Purple Summer is a campaign to raise awareness about child sexual abuse. The campaign aim to encourage victims to ”break the silence” about what happened to them. For the occasion, Quetzal turned Purple to give courage to children as well as adults survivors of childhood sexual abuse to reach for help.

We thank David Lean for launching few year ago this free, inclusive, simple and worldwide campaign and for his courage for speaking out about the abuse he suffered by former Manchester City Coach Barry Bennel.

Together, we can make a difference!

Quetzal team turned Purple to raise awareness about childhood sexual abuse

Shabnum Popat, the Clinical Lead for Quetzal, shares how the events and persistent news reports associated with death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement can trigger emotions around unprocessed trauma for people already struggling to process their own traumatic experiences. For the survivors of childhood sexual abuse who may be triggered by witnessing and hearing about the events of May 25th, talking to a counsellor can help process emotions, thoughts, and triggers that they may be experiencing.

The Black Lives Matter Movement has swept the world; following the death of George Floyd at the hand of a police officer on the 25th May the movement reminds us that lives matter, no matter the colour of our skin, no matter the language we speak, no matter the culture we come from and that abuse of power as well as unnecessary use of force and violence towards minorities cannot be tolerated. Unknowingly this movement has tapped into our fears and insecurities on such a deep level that we feel compelled to act, speak out and stand up to injustice.

The level of aggression that has built the foundation of this movement can unconsciously tap into our own fears and feelings of persecution, especially when we have experienced our own trauma. Experiencing trauma can leave us neurologically and psychologically changed; it can affect the way we feel, behave and think. It can have a crippling effect on how we develop sending out debilitating ripples into every part of our life. When we have already experienced trauma; confronted with this level of injustice and cruelty can send us spiralling into negative thought cycles, and over powering emotions that we may find difficult to manage.

The abuse of power demonstrated on the 25th of May can unconsciously trigger any unprocessed trauma that we may hold. Our clients come to us for support with processing the trauma of childhood sexual abuse. The abuse of power they have experienced as a child, and the powerlessness felt by them as they were abused can be triggered by witnessing such distressing events. Many of our clients have felt abandoned and let down by different authorities during their lives, and this demonstrable abuse of power by figures in authority can compound what our clients believe about putting their trust in such authorities. It can bring up a whole range of feelings around being violated, feeling unsafe, and worthless; something our clients are working so hard to overcome.

The Black Lives Matter Movement is a culmination of all of those people who felt unsafe, who felt worthless, who were abused, who were judged, who were denied their rights because of how they looked, sounded or even what they said. We have people of all cultures, race and creed standing unanimously saying that this is not right, this is not okay and we will not stand for this any longer; we have a right to live, everyone has a right to live.

We are dedicated to providing a safe, non-judgemental and therapeutic space to anyone who wants to explore how the recent events associated with the death of George Floyd has affected them. If you are already in counselling with us, we urge you to explore your reactions and emotions with your counsellors. If you are currently not receiving counselling with Quetzal regarding your experience of childhood sexual abuse, please do get in touch with us to see how we may be able to support you.

For some suggestions on how to deal with the risk of re-traumatisation due to the events associated to Black Lives Matter and the murder of George Floyd, one of our trustees Kerry Corbett wrote an article on LinkedIn – Share it.

 

National Volunteers’ Week takes place from 1-7 June each year and provides an opportunity for us to thank our volunteers for their contribution throughout the year.

Quetzal aims to be there for women who are dealing with the trauma of childhood sexual abuse when they need and want support through counselling.  We have huge responsibility to support them in time of crisis, and to be there every steps of the way as they are drawing their own path towards recovery.

We could not do this without the help and commitment of our dedicated volunteer counsellors, who are an integral part of the Charity.

Every year, approximately 20 volunteer counsellors donate their time to support approximately 300 women aged 16 and above recovering from the trauma fo childhood sexual abuse.

Most of our volunteers completed their trainee placement at Quetzal, and continued, once qualified, to support clients.They all received a specialised in-house training about the trauma of childhood sexual abuse as well as in-house clinical supervision. They have experience and knowledge with dealing with complex compounded trauma and they are dedicated to their clients’ welfare. We are so grateful for having them.

This year, we want to make a special mention on how resilient and adaptable our volunteer counsellors are. The COVID-19 Pandemic demanded from volunteers to deliver all their counselling sessions remotely. We are so thankful that they have been able to do this so successfully. We were able to do a short survey of the clients being supported during the crisis and, this is what some of them said:

‘’Due to the current climate and stay at home policy, one can feel a little isolated. I feel supported via Quetzal and not alone. For me I think this is important.’’ Client 1

‘’I am just really grateful for the counselling and the counsellor as she is my lifeline.’’  Client 2

We also want to thank our Trustees who are all volunteering their time and energy to ensure that Quetzal always put the needs of women aged 16 and above living in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland dealing with the trauma of childhood sexual, are prioritised, and that everyone else is being look after.

We’re fortunate to have an experienced and trauma-informed volunteer community who are dedicated to support women and their community wellbeing. We want to further share this knowledge and experience with everyone, and so we have a new volunteering opportunity where you can get a specialised training about the trauma of childhood sexual abuse and volunteer your time to enhance the knowledge of your community so that eventually more women will seek support. Whether you’re passionate about ending violence against women and girls, mental health issues, community development or want to learn more about counselling, you can check our new Volunteer Connector opportunity.

If you haven’t yet checked out our Breaking the Silence initiative and various opportunities for volunteering, have a look at our website and find out how you can play your part in supporting more women recovering from the trauma of childhood sexual abuse.