Fuel meter

It’s been an epic few months! Needless to say, I feel like I have been running on empty! It’s not just a metaphor, it seems to be how we are all doing things these days and we wonder why we feel like we are stuck in a rut and ineffective. In reading this quote, and a few things happening this week, I decided it was time for a blog!

The importance of actually taking the time to reflect and review is essential to growth, but also in our healing journey. The art of healthy hyper-vigilance-If there is such a thing is anyone’s guess, but it lies somewhere in between a healthy balanced life, looking after yourself and an understanding and awareness of self. (I just came up with this based on my own experience, but It totally makes sense when we consider that most of us these days are operating at a high level of alertness and that is the norm. Any survivor, law enforcement personnel, or anyone living in a stressful lifestyle will understand hyper-vigilance)

When it comes to actual self- care… pfft… In the words of ‘Kimberly Sweet Brown’, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

I realise in the writing of my book “Unscathed Beauty,” and working full time and trying to balance all that I do – I am no expert and I am still learning. In fact, I have had many failures. However, one thing that I have come to recognise these past weeks is the power of self-care and discipline in healing. I have always known it’s important, in fact essential but the thing that I have always used as a coping mechanism. (busyness and distraction) mean’s that I haven’t really addressed parts of my healing that could well have benefitted from some actual intervention and time out.

It is very easy to get caught up in the chaos around us, whether that be our own chaos, or someone else’s. It’s a rare art form to maintain the external mask on the outside, and appear to the rest of the world like your world, ‘as they know it….’ is perfect. Its hard work keeping that mask looking unfazed… We become the masters of burying things, passing them off as nothingness, like pushing aside the panic attacks, dismissing those sweaty palms and failing to address fundamental issues that matter, like sleep!

Pretty soon we end with a very ugly mask… kinda like I was the other day and for the whole of this last week… sick, more snot than I knew what to do with…and quite literally my heart racing as I was running on empty… and barely making it to the destination. (I literally had been rushing around, going to doctors, looked horrible and almost ran out of fuel! It was a great metaphor for where I was at) 

When the case of Cardinal George Pell came through and there was huge media coverage surrounding the case and sentencing. A number of people messaged me and asked why I thought they weren’t coping, why they all of a sudden were struggling with issues they thought long buried, and why they felt triggered. This is when I wrote the blog, HARD WIRED TO SURVIVE.

I had to ask myself some questions then, and I find myself asking similar questions again in the aftermath of releasing my own story “Unscathed Beauty,” to the world. I have taken a step back, because I have at least learnt when I need to rest… recognise when I need to address certain issues, and ensure I follow through with what is important so I can remain effective. (not to mention friends and family in my ear about not burning the candle at both ends!) Maybe you have been through intense periods yourself… and perhaps your candle was burning at both ends!

There were a number of intense emotional battles throughout the entire journey of writing that I had to overcome, but particularly in those last few weeks there seemed to be a number of hurdles that presented right at the last minute. Almost like someone was saying, you can’t do this…it’s too hard… It made me fearful, afraid and wondering what people would think. Old fears I thought I had overcome had re-surfaced. New fears had reared their head. New problems emerged and problems I thought I had fixed decided to show up again.

Its been a couple of weeks since the launch, and while I have still got lots to do I feel like I can breathe a little sigh of relief! (Thank God!) It’s time to refocus again…

Without writing another book, here are a few things that I am trying to focus on to achieve better self-care in order to be more effective. Some things I already do daily, others… well they have been a little neglected and pushed aside!

  1. SLEEP! Maintains healthy brain function, vital for good mental health, focus, and personal safety! Being tired means, I feel like I am in a fog. Unable to think, reason, or process information effectively.
  2. Eating a more balanced diet, increasing water, and increasing healthy food choices.
  3. When I observe triggers arising, take note, and deal with them immediately or in the near future. i.e. Panic attacks, or sweaty palms. When do they happen? What is it that is making me feel like this? Why now? (The quicker these issues are addressed, the less they become a problem as we seek to understand the why, and the how- means when the trigger arrives again we already have a strategy in place)
  4. Set boundaries and stick to them. I am still working out what these are for myself, but setting boundaries can sometimes be a hard thing to do for anyone who has experienced trauma of any kind. It is very hard to say what you need. It is even harder to enforce that boundary when it is challenged. For many, those boundaries have been violated and shifted, and for survivors it is ingrained into the psyche that what you want you simply either can’t have, or it comes at a cost i.e. your safety. (takes being brave continuously to a whole new level) A boundary could be simply (Personal boundaries) “I have the right to feel safe in my own home,” Or “No one has the right to enforce their thoughts, values and opinions onto me.” “I can say what I need without feeling judged.” (This is something I plan to do a lot more work on in the next 12 months!)
  5. Make decisions. (i.e. a conclusion reached after consideration (Oxford Dictionary)) Be brave in making decisions that hold value for you. Conclude means it’s final.. that is cutting off other thoughts. This is also about sticking to your boundaries, But I think it’s very important to the foundation of all you do. When you decide, you cease to give energy to things that are not taking you towards your goals.
  6. Make self-care a priority, even if it’s not a long time, ensure that you find some time each day that is simply about taking some time out.
  7. Acknowledge that you don’t have to do everything on your own. It’s okay to bring other people who you trust) into the situation who can help you. (i.e., a doctor, psychologist, friend)
  8. Hold your vision. While things can seem crazy, tiring and chaotic, don’t lose sight of what you want to achieve, your goals and your vision. It’s easy to get lost.

To do any of the above, and to look after yourself it really takes some discipline. That means holding on to your values, and the rules you have set for yourself… its hard, because when they are challenged, even by your own thoughts, the default emotion is shame and guilt. We then have to battle with this… and some people will play on that… but hold on! Stay brave and surround yourself with people who want you to succeed and be your best.

When you do have those triggers, or when something pops up for you that is challenging, i.e The Pell case, ‘Get help.’ Don’t ignore the feelings… my thoughts are simply that you have a choice now in allowing yourself to heal from whatever it is you are feeling. We can push it back down and the stress and effort it takes to hold that in will eventually rear its head elsewhere. Use the opportunity to heal and grow as things pop up for you.

Hope this helps a few people refocus and refuel the empty tank…!

Much Love,

Kel XO

Hard wired to survive

A dear friend of mine recently said, to me after I come across yet another obstacle in my journey to getting my book published, she said, “Oh Kel, Why do we always have to constantly be so &**()^ brave?” I actually dismissed the answer at the time… I didn’t mean to, but it’s such a big question.

I want to address it now at least, part of it. The mere definition of Brave means,“…to be ready to face and endure danger and pain, while showing courage and without showing fear…”Cambridge English Dictionary

I’m not sure how to answer her question, but i’ll give it a go! Here are just three ideas out of my list I would like to share with you about the struggle to keep our head up!

1.We are Hard-Wired to Be Brave.

