have found it who have in turn then felt less alone or been able to start raising awareness of these topics themselves, Thank you.

Some thoughts on being a survivor, and Jimmy Savile.

The most talked about topic of discussion in my work place for the last few weeks has been Jimmy Savile. In fact, the most talked about ‘current affairs’ topic I have talked about full stop has been Jimmy Savile. It is what everyone is talking about. Even sat waiting in the Dr’s surgery earlier for my flu jab, were two little ladies sat discussing it. Discussing the ‘story’. The accusations. The revelations of the alleged, but now as the Met seem to suggest, not so alleged abuse. And those revelations have been coming out, thick and fast and as the days go by they seem to increase. So I thought I would try and coherently type out a few thoughts. I have had some passionate online conversation in various places, including Twitter, and have heard many many views/opinions spoken. Some sensible ones, some sad ones, some shocking ones and some unbelievable ones. But opinions never the less.

As always, when I write, I will say I am not an expert. Because I am not.  Nor am I anyone who many people take any notice of. I am just a little drop in a big ocean who is finding her way through life and who likes to write as a way to process and say what I am thinking. What I have to say on this issue may not be relevant to anyone/anything. In fact it is most likely not to be. That is fine.

As said above, I’m not an expert. And thats true. And I start with saying that, but I don’t always start with what I am. And what I am is a survivor. A survivor of childhood abuse, from people within my family, and people around me. I was seriously bullied at secondary school at the same time as trying to deal with being abused as a primary school aged child. As a teen I was also, on top of the other abuse as a younger child and bullying, physically (violently) abused by another member of family. So I am a survivor. I am also a survivor of a totally unrelated ‘assault’ as an adult, one day whilst walking down a street I often walked down, in daylight.

I am a survivor of ‘trying to die’ because roughly 5 years ago life was so hard and tough that I felt there was no other option or way out. I am a survivor of hard knocks. I am a survivor who is learning to live again, learning to laugh again, learning to love again. And learning to be loved. Its a long process and I am always and forever grateful to those people who are in my life/choose to stay in my life and continue the process with me. Its not an easy one sometimes.

I am learning to live in hope. I am also learning that I can be a voice. Someone who can speak out. Someone who can tweet, write, talk, share and hopefully raise an awareness of what ‘surviving’ is like, whether that is surviving abuse, or surviving mental health illness. And as I continue to learn to keep growing as a person, and keep living in hope, I am learning to use the voice that I have. To speak out, to be that person who can potentially make a difference to someone, anyone (this is why I am not so worried about blog ‘stats’ – because if one person feels they are not alone by my sharing on here, then it is worth it). I am learning to, want to and try to be someone who IS able to speak out, on behalf of those who are not. And those who are not able to are many. More than you can ever imagine. And I used to be one of them.

One of the main reasons I got to the point of being suicidal (aside from the abuse) was the fact that I was unable to talk. To speak to anyone. To let anyone know the pain I was in. The hurt. The anger. The shame. The guilt. How could I possibly sit in front of someone, who would potentially judge, potentially tell me not to be silly, potentially tell me to ‘not worry about it’, to ‘get over it’, to ‘forget about it’. How could I, as a child possibly tell the people around me what was being done to me. The very person who was hurting me was an ‘outstanding member of the community, with an exemplary military service record and so on …’.

So, it has been interesting, and quite hard at times to hear peoples views of the victims of Jimmy Savile. The Jimmy Savile who for years was ‘held in high esteem’ for his charity work, his brilliant television career and other things. (If you have no idea who I am actually on about, and the kind’s of work/volunteer/fundraising stuff he did, google him). The Met Police released a statement in the last few days calling him a predatory child abuser. That gives the impression that there is no doubt that he carried out these alleged crimes.  I can not possibly write all the accusations that have been revealed. The fine details of the case. But if you want to know more, just google, or go to one of the UK’s newspaper sites. Or the BBC. Its all there. The whole story gets more and more shocking and sadder as the days go by.

There has been much conversation about the ‘insitutions’ that Jimmy Savile was involved with. For example his involvement and work for the BBC. The hospitals, and schools that he fundraised for/volunteered with on his days off. Much of the earlier conversations I was involved with/heard was a conversation of disbelief. ‘What? Jimmy Savile? No! Don’t be silly. Not Jimmy Savile. Not the children’s/teen’s programme presenter. Not the fundraiser. Not the charity worker. Don’t be silly. Anyway, even if he did do something ‘dubious’ they (the victims) probably asked for it anyway’.

When I first, very first heard this break, I was horrified. Shocked, in a non shocked way. Shocked, because as a child, I idolised Jimmy Savile. The weird guy who wore odd shell suits, on TV, fixing up the world for children. I idolised him, and what he did. I wanted to write to him. For him to come and ‘fix’ my world for me. To ‘fix’ my problems. To ‘fix’ anything I wanted. I wanted him to be my second Grandad. He was amazing. As I grew up, got older, I became aware of him being an eccentric old man. I would never have thought ‘Jimmy Savile’ and ‘child abuser’ in the same sentence. Never in a million years. Yet, when I heard the news, at the same time as being shocked, I was not shocked. Because it is all so plausible. All so real. All so credible. And whats more, people who abuse can be anyone. Absolutely anyone. Including the powerful, rich and famous. In fact, those people are able to better disguise what they are doing. Better able to keep it away from the public, from prying eyes, and much more able to ‘pay people off’ if anything ever was muttered that was not favourable to them.

