Eva came to us aged nine years old from a very volatile, unstable background. Her mother, Ruth, had moved the family away from an abusive home environment to a new area so they could start a new life for themselves. Ruth had received counselling as the direct victim of the abuse to help her recover from the impact of the experience. However Eva, who was not directly abused herself, received little support.
After the move, Ruth wanted a new start for her and her daughter, and believed Eva had forgotten all the memories of the abuse she had witnessed. Eva would try to hide her emotions but for her teachers it soon became clear within the school environment that she was very troubled and deeply traumatised by her experiences. For example almost daily she would need to be taken out of her classes in floods of tears caused by the memories and fear she was holding onto.
At first Ruth insisted that her daughter had no recollection of the devastating events. However once Eva was given the opportunity to have her voice heard she revealed the true extent to which the memories were still haunting her. Eva was afraid that the perpetrator would turn up any moment and abduct her, as he had done once before to frighten her mother.
Despite being physically safe from the abuse, without support Eva would continue to have a deeply troubled and traumatised childhood, unable to process the thoughts and emotions about what she witnessed. As a result Eva’s school arranged for her to take part in our MySpace course.
In the group, she was given the opportunity to be heard. She was very vocal and responsive during the group and clearly showed the need to discuss, process and understand the negative experiences she had endured. At school she had felt isolated and alone but through our group work she was able to develop new friendships, build connections with other children who had also been through similar experiences, and learn the tools and strategies that would help her cope better in the future.
Our MySpace group aims not just to explore the issues of witnessing domestic abuse during the 12 week programme but to make a long-lasting impact. The group has made a radical difference to Eva’s life. She no longer needs to be taken out of classes in tears and is much more settled at school. Since the group has finished Eva has made vast improvements in her character, becoming a more confident and happy child, looking towards a brighter future.