Unsafe at home..

On that morning, in those split seconds an intruder came into her kitchen and unleashed a savage attack on Laura before raping her and then kicking her continuously with such force that she lost consciousness.

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Laura lives in a cul-de-sac. Her property has a walled garden, and the back entrance is from the road via a wrought iron gate to the side. She loved her house, her garden, her two cats and had many friends and neighbours who she loved to visit.

One morning in June 2015, Laura let one of her cats out into the garden and left the back door slightly ajar in order for it to come back in.

On that morning, in those split seconds an intruder came into her kitchen and unleashed a savage attack on Laura before raping her and then kicking her continuously with such force that she lost consciousness. There she lay until a neighbour who had seen a man running out of the side gate, had gone in to see what was going on.

Laura spent twelve weeks in hospital, four of those in intensive care and underwent surgery with a further two months in convalescence. By the time she was referred to post trauma therapy eight months later, she had attempted suicide three times. She had turned to alcohol and drugs in an attempt to obliterate the reality of her experience, and several physiological symptoms such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and bouts of psoriasis had manifested her mental state.

After hearing her story, it was clear that Laura was suffering from emotional, physical and physiological trauma. Shock and trauma go right to the very core of our existence and to be able to remove this from a person’s psyche can be likened to taking a splinter from deep beneath the skin.

Doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, professionals, psychologists, psychotherapists all play their part in assisting a traumatised individual. However, sometimes they fail to see the splinter.

After six or seven counselling sessions, it became apparent that general counselling was not working for Laura, and that in order for her to benefit, she needed to somehow lessen the impact that the vicious attack had left her with.

After an explanation of the process of Psychological Debriefing, it was explained to Laura that it was not counselling but a processing intervention that would allow her to lessen the impact of what she had been through, she stated that she was prepared to try anything.

The following week the therapist carried out the Psychological Debrief, which took two and a quarter hours. A further appointment was booked for four weeks later, and Laura went home.

On that fourth week, the therapist opened the door to Laura who seemed to have changed her appearance somehow, when asked how she had been – a smile came over her face and lit up her eyes (something the therapist had not seen her do before). She said very excitedly:

‘I don’t know what you did or how you did it, but it’s worked.  I don’t want to die anymore, and I‘ve decided to start to make a new life for myself. I’ve already decided to do some voluntary work in one of the charity shops in the town. For the first time since the attack I put my own rubbish out last week. I now have extra security but I don’t think about dying anymore.’

Laura was left for dead in an unprovoked attack leaving her world in utter chaos for many months. Before the Psychological Debrief she had totally isolated herself in the newly secured safety of her own home, the very place where the attack had taken place. She had been unable to leave her house or have inter- personal relationships even with her own family.

As a direct result of the Psychological Debrief session Laura was able to slowly start to revive her life and carry out normal everyday tasks.

An excerpt from:
Working with the Trauma of Rape and Sexual Violence
A Guide for Professionals
ISBN – 978-1785921117

Sue J Daniels
MBACP & UKRC (Snr. Accred).
EMDR Practitioner
Professional Counsellor &
Trauma Specialist
http://www.traumaresources.co.uk 

 

 

Marianne

Putting the kettle on, I washed a mug, as I stood there at the sink I had a sense that I was being watched. Turning around, there was Doug, my friend’s new man, a thick set giant, standing with his arm leaning against the door frame, smiling.

I went for professional counselling, because I knew that there was something troubling me that I had never talked about. I felt ashamed and needed to ‘get it off my chest’ so to speak. Many years before when I was a shy twenty four year old, I had lived at a friend’s house for about a year. We worked together running a small café, and we were great friends. She had recently taken up with a new boyfriend, Doug, a builder on the site where our business was, he had decided to move in. He was okay, built like a shed, he could be very temperamental but he was charming and had a great sense of humour. At the weekends we would all go out to a local workingmen’s club, meet other friends, dance and enjoy a few drinks. I was young, naive and cherished the freedom that living at my friend’s house gave me.

One Monday morning, I woke up with the most horrendous hangover. In fact I now recall it as my first and last. I came downstairs, my friend took one look at me and said:

‘Oh Marianne you can’t possibly come to work like that. You look green (at which point I went and vomited outside in the garden). Go back to bed. It shouldn’t be too busy today.’

That was all I needed to hear. I was off back up those stairs feeling like absolute death. I must have fallen into a deep sleep, because before I knew it, it was eleven o’clock. I went downstairs, thankful that at least my head had started to clear. Every fibre in me was screaming out for coffee. Putting the kettle on, I washed a mug, as I stood there at the sink I had a sense that I was being watched. Turning around, there was Doug, my friend’s new man, a thick set giant, standing with his arm leaning against the door frame, smiling. He was completely taking up the whole space, thoughts quickly raced through my mind. I was panicking and instinctively frightened: what was he doing here? Why wasn’t he at work? I wanted to get out of there as fast as I could, but there was nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, I was standing in a baggy t-shirt, and he was stood there watching me, nervously I asked:

‘Can I get you a cup of tea Doug?’

