Lockdown has been “the perfect storm” for many adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse who have had to deal with their past traumatic experiences on top of all the lockdown related stresses.

For Cathy still being able to access therapy during the last few months of Lockdown was a real lifeline to her. Cathy started therapy with One in Four back in 2019. She told us the sessions had literally started to move mountains in her. Then Lockdown started……but her therapist was still there for her, for that hour every week she could be herself. It has been her anchor.

Here’s Cathy Story:

“I grew up in a happy, middle class home in rural Ireland; the daughter of a teacher and a nurse, loving parents who worked hard to provide for me. I was outgoing, never shy about vocalising my thoughts or challenging my teachers or anyone in authority. I have really struggled with the fact I kept the abuse I suffered a secret for so long. Therapy helped me understand why I had done this, it helped me start to deal with the shame I had been carrying around.

I don’t want to talk much about him, my abuser. Not now, he isn’t in control. I have new things to focus on, to sort out. You see for a long time I told myself, ‘it wasn’t that bad, other people have been through far worse’. But in truth it caused profound devastation to me. Almost overnight, I went from a happy-go-lucky kid to a deeply troubled young woman.

The prospect of being alone during lockdown made self-isolation seem unbearable. I knew I would struggle. So having that hour every week to be myself in therapy during lockdown has made all the difference.

I knew the isolation would be a trigger but as soon as the Lockdown started my therapist phoned me and talked through how we would continue our sessions on Zoom. She reminded I didn’t have to do this alone. That I had a voice. That she was here for me.

Between session I worked hard to find ways I could take more control over my routines, to make sure that I stay connected to others. It has really helped me stay calm and more positive.

My abuser made me feel so worthless so one of my priorities has been to focus on ways I could positively view my abilities. One in Four have helped me identify my present issues and reflect on how they are connected with the abuse I suffered as a child.

Even though my sessions have been on Zoom for the last 3 months I felt so connected with my therapist, that hour was my anchor during the turbulence of Lockdown. They helped me sleep better and really helped with my anxiety.

I know I will forever have to fight the urge to spiral down into the well of negative feelings and thoughts abuse has left me with, but with One in Four by my side I know I can get to a better place in my life."

Many survivors go through decades of their lives trying to block out the memories or are unable to process what they mean, only for the realisation to emerge suddenly and unexpectedly. The trauma of sexual abuse can cause devastating long term effects.

The work we do in One in Four is only possible because of you , your generosity makes the change in people lives possible. Please never underestimate how much of an impact your continued support is. You are our anchor as we move forward.

Your help means everything to us and everything to people like Cathy.

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