We talk about fear all the time like it is a bad thing. We talk about being strong for a long time like it’s a bad thing. We talk about being in and enduring pain, fatigue, loneliness, heartache and trauma like its all so terrible. Well yes it’s not nice, its not pleasant, and its certainly uncomfortable and at times quite tragic…But we seem to forget… we were born… so we could live. We were born so we could survive.

Our body has been gifted with certain things to help us. For example; our brain, body, physical strength, creativity, and emotions all make up our hard wiring. If we never had a difficult time in our life, our brain would have no idea how to conceptualise what it sees, how it responds and the kind of reaction it will have to something. Your brain is wired with an internal alarm system.  Too much stimulus could quite possibly make the hard wiring short circuit, and that is when other coping strategies step in… then we learn to survive.  Sometimes those circuits rewire and make new pathways. Your brain is amazing like that.

We were born to survive and we are hard wired to ‘get through stuff.’ It can be tiring… but its not all bad! Our brain was designed to deal with things that scare us…and to come up with solutions and solve the problems in front of us. That creates resilience. It creates character. It builds people. You can be brave, you were born with the wiring in you!

2. Being Brave Leads to Growth.

Challenging yourself when you feel afraid, allows you the chance to grow and learn. If you have a fear response to a certain stimulus, learning to recognise whether it as a good or bad thing is a learned response. Challenging those learnt responses is what will provide you the opportunity for growth, healing, and change. That is part of the battle. The other, is knowing you will be safe when you open the door to that fear. Knowing what will happen when you accept that challenge. Will you be okay? Can you control the outcome?

Sometimes the greatest opportunities for growth come when you are brave enough to stop assessing the risk and just do it anyway. You cannot control everything. But you can learn how to challenge your fear responses.

3. Being Brave Helps us Move Forward.

It’s easy to stay where it is safe. It is easy to say that I can’t do it. It is easy to stay where you know, where nothing can get you, harm you, and kill you. Moving forward is an unknown. Yet we all want something in this life and that means we have a decision to make.

Do we stay where it’s warm and comfortable… or do we set sail and make the most of the journey we have. By being brave, you give yourself the chance to have the life you dreamed about before whatever hurt you made you too afraid to go and get it.I’m trying right now NOT to let those things get in the way of what I do next. Don’t stay where you are too long… you might miss the chance.

Yes I know how it feels to be tired. For those who have an understanding of the bible you might be familiar with the word Long-suffering.  I’m not saying don’t be comfortable, but just don’t hide when it get UN-Comfortable.  Be brave enough to see why you feel that way, and challenge the feeling.

We live in a world where we want things to be done now… and that includes wanting the pain to go away, the anger, the hurt. They are there for a reason and teach us about ourselves. We must listen. It also teaches us that we believe in something, that we love, are loved and have value.

We are all on a journey. Just don’t miss the best parts of it by being too comfortable. Trust that you have what it takes and move forward in whatever circumstance you are in, knowing you are hard wired to survive, to be brave… and you have what it takes to learn and grow.

What to do after sexual assault or violence

IMG_0044I never want to think anything nasty would ever happen to anyone ever again… but then again we know that it’s just not possible. Sexual Violence can, and still happens more frequently than we know- in fact domestic violence and sexual assault occurs in ⅓ women and 1/6 men. Thats only what we know… and not what goes unreported.

I am someone who knows this and with a background of over 10 years in policing, I know that the stats are just a scratch on the surface of what is really happening. So it goes without saying that cultivating a safe space to talk about some of the hardest things imaginable, is essential. This includes workplaces, schools, families and individuals.

In giving you, or someone you know the best chance of recovery post incident, I have put together a few tips and things that I believe MAY help should anything like this happen (immediatley after an incident).

Tips- If something has happened to your child

  • Call Police or get help. Your child is a victim of a crime (make sure they are in a safe space to disclose)
  • Remain calm
  • Believe them
  • Make sure you are in a safe space to make an informed decision- if you don’t feel very informed, whether you decide to make a complaint or not you can seek advice from the support agencies and Police. You can find a few on my website at kellyhumphries.com
  • Understand that your responses are normal, but they may not always be helpful.
  • Don’t bathe or shower your child. As awful as it is, their clothes and body contain vital evidence for Police.
  • Speak from a heart of love and concern. Provide reassurance, reassurance and more reassurance. By knowing what your child needs, you will know the appropriate response… love your child and be patient with yourself and their emotions. Remind them that they are loved and valuable. ENSURE that if you are angry, you tell them that it is not because of them, but at the situation. That they have done nothing wrong.
  • Do not blame them (Trust me this happens, unfortunately)
  • Try not to ask too many questions until after police have spoken to them. Your questioning may contaminate evidence. If you must ask, then ask open-ended questions… “tell me more about that…”
  • Get your child some form of support- as soon as possible.  Allow them the opportunity to speak freely and give them the choice to speak to a counsellor without you being there. In your protective nature you want to be present in everything.  There are some things that they will not want you to know. Allow them to take their own healing journey and to own their own story.
  • Get some support for yourself and your family as well in order to be the best support for your child that you can be.

If something has happened to you

    • Call Police or get help. You are a victim of crime.
    • Remain calm
    • Understand that your responses are normal, but they may not always be helpful. Be kind to yourself and patient.
    • Make sure you are in a safe space to make an informed decision- if you don’t feel very informed, whether you decide to make a complaint or not you can seek advice from the support agencies. You can find a few on my website at kellyhumphries.com
    • Don’t bathe or shower. Don’t douche. As awful as it is, your clothes contain vital evidence for Police.
    • Write down all you can to recall what happened. The location. The identity and description of the offender. Their car, their smell, whether they had facial hair or not. Their accent and any thing that is different about them.
    • You don’t need to involve police if you don’t wish to. But I highly recommend it. If you choose not to involve police, please take yourself to a medical facility for assistance and to get checked.
    • Ensure that you speak to someone. I left it a very long time to talk to someone and this in one of my biggest regrets. Don’t wait. When I say someone, I don’t just mean a friend. Talk to someone who specialises in sexual violence counselling support. There are certain things that occur in sexual violence scenarios and it is sometimes more helpful to have someone who deals with this frequently.

 

Remember you and your family are valuable. I hope nothing like this ever happens to anyone in your family- it is the reason I have written blogs about what signs (Physical, Psychological, Behavioural)  to look for, grooming patterns etc… in terms of preventing harm and sexual assault and violence occuring.

Even if you never have anything like this happen, make a decision that you can be someone who can stand up and help those who need it and be someone who breaks cycles and not perpetuates them. What I mean by this is, when something happens to someone around us, we have a choice. That is to believe them, validate their experience, reassure them that they are safe and show them love… or we can allow our emotions to rule us, and/or indifference and as a result it could really harm a persons ability to heal. Be a warrior for someone who is in the midst of crisis. You may just save their life.

Thank-you!

Much Love Kel XO

 

Disclaimer:

Every situation is different and each situation has its own very complex circumstances. There are no hard and fast answers, what I say here is my experience- and my own opinion supported at times by research.

