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Through working relationally with vulnerable young people for the last few years I was prompted to think and re-visit my past experience of sexual abuse. It is an area in my life that I have addressed at different times and thought that I had worked it through to the point of closure, until I realised a year and a half ago that I was still unresolved about my earlier decision not to make social services aware of the abuser’s history especially now they have small children. I have in the past reported the abuse to the police and hoped that the statements and disclosures would support me in opening up the case again hopefully to completion for the safety of the children and my peace of mind.

I started the process and liaised with social services about my story and concerns, I did this with the support of my friends and partner. As the case got underway and things were being looked into I plucked up the courage to tell my parents about my recent decision and actions – it came as a bit  of a shock but they said they would support me and were glad I was doing what I felt was right. Over the next month I needed to complete a document for social services and asked my parents for their help – that evening I learnt that the abuse I had suffered had been going on for much longer than I had thought and that it had been picked up at a young age by my doctor who then referred me to the hospital for medical and emotional support which continued for a couple of years. The realisation of this new information over the next few weeks was overwhelming, my parents had not realised that I did not know about this part of my life and coming to terms with the fact that the abuse had started much earlier, along with the feeling of lack of action and protection by many that were involved was too much to process.

I had heard of Lifecentre about 8 years ago and when I was training in counselling myself. After a visit to see what they did and how they worked I was so impressed with their values, aims and objectives as well as the feeling of peace and safety created by the workers and atmosphere of the centre. I and a friend thought of them immediately when I was advised to seek help and support with my current need to process my story. Within a month I was undergoing counselling sessions.

Lifecentre has been a real place of safety for me, being away from my locality and day to day life I have been able to have the voice I have not always felt I have had in my life. The anger and disappointment in others, the abuser and myself has really come to a place of peace and resolution. I am not saying it has disappeared as I believe my experience will always be part of me in some way and at different stages in my life I may need to give my attention to working through further issues but I feel and know that I am in a place of freedom in my life that I have not felt before.

The inner anger, feeling of panic and fear in the pit of my stomach has dispersed thanks to the process, time and wisdom of my counsellor. In all the support and help that I have received through the years I have never felt such trust, peace and that feeling of resolve as I do now through receiving the support of Lifecentre.  My counsellor has been so patient, discerning and sensitive in directing me over the year – I will really miss seeing her but know I am in a place of new strength, new learnt behaviour where patterns, habits and ways of thinking that have formed over the years have been broken. My relationship with my parents has changed dramatically now being in a place to fully enjoy being ‘family’. The experience has strengthened my faith. It is so valuable to engage with specific, professional support and help.

I know that my experience and journey along the way will continue to encourage and help others in my life and those I work with.
Thank you Lifecentre!