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Written by Editorial Team, DonateToday
'My childhood was really tough' - Lisa reflects on truly traumatic experiences which affected her for years until she contacted ChildLine
Lisa was sexually abused when she was very young. At 13, she sought help from the NSPCC’s ChildLine service and began to deal with the lasting effects the abuse was having on her.
‘My childhood was really tough,’ Lisa admits. ‘I was sexually abused when I was very young by someone known to our family and it was a confusing time for me.
‘When I was 13, I told the people I was friends with at school about the abuse and the rumours started spreading,’ she continues. ‘People would call me names and laugh and snigger.
‘I began blaming myself for what had happened to me as a child. I started smoking, drinking and skipping school. I developed an eating disorder and I began self-harming.’
Fortunately, Lisa found the courage to reach out and ask for help. ‘When I was 13, I picked up the phone and I called ChildLine for the first time,’ she remembers. ‘I talked to the counsellor about how I was feeling, and she really listened to me.
‘I was so upset, and I cried for ages,’ Lisa continues. ‘She told me how brave I was – it really helped, and I felt so much better afterwards.
‘I contacted ChildLine four times over the course of that week. During the last phone call, I remember being asked if there was a teacher that I could speak to. I mentioned that I had a mentor at school that I trusted.
‘The counsellor said that if I was to tell that one person that I’d been calling ChildLine then they might realise that something was wrong and be able to get me some help.’
They Saved My Life
Lisa followed the ChildLine counsellor’s advice and went straight to her mentor at school the next day. ‘She set me up with a local counsellor and I was able to start dealing with my self-esteem and trust issues,’ she recalls.
‘Things didn’t improve overnight, and I had counselling for years afterwards, but speaking to ChildLine made me realise that I needed help – I wouldn’t have had the courage to speak up without them and I wouldn’t have known who to speak to.
‘They saved my life.’
"They helped me go from feeling like a victim to being a survivor"
Reflecting back on her experience, Lisa is hopeful that her story will encourage others to seek support. ‘I am so thankful to the people who helped me to get through things: my parents and family, my counsellors, my teachers and ChildLine,’ she says.
‘They helped me go from feeling like a victim to being a survivor – I want that for other children too.
‘If my story can help one young person then speaking out about my own experiences will have been worth it.’