Weʼre raising £2,500 to Pay for trauma therapy for a 13 year old victim of rape, and additional support for her mother and sister.
- Inverness, UK
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As a psychotherapist I have had the privileged to work with hundreds of individuals as they face an overcome the insurmountable odds of living a meaningful life in a world that often seems randomly malevolent. Transitioning from childhood though adolescence into young adulthood is perhaps the most significant life transition we will ever make. Our fundamental sense of identity, our peer relations, the foundations of our social identity are significantly formed during this time.
That's why, having worked with this mother and seen up close her heroic struggle to move through a profoundly difficult time I have decided to share this story in the hope she and her daughters find the support they need amongst this community. It is essential Gina receives treatment asap...PTSD plays havoc with the central nervous system and affects a persons fundamental sense of safety. Receiving treatment from a specialist trauma therapist with decades of experience of working with sexual trauma is essential. That therapist is a women in this case.
All monies raised will be spent directly on travel to and from the specialist trauma clinic and on the treatment itself.
The story below is a common one I am sure...written in the mothers words. Names have been changed...
Gina's Journey Home.
Gina was born 5th May 2004, she is my second child. From a very young age, she showed herself to be bright and loving, sensitive and passionate: forever impatient to catch up with her older sister, she developed, unusually early, a great strength of character, a quick sense of humour as well as a singing voice so powerful it proved an effective and reliable alarm clock for our neighbours 2 doors down - Gina woke up at the crack of dawn, singing, every morning for 4 years. From toddlerhood, Gina was fascinated by the feel of fabrics, something which lately developed into a love of clothes and fashion. Gina’s creativity has been described as “off the scale” by her teachers. At school her results were equally dependant on her hard work as on her confidence yet despite the fact this didn’t come easily to her she consistently achieved good results and her attitude towards learning could not be faulted. Gina’s family life hasn’t been easy: her father has a narcissistic personality disorder and it took me years to see through and untie myself from the destructive clutch of his emotional abuse. When I finally came to ask for a divorce all hell broke loose and my efforts to shield Gina and her sister proved pathetic in the face of his dispassionate wrath. The divorce took 5 years, during which he dragged me and the children to court repetitively, momentarily forcing us out of our family home, stalking and threatening us...it was quite terrifying and seemed endless at the time as the wheels of the law turned ever so slowly and indulged his manipulations and financial upper hand. Gina took everything silently - her father’s senseless rage and punishments which alternated with declarations of love, our stay at the refuge, her sister’s subsequent breakdown and my helplessness - but in the face of so much injustice and danger, she learnt to protect herself overzealously, bending over backwards to please in order to keep some peace at all cost. Whilst on the exterior she coped remarkably, her intuition was eroded and her courage was shattered: this left her extremely vulnerable, quiet and insecure. Gina was now starting secondary school. Within a term, the school rang me to tell me that she had collected a record number of house points, such as the school had never seen before. Her results were good, she was making new friends and was budding with fresh projects. For a moment, it seemed like some peace was within reach, and with it the opportunity to rebuild and heal. This is when it happened. As she walked home from her usual bus stop on her way home from school, Gina, 13, perchance met a boy with whom she had shared a classroom for 2 years in her previous school. He raped her. I run out of words at this stage. I don't know how to describe what happened to her, how it affects everything, how it robbed her of all her joy, her sleep, her sanity, her ambition, her curiosity, her trust, her love of life. The nightmares, the anxiety, the shame, the guilt, the numbness, the depression, the anger, the self-harm - how these demons burn down everything everyday, after day after day. Gina can’t go to school now. She can't focus on learning because she is having continuous flashbacks; her whole body constantly on hyper-vigilant in a mixed classroom. She tried so hard, but in the end feared it would just push her over the edge. She can’t relate to her peers any longer. She gets re-triggered randomly so she hardly gets out of her bed, let alone her room or the house. It took her months to be able to disclose to the police, as she would vomit or wet herself the moment she needed to talk about the incident. The ‘investigation’ is dragging and prosecution seems unlikely due to ‘lack of evidence’. Despite other sexual assault claims against the boy, this violent sexual predator is still roaming the neighbourhood, unchallenged, and apparently beyond any consequences. Gina needs specialised trauma treatment but despite all of the above she “doesn’t meet the criteria” for the social services support programme. The only support available to her via the GP and police is a therapy service which has a 10 months waiting list. I know that with the right support Gina can and will heal, and that she is capable of extraordinary love and achievements both for herself and others. She needs help right now though not just to reclaim her future, but because her everyday is a living hell.
