I ask myself “What is everyone thinking about the sexual allegations. What are their thoughts about the uncovering of decades of power and sexual abuse dished out to vulnerable children and adults behind the screens of some of our largest and most respected organisations – the Church, the BBC, British Boarding Schools, Houses of Parliament?”
When I ask myself the same question I realise I feel overwhelmed, dazed by the constant revelations, stunned by the ‘big names’, and numbed by the abhorrent nature of these violent acts. It’s not just big names. It is widespread, coming from numerous areas, locations and professions.
I feel disgusted and realise this is a good response and I want to stay and stick with my disgust so I remain alert to further information revealed in the week, months, even years to come.
I want to listen, hear and acknowledge a victim’s story – many still untold, kept secret through shame and silenced by our culture:- with years of mishandling by authority, by the police and even closer to home – people in charge of their care.
Moira Smyth, our NSPCC representative, says “Last year the NSPCC’s Childline received over 2600 landline calls from Somerset. Nationally 25% of calls are from landlines (75% from mobiles). In Somerset this means there could have been over 10,000 calls from distressed children. Where are these children?”
Maya Angelou spoke at an event, chaired by Jon Snow, in support of Stephen Lawrence. Her words, “We are the architects of our lives, our cultures, and each of us have a responsibility to do what is right, and speak out” still resonate for me. We can create a world with more transparency – where children and adults can come forward, be received with respect, and given the care they need.
This is why we need to support the work of Operation Yew Tree – to listen, to believe and deal with each and every victim who comes forward. I commit, as each story unfolds, to think of the victims, take time to reflect on their pain and admire their courage to speak. They give us hope we can do this differently and better.
Jane Gotto, UKCP Registered Psychotherapist, works in Taunton with individuals, couples and families, supervises professional counsellors and psychotherapists and co-leads Post Graduate groups at Spectrum Therapy in London.