“It started when I was 10 years old, but all I could think about was protecting my parents.”

Growing up on a farm surrounded by animals and nature in rural New South Wales, René seemed to have an idyllic childhood. But all that changed when her parents’ marriage broke down, and René’s mother started self-medicating with alcohol.

A revolving door of men followed, punctuated with regular violence.

From the age of 10, René was sexually abused by many of the men who entered her family home. Even going to sleepovers with friends led to more sexual abuse.

Will you please donate this Christmas to help survivors like René?

Yes, I want my money to help!

Encouraged by her mother, René started drinking alcohol at 12. She found comfort in drinking herself to oblivion, which made her even more vulnerable to her abusers.

René wanted the pain to stop. Aged just 10, she tried to kill herself. But the abuse continued.

At ages 17 and 19, René attempted suicide again. The last time, she left a note. Even then, she was fiercely protective of her parents and didn’t want them to know. Sadly, many other survivors of childhood sexual abuse share René’s story.

To give them your support, donate now. 

They can count on me

The horrific truth is that every 9 minutes, a child is abused in Australia.

1 in 6 girls and 1 in 10 boys will be sexually abused during their childhood.

Childhood sexual abuse often goes unreported, or it will take on average 20 years for a survivor to tell anyone about it.

It’s hard to hear, but it’s time to listen.

Your kind and generous gift this Christmas will help provide vital support and services at the point where adult survivors are ready to tell their stories. Please, will you donate today?

Yes, I will donate to help survivors of childhood sexual abuse!

René grew up in a world of chaos and instability. She relied on alcohol to numb her pain and help her cope. As an adult, she chose violent partners who controlled her and often found herself homeless. René could thrive under pressure and was often quickly earmarked for promotion at work. But the legacy of her trauma made her run whenever things got too hard.

“It wasn’t until I had my kids of my own that I realised things had to change,” says René, “I had to break the cycle.”

“I went to university while holding down a full-time job and being a single parent to my two children.”

Will you show people like René you stand beside them?

Yes, I will donate to help people like René!

Survivors like René often suffer from physical, emotional and psychological issues their whole lives. René was always sickly. She suffered bouts of chronic bronchitis, severe stomach issues, and would fall in a heap at the sound of any loud noise. She had terrible insomnia and slept with ‘one eye open’, hyper-vigilant due to everything she had experienced.

The Stepping Out Program provides services to adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse in New South Wales, including social inclusion programs, workshops, housing assistance, and case management to help people get back on their feet. Your donations help us walk alongside people like René, supporting them to live their best possible lives.

Funds are urgently needed to continue this vital work.

Fund vital Stepping Out services

René says of the Stepping Out Program, “They’re amazing, their services are accessible and approachable. Often, it’s difficult to find agencies to help survivors, but the Stepping Out Program are there when you need them. They provide assistance with expert counsellors with ‘lived experience’, so they can relate to survivors.”

At 46, René is a true survivor. Today she has goals and dreams just like everyone else. She is in a loving, committed relationship and has written a book about her experiences. She is the proud (and sometimes overprotective) mother of two children who have escaped the cycle of abuse. “They won’t be a statistic like I was”, says René, “They’ve grown up to be wonderful, sensitive and caring people. I couldn’t be prouder.”

René is a proud Ambassador of the Stepping Out Program because she knows we are making a difference.

René wants people to start talk more openly about childhood sexual abuse, which is often shrouded in secrecy and shame. “I want people to know that there is help, there is hope. As a survivor of abuse, you do matter”.

In the spirit of Christmas, will you please give hope to survivors of childhood sexual abuse and donate now?

Thank you, and wishing you and your family a safe and happy holiday season.

Warmest wishes,
Pamela Brown
Chief Executive Officer, Stepping Out Program

P.S. If you want your donation dollars to do more for survivors of childhood sexual abuse simply hit the button below. Thank you

Donate today!
“But I am here to tell you, you are not broken, you are not faulty and most of all, you are not alone.”
-René Michele