Author shares story of childhood abuse

Published 9:00am 16 May 2024

Author shares story of childhood abuse
Words by Jodie Powell

A Samford woman who survived childhood sexual abuse will share her story as part of this year’s Moreton Bay Says No To Violence event on May 31.

Now in its 16th year, the Moreton Bay Says No To Violence (MBSN2V) walk is a community awareness event that brings the Moreton Bay community together to stand up, speak out and walk together against family and domestic violence.

Deborah Aldrick read a poem about domestic violence at Encircle's candle lighting ceremony this year and has since published a book that she hopes will empower other survivors of sexual and intra-familial abuse.

Starting a conversation

“Intra-familial abuse is the stuff we don’t talk about because it happens within the family,” Deb explains.

“We don’t hear about it because the extended family can’t deal with it being another family member who abused us – so nobody’s holding those perpetrators to account.

“We either stay in the family and suck it up and get hurt or we pull away from the family and get hurt because of that.

“I’ve lived through it and I’ve seen families go through it, and I decided last year that enough was enough.

“Honestly, the confidence that’s been instilled in me by speaking up has been amazing, because I have always been silenced.”

Spreading the word

Author shares story of childhood abuse

Deb says that since releasing Circling the Wagons in April, she’s spoken to many people who’ve had similar experiences, or know others who have.

“It’s all too common,” she says.

“All I want to do is spread the word to other people so they can take their power back that was stolen from them as children.

“I’m no longer feeling guilty or shameful – I didn’t have the emotional or intellectual capacity to deal with it as a child.

“I really want people to be able to stand up for themselves – if (your abuser) is a neighbour, or someone you know, you can get away from them.

“But if it’s family you have to be around your abuser during your life, and the women of the generations that came before us generally silenced the victims because they couldn't deal with the position they were in, or were manipulated by men in their family.

“My book is speaking as one survivor to another and it’s only been the last couple of years that I’ve been able to get it out of my head and understand it all fully.”

Providing advocacy

Deb has also launched a website, dragonflyadvocacy.com.au, so people who have read Circling the Wagons can contact her, read her blog and find supportive resources in one place.

“It also helps family and friends understand what we have gone through.

“The book explains in detail the reasons we shouldn’t be regarded as the black sheep of the family because of our trauma responses, such as substance abuse or risky behaviours, etc. – we’re victims and you need to look at the root of the problem.”

Join the event

A peaceful Moreton Bay Says No To Violence march will start from Rotary Park at 9am on May 31 and proceed along Redcliffe Pde and Anzac Ave to the Redcliffe Settlement Cove amphitheatre, where guests will hear from speakers.

Register to join the march as an individual, community group, organisation or business here.

If you need support, visit Bravehearts here, 1800 Respect here or contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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