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This page is a celebration of Survivors' achievements. Their stories, artwork, photographs poetry and whatever else they might want to share. Below are a few contributions that we have received so far.
If you would like to share something, please email it to us and we will post it here.
 

Photos by Alison

Photos by Alison
Click on image to enlarge

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Dissociation

'Dissociation by Maria
Click on image to enlarge

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Cheryl's Story

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SURVIVORS' POEMS

I Had No Words by Ros

I had no words
Tortured like a rat
Small baby made a representative
of an entire race?
No words
No words
Only pictures
Emotions
Body memories
Am I crazy?
Or just wrong?
Easier to believe myself crazy
and evil, and wrong
Couldn't possibly be true....
No.
Could it?

Only choosing
to believe the thoughts
To accept the memories
Allow the trauma to release
from my body
Allowing me to be
Brought peace
And healing.
Maybe I'm not wrong, or bad, or evil.
Maybe I was just there.
And adults chose to do what they did.
I am good.
I am pure.
I am clean.
I am not responsible
for the sins of the fathers.
I am whole.
I am inviolable.
I am free.
I am me.

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Not On Your Own! by Amanda

We are Eastbourne Survivors group,
We're run on small donations,
And when we get a grant,
We can give more information.

We can lend you an ear,
Or give you a voice,
It's all confidential,
It's all your own choice.

We have a support group,
With tea and coffee to drink,
Where you're safe to talk,
Or just sit and think.

So come and join us,
You are not alone,
We'll be pleased to meet you,
You are not on your own!

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See, Hear, Speak No Evil by Lucy

Turning a blind eye
On the blindingly obvious
All the signs are there
You see no evil

Muting my screams
Within your head
Not listening to my words
You hear no evil

"It can't be him"
After all a pillar
Of this community
You speak no evil

See no evil
Hear no evil
Speak no evil
There is no evil

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Why by Helen

…did you have to touch me down there
without even a care

I was an innocent child of six,
I didn't want this!

I wanted to run and play
In the sun all day
You would sit me on the stair,
remove my knickers and go there
when my mum was out
So even if I shout
for mum she won't hear
or see me shed a tear

All you want to do is cum

All I want is my mum

To save me from this man
I hoped she would understand

…but she never came
and she never knew
what was going on with you.
She thought I was safe
In your care
If I could go back now
I swear…

I would attack you with a knife
and end your life

How you ended mine.

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Jackie

'Jackie' by Jack
Click on image to enlarge

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"2014" by Jack

This year has been shit
I'll be glad when it's over,
but joining the Survivors' Group
has been like finding a 4 leafed clover.

This year has been shit
I've felt cracked and nearly broken
but at the Survivors' Group,
there's always a warm welcome.

This year has been shit,
there have been ups but mostly downs
but belonging to the Survivors' Group
helped me want to stick around.

This year has been shit,
but things are looking up,
with support from the Survivors' Group,
and from Liz and Sammy, my new pup!

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"Thinking of You" by Jack

We talk, we listen, 
we share, we grieve,
For broken childhoods,
For what should have been.

Sometimes you can't even
share a word,
But you don't need to speak,
To be heard.

The group is a family,
It's safe and secure,
There's respect and support,
And the feelings are pure.

Self esteem might be low,
You might not want to be,
But that doesn't mean,
You mean nothing to me.

I notice when you're not there,
A regular gone astray,
What's going on with you?
Are you feeling ok?

The meeting is over,
We get on with our lives,
Back to reality,
Back to the fight.

Then something happens,
A thought out of the blue,
Believe it or not,
I'm thinking of you.
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On Tours & Tors by Jacqueline

Where is all this energy coming from?
Just drawing off emotions?
The force of ‘feeling’.

I wonder if it is the same effect for
adrenalin junkies
who satisfy themselves with a new high?
I am eating whilst I am writing.
Taking the edge off this fidgeting enough
to press the keys.
They too have to fill in the gaps between each capital letter and full stop
with smaller thrills to tide them over.

When I felt this way before I used to
do ‘petrol crawls’
Touring the local Esso, Shell, and
Texaco Stations,
Filling up with food that certainly
wasn’t needed as fuel.
Like a blinkered horse,
so absorbed in the nosebag of a
Tesco’s carrier,
I nearly ran over a pedestrian
I simply hadn’t seen her.

