For decades, even talking about child sexual abuse has been a taboo topic. It is now becoming more acceptable to speak openly, perhaps a reflection of the need to do so in light of high profile public cases. There have been a number of media stories recently, where people have shared their stories in the hope that other will do so too. Now, rising Dorset star and talented singer-songwriter Stacey Leighann has taken a novel approach to raising awareness. Her new single ‘House of Cards’ draws on her own experience of being sexually abused as a child. Stacey is managed by Dorset agent and producer Amelia McCloskey, who runs AM Studios in Bournemouth. The video can be viewed at https://www.reverbnation.com/artist/video/14296085.
To mark the launch of the new single and video, Stacey and AM Studios are working with local charities Dorset Mind and Acts Fast to produce a highly innovative event of song and talk. Stacey said “The reason I am doing this event is to raise awareness about the daily burden of living with mental health problems, especially those struggling with the effects of being abused as a child. Survivors are not alone and shouldn’t be ashamed of who they are. We are called survivors so that we can thrive and be ourselves”.
The event takes place at St Aldhelm’s Academy, Poole, on March 12th, 11.00-15.00. The ticket price of £12 includes a three-course gourmet meal. All ticket proceeds will be donated equally to Dorset Mind and Acts Fast. In addition to Stacey singing her new single, there will be further music from local artistes Calvin Glenn, Lee Rassle Dove, and Tanya Miller. The impact of child sexual abuse will be reinforced through talks from people sharing their own experiences. Speakers include Paul Scates (senior peer specialist in mental health, child sexual abuse campaigner, and Acts Fast trustee), Sue Crocombe (Acts Fast volunteer and child sexual abuse campaigner) Gerry Jones, Clinical Lead at Dorset Rape Crisis Support Centre, and Stacey’s manager Amelia McCloskey.
The event will be presented by Dr Andrew Mayers, a psychologist at Bournemouth University who specialises in mental health. Dr Mayers also has close connections with both charities, being Patron for Dorset Mind (the local mental health charity) and Chair of Trustees for Acts Fast (the Bournemouth-based charity supporting the victims and non-abusive families of children who have been sexually abused). Dr Mayers said “The link between child sexual abuse and mental problems is clear. A significant proportion of adults with acute mental illness were sexually abused as a child. We also know that around 75% children who are sexually abused go on to experience a lifetime of mental health difficulties. We must all do all we can to eradicate child abuse. I am also determined to help reduce the inevitability of mental illness following abuse. I am honoured to be involved in this unique event, to raise awareness about the impact of child sexual abuse, and to raise funds for two charities that are taking great strides to tackle this problem”.
Anna Windett, a trustee at Dorset Mind said “Dorset Mind is proud to be supporting this event and the important issues Stacey is raising. We are passionate about supporting those with mental health issues across Dorset and campaigning on mental health issues.”
Mandy Gulliver, Director of Services at Acts Fast said “I would like to raise awareness of how much child sexual abuse impacts on the non-abusive parent/parents or carers of the child who discloses they have been abused. We need to say that it is OK for those carers to reach out for support, as they are affected too. We liken the disclosure as a bit like a bomb going off. The shrapnel hits everyone around, including other siblings, and extended family. In many cases also, it can be a trigger of their own experience of childhood sexual abuse, for which they may not have had support. This can have an impact on their own mental health.”
Tickets can be obtained via https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/event/120361. Please note that attendees must be over 16 years of age. Qualified counsellors will be in hand throughout the event to give support if needed.