Ingrid Wallace is a senior therapist at Rape Crisis Midwest.
It’s so easy to silence a child.
If you tell, I’ll kill your cat. I’ll kill your dog. I’ll kill your rabbit.
If you tell, no one will believe you.
If you tell, I’ll hurt you really badly.
If you tell, I’ll be taken away and everyone will blame you.
If you DON’T tell, I’ll give you sweets. Cigarettes. Money.
This is our special secret.
Survivors of child sexual abuse learn early to keep their mouths shut and Tusla’s decision to withdraw funding from the Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI) reinforces that message of silence and secrecy.
As a therapist in a Rape Crisis Centre for over twenty five years I also know that for every single person who comes through our doors there are at least four others who will never engage with any service.
They are the invisible survivors. The men and women who are silent, and silenced, about their experiences of rape and sexual abuse.
The RCNI is the representative body for Rape Crisis Centres in Ireland. An organisation of thirty years’ standing, it has amassed priceless data and expertise in the area of sexual violence. It has brought the collective voice of sexual violence survivors to every possible forum and demanded accountability on their behalf. It has tirelessly campaigned for legislative change, social change, adequate funding for Rape Crisis Centres and it has influenced national policy.
In short, the RCNI is a strong, political voice for survivors.
Perhaps that’s why it too is being silenced.