The natural fulfilment I now favour comes
in reaching the summits
of places ‘higher than I’.
Sounds lofty but really it couldn’t be
more down to earth.
Climbing a hill or a mountain:
reaching a tor,
Being above what is usual.
A satisfying place since my usual can be
so introspective as to be
blind to the world around me.
Whether it is on a bridge, or by a first
floor window, or from the top
of a double-decker bus, or just simply forever in my mind,
I can escape on a tour outside myself
that slowly but surely always
opens my eyes.
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Why does it hurt so much? 
by Lucy

Why does it  hurt so much 
To live each day right through?
To feel *his* presence
Even though he's gone away?

Why does it hurt so much
Now i realise i was a child?
To realise he had the control
And i was just a small girl?

Why does it hurt so much
To let the emotions flow?
Instead of bottling them away
And thinking that this way he doesn't win?

Why does it hurt so much 
To see the angels fly?
When Im stuck on earth
And the pain gets worse day by day?

Why does it  hurt so much
To let myself be my little child?
When i used to be able to fly
Through days instead of dead inside?

Why does it hurt so much
To live day by day
To see the world beyond living
When Im still just five?

Why does it hurt so much?
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Reflection by Mel
 
I have dried so many tears
I have fought so many fears
I am small and lost and fragile
See me bleed

I have shouted out in pain
I have laid down in the rain
I am wrestling desperation
Hear me scream

I have tried to drown in booze
I have hidden from the news
I am still so very helpless 
And ashamed

I have been consumed by darkness
I am looking for the light
A glimmer of a hope that one day
I'll be alright.
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But What About Me? by Lucy

Tying me up,
So you can
Get what you want -
But what about me?

The pain is hello
As you do
As you please
But what about me?

"Remember
This is our secret"
To keep YOU safe
But what about me?

Time has gone on
And the hurt is raw
But finally i ask
But what about me?
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Insomnia by Lucy

It's 1am and the clock
ticks slower and slower
will sleep allude me
for yet another night?

2am and all gone quiet
except the low dim of my TV
on teleshopping, have no
energy to turn it over.

3am and still no sleep
Dark GO AWAY, I’m scared
flashbacks of the past
play over my body and mind

4am and light begins
to show through.
Another day begins
another night – no sleep.

Days and nights
merge into one long time
I get no respite from
the horrors of my mind.

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So your partner is a survivor?
by Ben

Is your partner someone who suffered sexual abuse in childhood? If so, then they will be suffering the consequences and repercussions of that experience. It doesn’t matter whether it was only once,
or whether the abuse doesn’t seem to you to have been very severe, all types and degrees of abuse are damaging, and need to be addressed. If you are helping your partner with the healing process, then you are taking on a huge challenge and you too need, and deserve, support. Keep reading.

Eastbourne survivors is a group set up to support both survivors of childhood abuse and their partners. You needn’t feel anxious about turning up- you won’t be greeted by a group of survivors glaring resentfully at the intrusion of the person who doesn’t know what they went through. There are a number of partners who already regularly –or periodically- attend the group and they have all been welcomed quite happily. All that matters is that you are willing to listen sympathetically and non-judgementally, and abide by the group’s rules about treating others in the room with kindness and respect. It also helps if you bring biscuits.
So you have to listen- but do you have to talk? Not if you don’t want to. If all you want is to turn up and sit in a corner and listen- that’s fine. If and when you feel ready or willing to contribute we will always try to make time to listen to what you say. Anything you do say will be treated with respect and in confidence. Nothing you say will be repeated outside the group and you won’t be treated harshly for anything you have to contribute. Unsurprisingly, we can’t offer you hard-and-fast answers about how to cope with your situation. We can offer you the perspective and insight of our own experiences. People at the group understand that you may be feeling stressed, confused, angry or drained, we know that dealing with the legacy of abuse can put a strain on your relationship. We will always try to offer any advice we can, and always offer you a space to talk about whatever is on your mind.

