Foreword by Marise Thomas and Phillip Lafferty, Directors of Voicing CSA.
Thank you everyone who attended our conference in Bristol on Saturday 15th July 2017. As always, there is such an amazing group of people who attend our events and the support continues to grow with like minded people, organisations, survivors and victims of childhood sexual abuse. It was especially heartening to see so many new faces from and around the Bristol area and many more who travelled far and wide across England and Wales to attend.
A special thanks to Dr Mike Pierce from the Southmead Project, who provided Voicing CSA with the “Wall of Silence”. It was an honour to display the Wall at our event. Whilst it difficult viewing, it provides us with the momentum to continue what we are doing. We are the survivors of this heinous crime, some have not been so fortunate. Thank you Mike for your introductory talk and supporting our event.
We would like to thank the many other speakers who so eloquently and passionately spoke. Chris Tuck, Nigel O’Mara, Andy Moore, Paul Sinclair, Maggie Siviter, Theresa Murray, Janine Mitchell, Tanya and Lita (sisters united), and Michaela Robinson who spoke for the first time, reading a very moving poem she had written. These are the brave people who stick their head above the parapet, highlighting the injustice that continues to permeate the walls of our society and raising awareness to seek change.
The conference was an emotional event and affected a few including Phillip our Chair and founder. The Wall of Silence is an emotive display of survivors and victims photographs and experiences of abuse that is necessary for those unaffected by abuse to comprehend the impact on the lives that it affects. It cannot be viewed lightly as it truly brings home the message of the effect of sexual abuse in childhood. What would we have become without the abuse that became part of our lives in our formative years? The co-founder of Voicing CSA, Nigel Thompson, is on the wall and we hope to update his photo with a few words about his death which was associated with his abuse.
Last but not least our Patron, Chris Harper, who provides Voicing CSA with his continuing support, time and commitment. We were also delighted to meet his lovely wife Emma at our conference in Bristol.
Thanks also to Dawn Morgan for the lovely cupcakes, Wesley Hall for his tech support, Joe and John for security and all the counseling support which was so needed in Bristol and the many others that continue to support our work.
We continue with the mantra of our Chair ‘Ask not what the future can do for your past but what your past can do for the future’.