July 12th, 2024

By coming forward, Alice Munro’s daughter sheds light on childhood sex abuse: experts


By Nicole Ireland, The Canadian Press on July 8, 2024.

The organization Alice Munro's daughter credits with helping her heal from childhood sexual abuse says her courage in speaking out sheds light on an issue that doesn't receive enough public attention. Munro attends a ceremony where the Royal Canadian Mint unveiled a silver five-dollar coin in honour of her Nobel Prize win, in Victoria, Monday, March 24, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

The organization Alice Munro’s daughter credits with helping her heal from childhood sexual abuse says her courage in speaking out sheds light on an issue that doesn’t receive enough public attention.

Andrea Robin Skinner shared her story of sexual abuse by her stepfather starting when she was nine years old – and the pain inflicted when her mother chose to stay with him anyway – in the Toronto Star.

She wrote that her voice was finally heard decades later at The Gatehouse in Toronto, a volunteer-driven agency dedicated to helping survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

The agency’s executive director Maria Barcelos says it’s unfortunately quite common for parents of abused children to dismiss the trauma their child shares with them as an adult.

Barcelos says survivors face a culture of shame and often don’t know where to find support.

She also says survivors of childhood sexual abuse are more prone to attempting suicide, suffering from anxiety and nightmares, developing eating disorders, using drugs and alcohol and being in dysfunctional relationships.

WHERE TO GET HELP:

If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, call or text 988. Support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

If you are in crisis call 911 or your local distress centre.

The Gatehouse can be reached at 416-255-5900, ext. 222.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 8, 2024.

Canadian Press health coverage receives support through a partnership with the Canadian Medical Association. CP is solely responsible for this content.

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