Meetings of the group are run by a team of four volunteers who have experience as counsellors, social workers and survivors. Two of Judy, Vicky, Phil and Mel will be at the group to oversee, ensure that everyone there feels safe, and, where they can, offer their own advice, thoughts and biscuits. People talk about tough stuff and it’s not always easy, but if you come along and find that you can settle in, the group can become a place you genuinely look forward to being, where you can find help and support facing a difficult challenge with people who understand.

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by Ollie

I wandered up through the green leaved wooded hills,
glad to be out of the hot summer sun.
I like this walk because there are
never any people here,
just trees and birds
who seem accepting and friendly,
knowing I mean them no harm,
perhaps.
So nice to relax, no pressure.
To be away from people is good with me. Cos when I am with people
( men or women) I often feel very tense, like sort of ‘on guard’ for some reason.
I get tense and anxious without even realising it.
Then I get stressed
and then I get irritable and depressed.

Good for me to get away.
I hug my favourite tree
very long and hard.
I tell him/her how I honestly feel.
I say ’Are you sure you are not offended
if I shout and get angry with you ? ‘
‘ Oh no’ and, you laugh with a huge compassionate grin
and your eyes crease ever open wide
and sparkle.
’I can cope with a trillion or two of you – whatever you have is like a firefly to the sun, which is me’.

I feel better.

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WARNING!
Some content is explicit
and may be triggering

Video

Click to see a short film about Phil from the Group and his brother.

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Creative Workshop

Artwork produced at the Creative
Workshop in January 2017.
Click on the Image above
to download the poster

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Butterfly

'Butterfly' by Charlie
Click on image to enlarge

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Lucy from the group has started a Blog,
Click HERE to visit

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Creative Writing

Writing produced at the Creative Workshop
Click on the Image above
to download the poster

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Triggers by Helen

Staircases that lead to hell
Gruff male voices saying don't tell
Smell of aftershave makes me feel sick
Unwashed, crinkled raincoat, showing a dick

The weight of your body on mine
Pressing down all the time
Words of a song, makes me cry
Stirs up emotions, I want to fly

I want to drown myself in drink
So I don't have time to think
The thoughts and images in my head
That wont go away, when i'm in my bed

I want to run away and die
Or self harm, or get high
My emotions are so strong, up or down
Making others laugh, being a clown

Hiding behind a mask, as my tears fall
Please can somebody help me, I call
Nobody can hear me, there's nobody there
I just want somebody to care

Long windy lanes, wet grass
Trees are all I can see, laying on my bare arse
Hoping your be quick, i'm in pain
Your really hurting me again

Please stop, I just want my mum
While you just want to cum
Why do you want to do this, i'm only a child
I didn't ask for this, so meek and mild

You've all ruined my life
I've grown up with trouble and strife
I want to put a knife in you all, and see you cry
Your all fucking bastards, I want you all to die

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I'm F.I.N.E.

'FINE' by Jack
Click on the image above for full size version

Therapy, by Jack

'Therapy' by Jack
Click on the image above for full size version

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Tatoo

Tattoo: This tattoo means survivor,
i had it tattooed on my wrist to remind me at
the bad times that i have survived, also as a
self harmer i wouldnt cut my wrist now as
i wouldnt cut over the tattoo. Lucy

Sunrise

Dawn: i took this picture at 5am,
i love walking along the seafront as the sea calms me down, think its the rhythm. however
as i dont like lots of people i tend to go early (also dont sleep well) and you get to see
some amazing natural things :) Lucy
Click on photo for larger image

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A SORT OF POEM by Ollie

I wandered up through the green leaved
wooded hills, glad to be out of the
hot summer sun.

I like this walk because there are never any people here, just trees and birds who seem accepting and friendly, knowing I mean them
no harm, perhaps.

So nice to relax, no pressure.
To be away from people is good with me.
Cos when I am with people (men or women)
I often feel very tense, like sort of ‘on guard’
for some reason. I get tense and anxious
without even realising it. Then I get stressed
and then I get irritable and depressed.

Good for me to get away.
I hug my favourite tree very long and hard.
I tell him/her how I honestly feel.

I say ’Are you sure you are not offended
if I shout and get angry with you ?‘
‘Oh no’ and, you laugh with a huge compassionate grin and your eyes crease
ever open wide and sparkle. ’I can cope
with a trillion or two of you –
whatever you have is like a firefly to the sun, which is me’.

