Hide Site Donate


You can find further poems and feedback from our Members in our Newsletter

Poems have always played a huge part in healing or moving forward. These poems are read by survivors to provide inspiration or written by survivors as an emotional release.

Our newsletter includes poetry and we encourage our members to submit items for the newsletter or for us to include on our display board (internally or at public events).

The content written by a survivor moves with them along their journey – evolving and changing. It can sometimes feel when rereading items written some years ago as if it was by a different person, ‘Did I really write that?’.

Here are some examples:

Is it an ending, or a new beginning?

As I break away from

My timeline within, and of, CISters


29 years ago, in 1994, came the 

Breakdown as the cavernous

Black hole opened beneath my feet

And the horror of my childhood

Was finally laid bare


From that debris came the birth

28 years ago of CISters

i.e. Childhood Incest Survivors

A group I set up, out of the pain and anguish

where I could meet and be

Inspired by other females, like me

Who had been sexually abused/raped

within families.


CISters saved me

And has taken me on journeys

Otherwise not travelled

To Chicago, the windy city

At a conference of 500 survivors


To London on rallies

Marching from Marble Arch to Trafalgar sq.


To Richmond House, the home

Of the Dept. of Health and NHS


The birth of The Survivors Trust

Providing an umbrella to voice

And hold, the needs of our fragile



To parliament, the home of our democracy

To meet politicians who 

Met us across divided parties

And vowed they cared

Some did and acted upon our sorrow


Those with lived experience met with

Theresa May, Vera Baird,

and Sandra Gidley plus other MPs

And the concept of IICSA was born


Out of the heartache of so many

across England & Wales

IICSA began to unravel the secrets

Long hidden from society

Of how victims had been cast as Liars.

Now a mountain of truth for all to see.

Of how such evil crimes

Had been covered up, to save the reputation

Of faith communities, sports associations,

Social care, and so many more.


We sought, and still do, to help others

Understand the nuances of certain words

Of actions

Of triggers

The past is the past, but is still of today

Affirming history can never be rewritten


For me,

A growing physical dependence on others

For health care and an ever

Increasing loss of personal 



A reality is that the battle

Has still not yet been won

And never will

Each day more children,

Join the queue of victims


The personal torment is less

But, still, torn and dishevelled

The hurt lingers at times

Of how words can be cruel

Touch still ignored if consent

Not asked for, or given

Of brutal silencing tactics

A visible reminder of

The Jekyll and Hyde

Existence of countless abusers

Who preyed on fragile childhoods

And remained unseen ever after

As they stroll with their

Invisible cloaks intact


My personal future is invested in the hands

Of others

Of females I have not yet met

Of males, as men

And women and men who announce

That they are transitioning


My fragility, my increased emotional

Vulnerability, is ignored


Year 2023 = Once again

I am silenced with brutal force

A repeat of my childhood

When it is not ok,

To say,

It’s not ok.



BEING A SURVIVOR - By Abigail Robinson, extracted from the book 'The Memory Bird' -  ISBV 1-85381-859-3


What did I learn to survive, as a child and into adulthood ?

What am I learning now, to live my potential ?

To put other people’s needs first;

To put my needs first;

To make myself invisible;

To be aware of myself;

To blot out intolerable realities;

To be present with my whole reality;

To efface myself;

To assert myself;

To merge with the identities of others;

To experience my boundaries;

To become the occluded soul;

To connect with and earth my spiritual self;

To leave my body;

To stay in my body;

To internalise my anger, transforming it into fear and guilt;

To feel and externalise my anger;

To cut off from my fear, sadness and self-love;

To feel and express my fear, sadness and self-love;

To doubt myself;

To trust myself;

To doubt myself in relation to others;

To trust myself in relation to others;

To avoid intimacy;

To risk intimacy;

To disconnect from and distrust my sexuality and sexual boundaries;

To know and trust my sexuality and sexual boundaries;

To put myself down, to denigrate my life and my achievements;

To celebrate myself, my life, my achievements;

To act out of self-hatred and a desire to destroy myself;

To act out of self-love and a desire for fulfilment;

To live in chaos, seeking perfect control, too afraid to act, fearing I would experience total powerlessness;

To live in order and chaos, seeking a balance, trusting in my own power and open to the flow of life;

To see life as a series of crisis to be got through, to see pleasure as guilt ridden, unreal or untrustworthy.

To see life as an evolutionary challenge, to celebrate each day with love, rest, fun and spiritual connection.

Keep Well (Era 0f Covid-19)

With this virus going down

And there’s no-one around

When you’re all alone

Staying in your home

Remember we are all in it together

It won’t last forever 

A big thank you to the N.H.S. for all their help   

Thank you to everyone who helps

I want to shout

Stay at home and keep well

Even if it feels like hell

If you need help there is help out there

Young or old, other people do care

Sister’s my thoughts and love is with you all

But together now we need to stand tall.

CIS’ters’ Member Rosemary (1484)

How Do we Thank You?

