Christchurch, New Zealand.
Thursday March 11 1993.
Mothers of abuse victims to air feelings on radio
by Anna Dunbar
sexually abused children- are also victims, slays a Christchurch woman who will host a radio
special on the issue this weekend.
Ms Kolleen O'Donoghue did research on support systems for mothers of victims
as part of a Christchurch Polytechnic course in 1991.
The five women Ms O'Donoghue interviewed for the report "It Ruins
Lives", all said they wanted the opportunity to be heard and
Mothers were also victims when a child was sexually abused, Ms O'Donoghue
The issue needed to be brought into the open not only to help victims but
also to help others to help them, she said.
"Often families and friends want to help but don't know how to. Often
the mother herself does not know what she needs."
The title of the radio programme, "942 Million Emotions", is taken
from a quote from one of the two mothers interviewed for the special.
Ms O'Donoghue said that when the woman was asked what she needed after she
learnt of the abuse of her daughter, she said, "When you are in that
state you are frozen because there are 942 million emotions happening, I
couldn't even think what I needed".
The women, who have changed their names to protect their identities, talk of
the emotions experienced, ranging from guilt to anger at the abused child.
She said the more this issue was talked about the more the shame was broken
"The shame is a big issue. We have to learn not to feel shame for being
Ms O'Donoghue said she hoped that the programme would help mothers to take
strength from the knowledge that they were not alone.
She said the children received counselling and were helped by society, but
often the mothers and other family members* did not receive help.
The 45-minute "Women on Air" radio special, on Plains 96.9 FM, at
10am on Saturday, will be followed by an open-line talkback. The talkback
telephone number is 340-0969.
Two therapists will join Ms O'Donoghue for the talkback. Child Helpline and
the Support Network for Mothers of Sexually Abused Children will have extra
staff on their telephone lines over the weekend.