This stuff is not black and white. It just can’t be. What is black and white/ right and wrong is that Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence is never ok, and it is never under any circumstances right.

What is grey is in fact terribly dark… That is the silence that sits surrounding this topic. The shame and absolute fear so heavily laden on the shoulders of victims that the mere thought of speaking brings crippling anxiety and fear.

Lets change that… together.

For further support you can click HERE:

If you are in immediate danger, please call 000 in Australia. 

To report sexual abuse to police- please attend a Police Station or call 131444 for Policelink. (Australia)

To seek support or assistance you can contact me, www.kellyhumphries.com (I am a single entity who can offer advice, and personal coaching. I am not a psychologist or registered counsellor, but I am very approachable and happy to help. 

You can contact the Centre for Sexual Violence at http://www.casv.org.au and download any of their brochures and information, and likewise Bravehearts– https://bravehearts.org.au/

For internet related advice please contact The Carly Ryan Foundation http://www.carlyryanfoundation.com

 

What to do after sexual violence

The worst thing you can possibly imagine has just happened... or maybe you heard that it’s happening right now. Perhaps… it’s an ongoing thing. Maybe a friend….or even your very own child. Perhaps it is happening to you…!

As you will know my heart and passion is to help break cycles of abuse. A little about what I am doing with this blog series can be found here. I have been concentrating on getting my book #UnscathedBeauty ready to publish and been a little slack on the blogs- sorry.

My last blog, “Beating the Beast” was brilliant in terms of ideas and strategies to help prevent abuse. In the unfortunate event that you miss something- or something does happen to someone in your world, like a Rape, Sexual Assault, Sexual Abuse or Child Abuse, what are you going to do? How do you handle it? What action should you take?

So much sexual assault and abuse goes unreported and I understand the shame and guilt surrounding this- because this is my story too. #metoo So I have put the following in the hope that perhaps it will help. (This is specifically about what to do if Sexual Assault or Abuse happens and your immediate response.)

What if sexual abuse or sexual violence is happening right now?

Be reminded – for any of the responses I have to these questions, it is my best advice. I am not a doctor, or a clinician, nor am I present in your world. I have a psychology degree, and a Policing background, but all ideas here are based on my own experience, and through a little research. While I believe I am credible, understand that all situations and circumstances are different. I cannot tell you what to do; but I can tell you what I know.

“Firstly, if you are in immediate danger: Call Police! In Australia the number is ‘000.’ In other countries the number will be different but call for emergency assistance immediately.”

Screen Shot 2018-05-20 at 10.34.37 pm

 Even if you are scared to tell police, they can make your situation safe so you can at least take the time to understand what has happened and make a decision you feel comfortable with about whether you want Police to investigate the matter or not, or what step you should take next. 

If something has happening to my child, or is currently happening to me what is the first thing that I should do?  

Tough question! As above- if you are in immediate danger: Call Police! In Australia the number is ‘000.’ In other countries the number will be different but call for emergency assistance immediately.

Get yourself or your child or family member to a safe place so you can make an informed decision about what to do next.

If this is an ongoing matter- and you have been a victim of long-term sexual violence or abuse, then you have possibly already learnt how the perpetrator behaves… and how to ‘stay safe’ with this particular perpetrator. (What I mean is that whilst it’s not okay and you don’t feel safe, you probably have already learnt some of your own strategies that have kept you going, you might have already learnt what the perpetrator wants… and  what will keep you alive and safe. When you are free and away from the perpetrator, you can and definitely should get help)

You will be surprised at what you already know about how to survive until you can get help. My response here may make some people angry- particularly if you have never experienced sexual abuse or violence. What I am saying and as you can tell from my words so far- is that ab

use on any level is never okay. Do what you can to stay safe until you can get help.

 

If the perpetrator is someone who is escalating with violence then do everything you can to fight and stay safe.

Every scenario is different and we all have certain strengths and weaknesses which we can use to help us. Survivors have a great gift-it is learnt and that is resourcefulness. Use it.

Furthermore every perpetrator is not the same, so the decision you make must feel right for you at the time.

A few tips if someone tries to assault you: (Again- every situation is different)

  • Stay Calm- take note of your surroundings and remember all that you can, in as much detail as you can.
  • Consider and assess the level of safety there is in resisting, and what may be about to happen or is happening to you.
  • Yell No! Do not act in a friendly manner but be extremely firm with the offender. (sometimes, like in my experience my perpetrator was actually a real coward- but he was also known to me)
  • Yell, “No this is rape!” Your words may scare the offender to stop.
  • Fight back physically- yell ‘No’ and run away as soon as you can.
  • Consider passive options of resistance- distractions; fainting, vomiting, urinating.
  • Emergency alert applications on your phone like “Thread” app available through the Carly Ryan Foundation- carlyryanfoundation.com or “Help Me” app- available through the Daniel Morcombe Foundation http://www.danielmorcombe.com.au

Screen Shot 2018-05-20 at 10.29.08 pm.png

 

Sexual assault is never okay. EVER. It is never your fault either. Sexual assault is about a perpetrators need for power and control over  the victim. Perpetrators should be dealt with by the law- arrested and charged accordingly.

I will write another blog this week which will explain what to do in the event that something actually does occur and what steps you should take, to not only look after yourself after an incident, but how to then go and make a report to police. I will also put together something about how to be safe generally and reduce the chances of this happening at all.

Much Love, xo

Kel

 

Disclaimer:

Every situation is different and each situation has its own very complex circumstances. There are no hard and fast answers, what I say here is my experience- and my own opinion supported at times by research.

This stuff is not black and white. It just can’t be. What is black and white/ right and wrong is that Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence is never ok, and it is never under any circumstances right.

What is grey is in fact terribly dark… That is the silence that sits surrounding this topic. The shame and absolute fear so heavily laden on the shoulders of victims that the mere thought of speaking brings crippling anxiety and fear.

Lets change that… together.

For further support you can click HERE:

If you are in immediate danger, please call 000 in Australia. 

To report sexual abuse to police- please attend a Police Station or call 131444 for Policelink. (Australia)

To seek support or assistance you can contact me, www.kellyhumphries.com (I am a single entity who can offer advice, and personal coaching. I am not a psychologist or registered counsellor, but I am very approachable and happy to help. 

You can contact the Centre for Sexual Violence at http://www.casv.org.au and download any of their brochures and information, and likewise Bravehearts– https://bravehearts.org.au/

For internet related advice please contact The Carly Ryan Foundation http://www.carlyryanfoundation.com

 

 

So we have been chatting over the course of a few months now and I have been answering the questions you asked me to delve into.

Last blog, I spoke about “Grooming” and what to look for with grooming behaviour. While the list is not exhaustive, we can be sure that when we are connected and communicating with our kids, and they feel safe, they are more likely to tell us when something’s not right. In the same way, as I have shared the physical, behavioural and Psychological signs of sexual abuse, understanding and being aware of these things will help you to know whether the child, or children in your life may be being targeted.

So how do you prevent the children in your life from being targeted by a predator?

