More than one in five children are sexually abused before they turn 18. No, that’s not a global figure, that’s for here, in Australia. That’s about seven children every hour! They are alarming statistics, but what is even more alarming is that 90% of all perpetrators are known, and trusted, by their victims.
When a child is sexually abused it not only affects them, but the whole family. A small, new start-up organisation, At The Ark, is supporting families dealing with the fallout of child sexual abuse.
The organisation runs two main programs. The first is called Helping Hands and as the name suggests it helps to support families practically and walk along side the families through the whole journey. It is usually after disclosure that families go into shock and crisis. The simple things fall down so At the Ark aims to help them with day to day practical support like delivering food parcels or doing lawn mowing.
At the Ark also offers free Speaking the Unspeakable Seminars in the community. These are aimed towards the church to equip, establish, empower and encourage the churches and church communities how to best support the families.
I first met the Founders of At the Ark about a year ago at a function on the Gold Coast. I was touched by their openness and honesty as they told me about the organisation they had started, and most importantly, the reason why they had started it. Years earlier, Simon and Xene Schembri, were faced with a situation no family wants to go through. Their kids had been sexually assaulted, not just once but over a number of years by their biological father (Simon was Xene’s second husband and step father to her children).
Wednesday 5th September (next week) is Make a Noise Day. It’s the first community initiative for At the Ark and it encourages people to stand up and make some noise about child sexual abuse. At the Ark is selling special Make a Noise Day tee shirts and asks people to put theirs on and make some noise in a noisy place, take a photo and help spread the word.
This Thank You Thursday, we acknowledge Simon and Xene for their tireless efforts to supporting other families who have gone through the horror of child sexual abuse and to create a more aware, more understanding community.
See you in the pond,
The Fish Chick.