A survival guide written by Graham Wilmer and fellow survivors.
This book ‘picking up the pieces’ has been written to help people, who have been exposed to childhood sexual abuse. Essentially it is a survival guide, helping them to realise that it wasn’t their fault, they had no control over what happened, they were an innocent child at the time and they are entitled to grieve for their loss.
For those people in the social services, the police and medical professions which together field the various support networks; this book is also very informative. It describes the fears and myths that have been created in the minds of people in our society, many of whom are generally reluctant to face up to the fact that relationships between children and adults can, and do on occasions go wrong.
When this occurs there will be consequences affecting the victims’ outlook on life, their personalities, inter-personal relationships and subsequent behaviour towards people in authority. The effects may not surface for many years, often after the victim has been released to cope in some way, and then moved on through life, to take responsibilities in employment, get married and raise a family of their own.
However whilst the experiences of childhood have been locked away, there often comes a time, later life, perhaps triggered by some personal event, such as the loss of a close relation, when those pent-up emotions finally burst through, and very often this can lead to devastating and sometimes tragic results.
In these more enlightened times; this latent impact is now recognized as symptoms of post traumatic stress syndrome. Unfortunately however, in many cases the medical diagnosis fails to recognise this because the victim – by now the patient – has not been able to come to terms fully with that early childhood experience.
The recovery process
The first step on the road to recovery is the process of disclosure. This needs sensible and gentle counseling to help the patient deal with some difficult questions that will help them to accept that they have been the victim of abuse. For some this may be a passive process of growing awareness that leads to more positive self esteem and restored confidence.
Others may decide to go further by taking action to seek redress against their abuser through the legal process. The book includes a contribution by Peter Garsden, a solicitor based in South Manchester, which explains in simple English, what is involved in seeking justice, using both the criminal law and the civil law. See also www.abuselaw.co.uk
Picking up the pieces is structured around the personal accounts from a number of survivors, some of which is in the form of Internet message board posts; others are expressed by poetry and touching prose. Each page is illustrated with photographs capturing the beauty and wonder of childhood innocence. The graphic image depicts Graham Wilmer’s dream – evoking his personal life experience and search for truth.
Graham Wilmer is a co-founder of The Lantern Project – a support group based in Wallasey, the Wirral, which provides support to victims of childhood sexual abuse, domestic violence, racial abuse and bullying. See www.lanternproject.org.uk
Notes to Editors – copies of the book are available from contacts below.
Issued by Mike Ottewell
MJO PR for the Lantern Project
Tel: 01538 361217
The Lantern Project
For Peter Garsden:
Abney Garsden McDonald
Tel: 0161 482 8822
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