I had the great honor of interviewing Davina on the Daughter Arise Youtube channel. She is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. Davina shared her story with such poise and courage. It was not easy for her to do. Yet she did it because she wants to let other survivors know there is hope. I spent some time afterwards reflecting on what Davina shared and I want to share with you some positive things I took away from her story.


The importance of being believed

One of the things that can cause fear in a survivor is the thought of not being believed. I have experienced this so have a large majority of survivors. Not being believed is so damaging and further compounds the feelings of rejection, guilt, blame, and shame. Support is so important when disclosing such a traumatic and difficult experience. Especially when it’s disclosing that someone within the family circle has done such a betrayal. The right to be believed is something the survivor has to fight for whilst facing other challenging issues. Davina’s family did believe her. The power of their support has helped her navigate through a very traumatic journey.


The Law system working on behalf of survivors

Too many times the law system has failed survivors. I have witnessed this as I have supported survivors through court cases. Out of ten cases that went to court only two resulted in convictions. A familiar thread was woven through their individual experiences. It came down to a ‘your word, against mine’ scenario.


It is a proven fact that in a large majority of child sexual abuse cases the injuries caused to the survivor are psychological. It is also well documented that the trauma of this experience can manifest years later as suppressed memories re-surface. That is why recently the law in some states of America extended the statutes of limitations. The criminal injuries board in the U.K has also taken this into account.


Psychological trauma and the power of personal testimony up until a few years ago were not deemed strong enough to secure a conviction. It is refreshing to hear how the law dealt with Davina’s case. It is a positive and hopeful sign for survivors that are considering pursuing the legal route. Even though we cannot know the exact process and outcome of any individual case, at least as Davina’s case shows they are taking into consideration how complex the trauma of childhood sexual abuse can be.


Processing the trauma as a child through adult reasoning

There is no way Davina, me, or any other survivor could understand or comprehend as a child what was happening to us. Without education or knowledge of CSA, how were we to know? And even if we did know what would we do with that information? It is only as we grow older and mature in our thinking, having gained knowledge to process our experience that as adults we tend to reflect and believe ‘we could have stopped it ‘or believe ‘we should have known what was happening’ as a child.


We cannot apply adult reasoning and comprehension to judge and second-guess the response we had to our experience as children. Nor can we, as children be responsible for the actions of the adult. The disproportion of power is not in our favor. Even though as we both shared in the interview sensing as children something was wrong. This reasoning and interpretation of how we should have responded is part of the process of removing personal guilt. It takes time and with the right support and counseling, it can be done.


The interview has encouraged me to continue to help survivors find their voice. Davina has gone through so much and she is still on her journey to healing. Yet she is supporting other whilst coming to terms with the abuse she endured. Her story will have a positive impact on survivors yet to found their voice. There is hope.


2 Responsesso far.

  1. Davina Louis says:

    Thank you again Yvonne, sending lots of love Dav x

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