Updated section 10/08/18 By Gina's mum.
About receiving through JustGiving
When Paul set up the JustGiving page, I really wasn’t sure what to expect nor even what to feel about it. I have had many experiences in my life when someone’s compassion and gift has allowed a better turn so I know people are inherently generous and want to help and I know life would be a desperately darker place without this. I enjoy giving and knowing that at that moment I have made a difference however small. All the same asking for help has never been easy for me, and receiving, without feeling heavily indebted has always been a challenge - so much so that mostly I prefer soldiering on independently. In the circumstances, it was been hard at times not to think ill of the world at large, not to shut down. Also it took me months to talk about Gina’s ordeal to people other than the professionals involved, to share it with people close to us as I want to respect Gina’s privacy and protect her from reactions that, even if well meant, may not be best informed. This is a very lonely place to be.
Every donation on this page has brought tears to my eyes - I am so grateful. The anonymity ensures Gina’s identity is protected and somehow this reinforces the argument that people understand the injustice that was committed, share the hope and desire of putting it right and are willing to give unconditionally. It is priceless to know we are supported in this way and all 3 of us are deeply moved by the love, understanding and care that transpires from every gift. Thank you.
About Gina’s progress
It is difficult to pin point exactly how the sessions are helping her, because it is a slow and subtle thing, but it is obvious to me that Gina has now started in her recovery process whereas before she seemed totally stuck in a nightmarish limbo which allowed her no rest bite nor exit. Gina has agreed that this summer will be for the most part devoted to consolidating her treatment, to finding calm and rest and the warmth of trusted friends. Her sister meanwhile is spending time with her aunt, niece and uncle and grandmother. It seemed best for her to get a break, as Gina's non linear recovery can be demoralising and hard to witness day in day out.
Gina was offered a temporary place at a girls’ school 3 weeks before the summer holidays. This is in the hope a place will become available to her soon - provided she can cope well with being back at school. Those 3 weeks proved very difficult as Gina still suffered from severe anxiety and was still finding it difficult to have a good night’s sleep: she had panic attacks in the classroom and at night, struggled with things like PE and the morning routine, self-harmed badly on one occasion. Thankfully she started her treatment half way through this time: after the first session she slept through the night for the first time in months. Night time is still difficult for Gina, but she isn’t quite as exhausted as her sleeplessness gets broken regularly now by a better night’s sleep.
With the summer holidays came the huge relief of not having to conjure up such huge effort everyday to face school. All the same, having done those first 3 weeks Gina feels more positive about starting a new academic year in September. She has met with a couple of girls from her new school socially, which is hugely positive as she had completely shut herself off from peer contact before. I trust these new friendships will help her face school more confidently in the autumn as indeed life in general.
A few breakthroughs: After volunteering as a dog walker for a neighbour a few month, she decided to volunteer at a stable this summer - something she would have liked, but not been able to do until now. I struggled to understand why Gina had dropped all her previously beloved creative activities, such as sewing and drawing - I was told that art brings emotions up to the surface, which she obviously wasn’t well enough to withstand. However, 2 days ago, she picked up a friend’s old camera and with her guidance started to do some photography,
I am also heartened by the return of a few simple things, like a picnic out with family friends.
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- 2 months ago
Paul Howell2 months ago
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Aug 13, 2018
I hope this helps your amazing fundraising plans x
Aug 11, 2018
With love x
Aug 11, 2018
This story made me cry... I hope she finds some relief with the therapy, she’ll never forget, but she’ll get a chance to hopefully recover enough to find love again...
Aug 11, 2018
Aug 11, 2018
With best wishes xox
Aug 4, 2018
Jun 25, 2018
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