To the workers in shops, who help keep us safe when filling our trollies

And to those restocking the shelves and others who drive lorries

To the teachers and school caterers who support the vulnerable

To the carers in homes and hospices, who look after our loved ones

To the many who deliver our post and our newspapers

And those that empty the bins and sweep the streets

To the police responding to calls and keeping us safe

To the ambulance drivers and armed forces

To the army of volunteers helping to support us

Not forgetting, ever, those working in Covid-19 hotspots.

To the politicians and local councillors who praise us all

And social media contributors keeping hope in our hearts

But not the ones who constantly chip away at failures

Like newsreaders. Plus tell me what the hell has happened to

Eamon Holmes – as they increase our despair not helping at all

And a massive thank you to my friends and neighbours

Who have helped me know that they are there

If I need them now or again in the future

There are no words that are a big enough

Thank you.

Together we are a large team

A community

A band of warriors

Thank you

To us all


Gillian, CIS’ters, 14th April 2020 (era of Covid-19)


If the Mountain Seems Too Big Today

If the mountain seems too big today

Then climb a hill instead


If the morning brings you sadness

It’s ok to stay in bed


If the day ahead weighs heavy

And your plans feel like a curse

There’s no shame in rearranging

Don’t make yourself feel worse


If a shower stings like needles

And a bath feels like you’ll drown

If you haven’t washed your hair for days

Don’t throw away your crown


A day is not a lifetime

A rest is not defeat

Don’t think of it as failure

Just a quiet, kind retreat


It’s ok to take a moment

From an anxious, fractured mind


The world will not stop turning

While you get realigned

The mountain will still be there

When you want to try again

You can climb it in your own time

Just love yourself til then


A massive thank you to Avril (43) who found this on the net

and sent in to help us all manage another day………

Now – there are no longer 100s

Now – there are 1000s

Of survivors

Speaking out

Being heard

The tsunami of change

Is upon us

It is full of voices

New ones


Those that

Are decades old

Still saying

This is our truth

This is the truth of children,



Please help them

Please help us

Voices – echoing across the land

Though not always in harmony

And sometimes




Voices – echoing across the land

(Gillian - Written 2017)

It takes time

For us to speak

It takes time

For us to trust




It takes time

For you to understand

To appreciate

The fragility of a child

A child that is powerless

Despite what YOU say

What you think

Children are unable to stop abuse

Only you can do that

The adult survivor

The friend

The parent

The neice

The neighbor

The work colleague

The teacher

The doctor

The person

Who stands and sees

And before, turn away from the truth,

It takes you, and us, to stop the abuse

(Gillian - Written 2016)

Because it does.

It matters, because you stole what was

Only mine to give

To the right person

At the right time.

It matters, because

You hurt me, not just physically

But emotionally too.

It matters because what you did to me,

Affected how I saw myself

And how others saw me too.

It matters because of what I was denied

Then and now.

It matters – and don’t let anyone,

Least of all you

Think that it doesn’t.

It matters that today

Children are still unseen and unheard &

That Judges and the law of the land

Blame them for what others

Have done, to them.

It MATTERS – and it always will!

(Gillian - Written 2009)

Friends Lost

Friends Lost

Faces turned away

The truth too difficult to hear

Perhaps own secrets locked

Not wanting to disturb

Eyes cast away, not meeting mine

Shuffling feet, moving body away

From mine, for fear of

Contamination, of being too close

Lest the stigma will stick.

Friends gained

Nodding heads

Hands reaching out to clasp

My shaking hands

Empathy, respect, Belief.

Courage to disclose

Courage to accept the truth

Me as i am now and then

Friends support and with that

Strength. I move on.

(Gillian - Written 1996)

How Could You?

How could you

Rape me,

Abuse me,

Deny me my innocence ?

Smug look, knowing smile,

Taunting me,

As I grow from child to woman.

Secret safe, power game,

Waiting for the next generation

To play this game.

Not me, not mine.

I cannot capture

The power to confront you openly

But score points in any way I can.

Deny the children

None are borne.

Safe is the unborn,

No energy wasted in watching,

The safety of any child of mine.

(Gillian - Written 1996)


Integration happens at night

Memory and feelings unite

in the dark shadow of

drifting light, as day drifts into night.

No need to recall

the memory is clear

previous, elusive, feelings

clamour to be near.

Interrupting the calm of knowing

but not feeling

until my nerves become

stretched to breaking.

Terror, child like fear

irrational and uncontrolled

no recognition of the passing years

of then - is now - again.

Awake sweating, feeling the touch

of his hot clammy hands upon

my breasts, thighs, secret places

hot breath, smelling of whisky

whispering foul into my ear.

Tears, silently falling

like acid running down

my cheeks

eyes sore, red rimmed

silent witness

to my pain, endured.

Years, days, hours - then, now

is it a dream of the future

from a child

or of the past, as an adult

integration happens at night.

Invading my peace

allowing no sleep

only restless tossing

turning, weeping.

Integration happens at night

recognising now, the childs plight

of years.

Courage, reality, the price is high.

The cost is heavy.

(Gillian - Written 1994)