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I HAVE A GIFT FOR YOU! 

40 fabulous lessons in life in no particular order. Why? Because it’s my 40th Birthday and I am reflecting on how I have survived, and how I have lived!

I have been through a great deal and I have learnt so much… and much more to come no doubt.

Thank you for all the wonderful birthday wishes so far!

I was very unhappy about turning 40. Like I got really sad- as if I can stop it lol.(Am I the only one who had a freak out at 40?)

I just feel like there is SO much to do and I have these expectations about what I feel I should  have accomplished by now… and still haven’t. So I have flipped my perspective.

I am grateful for everyone, every lesson and what I have achieved so far, SO there really isn’t anything to get sad about right?

There are other lessons too of the humorous kind I could write about too… like making sure you point the chisel away from you when chiselling… yeah that’s the kind of stuff I do. I have the scars to prove it!

I’ll save that blog for another day!

These are more about life- 40plus lessons for 40 years! My gift to you!

Which ones resonate with you?

  1. LEAD WITH LOVE! Always act with a heart of love in your conduct and attitude. The world will make a way. You will attract likeminded and compassionate people who will stand alongside you in life, in friendship, in love, in your drive and mission. In all things, lead first with love.
  2. Family is essential! Honour them. However or wherever you find them (blood or chosen) you need connection and love. Honour and respect them always. Even if they hurt you- you have a choice. You still have respect.
  3. You need safe spaces.  We all need a place to be ourselves. Where you can let your guard down and share your secrets. Cultivate safe spaces, and keep them safe for your safe people. You will build legacies, not just friendships.
  4. Your health is one of the most important things in life. Without your health, life is tough. It diminishes your capacity and steals your passion. (Also why family is essential)
  5. You are a vessel. If there are holes in the ship it sinks. Self-care is essential for longevity. If you want to do your thing, you can’t do it in a sinking ship. Honour your boundaries, honour yourself and what you need.
  6. First impressions last. Life is really busy, and people have a lot on their plate. Standing out means making sure you’re not forgotten- for the right reasons. Nothing solidifies that more than a first impression. (i.e. a great handshake)
  7. Consistency is key. People trust consistency. It breeds reliability. Be consistent and show up. Always.
  8. Kindness doesn’t cost anything. There is plenty to be upset about, but being kind is a choice. You can choose kindness over contempt.
  9. Be excellent always. You don’t have to be perfect. There is no such thing. But if you are trying, and work hard, give your best, go above and beyond – you will reap the rewards. Your reputation will precede you. You will be known because you seek the best in yourself and your work ethic.
  10. Grace is powerful – In all of its forms. But being courteous and polite will always bring favour. Have grace for yourself, and others.

