‘If you tell anyone, it will incriminate us both.’

My name’s Siobhan Pyburn, and I’m a survivor of child sexual abuseI was born in Southampton to an Indian doctor mum who was hardly around and an Irish father who was around too much. When I was 15, during a moment where I numbed myself to what I believed would be the horrific consequences, I told my mum that Dad had been molesting me since I was about 6 or 7 years old. In that moment, my life took an entirely different path. William Pyburn was convicted and then sentenced on 30 April 2007 at Southampton Crown Court of 13 different versions of sexual assault against a child… though the actual frequency of incidents was much more. He was sentenced to three years imprisonment, but didn’t serve the full amount.

I started helping other survivors through sharing my story and writing when I was 17. My life’s purpose: to support those who have endured child sexual abuse, to speak up about this sadly taboo issue and to find ways of making the system better for vulnerable children. I dig deep into my own experiences for this purpose, and because I remember how lonely and isolated I felt, not too many years ago when I was a child, too. I thought I would never ever EVER tell anyone. At first, it was incredibly difficult for me to speak, but once I’d spoken, and felt heard – then the words wouldn’t stop. 


Cosmopolitan feature in their 10/2010 issue

‘I just wanted to let you know that speaking to you helped me more than you could know… your words and advice were a big reason I got up every morning, still helps me to this day. So I just wanted to say thank you. Eternally, thank you.’ – Natalie, CSA survivor

When a single survivor can talk about what happened to them, then they play a part in dismantling that isolation for ALL survivors. I truly believe that, and know it to be true. From there, we can begin to improve things for the next generation. Let’s hear it for more peer-led support services for young people, better training for healthcare professionals based on real survivor experience and child protection processes that are written in a language that everybody can understand.


Speaking at the NHS England Conference on Child Sexual Exploitation 2016


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