Child sex victims not forgotten
ROBBIE GAMBLEY would rather be known as ‘the bloke who nailed a sexual predator.’
He doesn’t want people to feel sorry for him or to see him as a victim because of the sexual abuse he suffered when he was 15.
For 20 years, the sexual abuse by his science teacher was kept a secret.
On December 6, Mr Gambley will unfurl a knotted blue ribbon in a church service in Casino to acknowledge adult survivors of sexual abuse.
The knotted ribbon represents the emotional knots that survivors must untie to deal with the abuse they suffered as a child. For Mr Gambley, untying the ribbon is symbolic of his victory in convicting his sexual perpetrator.
Church services across the country are honouring Forget-me-knot Day, during a month long celebration to remember family, friends, and loved ones
It will be the first time Father Geoffrey Bradford, of St Mark’s Anglican Church will conduct a service for adult survivors of child abuse and the first time a service like this has ever been conducted in Casino.
“Through the service, we can achieve public acknowledgement of people’s pain,” Father Geoffrey said.
“Let them know we walk beside them with love.”
Mr Gambley will share his story at the service, but speaking publicly about the abuse is not easy, he said.
It took him a year to write his book The Devil’s Hand that Touches Thee. It was only in 1996 that he was able to tell a social worker about the abuse.
The social worker told him that he wasn’t the first victim and he wouldn’t be the last. This prompted Mr Gambley to go public after thinking for 20 years he had done a ‘dirty, bad thing.’
Susan Leith-Miller, executive officer of Adults Surviving Child Abuse said many survivors still suppress what happened. “Many people do not survive child abuse. Scratch the surface of suicide and many have been abused,” she said.
Involving churches in the campaign helped survivors with a faith based response, she said.
“We wanted to give the churches the opportunity to come on board for those people who use their faith for recovery ,” she said.
The Casino services will be held on December 6 at 7am and 9am.