  11. Persist Powerfully– Never Give up. It is how I survived, and how I continue. Persist Powerfully- with conviction, with decision, with fierceness. Like there is no plan B.
  12. You have a choice. Not easy, especially as a survivor, but standing up for yourself is powerful and it’s your right.  You have a choice in all things. whether you exercise the right to choice is up to you. Knowing you have one is another. You deserve a choice, and you can choose.
  13. Honour your boundaries– Let No mean No, and Yes mean Yes. Toxic people steal your joy. Invest in good people who love you and lift you, challenge and grow you. Compromising is great, but honour yourself, your boundaries and  your decisions.
  14. Honour your word to others- Integrity is key, and if your word can’t be trusted, neither can you.
  15. Honour your word to yourself– Lying to yourself only hides you from yourself.
  16. Let no person hold power over you– Life is short. I have for a long time allowed my past and my story to hold power over me because of the shame I felt. That shame belongs to the perpetrator.
  17. Pursue with passion– Is there another way? Whatever you do in life, do it with passion and purpose. If you can’t then it’s not your thing. Those who pursue the things that are not in their heart reap bitterness and resentment. It hurts everyone. Live your dreams. Your passion. Your purpose. Anything else is to deny your unique gift to this world.
  18. Embrace ALL of it. I have learnt to ALLOW myself to feel all of it. The hurt. The happiness, the shame, and grief and all of the emotions. I feel lots of things. It is all ok. I have had people try to tell me how I should feel, to shut it out, upshot away… Shutting it out, means shutting myself and everyone else out too. This is  your humanity. This is a gift. Feel all of it.
  19. We are all unique. Every person is different. The things that make us different are interesting and fun, and promotes innovation and diversity.
  20. We are not higher or lower than ANY human on this planet. This promotes humility- there is not ONE person above you, or below you. We are all equal. When you realise you are but one decision away from poverty, or your whole life changing you see how it all hangs in a delicate balance. Your significance is measured by the size of your heart.
  21. We are the same. We are unique, but we are human and ALL experience the same emotions and feelings- just sometimes in a different way. This is the nature of humanity.
  22. When life hands you lemons make cheesecake. Why not? Lemon cheesecake is delicious. You can’t change what happens in the world, only your place in it, your role, and you might as well eat cheesecake- right?
  23. You matter! Your voice matters. When you learn your value, the world takes on new meaning. We all matter and we all have a part to play.
  24. Honour your friendships, your community, your tribe. Treat your connections like family. Honour your boundaries, but those who you have a heart connection with a so valuable. You need them. They need you.
  25. NEVER go to bed angry. Anything can happen. Life can be given and taken so quickly. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger. Forgive quickly. Love fiercely. Give freely.  Don’t lose your love over Bitterness and resentment.
  26. You must honour the truth inside you OR it will eat away at you like a disease. The truth will and does eventually set you free. You have a story? You have a secret? I promise you, holding on to it is harder in the long run than keeping it held inside you. This goes for everything. Your identity, your past, your ideas, your rights and wrongs, morals and values.
  27. Let your words ALWAYS be loving and kind. I have heard so many regrets when people have lost loved ones tragically because they have fought. You can choose how you act. Let others choose their own path for that part is out of your control.
  28. Work Hard. The world owes you nothing, but hard work teaches you humility and patience. There is also something to be said about not being financially stressed. Being able to have what you need because you have learnt the value of hard work is a lesson on gratitude. You can’t always control the world around you but at least having the ability to support your tribe when things get hard, creates connection and community.
  29. Be Authentic. The world is full of fake people and it’s hard to find people you trust sometimes. Be a light. Be real. be the person who is reliable and trustworthy.
  30. Eat the cake. Enjoy life FFS. (In moderation) be happy, eat what you like, but do it in moderation. Do it with tribe and family.
  31. Take the time to learn about many things. Ask questions. I have lots of varied interests. It helps when you’re talking to people and you can connect in many circles. its a valuable tool.
  32. Meet people where they are at. We all have expectations of others, we all have thoughts and we all judge- that’s NOT what most people need. They want to be seen, loved and accepted exactly as they are and that is just fine. They think you don’t see them. Most people believe NO one can understand them or wants to. Be the person that allows people to be seen when they are with you.
  33. NEVER lose sight of the vision. I haven’t.  (Well I have tried not to) While it has taken a lifetime to get here, I am stepping into that vision I had at 12. Hold your image. Never forget what brings you joy and passion. Even if the path is wavering enjoy the journey and hold fast and persist powerfully.
  34. Be courageous. Be brave. It is hard to love after hurt. Hard to heal after harm. Hard to grow after grief and loss. But nothing is so hard as nothing. Be brave in your decisions. Push forward- be uncomfortable… every day. This is how you grow. This is how you heal. This is how you learn and unlearn.
  35. Be kind to yourself. We beat ourselves up so much. It only promotes self-loathing I promise you. Just be kind and compassionate towards yourself and others.  ALWAYS.
  36. It WILL be okay. It always seems so hard in the moment. The courage to hold on is hard. But you will ALWAYS get through it. You just have to decide and sometimes decide many times a day.
  37. Success is always about what you think it means. Life is ALL about perspective. What lens are you looking through? What are you comparing yourself to? Or Who? What is success today? Tomorrow? We are but a measure… of our own measures. How high are you setting the bar and whose bar are you setting?
  38. Are we there yet? We are always so impatient. On our phones, hiding from life. Rushing through life. WHAT ARE WE MISSING? What are you hiding from? When you are so BUSY, opportunities will come and go and you won’t see them. Life will come and go and you will miss it. PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN.
  39. Triggers are opportunities for triumph! We hide from what makes our heart race because it makes us uncomfortable. Living your best life means facing what ‘triggers’ us, learning ‘it’s’ lesson and then stepping into our growth.
  40. Your greatest pain, can be your greatest gift. I would never be grateful for my child abuse. What I am grateful for is that I have the tools available to me and I chose to do something with what has happened, and I can turn it into something powerful. I choose to leave a legacy I can be proud of. NOT one determined by someone else.
  41. LOVE IS LOVE. End of story. When you find a love that lifts you. Hold on to it.
  42. I don’t know anything! I have something to learn from everyone… even if it is that I should never take their advice again! lol
  43. Respect and heed the lessons of your parents, family, friends and love. There are many who love you enough to spend the time to share their lessons, life and learnings. While you don’t have to do it all, respect=listening. I am Grateful for the people in my life who take the time to honour what I need.

Like this? Tell me and maybe I’ll expand this and turn it into an ebook for you! With love and gratitude, Thank you all for your continued support and love!

Kel xo

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.

IMG_0044

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

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

depression-1250870_960_720

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

 

What is IT? Sexual Abuse defined; but with a difference…

What is Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence?

Well… I’m so glad you asked… and you did- thankyou. It goes without saying that we should get a few things straight if we are going to delve into sexual abuse and sexual violence and try to understand how and what to do when these awful things turn up in life. Makes sense to get the foundations right- right?

For Blog 1 What is sexual Violence

Before I start- if you are reading my blog for the first time, you can find a bit more about what I am doing, and who I am by clicking HERE. It is my heart to break cycles of Child trauma and abuse through education, empowerment, understanding and creating transformation. Why? Because every victim is one too many- it happened to me and if I can stop it happening to just one other child, or family, then I have done something good. One step at a time, one day at a time, together we can make a difference…

There are many areas to consider when trying to define sexual violence and abuse- so it is actually a little bit difficult to give a clear cut answer- but hey I’ll try.