I’m not sure you can completely create a zero risk environment, besides locking your child away, which we know is not realistic… but there are some things that you could do that may minimise the risk. Of course there may be other things I have missed, but here are 10 key strategies that come to mind.

Enlight10

  • Create a habit of sharing your day with your kids and family members. It may be that you set aside a time each day, each week to just get things off your chest, but foster an environment where your family feels able to communicate what is going on in their lives, free from judgement. Besides helping them feel more confident, you are more likely to know when things are off, or don’t seem right. Create a culture of openness in your home- not secrecy. The agenda for a paedophile includes the ability to groom a child unknowingly, so it is in these types of conversations that you are most likely to pick up cues.
  • Ensure that you know the people in your children’s lives. I cannot tell you the number of kids I have spoken to who have stayed at friends and their parents don’t know the other parents name, address or even have a phone number, much less know the people who are involved with the family. Make sure you be annoying enough to gather that information, set this as a consistent rule for ‘sleep overs’. (some people don’t even allow sleep overs at all until a certain age)
  • Create safe boundaries and stick to them– i.e. the bedroom is for sleeping- not playing (or perhaps the door should stay open) whatever you think is right but the child’s bed should be a safe place. Adult conversations are for adults. 15+ movies are for when you’re 15, not 10 or at least create a culture of your child asking first and being supervised.) Age appropriate video games should be considered…. Children exposed to sexual concepts too young become more sexualised beings at a younger age- it opens the door for a predator to have those same conversations with the child and conditioning a child to believe that this is acceptable and ‘normal’.
  • Be mindful of your child’s behaviour around adults and how they sit, speak, move, act and communicate. Changes in your child’s behaviour could be an indicator that something has happened, is happening, or your child has already been targeted. Be in tune… with how a predator grooms– and know your child’s “normal” behaviour. With this in mind, be brave with your child, and other adults in their life. i.e. (if they are older than 3 or 4, make a rule that your sons/daughters don’t sit on peoples laps.- at all) make it clear to people if you need to that you are teaching your children safe boundaries… and they can sit next to them, not on them…(just an example)
  • Consider changing the password regularly on your Wi-Fi and putting safeguards on your Internet usage. You can find information on parental controls at this link. Think U know also have heaps of online material you can review about cyber safety. https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents/articles/Parental-controls/
  • Become knowledgeable about what apps your kids are using and how they work. It may the most boring thing you do, but it is worth it, not only to connect with your child, but to ensure their online use is safe. For tips on online usage head to #TheCarlyRyanFoundation. The link is below at the end.
  • Have conversations, which teach your child that their body belongs to them. So any victims who are groomed realise what is happening is wrong when its too late and they are stuck in the cycle. That is what happened to me and why I spend this time writing these blogs. Don’t let it be too late for your kids. I would recommend having these conversations as soon as your child can say their words. If you aren’t sure how, maybe you could try one of these two great resources from the National Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) and use them to base a conversation around. (I can’t get that Pantosaurus song out of my head! It it will certainly remind kids what is okay and what is not) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lL07JOGU5o (Pantosaurus) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGC0cbB0NAM (My Body Song)
  • Make sure your child is aware of their body parts and the names of them. While it sounds a little forward and slightly uncomfortable, teach your kids that a penis is a penis and a vagina is a vagina. It is much easier for them to say what is happening by using the appropriate language then to have the language or slanguage given to the child. It may mean we miss something vital our kids are telling us as well. Not only that but in the unfortunate event something happens to a child in your care, the disclosure will be much more clear and concise if the child is not embarrassed of their body parts and can actually tell police where they were touched, how and not be ashamed.images-1
  • Teach your child prevention and safety tools: Teach your child a safety plan, and ways they can say no if someone was to approach them. For example, some families have a password they use. If a strange person attempts to pick up your child from school they can ask- what’s the password… Ensure that your child knows at least 5 safe, and capable people they can talk to at any time to ask for help. Make sure they are neverUnknown-1 walking to and from school alone.
  • Trust your gut: You will know when something is not right with your child. Be engaged and connected. Have open communication and encourage conversations about hard things. Even a child with a special need will have their own ‘normal’, so whatever their normal, when things are off- investigate. Ask questions and encourage conversations..  #TalkingFamilies

Consider this also, sometimes hard as it is we don’t want to know what’s happening. I know this sounds ridiculous, because what parent or carer wouldn’t want to know if ‘that’ was happening, right? See here lies the problem that we face- most parents are really good, most families are really good. As a society however we are changing… Social media, conversations about sex and some of these tough things are talked about as if they are normal now. This pushes parents into a position of relaxing the boundaries… Young people are becoming older, faster… Not many people raise eyebrows at awful things… maybe it is simply because no one knows what to say… or everyone has an opinion about it, or too much is happening. It does not lessen the impact on the victim- I assure you. It is either buried or admonished firmly, and hideously. So where is the happy medium and the loving support that happens in the middle of hidden secrecy, and righteousness? Who will be brave enough? You?  It is ridiculously important to be educated about this stuff so you know how to be there, to take the right steps and not perpetuate a cycle of silence through a lack of knowledge and understanding.  It doesn’t mean things won’t happen. It means you minimise the risk, you empower yourself to fight and minimise the risk to your family that child abuse will ever enter your home.

IMG_0044Be the warrior… Be and advocate for change in your own home, workplace and community…. It doesn’t all have to be doom and gloom- but sharing and connectedness can bring families closer together. It’s worth it! You are worth it. #UnscathedBeauty

Much Love,

Kel XO

Next Blog: What to do in crisis… if sexual abuse, assault or trauma is happening now. 

Disclaimer:

Every situation is different and each situation has its own very complex circumstances. There are no hard and fast answers, what I say here is my experience- and my own opinion supported at times by research.

This stuff is not black and white. It just can’t be. What is black and white/ right and wrong is that Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence is never ok, and it is never under any circumstances right.

What is grey is in fact terribly dark… That is the silence that sits surrounding this topic. The shame and absolute fear so heavily laden on the shoulders of victims that the mere thought of speaking brings crippling anxiety and fear.

Lets change that… together.

For further support you can click HERE:

If you are in immediate danger, please call 000 in Australia. 

To report sexual abuse to police- please attend a Police Station or call 131444 for Policelink. (Australia)

To seek support or assistance you can contact me, www.kellyhumphries.com (I am a single entity who can offer advice, and personal coaching. I am not a psychologist or registered counsellor, but I am very approachable and happy to help. 

You can contact the Centre for Sexual Violence at http://www.casv.org.au and download any of their brochures and information, and likewise Bravehearts– https://bravehearts.org.au/

For internet related advice please contact The Carly Ryan Foundation http://www.carlyryanfoundation.com

#SexualAbuse #GroomingStinks #UnscathedBeauty #YourQuestionsAnswered #Courage #AreYouInTune #MeToo #PredatorPrevention #TrustYourGut #TalkingFamilies

Grooming behaviour is targeted; there is no other way to say it. It is deliberate with an intention to engage a victim in sexual acts. If you check out my last blog; I talk about what grooming is as defined in the Criminal Code. Earlier, I also defined what a sexual act consisted of… 

But how does it begin? How does it happen and what are the signs? We are up to blog 7 of the “Your Questions Answered” Series. As an advocate for change and someone who wants to break cycles of abuse,  I believe is one of the most important things to know about how sexual abuse occurs.

