Tamara Waugh is a handy person to know in a crowd. She knows exactly what everyone around her is doing and the location of the nearest exit. While having eyes like a hawk may sound like a helpful trait to have, there's a heart breaking reason behind her hypervigilance - she's endured years of sexual abuse. She is looking for ways to escape and keep safe!
You can listen to Tamara’s story here .
Tamara is aware that this is a time where everyone is expected to be full of happy smiles and Christmas cheer, when in reality that might be extremely far away from how a survivor may actually be feeling.
There are many survivors of rape and sexual abuse who don’t see their families, which can make this time of year even more difficult because there is a big emphasis on family life.
Sexual abuse is much more common than is generally known because it is still such a sensitive subject that many people are uncomfortable admitting it has happened to them. By the time survivors are ready to ask for help, sometimes years later, the abuse may have had a devastating impact on many aspects of their life. It can affect emotions, behaviours, relationships, family life, and educational and professional achievement. Survivors of abuse may experience anxiety, flashbacks, depression, eating disorders, addictions, self-harm and suicidal feelings.
HELP can’t take away what has happened but we can help survivors find a way to move past it and lead an empowered, fulfilling life. And we can give young people (and their parents, teachers the tools to keep themselves as safe as possible from abuse. Whether you can give time, skills or money to support our work, we need you. Help us to prevent abuse and support survivors of abuse and continue supporting survivors like Tamara.
Ruth Davy-Fundraising Manager, HELP Auckland