There are many avenues of violation that can occur and it is for that reason some people, organisations and certain areas of governments may place sexual abuse and assault under the banner of Sexual Violence– to make it easier.

The scope of sexual violence can stretch to include child pornography, making Child Exploitation Material (that is existing both in the home and in an online space), Incest, Rape, or any sexual act, innuendo or the like committed against any person (Adult or Child) without consent.

Additionally, we cannot forget Internet crimes which account for a large percentage of the statistics, whether it be a initial online meeting – followed up by meeting in person to conduct a sexual act, showing of images which include pornography or demanding a child perform sexual acts over the internet, or grooming (to name a few). For our teens, a majority of our young people think that sending a nude pic over their phone or being made to send a nude pic is now a ‘normal’ element of dating- or even an expectation if you are going to ‘go out’ with someone.

There are teens (and even adults) whose ideas of healthy relationships involve violent sex and raping a girl or on the odd occasion a girl forcing a guy because of what they see online. The victims, both male and female are either uninformed or too afraid to report what is happening. I want to make sure we know that none of this is okay!

On the more extreme side of this are things there are horrific stories of sex trafficking, child pornography rings, human trafficking and sex slavery. These are all real issues and have or do occur at some level in Australia and across the world. (topic for another day!) Essentially, Sexual Violence itself is very broad and essentially can be covered in one sentence- Sexual Violence is basically anything of a sexual nature where consent cannot be given, or is not given.

Defined: So while the term is very broad- If we want to get technical about Sexual Violence there is a great definition in the Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health…

Sexual Abuse any act of a sexual nature performed in a criminal manner, as with a child or with a non-consenting adult, including rape, incest, oral copulation, and penetration of genital or anal opening with a foreign object. The term also includes lewd or lascivious acts with a child; any sexual act that could be expected to trouble or offend another person when done by someone motivated by sexual interest; acts related to sexual exploitation, such as those related to pornography, prostitution involving minors, or coercion of minors to perform obscene acts.” {Including over the internet}

Each one of these individual areas which make up sexual violence, i.e. Rape have their own individual criteria, which explained, are all very different. If you think it would be helpful; I can certainly write about each one for you, please send me a message or make a comment below about what you want to learn and I will do my best.

Basically the thing that needs to be understood is CONSENT. U16- no consent can be given. If you want a really clear-cut understanding of consent you should check out this small 2-minute YouTube clip, which talks about consent. You can check it out HERE. The feedback I have received around the issue of consent is very blurry and can sometimes leave people getting into a great deal of trouble because they do not understand consent.

Putting it simply- a child under the age of 12 (in Australia) cannot give consent- ever. A child between the ages of 12-16 cannot give consent either, however, some consideration could be given if perhaps one party was 17 and the other was 15; if the older party was of the belief that the ‘victim’ was 16.

Regardless, if something was happening and there was sexual behaviour occurring between two ‘consenting’ 15 year olds, it is possible that both could be investigated. Each case reported to police will be assessed individually.

Because I have some creative juices flowing- I threw this little poem together which perhaps will give you a unique insight as to what sexual abuse and violence sounds like. This is of course based on my own experience.

The Hideous Deception

 

It does sound kinda yuck, in fact yuck it kinda sounds
I don’t like it when you talk about it,
Makes me wanna frown.
It makes me angry, makes me sad,
Makes me wanna cry,
It really is the very thing that makes me wanna die.
It is forced and not consensual,
Nothing about “this sex’ is sensual,
Reminds me of the numb I feel.
The years of abuse, the raw deal.
Exploited, thwarted, cavorted and played.
Groomed, pruned and broke.
Nothing could have prepared me,
For the cunning words you spoke.
Coercion, distortion, things out of proportion,
Extortion, repulsion- it’s Rape…
Confusion, delusion, hate;
I wish I had understood the hideous transgression,
Makes me feel kinda bent,
Like my innocence, I’m not your possession,
Thank God, for my own inception.
I found my strength to conquer this hideous deception.
 
Kelly Humphries – 2017

 

While that is an individual expression of what Sexual Violence may be to one person, the effects of any sexual offence and personal violation of any kind can be far reaching.

If you are someone who has read this and feels that they have had an offence occur IMG_0044against them of a sexual nature, please get some support. You can find support links HERE. I would encourage you to connect with people who will understand your situation, and can provide appropriate advice. I would also encourage you to speak to Police, make a report and get advice. (more on this in future blogs)

Take care and stay safe!

 

Much Love

Kel XO

 

 

 

 

#KellyHumphriesSpeaker #YourQuestionsAnswered #Resilience #HideousDeception #BreakTheCycle #Purpose #UnscathedBeauty #SexualAbuse #SexualViolence #KelsPoems #KellyHumphries

 

 

 

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. #LetsMakeChange

 

 

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

 

Reference:

Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. [online] Available at: http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/sexual+abuse [10/04/2017]

Special Thanks to Katrina Weeks- Centre for Sexual Violence Logan for her collaboration.