Most groomers, (which can be anyone) have techniques they use to ‘trick’ and gain access to a vulnerable child. Only 20% of reported sexual offences have occurred where the victim has NOT known the offender. The majority of Sexual assaults occur when there is some relationship already.

SO, we definitely need to know how grooming occurs. More often than not, it is not an obvious display of trickery, but as subtle and unidentifiable as possible.

What kind of child does a predator typically target?

Unfortunately, Paedophiles are cunning… they are tricky and they exist in a space where manipulation is the way to an end goal. So they choose victims based on the vulnerability, neediness, and those that are more likely to please… The predator can use many tactics but the end goal is that the child will be too afraid to speak. How do you avoid your child being targeted? (Let’s cover that in the next blog)

What does Grooming look like; how does it happen? 

It looks like anything…! How long is a piece of string? Sometimes it is so hard to know what to look for but we can only try and create as much awareness around this as possible.

There are specific techniques paedophiles use, and they involve a great deal of patience on part of the predator including setting themselves up as model citizens; well embedded into the community and community activities. These positions are usually where their reputation and community standing enables them to hide behind a facade. It would not cause anyone to even think the person could be capable of grooming or sexual abuse.

This role, or community involvement allows trust to be built in adult groups and as such even the most responsible parents drop their guard. The parent believes the person to be safe and so allow more and more access to their child.

They are incredibly nice people, paedophiles. In fact, like my uncle they would never do the wrong thing; butter would not melt in their mouth.

The problem is that this leads into the grooming of the parents and the false sense that they can be trusted.

Many of these offenders prefer the company of younger children over adults. Sadly it is because they know they have power over young children, which allows them to have a sense of control.

What are the signs of grooming?

There are some specific signs to be mindful of, but as every child is different so too are the ways in which they will be groomed.

Unknown.jpegTypically…

1- Child may sneak time or try and be on their own with the groomer/predator. (especially in the online environment.)

2- The groomer makes time to spend with the child, intentional, one v one time where the groomer will listen and pay particular attention to the child.

3- Child may have gifts, money or small tokens. The child feels ‘special;’ special praise, and compliments are given, which may seem out of place, and even over the top. (This tends to be out of sight of any other persons).

4- In order to desensitize the child, the groomer may spend more time with the child when they are dressing, bathing or going to bed.

5- Accidental touching is certainly not off the cards. There were times I remember when I was going through the barbed wire fence or getting in the car and Uncle Bob would use that chance to touch me somewhere… oops. What it meant is that I got used to it. There may even be excessive hugging of the child.

6- Overt sexual jokes or talk- the aim to desensitize the child to sexual talk.

7- Rough play with the child, where being close is expected- i.e wrestling and perhaps inappropriate placement of a child with certain positions.

8- Be mindful of children sitting on laps… There are different ways to do this, and there will be a marked difference between how a predator will sit a child on their lap as opposed to someone who is not. i.e, is the child comfortable, what are their mannerisms? Are they squirming? Uncomfortable? Afraid? Are they being made to sit? Is there a blanket?

9- The child will relish the attention given and be upset when the groomer is not around. This could be as a protective measure out of fear, or a fear of someone infiltrating the world created by the groomer/predator.

10- This power the predator has over the child or the one being groomed can result in the child becoming particularly defensive about that person. Protective almost.

Unfortunately, paedophiles have really ruined genuine connection for wonderful fathers (in particular) and caring family members who enjoy spending time with their loved ones. An important thing my dad said after I had broken my silence was that he wasn’t sure how he should be around me and the other kids. There is a big difference to the love a genuine person gives to that of a paedophile.  Again there is not any one particular thing that will tell you a child is being groomed or is a victim of sexual assault or child trauma, but there will be a combination of factors, such as the physical signs, psychological signs and even behavioural signs combined with the above behaviours that could lead you to believe something was ‘off’. You will know if you see it. You have to trust that your instincts are right, and back yourself.

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Next blog: Strategies on how to avoid grooming behaviour, what you can do about it.

 

Much Love XO

Kel

Disclaimer:

Every situation is different and each situation has its own very complex circumstances. There are no hard and fast answers, what I say here is my experience- and my own opinion supported at times by research.

This stuff is not black and white. It just can’t be. What is black and white/ right and wrong is that Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence is never ok, and it is never under any circumstances right.

What is grey is in fact terribly dark… That is the silence that sits surrounding this topic. The shame and absolute fear so heavily laden on the shoulders of victims that the mere thought of speaking brings crippling anxiety and fear.

Lets change that… together.

For further support you can click HERE:

If you are in immediate danger, please call 000 in Australia. 

To report sexual abuse to police- please attend a Police Station or call 131444 for Policelink. (Australia)

To seek support or assistance you can contact me, www.kellyhumphries.com (I am a single entity who can offer advice, and personal coaching. I am not a psychologist or registered counsellor, but I am very approachable and happy to help. 

You can contact the Centre for Sexual Violence at http://www.casv.org.au and download any of their brochures and information, and likewise Bravehearts– https://bravehearts.org.au/

For internet related advice please contact The Carly Ryan Foundation http://www.carlyryanfoundation.com

#SexualAbuse #GroomingStinks #UnscathedBeauty #YourQuestionsAnswered #Courage #AreYouInTune

My heart and my passion is to see cycles broken and lives changed… Sometimes I get the incredible privilege to be asked to speak. I was honoured just this week, September 28th, 2017 to share at the WAVSS (Working Against Violence Support Service- Logan and Redlands) AGM Breakfast meeting as their guest speaker. WAAVS is a service primarily supporting families through Domestic and Family Violence.

My message among many; you are never alone and what pain we feel can be healed through the power of connection, as well as it be prevented. Did you know that someone has already kicked down the door? Someone has already ridden the rollercoaster? Never is the journey you walk one that hasn’t been travelled in some way by someone before you. Paths have crossed…and while your story is unique shared experiences and breaking through fear brings freedom. Domestic Violence like any other form of trauma is a cycle that needs to be broken and one where a victim (male or female) can feel afraid and isolated.

Many of us in our pain and the crisis in life leave us unable to see past what is happening directly in front of us. More often than not, we are blinded by the crisis and the deep emotions felt when the world deals one of its cruel blows. (It is also how people remain stuck in these spaces) This can last a moment… or sometimes years at a time depending on your experience or situation.

The power of connection provides a way for healing to begin… not just any connection, but a safe, trusted and understanding connection. This is why I love services like WAVSS and many like it… because they are passionate about what they do, and they, understand and believe the cycle needs to be broken.

