A local sexual abuse survivor will be running the Warwick Half Marathon in February to fundraise for the charity who helped her recovery.
Jade O’Driscoll was sexually abused by a family member when she was three years old and struggled for over twenty years to come to terms with what happened to her.
She was supported through this by CRASAC, the only service in Coventry which provides specialist counselling and advocacy support to adults and children who have been impacted by sexual violence and abuse at any time in their lives.
An estimated 1 in 5 children in the UK have been sexually abused (1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys) with a third of overall police recorded sexual offences against children.
Over a quarter of referrals to CRASAC’s services are children who have been subjected to Child Sexual Abuse (CSA).
The charity aims to address the trauma and injustice of abuse by giving victims and survivors a voice.
“Before receiving support from CRASAC my mental health was at an all-time low and I had begun to develop symptoms of delayed post-traumatic stress disorder. I was in my final year of studies and reached out to my university for help, but they could only offer me a few sessions of counselling which left me feeling worse.
“The long term one to one counselling, group therapy sessions and access to an Independent Sexual Violence Advisor I was able to access through CRASAC has been invaluable. Without them, I am sure I would still be struggling today.
“I will be running this half marathon not only for who I am today but for the 3-year-old me who didn’t know what was happening. I am running it for the 10-year-old me who used to run every Friday lunchtime and dreamed of one day running as far as a half marathon. I am running it for all the future girls, boys, women and men who will receive support from CRASAC. I am running it for everyone who can relate to this but is too afraid to speak up and reach out to receive help.
“The work CRASAC does is truly life-changing, as I’ve learnt first-hand. And if you are suffering in silence, please reach out for support.”
Natalie Thompson, CEO at CRASAC says:
“We are pleased that Jade has felt able to share her story. The scale and impact of sexual abuse is largely hidden in society and yet the trauma it causes can have devastating effects on an individual for many years.
“Jade’s experiences accessing support prior to coming to CRASAC really highlights the need for statutory funding for services such as ours so we can continue to ensure that survivors of sexual violence and abuse get the help they so desperately need and deserve.”