There was no answer and no time to get away. He lunged at me grabbing my hair, throwing me onto the hard floor, three times over a two-hour period, right there, in the kitchen he raped me, over and over again. When he had terrorised me enough, he carried me upstairs to the bathroom, where I vividly remember him locking the door behind us. I swear I thought that was it,  I was going to die in that bathroom, I really thought he was going to drown me. He placed the toilet lid down and told me to sit there and wait, like a rabbit in headlights I just did what he said, I was too frightened to do anything else.

And then he calmly ran a bath, he put bubble bath in it and even tested the temperature, I was so confused by the inconsistent behaviour of this man. On reflection, I must have been in complete shock. And then in a surreal moment he picked me up and gently lowered me into the bath, gently washing me. I was terrified and utterly confused.

While he was doing this ‘washing’ thing, it was as if he completely owned me, controlling every move. I was still frozen rigid with fear as he started to tell me, his mouth very close to my face, how I ought to be frightened of him because he could actually snap me in an instant. He told me how he loved my friend and how sad and how angry she would be if she ever found out that I had come on to him in such a sly way behind her back. At that moment, I was convinced that it was my fault, absolutely convinced, and so I never told a soul, not until I went to see a counsellor twenty four years later. The counsellor asked me what my story was and what was troubling me.

I related my experience as above and explained that I had been having nightmares recently and in fact had been having them since the incident 24 years previously. I had a real aversion to having a bath, and if I did ever manage it, I couldn’t stand for the toilet lid to be down or for the bathroom door to be locked.

The counsellor was a nice man who listened intently. When I had finished talking, he said,

‘Would you like to try a technique that may lessen the impact of all those memories?’

I said I would try anything, so he relaxed me to a deep level and then he asked me to relive the incident on an imaginary screen and afterwards to rewind it. I did this technique a couple of times and then booked another appointment. Two days later I felt the best I had ever felt and rang to cancel my next appointment. He was happy for me to do so and said he had expected it. It was brilliant. I have never looked back. I could still recall the incident and describe the details, but it has no emotional impact on me anymore.
An excerpt from: 
Working with the Trauma of Rape and Sexual Violence
A Guide for Professionals
ISBN – 978-1785921117

Sue J Daniels
MBACP & UKRC (Snr Accred).
EMDR Practitioner
Professional Counsellor &
Trauma Specialist
http://www.traumaresources.co.uk 

Having Access to Children….

Sexual predators, who prey on children almost always put themselves in positions of authority, trust or are already family members, friends or relations.

Having worked with hundreds of adult clients who have been sexually abused as children, the common trait has always been that child sexual abuse is about having access to children, authorised or otherwise.

Sexual predators, who prey on children almost always put themselves in positions of authority, trust or are already family members, friends or relations.

The sexual predator of today does not wear the obligatory dirty old Mac, nor does he or she hide in alleyways or dark places, they seek their prey in everyday occupations and walks of life, from the unemployed to highly respected members of many organisations.

Underneath the masks of everyday people, sexual predators will groom, coerce, manipulate, dominate, blackmail, tease, ridicule, finance, threaten or isolate in an underlying and underhand manner in which to abuse, assault and psychologically disempower children, tearing away at their right to a childhood.

Before the abuse even takes place, the perpetrator will have told or threatened their victim in one of the ways mentioned above, into believing that not only might they be encouraging and causing the abuse to happen, but also that they won’t be believed and/or harm will come to them or those they love in some way if they tell. So, in a never-ending cycle of abuse the perpetrator fulfills their twisted fantasy by actually acting it out, this then magnifies its effect, seeking then, to further satisfy their depravation upon more vulnerable children, in keeping their victim/s silent they are able to ensure continued access, guaranteeing silence and the power to further abuse.

When a child who has been sexually violated moves on into adulthood, the fact that the physical/sexual touching and assaults have stopped can seem like the end. Unfortunately, this is not always the case; metaphorically, childhood sexual abuse can be likened to a deepening barbed splinter within the body, the more the ‘victim’ holds on to the ‘secret’ locked away inside – the deeper the splinter embeds and the sharper the barbs impale on their soul, leaving scars that, for many, seem impossible to heal.

On reflection, in later life, survivors look back at their abuse with the eyes of an adult and not the terror of a vulnerable child. It can often be too late to seek justice against the perpetrator/s but it is never too late to start to heal and with the right help, that metaphoric splinter can be slowly removed.

It takes a huge amount of guts and courage for survivors of paedophiles to finally find a voice and speak out against those who have molested them and the recent disclosures about Jimmy Savile have opened the floodgates, almost giving permission for others to do so in a safe and more accepted way, all of those affected by any form of sexual violation in childhood deserve the very best help they can get, even if for some, this is remaining safe within their silence.

Sue J Daniels
MBACP & UKRC (Snr. Accred).
EMDR Practitioner
Professional Counsellor &
Trauma Specialist