I feel better.

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CARBOLIC SOAP by Peter

Cracked white tiles behind the sink
A brush with bristles splayed
By the tap, a soap sliver
Fading on its slab

Everywhere the phenol smell
It permeates the space
A school, a washroom, clinic
That carbolic air

Educated hands
Manicured and trim
Free from manual labour
Hygienic, clean

Torso, spine and pelvis
Pressure on my flesh
Fingertips are gliding
A soft caress

Rough beard on young cheeks
Weight crushing down
Smells surround
I’m gasping

Thrusting movements
Patiently borne
Violation
Secrets

Sometimes not out
But often prepared
A flannel
Used

Carbolic memories
Dragged back by smell
Persistently
Hell.

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"Remove Me From Myself" by Alison

Anger,rage,fading,
Disturbed soul
weak,collapse
Hurtful requests for favour
refuge
Trampled life down
Sharpen Senses,alert,strength
Cease to proceed, concealed place,
Empty.
Steps take hold
closing in upon me like Fat
Terrifying me, rock provide escape.
Encircled, think oil-remove me.
Remove me from Myself
Darkness shines silence
sustain me
Fragmented pieces,weak disjointed 
Speedily decay.
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TOO YOUNG by Helen

I have a knot in my stomach
that won’t go away
I try to ignore it but it gets worse every day
I feel so lonely in a crowded room
All I can feel is despair and gloom

The people say why are you always so sad
You have a lovely family you
shouldn’t feel that bad
I want to be happy for them so they
have a good life
But all I cause for them is trouble and strife

I think they would be better if I was not there
People say I’m selfish, I don’t even care
The problem is, I care too much about everyone else
I just don’t give a dam about myself

I am used goods,
someone else’s laundry soiled
Now no good to no one, too old
They’ve had their fun
When I was young

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No One To Tell by Lucy

No one to tell
No one to believe
The pain each day
Killing me inside

Keep quiet
Then no one is hurt.
Pretend your happy
Then all will be ok!

Stop eating
Till you become
The fragile child
That you are inside.

Draw the pain
Across your skin
Destroy the body
That let you down

No point crying
He'll make it hurt
More and more
Till your dead inside.
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The Scream

Edvard Munch - The Scream

Raven feels that this image sums up how
she feels -
'In your head, noone can hear you scream'

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Click HERE to read an article written by Ben about the sentencing of Stuart Hall

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Swinging by Helen

When I was a girl I loved to swing
I was so happy I used to sing
Swing up as high as I could go
The breeze in my face when I swung to and fro
Life was so carefree and fun
Your cares just melted away in the sun
But now I am too big to get on a swing
And too depressed to sing
No TV, radio or noise for me
Just quiet under the duvet let me be
I want to be left alone to think
Bad and sad thoughts drown myself in drink
As it puts my worries away
To be left for another day
I would love to be that girl again
To be able to get rid of my pain
Untie the knots inside my tummy
Laugh and find things funny
That little girl is hidden inside me
One day I hope to set her free

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It doesn’t really matter by Ben

It doesn’t really matter
It was only just a touch
So it can’t really have hurt you
Or distressed you very much

It doesn’t really matter
It is so far in the past
You can’t expect the pain or fear
Or memories to last

It doesn’t really matter
Now that they are dead and gone
Surely it is time for you
To let go and move on

It doesn’t really matter
What the ignorant may say
You’ve memories as clear
As if they happened yesterday

It doesn’t really matter
If you didn’t suffer worst
It only takes a single pin
To make a bubble burst

It doesn’t really matter
That they’re getting rather old
You deserve to be believed
The truth needs to be told

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I Am by Jaqueline

I am who I am.
I am not the great I am
I am I am I am
What is ‘I am’?
I ‘am’ as in ‘a.m.’ as in the morning?
I am the morning? Whoah stop.
Morning sounds like mourning as in grieving
No I am living

I am here
Leaving facts and matter that frankly
don’t matter.

