‘The damage is catastrophic’: When childhood trauma becomes a life sentence

Illawarra Mercury

Rachel Browne
30 Mar 2017
The damage inflicted by childhood abuse is lifelong and catastrophic but support services for victims are “grossly inadequate”, a royal commission has heard.

Shelly Braieoux told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse she still suffers decades after allegedly being abused in a religious organisation.

“Being a survivor of sexual abuse is like being in a lifelong invisible war,” she said.

“If the scars of sexual abuse were visual I’m sure I would be in a wheelchair with missing limbs and horribly deformed with burns and scars.”

The 45-year-old mother of four has ongoing physical and mental health problems including depression, anxiety and panic attacks.

“Even though we may have physically survived, we have been sentenced to a torturous life sentence full of unnumbered battles,” she said.

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