Back at Wildfire, I managed to corner two of the lovely ladies from RACPA (Rock Against Child Pornography and Abuse) and flung a few questions there way about the charity they work for. RACPA is one of several charities we’re more than happy to support here at Moshville Times. If the name doesn’t explain why then I’m sure the details below will do so.
This is RACPA’s ten year anniversary. What made you start it all in the first place?
Ten years ago I was working on a project involving children who’d been abused. I’m a translator by profession and that was how I ended up being involved. It really got to me. Even ten years ago, talking about the subject was a big taboo – it simply was not done. We talked openly about HIV, about lesbian, gay and transgender issues, about people suffering from depression… so how come we can’t talk about the impact that sexual abuse has on children and adults later on? We have to break this silence and encourage people to talk about it, to come forward and seek help.
You have various ways for people to get in touch. What are they?
The first way is via our website through confidential email. You can ask for help seeking a counsellor, for some information or just for someone to talk to. You can then talk to our counsellor by instant messaging, by phone or Skype. That’s all down to the person seeking help. We can also be reached by facebook or twitter.
We also have our information van which travels around. We have a confidential area in the back of the van where we can sit and close the doors, and we can chat one to one. We can tell you about internet safety if you’re a parent with worries – online grooming, how to keep your kids safe on the internet, how to make your child strong against bullying, grooming and so on.
Over the last ten years, how many people would you say you’ve helped?
We are a small team of eight people including one counsellor and one therapist, so I can give you quite an accurate figure for that. Over the ten years, we have helped 319 people. We’ve seen them through, for example, court cases. When a paedophile is brought to court, the family of the victim need a lot of support to help understand what is going on. We guided them through it and helped them find other therapy in their area.
Is there anything you’d like to be able to do that, at the moment, you can’t?
Just to reach more people. Be invited to more festivals and events like this one. We are 100% volunteers and the way we finance the costs, such as petrol, is via our knitted products and donations. We can’t use the donated money to pay for entry fees to festivals and so on so we rely on being invited. As much as we all work, we can’t afford the entrance fees! If they want to invite us we will happily turn up with our van!
As the banner days – we don’t want money, we want change. We want to make it that victims feel comfortable coming forward, that they don’t have to carry it all on their own.
What events have you covered this year?
We were at the beautiful Uprising Festival in Leicester. That was an amazing event. We spoke to so many people which was fantastic – the whole point in being there, spreading the word. Cosmic Puffin, Mersey Islands in Essex, Noize Level Critical Rockin’ For The Children in Nottingham who supported us from the start, Rickmansworth Canal Festival, The Alton Teddy Bear Festival which was really different and amazing!
We’ve a few more planned for this year including Beermageddon. We’d love to be at these things every weekend if we didn’t have to worry about our paid jobs! We spend every spare minute working on RACPA and we’re available to talk to for twelve hours every day. We’d love to be 24/7, but who knows what the future will bring?
We have to say that the support we have from people in the rock and metal scene is absolutely outstanding. They’ve adopted us and the invites are fantastic. We’re having a little event in Nottingham for our tenth birthday and we’ve had so many bands volunteer their time to come and play. It really is heartwarming – I’d like to use this interview as an opportunity to thank each and every one of you who has helped us over the last ten years.
What’s the maddest thing anyone’s ever done to raise money for you?
We’ve had people shave heads, one person ran a marathon. There was a chest wax at a fiftieth birthday party last year – ow! The one we appreciate the most was the boy who trained for a half marathon for us and got injured before the event. He then walked the half marathon on crutches. Absolutely amazing! Anything people do for us is appreciated, no matter how crazy or not!
Things like this keep us going. Working with victims can be quite daunting, but just one person coming up and saying “You helped me. Thank you” makes it all worthwhile. We’re not experts, but we want to break the silence.