So my encouragement is simple- make sure the people in your circle of influence are the people that you trust, that are safe, and can ride the waves with you. You are more than a label and you are never alone. #ReachOut #YouMatter

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Thankyou to the team at WAVSS who work with victims and families of Domestic Violence and for allowing me to stand with you!

Much Love

Kel Xo

 

#NotAlone #KellyHumphries #UnscathedBeauty #MoreThanLabels   #Wavss #KellyHumphriesSpeaker

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Dr Linda Evans, Principal, Fairholme College, Toowoomba

Blog 6 grooming

What is grooming? This is a great question and one, which is really hard to answer, because grooming is also very hard to detect. But that is what we are doing in this “Your Questions Answered Series….” so I will do my best to give some perspective here. If you are a parent, teacher, carer or someone who works with children then you need to know what grooming is… but more than that, if we all had a better idea, we might spot the early warning signs, and perhaps save someone from a terrible injustice.

Before you can see grooming happening- you need to know what grooming is.

Maybe I could pose the question differently as this… What is luring? What is coaxing? What is baiting? What is bribing? See I never knew I was being groomed as a child and when I did, I was already caught, hooked, lied to and sunk, I took the bait… just a little fish in a big sea. What I didn’t know was how I was caught and why, until it was too late. I was caught for a good 8 years before I was able to find a way to make it stop, but I didn’t know how it started until much later in life. Much later; much too late… but not too late for some… which is why I spend my time writing and doing what I am doing… so please keep reading!

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As we move forward to tackling this issue of sexual abuse, states across Australia have implemented an offence of grooming and it probably has the best definition I can find.

 S218 B of the Criminal Code, Grooming of a child under 16 years includes facilitating the procuring of a person to engage in a sexual Act

Or:

 Expose without reason the person to ANY indecent matter.

 We defined sexual abuse and indecent acts in blog number 2 of this, “Your Questions Answered Series.

NOTE: There does not need to be physical contact to be considered grooming….

 The penalty is harsher if the child is under 12 years of age.

What’s important? The word Procure: grooming targets individuals who are communicating with a child or even the family of the child with the intent to commit child sexual abuse, engage in a sexual act or an indecent act.

Without writing out the entire legislation, to be charged with this offence, it needs to be shown that the offending person knew the victim was under the age of 16. For the full legislation definition you can click this LINK

 The problem with grooming is you really can’t see it happening and unfortunately for children they don’t know that it is occurring or indeed what the intention may be. It is difficult because the predator is building an emotional connection with the child to then create a level of trust. This in turn creates a prison that the child or young person does not generally realise they are in and they can feel trapped and feel the need to act on what they are asked. It is obviously a very complex area, but over the next few blogs I hope to enlighten you.

A paedophile is calculating and like my uncle, very cunning. Remember it is only an offence when there is intent to exploit the child or victim for a sexual means…

The question is how will you know this is happening? What does it look like? Where do you draw the line for your family? I will answer this in my next blog in this “Your Questions Answered Series,” blog number 7 on how to spot grooming.

 Who can be a groomer? What you should know is that grooming can occur anywhere with anyone, male and female, old and young. They are every background and nationality, every size, weight and height.

Who can be groomed? Who can be groomed- anyone. Anyone can be groomed. A person can be groomed or a group of people. Whatever way a predator can use when they have intent to exploit the relationship for sexual purposes means grooming has occurred.

We have to be mindful of the people in our lives and remember that grooming can happen over a number of years- and like my Uncle, he was always around, loving, supporting and cleverly manipulating our family to get what he wanted. No one would have predicted what he would do. He was always so close to our family and used his position in the family to gain trust. Then he exploited it and left long term damage in the form of his betrayal. (Remember not everyone is like my Uncle- but being mindful of who is surrounding our family is important) in my next blog I will explore some differences that would give you cause to question a relationship and the motives.

Grooming that occurs in the family and of all types of betrayals; for me is one of the hardest to understand. It is also the behaviour of any paedophile, to gain the trust of their victim… and then exploit it through any means… online, in a workplace, at a school, in a sporting group or anywhere. Now more than ever we face a battle with grooming online in silent pathways where young people all over the world are being targeted.

S474 of the Criminal Code prohibits the use of a carrier service (i.e. Phone or internet) to procure a person under 16 for an indecent or sexual matter.

 Sonya Ryan, the CEO and Founder of the Carly Ryan Foundation fights daily for young people in the online space after her daughter Carly was murdered by an online predator who posed as a 17 year old male. In Sonya’s fight to make change Carly’s law has been passed where predators cannot lie about their age online with the intent to cause harm to a child under 16 years of age.

This new law will give police the power to intervene before predators have a chance to act (or groom a child), and will also serve as a strong deterrent, with a tough new sentence of 10 years prison for convicted offenders. You can read about this article here:

If you need assistance or advice on Internet related issues you can contact The Carly Ryan Foundation in the links below.

In my next Blog I will give you signs to look for and some ideas on how to set your boundaries as a family. 

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Take care and look after each other.

Much Love

Kel XO

 

 

Disclaimer:

Every situation is different and each situation has its own very complex circumstances. There are no hard and fast answers, what I say here is my experience- and my own opinion supported at times by research.

This stuff is not black and white. It just can’t be. What is black and white/ right and wrong is that Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence is never ok, and it is never under any circumstances right.

What is grey is in fact terribly dark… That is the silence that sits surrounding this topic. The shame and absolute fear so heavily laden on the shoulders of victims that the mere thought of speaking brings crippling anxiety and fear.

Lets change that… together.

 

For further support you can click HERE:

If you are in immediate danger, please call 000 in Australia. 

To report sexual abuse to police- please attend a Police Station or call 131444 for Policelink. (Australia)

To seek support or assistance you can contact me, www.kellyhumphries.com (I am a single entity who can offer advice, and personal coaching. I am not a psychologist or registered counsellor, but I am very approachable and happy to help. 

You can contact the Centre for Sexual Violence at http://www.casv.org.au and download any of their brochures and information, and likewise Bravehearts– https://bravehearts.org.au/

For internet related advice please contact The Carly Ryan Foundation http://www.carlyryanfoundation.com

#GroomingStinks #UnscathedBeauty #Whatisgrooming #KellyHumphries #KellyHumphriesSpeaker #CowardlyTricks #YourQuestionsAnswered

Psychological signs

Let’s face it; talking about Sexual Abuse is tough… it’s tough because we don’t talk about it like we should. It certainly isn’t a topic that comes up at a Sunday lunch and for as long as I have known, it has been thought of as this insidious taboo issue, which is better, kept where it belongs…”a secret.”

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We nobly beckon others to speak up, be brave and then when a survivor breaks their silence the support wavers, the system can crumble and a survivor feels as alone as they did while they held tight their secret… I know… I held it tight for a long time. Any wonder that the pain, shame and darkness around sexual abuse manifests in so many unusual and yet understandable ways.

We have become braver… stronger… more informed and with that we have better systems, more understanding and indeed are making waves when it comes to sexual abuse. But, sadly we have such a long way to go.

So in this blog 4, of my series, “Your Questions Answered” I am going to highlight the psychological signs of sexual abuse. Sexual abuse is defined broadly… and as I have mentioned in previous blogs, these signs are generally comorbid (more than one) and will occur concurrently with behavioural and physical signs of abuse.

Most psychological conditions could be indicators for other problems a person may face, but if you have read my blogs on the Physical and Behavioural traits of someone experiencing sexual abuse, then you can start to draw some fairly solid conclusions about what is happening and going on for a young person or even an adult… bear in mind this is an overview and while it is a long read- if I were to delve into these in depth I might as well write another book.

So here are the most significant psychological factors that may indicate trauma is occurring.

Psychological signs

 Depression: It was never going to be easy to deal with abuse, now a survivor battles with their self worth, their feelings of guilt, shame, sexuality, where they fit in their family, their safety and means of survival. They lose sleep, are constantly told lies by the predator in their midst and made or groomed to perform sexual acts that can only serve to violate the personal boundaries and leave them feeling isolated, alone and depressed. Depression is feelings of hopelessness, comes with insomnia, inability to concentrate, fear of losing control, restlessness, lack of pleasure in life activities, and significant weight loss or gain. (to name a few)

 Anxiety: Anxiety develops over time, and can turn into more debilitating illnesses and social phobias. It stems from feeling unsafe, uncertain and watching for the cues of their predator. My belief is that Anxiety starts with heightened arousal- that is heightened biochemical arousal in the brain… the part of the brain that sends the warning signals that it is safe, or not safe. Sometimes it gets a little confused and the brain doesn’t always know what is safe or not

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and that is where I believe that other significant issues occur. The longer someone remains silent, the more at risk they can be from anxiety. This is usually found in close association with Depression or the next topic of PTSD. Sweating, phobias, dizziness, chest pain, fear of dying, palpitations, chills and hot flushes. Untreated, and without support this can be crippling.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)/Complex PTSD: After being involved with a major negative life event or ongoing issue (Such as ongoing child sexual or physical abuse) a victim can experience PTSD. If it continues over a long period of time it can be called Complex PTSD. As with Anxiety, it is a state of being hyper aroused (Hyper vigilant), or conversely feeling depr

essed, isolating yourself from events that may remind you of ‘the incident/s’, reliving the event (flashbacks), and other life issues. A person may also experience uncontrollable crying, rages, sleep disorders, high-risk behaviours, shame, guilt and blame. This is something that can develop in teenagers and even children who have experienced child abuse. In teenagers this exhibits in the reckless behaviour you sometimes see, truancy, substance abuse, and disengagement. It can come out in nightmares, drawings and play…

 Disassociation: This is one I am very familiar with… and I liken this to watching the world as if watching a movie. It is the ability for a victim to almost physically remove themselves from their body… numb, withdraw, vague out, or anything that removes them emotionally from the situation when it becomes too difficult. Sometimes the person may not remember important information, in some cases as below; new identities are formed like personality disorders. A person who has experienced significant trauma, can at times minimize the physical feelings they experience also.

Personality Disorders: This is not a common one, but in extreme cases of child abuse, and child trauma a victim can develop a personality disorder. My personal belief is that this stems from the paranoia a victim feels and then as it is left untreated develops into a much bigger problem of personality disorder. The paranoia comes from the violation of personal space and hyper vigilance a victim will experience (Among other things). Depending on the circumstances will depend on the type of personality disorder that can present. i.e Paranoid Personality Disorder: extreme distrust and suspicion of others. Borderline Personality Disorder: instability with interpersonal relationships, self-image, and lack of control over impulses.

 Attachment Issues: Attachment issues, just simply means that the victim cannot form lasting relationships with people, especially in terms of intimate relationships. Sometimes they struggle to be affectionate to others. It stems from the trust of the individual being damaged or broken, boundaries being violated and the person not feeling safe. This happens early on in development and from what I have learnt, the emotions that were meant to develop in the brain during childhood are significantly impaired as a result of the abuse, and so patterns of behaviour are changed as a result. It could be that this person may fail to show remorse for things, have difficulty learning, and decreased social awareness.

 Addictions: Addictions could be addictions to anything- but specifically, drugs, alcohol or anything that ‘numbs or provides a route for escapism.’ Most of the time, a victim cannot sit still with themselves, well, this is what I have found in my experience. Before writing my book #UnscathedBeauty, I was not able to sit still with my pain… so I needed to do something to fill the gap, and that gap was alcohol for a time, and then it just became things. Projects, business and never stopping… facing my pain means I now have the freedom to sit with not only my own pain, but someone else’s.

Eating Disorders: This is usually about over or under eating…

ANOREXIA: (Self induced weight loss through starvation, not eating, and exercise)

BULIMIA: (Repeated bouts of over eating, binging and fear of gaining weight.)

Reasons why a child abuse, or victim of a sexual offence may do this is to possibly appear less attractive to the perpetrator, or perhaps it is a way to seek attention… like I have said before, a victim will try and communicate without saying the words… this can be like that…

Neurotic Reactions: Behaviour where a person engages in ritualistic and/or overt behaviours. Sometimes this is in order to alleviate anxiety, which is one of the biggest symptoms of Child trauma.

Withdrawal and Mistrust: Like anything, if something hurts once, it can continue to hurt… over and over again. Like a child who touches a hot stove, when it burns, we learn not to touch it again… something which happens to hurt, harm, confuse, scare, or take advantage of a child mostly results in the child pulling away and withdrawing… this is how they have learnt to survive and forms patterns well into adulthood.

 Suicidal Ideology: The belief that the world would be a better place without you. I believe this comes from the confines of silence and shame. The perpetual feelings of worthlessness and self loathing that leads to poor self esteem. Let me tell you… you are worth it, and if your reading this and you think that there is no way out for you…let me tell you there is, there is always a way- and it does get better.

Self-Harming Behaviour: As I mentioned in my last blog, self-harming can be as a result of feeling numb. Numbness that comes from withdrawal and disassociation… when someone cuts it is as if they can remember that they are still alive. They can also feel something with the pain and it releases some of what they are feeling inside. remember self harm can be cutting, but it can also be self injury… punching poles, head butting, throwing oneself on the ground etc.

As I stated earlier, this is just an overview, however after these past 4 blogs we should have a fairly good understanding of what to look for and how we can identify when something is out of place.

If you are struggling with any of these things, remember I can help you! If you need adviceIMG_0045 or support let me know or feel free to contact any of the below numbers for support.

Take care,

Much Love

Kel xo

 

Next Blog: Blog 5 of the “Your Questions Answered Series”-What is grooming?

To learn about what I am what I am up to click here. 

Disclaimer:

Every situation is different and each situation has its own very complex circumstances. There are no hard and fast answers, what I say here is my experience- and my own opinion supported at times by research.

This stuff is not black and white. It just can’t be. What is black and white/ right and wrong is that Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence is never ok, and it is never under any circumstances right.

What is grey is in fact terribly dark… That is the silence that sits surrounding this topic. The shame and absolute fear so heavily laden on the shoulders of victims that the mere thought of speaking brings crippling anxiety and fear.

Lets change that… together.

 

For further support you can click HERE:

If you are in immediate danger, please call 000 in Australia. 

To report sexual abuse to police- please attend a Police Station or call 131444 for Policelink. (Australia)

To seek support or assistance you can contact me, www.kellyhumphries.com (I am a single entity who can offer advice, and personal coaching. I am not a psychologist or registered counsellor, but I am very approachable and happy to help. 

You can contact the Centre for Sexual Violence at http://www.casv.org.au and download any of their brochures and information, and likewise Bravehearts– https://bravehearts.org.au/

For internet related advice please contact The Carly Ryan Foundation http://www.carlyryanfoundation.com

 

WARNING: content not appropriate for children under the age of 15 yrs, but hey- a contextually and age appropriate conversation with your children raising some awareness around this topic is always a good thing

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Your Questions Answered Series… Blog 3 – You asked and these are my answers. What am I doing? You can read about it here.

I have shared with you the definition and the scope of sexual violence (here is the LINK). I have also shared in my last blog the behavioural indicators of sexual abuse (LINK) and now this is a look at 12x physical signs of sexual abuse. Remember with anything- all of us have a duty to assess what we see and consider whether a child or anybody for that matter needs assistance. We should consider if what is occurring, what is seen and what is heard needs to be reported. If your not sure about something- ask more questions, it’s best if they are open ended and this allows for more communication to occur and there is less pressure on the victim).

Be brave; don’t be afraid to ask questions! Be afraid not to, because living with the guilt is much harder than saying I tried… Your questions may save a life, but be gentle… and be gently persistent, especially if you really do believe that something is happening. IMG_5726

I can tell you right now that this is a really tough series of blogs to put together, and if you are reading along, I want to acknowledge you for your willingness to be educated and informed. This blog is probably a little harder hitting than the other blogs, because this is the stuff that is hard to hear, hard to talk about and even harder to imagine. (Even hard to write!)

The thing is, this is the reality of it. This is what happens and as a parent, teacher, support worker, legal or medical professional or child-care worker or anyone who is around children and young people, this is what the physical signs of sexual abuse and violence include.

As I said in the Screaming Silence of Sexual abuse, these are not usually seen as a singular entity. If child abuse of any kind (physical, emotional or psychological) is occurring, it is usually displayed via a number of signs, symptoms and behavioural traits that indicate that something is ‘not right.’ That something may be explained by a few simple questions. i.e How are you doing? Are you feeling ok? I see that your not playing sport today, can you tell me whats happened? Remind the child that you are a safe person and encourage conversation.

Physical Signs of Sexual Abuse:

  • Burning sensations during urination and any bowel movements. (Caused by irritation, infection and or pain as a result of foreign bodies, or sexual penetration.)
  • Self-harm or cutting: (Coping response, but also as a result of a numbing, the victim- in order to feel something tends to cut. This is believed to release some emotion for the victim as well) It can also indicate other types of trauma.
  • Sleep disturbances and nightmares (In a state of anxiety, the victim will be experiencing hyper-vigilance. In my case, I waited up at night to see if he would come… I was looking over my shoulder and I was afraid of what would happen- very difficult to have a peaceful nights sleep)
  • Inserting objects and items into vagina or a boy ‘humping’ or mounting stuffed animals: and/or finding foreign items in genital or rectal areas. (Typically children display what they are taught. A child who knows no better – is simply mimicking what they have been shown. It is also to provide the same biological response, which sadly has been enforced on the child.)
  • Trauma to breasts, bottom, lower abdomen or thighs. (Especially if there is more than just ‘touching’ occurring- there will generally be evidence of trauma to the genital area (Can include bleeding in these areas) (can cause general discomfort and child not wishing to participate in physical activity at school)
  • Pregnancy(Let’s hope not, but this can and DOES happen)
  • Sexually transmitted diseases. (If a child they may begin to show signs of STI’s, possibly around their mouth, or genital areas especially if there was never any signs previously)
  • Unexplained wetting of pants and even soiling pants. (This is for several reasons… Possibly fear, potential infections in the area, at times to appear less attractive, and due to enlargement in the area as a result of trauma)
  • Abnormal enlargement of vaginal or rectal areas. (Forced trauma to these areas would result in stretching of the area)
  • The presence of semen/sperm. (for obvious reasons)
  • Ongoing infections in genital area– (especially young girls and having frequent Urinary Tract Infections.)
  • Stained or bloodied underwear.

Of all of the signs of sexual abuse and child trauma, while these are the most obvious, unless you are a parent or carer, or are in a position where you are seeing the child getting changed, or living in close proximity to the child, it is quite easy for these signs to go unnoticed. So other things to be aware of could be some of the following:

  • Child does not want to participate in sports or physical activity.
  • Child complains of pain in genital areas, or pain while going to the toilet.
  • Attempts made to cover legs and thighs.
  • Blood or semen in child’s underwear.

Please be a hero to a child suffering from any kind of abuse and report the matter. There is a genuine fear surrounding what we think we see, reporting the matter and subsequently having to go through the process. There are thought such as- What if I am wrong? What if I have to go to court? What if the parent comes after me? What if i do it wrong? 

Just ask… and if your not sure ask… and if you don’t know how… ask…! Better to ask, then to find out that you were right… something was happening and you could have saved them.

And if your wrong…. then so what? Be brave and speak up!

You can do it!

 

Much Love ,

Kel xo

Next Blog: Psychological Signs of Sexual Abuse.

Disclaimer:

Every situation is different and each situation has its own very complex circumstances. There are no hard and fast answers, what I say here is my experience- and my own opinion supported at times by research.

This stuff is not black and white. It just can’t be. What is black and white/ right and wrong is that Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence is never ok, and it is never under any circumstances right.

What is grey is in fact terribly dark… That is the silence that sits surrounding this topic. The shame and absolute fear so heavily laden on the shoulders of victims that the mere thought of speaking brings crippling anxiety and fear.

Lets change that… together.

 

For further support you can click HERE:

If you are in immediate danger, please call 000 in Australia.

To report sexual abuse to police- please attend a Police Station or call 131444 for Policelink. (Australia)

To seek support or assistance you can contact me, www.kellyhumphries.com (I am a single entity who can offer advice, and personal coaching. I am not a psychologist or registered counsellor, but I am very approachable and happy to help.

You can contact the Centre for Sexual Violence at http://www.casv.org.au and download any of their brochures and information, and likewise Braveheartshttps://bravehearts.org.au/

For internet related advice please contact The Carly Ryan Foundation http://www.carlyryanfoundation.com

 

#ScreamingSilence #Author #KellyHumphries #KellyHumphriesSpeaker #UnscathedBeauty #Courage #Doyouevenknow #ScreamingSilence #Sexual Abuse