This past week has been Sexual Abuse Sexual Violence awareness week #ItsNotOk and I took part in the Event titled The role faith and culture plays in abuse.
Exploring how abuse may be perceived by different diverse communities within the context of cultural and faith values – focusing on honour-based abuse, FGM and spirit possession aka as witchcraft/ Juju.
I talked about my lived experience of Ritual Abuse. Below is a snippet about me and the abuse I suffered.
I am 58 and I came from a middle-class family in a three bedroomed detached house in a village in the south of England. I was born in the sixties, those years of free spirit festivals hippies Beatles. I could have been Jo blogs walking down the street no one would bat an eyelid. However, for me it was the worst of times. Where my caregivers should have nurtured me loved me unconditionally. I was ritually abused throughout my childhood.
Ritual abuse to me is about power and control but primarily it serves a group of people with the purpose of indoctrination and sexual gratification. In addition to that they used Satan devil as a ruse to feed their evil ways. In doing so used certain times of year to have special ceremonies which included sacrifices.
I would be taken to a place they called a chamber having been drugged first. Put in a room which I can only describe as a cold brick hole. I would be prepared for a ritual by being cleansed and being told I have been chosen how thankful am I.....chosen to serve the master. I would then be taken to the circle of power where in the middle was a concrete slab. I would be placed on the slab like a piece of meat and raped whilst they would chant. Different things would be done to me. During the years of my abuse I would be taken to other places for repeat repeat repeat. All that for the gratification of others that hide behind the title of Satanic Ritual Abuse.
During the years of my abuse I still had to go to school and be seen to just be any other child you would see in the school playground. However, I was that child that was sullen, I was the one who would have to be in first lunch session as would still be there in the third as I dissociated but, in the teachers, eyes a daydreamer. I was the child bullied and welcomed it. I believed because I was indoctrinated that I was special and if I didn’t serve, I would go to fires of hell.
I would self-harm by cutting and burning to feel different pain to what they inflicted. Plus being told for years I am full of poison. They told me over and over I am a nothing and I was also told I am special here to serve, so which is it?
These people to me were hiding behind a belief of Satan and in doing so they believed they were doing the devils work and so therefore it is ok. However, I truly think that that is a cop out as they are just sick individuals who get their kicks from tortuous evil acts of abuse. Call it what it is….!!!! I lost my childhood because of those acts. I lived in fear
It was not until my forties that I was able to disclose and that was only done because of two breakdowns I had which meant I was hospitalised for some time.
Below is a list of the impact
· Self-harm and eating issues
· Confusing concepts of good and evil
· Shame, guilt, and blame
· Memories of being drugged during rituals
· Phobias of symbols associated with rituals, blood, certain colours, drugs, and being confined in small spaces to name but a few
Surviving in a culture of disbelief adds to the immense impact of ritual abuse on survivors, the frustration and despair of attempting to survive within a wider culture where ritual abuse experiences are disbelieved and denied.
It took many years of therapy and for me to regain who I am and for me now my mantra is ‘I am the me I am meant to be’. I always knew that I wanted to pay forward all the help and tools I have been given to others and so I developed this website called Take Cover a place survivors can come in and take cover and have a safe space where they can find useful resources and sign posting. Together we conquer Together we heal.
Let’s remember that whatever a person’s culture religion belief or even non-belief abuse happens it does not differentiate from one another. We have to go behind those doors and expel those evil predators that hide behind those beliefs.
We must be vigilant to the signs and indicators which suggest a child might be at risk of radicalisation, or child sexual exploitation, or modern-day slavery, or female genital mutilation, or forced marriage or satanic ritual abuse.
We all have a duty of care not just to others but to ourselves too.
It is not simply enough to have conversations we must start at the grassroots and have open dialogue in our schools and in our homes in our workplaces between our peers and the wider community. We must also consider the risks that extend beyond the school gate and after the school bell and look at what goes on behind the four walls. In these times where we are staying in, the risks are going to be so much higher. We must keep pace with the growing threats posed by those predators who peddle their poison around the clock through the internet and social media sites. We need to keep our eye on the ball and see what goes on behind closed doors……
Listen with a humble heart…..