I am me.
Nothing more, nothing less.
I am me with all the other mess
sometimes
when we be

Maybe I am the morning!
fresh and bright

I am
awake
I am

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Positivity Jars

Positivity Jars produced at the Creative Workshop in February 17.
Click on the Image to enlarge
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Creative Workshop

Artwork produced at the Creative Workshop in May 2016.
Click on the Image above
to download the poster

Poster 2

Artwork produced at the Creative Workshop in June 2016.
Click on the Image above
to download the poster

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Images from Alison

'Thought Provoking Images' from Alison
Click on image to enlarge

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There's More by Ros

There's more
Of which I can not yet speak
Internal strictures to silence
Self muzzled...

Twenty years ago
EMDR
Drawing pictures
"Christ that's sick"
Who is that?
Shocked answer
The world tipped inside out
and upside down
It didn't stop.....
Everything I thought
I knew about myself,
my life,
my family turned on its head
In an instant.

Is that really true? An instant?
The body memory had been
showing up for years
The triggers in relationships ditto....
Just didn't have a context
I didn't understand....
And now?
Insane. Insane. Insane.....

Two decades passed
PTSD and suicidal urges
Accidents, illnesses
I am still here
I will not succumb
Unbearable pain worked through
The unspeakable spoken of
More there? Yes...
And that's OK.

It's only layers of memory
It's not who I am
I am beauty personified
I am good. I am pure. I am clean.
I am whole. I am inviolable.
I am free.
I am me.

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The Phoenix by Anne

You've heard of the Oscars, the Millies,
the BAFTAs,
The Grammies, the Brits, the Nobel
and Pulitzer.
Well now there's another I named it today,
this one's called the phoenix,
for reasons I'll explain.

It can't be shortened or lengthened
in name,
and just like the bird, it's risen from
the flames.
It's given to those who have over the years
have lived a life of dread and fears,
who dared to dream, to make a change,
to speak out loud, to name the shame.

Please don't think it's not deserved
by those of us who must be heard,
and do not think we'll go away,
we've found our voice, we're here to stay.

The Phoenix isn't made of metal
It's not a statue, book or medal,
It can't be seen, it can't be bought,
It's not a wish, desire or thought.

The Phoenix is a special prize-
as just like the legend,
you have survived!!
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Brother by Helen

You smashed a bottle of vinegar
in my face
When I was 9,
my mum took me to police place
She reported you,
they gave you a warning
You thought it was funny in the morning
I was lucky my face didn't scar,
but hurt like hell
When mum applied the TCP gel
You said let's go for a walk,
you took my hand
I said where we going,
you said our special land
We went down the windy lane
Where you subjected me to a lot of pain
You made me lay down on the ground
There was no sign of anyone around
I knew what you were going to do
It was the same, id been many times through
I shouted out your hurting me
He said when I cum I let you be
I just lay there and put up with it
No point fighting, I just get hit
Its our secret don't tell mum
I cant, I'm too frozen and numb
I became so used to this abuse
I was brilliant at hiding it,
making an excuse
I started to drink alcohol
to hide the pain
Let any man do it, I had no shame
As long as they bought me
a bottle of drink
I was happy as no time to think

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Bath Time by Amanda

He said it was just a tickle,
He said it was just a laugh,
But he knew that when I peed myself,
That I would need a bath.

Id try to hide each time he came,
Coz I knew he could not resist,
Then to the bathroom we would go,
On that he would insist.

He'd strip me down and put me in,
Coz I was only small,
He'd look at me with his bearded grin,
Of that I can recall.

He'd touch me, in ways that I,
Had not been touched before,
And get aroused and get 'it' out,
And say stroke 'it' more and more.

He said he needed a 'special wee',
That only boys can do,
And then I can get even,
And make him 'pee' himself too.

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Believe by Lucy

To get from such loneliness
You must begin to believe
Believe that you’re OK
Believe that you’re strong –
Stronger than you think

Life alone is so difficult
But, please, believe in life
And start to believe in trust
And slowly, oh so slowly –
You shall come out of your shell

Believe in the positives
And you shall move onwards
To the life you wish to live
The life that’s in your dreams –
And has seemed so far away

Each baby step you take
Moves you, further away
From the dark lonely existence
Into the most amazing life –
The life that you wanted all along.

