What my daughter told me that day confirmed my deepest fears.
Bravehearts was the only place that offered us hope that we could heal.
This is my story.
!TRIGGER WARNING! The following content deals with child sexual abuse. If you need to talk to someone, please call Bravehearts' Support Line on 1800 272 831 (Mon to Fri, 8:30am - 4:30pm) or Lifeline (24hrs) 13 11 14.
My daughter was 12 when she finally built up the courage to tell me the thing that I desperately didn’t want to hear. I am ashamed to admit it now, but as the words fell from her mouth, I wanted her to stop. I wanted to block my ears and not hear what she was about to disclose.
She began with, “Mum, I need to tell you something,” and with the words that followed, my world imploded.
How could I not have known?
My (now ex) husband had been sexually abusing my daughter since she was eight. Out of all the feelings I had on the day she told me, the guilt was by far the worst.
Yes, there was the anger and the feelings of betrayal, but the all-encompassing guilt was the worst. How could I have not known? How did I miss the signs? How could I have failed so catastrophically in protecting my child?
I was at a loss of what to do next, and where to go to get support for my daughter AND for myself. I was a total mess. On the recommendation of a friend, I called Bravehearts Support Line a couple of days after my daughter’s initial disclosure. I had already been in touch with Police and made a report, but this didn’t calm my fears.
She helped me realise that what happened wasn't my fault
To this day, I have no idea who was on the other end of the line when I first called Bravehearts. All I know was that she listened, and she cared and she immediately put me at ease. She helped me realise that what happened was NOT MY FAULT. The only person to blame for the abuse was the perpetrator. It took a long time for me to come to terms with this fact and truly believe it but hearing it that day on the phone helped so much.
I cannot express enough how important it was to both my daughter and I that Bravehearts was there when we needed them. It is for this reason that I am asking you to please donate before June 30, so Bravehearts can continue to provide support for children and families like ours.
Unfortunately, Bravehearts is the kind of organisation that you don’t fully realise the importance of until you need them yourself. I truly wish this wasn’t the case. Every person in Australia should know about the work of Bravehearts and how they are helping families like mine find hope and healing in the aftermath of child sexual abuse.
The counselling we received saved our lives
I am appealing to you today to give before June 30, because the counselling that my daughter and I received from Bravehearts saved our lives. It helped me let go of the guilt that was consuming me and it gave me hope that my daughter would heal from the trauma that she endured for so many years at the hands of someone I was responsible for bringing into her life.
What my daughter told me that day confirmed my deepest fears. I had known for some time that something wasn’t right with her, but ultimately chalked it up to pre-teen blues. What I didn’t know was that the secret she was holding inside was destroying her, and she was trying to protect HIM as well as me from the truth.
Our Bravehearts Counsellor helped us both understand that this is how perpetrators operate. My daughter and I were BOTH groomed by this man. Calculated and sustained grooming that helped him abuse my daughter under a cloak of silence for four long years.
In the aftermath of my daughter’s disclosure, Bravehearts was the only place that offered us hope that we could somehow wake from this living nightmare and begin to heal. Your donation today will help fund these same services that helped us.
This is my story. It hasn’t been easy to share with you. However, my daughter (now in her late teens and doing well) agreed it was important that I share it in support of Bravehearts, the organisation that helped us both navigate such a horrific time in our lives. An organisation that helped us to hold on to hope and focus on the most important thing: Healing.
From a Mother and former Bravehearts counselling client.