In this blog post, Niki Fayase ex- Training Manager for Mosac, a charity that supports non-abusing parents and carers of sexually abused children, shares her insight on the impact and challenges faced on disclosure. Niki also talks about the work of Mosac and why support and understanding are needed for those faced with the shocking revelation that their child has been sexually abused.
Facing a disclosure about Child Sexual Abuse may be the most traumatic experience imaginable. The question is, would you know who to turn to for support and advice especially since Child Sexual Abuse is still not openly talked about?
From 2009- 2014 I worked as the Training Manager with Mosac. I delivered bespoke Safeguarding and Confidence Building workshops that empowered clients to recognise and process the impact of disclosure of sexual abuse and make decisions in regards to reporting. Also as the Safeguarding officer, I had a duty of care to report cases on the clients’ behalf.
In my experience, many clients found it extremely challenging to report a disclosure due to overwhelming feelings of guilt, blame and shame. They felt judged, isolated and completely disempowered. In fact, everything the abused child was feeling, was often mirrored by the non-abusing parent/carer. Clients would blame themselves for not knowing – they felt they ’should have known’.
Working so closely with families led me to see a pattern that perpetrators of abuse, seemingly pillars of their communities, build up to present a perfect façade so that no one would suspect them. Anyone close to the child would be subjected to this façade, which then would make it difficult for the child or non-abusing adult to follow through with a disclosure as they felt they would not be believed. In many cases, once the child had made a disclosure to an adult, the abuser would begin a campaign of discrediting that adult, trying to gaslight them and make them doubt their own perception, doing everything they could to prevent the disclosure going further.
Through my training workshops, I was able to dispel the guilt, shame and self-blame as I helped clients, volunteers and professionals understand that in most cases the non-abusing parent/carer was groomed by the abuser not to see the abuse. Just as the child was being groomed and silenced. Even though reporting child sexual abuse was a harrowing experience, I made sure the family had emotional support and encouragement to go through each step of the process.
Sometimes clients also faced challenges from Social services and other agencies. Feeling misunderstood and totally disempowered by professionals who did not consider how devastated, overwhelmed and completely blindsided they were feeling. Yet they were expected to go through an investigation with a clear rational mind despite being in a state of shock.
Fortunately, there is an organisation that can help. Mosac not only supports the child to overcome the trauma of abuse but works with the whole family in a therapeutic setting to ensure healing holistically. Through self- referral they provide a range of therapeutic services: one to one counselling, support groups, advocacy, advice and play therapy.
However, the impact of childhood sexual abuse does not stop with reporting it. The far-reaching devastating consequences spread like a ripple effect, influencing every part of family life. It is imperative to ensure no child or their family goes through the overwhelming effects of abuse and disclosure alone. The support and information Mosac provide go a long way in the fight to challenge and raise the profile of Childhood Sexual abuse so survivors and their families no longer bear the burden of secrecy, shame or blame.
By Niki Fayase
To contact Niki – – firstname.lastname@example.org.
To find out more about the work of Mosac or to support their work, please visit http://www.mosac.org.uk