All you need to do is believe.
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Call Me by Helen

I’m feeling very sad
Pain inside me bad
Want it to go away
Gets worse every day
Cutting my wrist
Or using my fist

Drinking until I fall down
Overdosing AE do frown
Police picking me up
For causing trouble
Putting me in the cells
at the double

Now I can’t go out at night
as they put me on tag
so I can’t go to the survivors
group which is a real drag
as I want to talk tonight
everything is not right

I have just been to my dad’s grave
Which was really brave
I suffering inside
I have lost my pride
I will miss you all
So give me a call

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ARTWORK & PHOTOS
Click on images to enlarge

Me and Riley by Helen

'Me and Riley' by Helen

Helen's Collages

'Collages' by Helen

thing by Jenny

Plaything by Jenny

'Survivors'

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CURATOR OF SOULS by Peter

Ordained a priest, curator of souls
Incumbent of our parish
Long black cassock and clergy collar
A Reverend in Holy Orders
“Call me Father”

Scouts, Guides, Brownies, Cubs
Meet in the Parish Halls
Jumble Sales, The Christmas Fair
Sunday School and Socials.
More cake Vicar?

Chorister, Crucifer, Altar Boy
Matins, Evensong, Mass
Incense, vestments, Liturgy
Sacraments and Psalms
Blessed are the pure in heart

At the altar breaking bread
Blessings from the Pulpit
Proclamation of the Gospel
“Suffer the little children”
Suffer; the child that came to you.

Confirmed at twelve, I served for you
A Samuel with his Eli
In the sacristy behind closed doors
Dressing and undressing….
Was Eli a Pederast too?

Many times since has life looked bleak
Shamed and silenced by guilt
And out of the depths I have cried to God
You’ve forsaken me
Blessed are the poor in spirit….

Mere feeble words of contrition and prayer
Apologies for the sin
Forgiveness sought for Mother Church
Victims left abandonned
….for theirs is the Kingdom of God.
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SURVIVOR by Jayne

I've found a place that's safe
and where I can be me

A place where I can talk
about what happened to me

A place where noone judges
I tell the truth

But what I say helps me cope
With the broken body
of the life I've suffered

Yes, I am a survivor!
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2.30am by Phil

2:30am again
Can't get to sleep again
Thinking of the past again
Pissed out of my head again

I want to change
I want what's mine
I want a chance
I want more time
to get to grips
I want to shine

I know I can
I was young then
before that ***king bastard went
and took from me
what should have been
a time of innocence,
of confidence...

...and dreams.
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Foundations by Lucy

It starts with the earthquake (the trauma), and that rocks everything, even your foundations.

As times goes on there are aftershocks, these can go on for years, some worse than others, (flashbacks etc), and as it becomes more and more settled you can trust the foundations to start building again.
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Sea, I See by Jacqueline

I am stuck in the port by a shipping canal,
Hoping for starboard direction,
some new channel,
Start raising the anchor,
it drags off the seabed,
Memory of maiden voyage still
smuggles my head.

Ocean is coloured like blue-green,
curly kale,
Wind starts getting up so dutifully,
set sail,
Steering my way forth attempting the follow through,
Dragging through rough, needing more than a one-man crew.

Some rogue deck hand shinnies the rigging to my throat,
Adams apple can’t bob but yet keeps
him afloat,
I swallow he clamps on, sinking back down two floors,
But returns feet gripped tighter than
ever before.

It’s no good seeking your shelter in my Sunday best,
There’s no bounty, no nothing you’re an unwelcome guest,
You’re not getting on so go back down below deck,
I thought you were long gone,
my logbook entry I’ll check.

Look, I will give you thirty pieces of silver,
To quickly change profession to
deep-sea diver,
The ship to shore shuttle can be here
in a bit,
Cabin fever, flash flood, shit I’m gonna
be sick.

Push down bowing into the storm, no bounty waits,
Warning flares fire my unenviable traits,
My right-hand man shows me things I don’t want to see,
Swap this for a mayday, mayday,
I’ve got to flee.

To get near horizon we negotiate rocks,
Above seagulls caw and dance in crazed, swooping flocks,
Spotting land in the distance,
I fear being beached,
And the silence from when all radios
have ceased.