So, I fully believe it. I fully believe the victims. Because they need believing. They need, for once, at last, someone to say ‘yes, we will stand with you’.

Two of the ‘views’ I have heard a lot of this week have been ‘well why didn’t they report it back then’. ‘Why didn’t they just say ‘no”.

Because as the case has continued on, it would appear that some of these people were braver than I ever was as a child. They did report it. And yet were still ignored. The power and money of Jimmy Savile proved more than anyone was able to contend with. So what does that say to the others? Those who were unable to (understandably) find that voice to speak out, what does that say to them? Nothing whatsoever encouraged those who were unable to initally speak out, then to do so.

As for the second point. Anyone who utters the words ‘why didn’t they just say no’ truly does not have any understanding of how abuse works. Its not so easy as ‘just saying no’. ‘No’ does not work. ‘No’ has no power when you are being raped.

I have been quite shocked at times to hear the vitriol towards the victims. Another question thrown out a lot has been ‘well why did they wait until he was dead’.

My response? – They didn’t. There are records, investigations, programmes made that were shelved. Police starting to look into things and then mysteriously stopping. They did not ‘just wait until he was dead’. Many of them tried to speak out before he was dead.

From what I have read and seen, and understand, Mark Williams Thomas who is a child protection expert, and private investigator was the guy who ‘heard a rumour’ soon after JS’s death, and began to look into it. He then made a documentary, after speaking to one person he knew of. That then led him to the many other woman. My understanding, of the moment, in the documentary where he said ‘he then was lead to other victims’ suggests that he dug. He approached people. He made it clear what he was doing. And this gave courage and power to those people who have been victims of JS.

Imagine you are sitting in your school class, and you get called out by your head teacher. There is someone well known in the town, lets say the Mayor for example, who just happens to be rich, famous, and very well known and popular. They take you in to a room, and rape you. Abuse you. They are twice the size of you, and although you do say no, you scream, you kick, you try to get away they are able to overpower you. Hold you down. And they tell you that if you ever utter a word to anyone, you and your family will be made to suffer. Killed. Or you will be ignored. Not believed, and your life will be hell. They tell you that you are a slut, you asked for it, and deserve it. They tell you that is what people will say and think if you breathe a word. Imagine being so traumatised by what has happened, and so scared of it happening again that you have to do what they say. You have no choice. You are so ashamed of yourself, you spend your evenings scrubbing your skin, trying to get the dirt out of your body, carving your body to release some of the feelings inside of you. Your life is never going to be the same again. You turn on the television, and on the news there you see your head teacher and the Mayor. The Mayor has just fundraised and donated millions of pounds for a new tech facility at the school. The crowds are there. Its amazing. Everyone is talking about how fantastic these two people are. But you, you know different. You know what they did to you. But who do you tell? What will they do to you if they find out? Who is going to believe you? You have no idea that they are doing this to several girls in your class. Because, they like you, fear these two big powerful men. They too, like you dare not speak a word, because, hey, who would believe a 14 year old teenager who has been in a little trouble, like any teenager.

So you don’t say anything. Neither do the other girls. No one does. They get away with it for years, while you some how have to work out how to live. You get a job, start a family, live life. But the memories never go away. And then one day, in the paper you find out the Mayor has died (the Head teacher did years back). And you hear a little rumour that someone is talking about … apparently they used to rape young people. And then you realise this thing is so much bigger than anything you ever realised. And as an adult, who now has a voice, who now has nothing to fear because they are dead are able to, for the first time in your life speak out.

You realise there are many more people out there like you. More victims. And you are able to find courage to say what happened to you. To back others up. To add to the chorus of people speaking out, raising awareness.

Imagine that is you.

Would you have acted any differently?

I dont know if you would have.

I dont know if I would have.

But I certainly don’t blame or think that the victims were wrong to not be able to speak out back then.

And we must remember those who did. And who were ignored.

Which is what I think this current investigation will start revealing more information on.

WHY were those people who did speak out ignored?

WHY were people who were in positions of authority back then, and then continued to be in high powered places not say anything.

WHY was this allowed to happen?

So many questions. So many thoughts. So many views and opinions and so so much more that I could write about. Discuss. Talk about. Mention.

But what I would like to end with, for now, as I may well come back to this again sometime, is please don’t forget the victims. In all of the talk, the chit chat, please don’t forget that out there are people, woman, and maybe men who are victims.

People who have had what can only be described as the worse possibly life changing abuse perpetrated against them.

Whether we think they ‘should have spoken out sooner’ or whether we accept that they were unable to for the various reasons outlined roughly above, and the many other reasons that I probably have not even touched upon, whether we think they are ‘out for the money (which incidentally is going to be extraordinarily hard and very doubtful for them to get) or whether we think they are very brave people who have found strength because of circumstance, because of the fact that they are no longer afraid, and because other people are speaking out they are able to voice their experiences, please remember they are the victims.

They are the victims who, at the time and most likely for many years after felt so alone, now have found out they are with others. Others are with them. They are not alone.

Let us stand and let them know that. Because being a survivor can be a very lonely place to be.

My friend, Concetta who is an amazing Mosaic artist has a wonderful website at glitteringshards.com and she also wrote a blog on this, which was very moving, tear inducing and beautiful. Please read it heres if you have the chance.

Please know, if you are a survivor, you are not alone. You are not guilty. It was not your fault.