If you know me at all, you know that I have for many years longed to make a difference in this world and have been actively and vocally advocating for change, especially when it comes to vulnerable children and adults.
So, when last week, NSPCC approached me as a blogger and invited me to be part of their Underwear rule campaign, I felt hugely privileged to be allowed to use my public voice to raise awareness about such a sensitive topic like keeping children safe from sexual abuse.
I will start this post by saying that as a young girl raised in communist Romania, I consider myself extremely lucky to have had two very near sexual abuse misses.
One occurred one hot summer day, when I was visiting my mum in the hospital where she worked. I don’t know where my brother was that time, we usually did everything together and I am sure, his presence acted as a safety shield many times from sexual predators. But this time, he wasn’t there, my mum’s work place was hot so I went outside for a bit of fresh air. I remember this young guy approaching me, he was no older than 16, I assume, and asking me if I wanted the special pen that he had dangling from his neck. I loved stationery even then and the lure of a new pen(yes, it takes THAT little!!) made it worthwhile in my head, to accompany him down some dark steps.
My “luck” was that he walked in front and not behind me. Something spooked me. And I had a change of mind, fast legs and a presence of spirit that was uncharacteristic to a young child.
I ran to safety.
I even placed the darn pen on the steps for him to find and retrieve, I didn’t want anything from him!
I didn’t know but somehow, I suspected that something horrible was going to happen to me if I walked a step further.
What I wish to have known is PANTS, the Underwear Rules that the NSPCC is trying to make parents and carers aware of: