Survivors and their stories
Sexual abuse does change childhoods but so does the Phoenix Project.
The accounts below are from those children and young people who we have helped. They are a mixture of real stories, the support they had and the difference it made to them. The accounts do not contain really names, family details but do include real support and the changes that happened as a result of working with us.
'My life was upside down, I struggled to sleep, eat and be anywhere near men, including my dad. I was struggling at school and finding it hard to concentrate and I was getting into trouble all the time. I felt that the whole world was against me, and nobody knew how I felt or what I had been through. At times I was angry, at anything and everything, other times I was so low that I struggle to brush my teeth. I was getting multiple internal exclusions at school and was close to being permanently excluded. I then meet Amy from the Phoenix team, she spent time getting to know me and I learnt to trust her. She believed what I had been through from the beginning. She helped me work on understanding the trauma I had experienced and how I can help myself. She helped people at college understand me better and college started to get better quickly. I am slowly coming to terms with what has happened to me and that none of this was my fault’.
‘I was so angry all the time, I would lash out and hit people I love and hurt friends around me until people didn’t want to know me. I wanted them to feel the hurt and pain that I felt having been sexually abused. Saying these words are still really hard. I started smoking and getting in with the wrong crowd, they start to offer me drugs, that was until I met Elsie. I instantly liked Elsie, she wanted to do things I was interested in. We went for walks, took photos and did woodwork. She helped me understand, in the time we had together, that what had happed to me was not my fault, the feelings I had were normal and that I didn’t have to feel this way forever. We worked on ways to help my brain relax and process what had happened. We also looked at ways I could support myself and how my family could help. I was very sad to see Elsie go, but happy to things had changed and although I still had some feelings about being abused the weren’t intense and I had all the tools needed to manage them. I have not let my abused define me’!
‘What happened to me was wrong and wasn’t my fault. Harriet helped me understand this. She played my favourite games and I like that. I loved making playdoh brains and drawing and painting. When I started with Harriet, I felt sad all the time, when Harriet had to go, I felt happier again. My teachers and mum help me now she has gone. I am so happy I met her’.
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