Abuse robs children of their childhood. Without help, the scars of abuse can last a lifetime.
Can you picture for a moment how brave it is for a child to decide to reach out to Childline? That’s how you might feel when you hear the story of Eva.
Eva is only 12. She is bright and funny. But, some nights, Eva can’t sleep until she chats to Childline. A family friend is abusing her, and she is lost, confused and terrified.
Eva had been scared about calling Childline. She was worried that she might be overheard and would get into trouble. But, she discovered, chatting with Childline online would allow her to let go and chat about anything on her mind, without feeling guilty or afraid.
After she made the brave move to make contact with Childline online, Eva slowly opened up. She said she just wanted somebody to listen to her.
Eva can’t remember a time where she was not being abused. She feels bad. Her abuser reminds her that it’s her fault. She is a bad girl; she is bad to the core and she always has been. He tells her she will be taken away if she ever tells anyone their secret. Her Mam and Dad won’t speak to her again if she dares say anything. And nobody would believe her anyway. He always says that.
It’s heart-breaking as a Childline volunteer to hear this coming from a vulnerable child – a child who think it’s their fault. Thanks to you and the support you have given to Childline, we could help Eva understand that what was happening was so very wrong. That no-one had a right to do this to her and that she wasn’t a bad child. She has rights and there are people to help her and support her. Childline believes her.
Eva feels comfortable using her tablet to chat with Childline. She has been in contact with us a few more times now and knows we are always here to listen to her, day or night. Eva won’t forget what has happened to her; she has a difficult journey ahead, but now she realises that she needs to have the support of her parents. She is going to tell them this weekend. Childline will continue to be there for Eva, if she ever needs us.
In 2018, Childline transformed its online service to children. Because of your support, we have changed the lives of more and more children with this vital service.
With your ongoing support, we can be there for children like Eva – to listen to them and give them back the power that has been so cruelly taken from them. Together, we can continue to change lives.