Mental Illness can be caused by different circumstances and behaviours not just genetics. So, I want to help people in the different communities and diversities to know the signs of events what could trigger the brain and could develop into a mental illness for someone and it could possibly save a life by knowing the signs of the different events and situations. I have experienced some of these events myself so It’s a personal issue for me to be open about it, but I want to be open and to show people it’s okay to talk about this to professionals/family/friends and not feel bad or feel scared about talking about it.
The first blog post is going to be about a very upsetting subject and it’s very personal to me as I am a sexual abuse survivor, but people need to know the signs as it could be happening around you and you could save someone’s life and stop the abuse from happening.
I will also post my sexual abuse story later in the future when I am ready to open that demon.
I want to talk about child sexual exploitation which happening in our communities and some people have no idea that is happening around them until it’s too late. I will also be doing a post about adult sexual exploitation as well as it could happen to any age.
What is Child Sexual Exploitation?
Child sexual exploitation is a type of sexual abuse involving control of a child through force, threats or manipulation. It can happen to both boys and girls. The first step is someone befriending a young person to gain their trust or have control over them. This is called grooming and can lead to children being abused and raped.
Because the internet is a huge place now with social media sites like Facebook or snapchat. It’s very easy for an abuser to find someone to befriend then groom. It could just take 5 minutes which is horrible to think about. But it doesn’t just happen on the internet. It can happen in real life.
The abuser could be any age. The abuser could be the same age as the child what is being groomed. When the abuser is getting to know the child, they will be providing something to a child such as food, drugs, alcohol, gifts, money, or even simple affection. Children are often tricked into thinking their abuser is a friend or even a ‘boyfriend/girlfriend/.
Once they gain the trust of the child. They will slowly start moving onto grooming physically or sexually abusing the child what they will simply think that their abuser is just being “Special” towards them. They could slowly start talking about their sexual needs or any sexual experiences. They could constantly speak about sexual things while continuing to buy gifts for the child. Then they could start by asking the child to send sexual photos or videos of themselves which they might use to blackmail the child into doing things for the abuser. They might threaten the child saying they will hurt or show their family or friends if they tell anyone about what they have sent .
What are the signs of grooming and CSE to look out for?
I just want to point out some of the signs are just natural teenage/child behaviours, but I want to say if you notice any increased instances of changes in behaviour for a child or a teenager please seek advice.
- Being secretive about who they are talking to and where they are going or who they are meeting.
- Coming home late or not coming home at all.
- Staying out all night.
- Wearing more revealing clothing and wearing more make up than they usually do or starting to wear makeup and changes to their appearance.
- Often controlled to gadgets like their mobile or laptop and very defenced when you suggest if you want to have a look at their history.
- Knowing sexual language that you wouldn’t expect from their age. Talking about sexual experiences and telling friends about sexual things what have happened to them.
- Becoming involved in drugs or alcohol, particularly if you suspect they are being supplied by older men or women.
- Becoming emotionally volatile, mood swings are common in all young people, but more severe changes could indicate that something could be happening to that young person.
- Having items such as phones or jewellery that you haven’t given them but which they couldn’t afford to buy themselves with their pocket money.
- Not attending school that often even if they dress in their uniforms and pretend to walk to school then go somewhere else.
- Hanging out with older people and associated with a gang and not seeing family or friends.
- They are regularly suffering from sexually transmitted infections and have been taking more than one contraceptive.
- They have unexplained physical injuries such as bruising or track marks. Or have visited the hospital frequently with injuries what are not normal for a young person.
- Using self harm as a coping mechanism or suicide.
Preventing CSE and grooming.
- Explain once they share personal details online, including pictures, they need to understand they lose control over where these might end up. This means that people shouldn’t share anything they wouldn’t be happy for everyone to see with anyone else.
- It is important that you and they understand that it is easy for people to lie to them online, particularly if they have never met them. People can lie about their ages, for example a grown adult could be pretending to be a 12 year old boy asking to get to know you.
- Never share your location details with people you know.
- Look at their social media sites and phones regularly.
- Ask for professional help from doctors and local police to ask your child if they are showing danger signs of CSE or grooming.
- Ring local helplines and charities for advice.
What you can do to help if you think a child is in danger of CSE or grooming.
- Ring 999.
- Tell your local police.
- Report any grooming to national crime agency.
- Report any child abuse images you find online to the Internet Watch Foundation.
- If a child wants to talk to someone in confidence they can call ChildLine on 0800 1111 or Get Connected on 0808 808 4994 (text 80849).
- If you are concerned about a child’s welfare, please contact your local social services.
Please share this post with your child and parents/guardians/foster parents/grandparents as this could stop a child from CSE or grooming and spreading more awareness over this important topic.
This could stop some children developing from mental illnesses as sexual abuse could be a trigger of developing PTSD or any mental illness.
My aim is to help people not just help myself. My aim is to help people talk and get the help they need and get the right punishment for the abusers as my abuser just got a slap on the wrist and told not to go near me again.
I’m a sexual abuse survivor, that person won’t bring me down. I was a young vulnerable person when that happened to me, but I can’t ever forget what he sent me and what he asked me it’s planted in my brain and I’m scared when I see him in community still and was so close to my family and friends. He’s ruined the little trust I had. It’s made me stronger and I’m determined to help people with any situation. I still get the flashbacks and shaking when I’m around something I’m uncomfortable.
If anyone needs any support, please email me and I will pass on the correct support line numbers.
I’m not a trained professional or a councillor but I can listen and listening is the most important skill and that can help people by listening and being non-judgemental towards them.
Here are some Charites what could help.
National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC)-0808 801 0331
The Lucy Faithfull Foundation– 01527 591922
The Survivors Trust-0808 801 0818
Action for children– 020 312 40600
Safe And Sound– 01332 362120
Safeline(Young people helpline)-0808 800 5007
Male Survivor-0808 800 5005
Rape Crisis England & Wales– 0808 802 9999
Love from Shannon Diana xx
If you would like to contact me for PR or any collaborations or even support if you are going through a bad time. Please follow my social media accounts and email me.