James Rhodes

James is backing our drive to help tackle child sexual exploitation as part of our Seriously Awkward campaign. The Children’s Society is calling on the Government to make amendments to the Policing and Crime Bill, to provide 16 and 17 year olds who are victims of this crime or at risk more protection.

James has published a book, Instrumental: A Memoir of Madness, Medication and Music, which includes his own personal story of sexual exploitation as a small child when he was abused from the age of six for five years.

James says: ‘I was a nervous kid, shy, eager to please and be liked, a sensitive boy, awkward and slightly apart. When I was six years old I was raped.  It turned my childhood into a war zone filled with danger, threat, terror and pain. I went, literally overnight, from a dancing, spinning, gigglingly alive kid who was enjoying the safety and adventure of a new school, to a walled-off, cement-shoed, lights-out automaton. It was immediate and shocking, like happily walking down a sunny path and suddenly having a trapdoor open up and dump you into a freezing cold lake.

That’s why I’m supporting The Children’s Society and their campaigning and practical work to help children and young people who are at risk, or victims of child sexual exploitation. Their voices need to be heard by people who can truly understand what they have been through. Being heard, being met with belief, understanding and compassion, feeling safe from judgment, criticism and blame – these things are the keys to rebuilding trust and starting the healing process.

Feeling able to come forward and speak out safely has never been more vital for those who, like me, have had the trauma of child rape thrown onto them and, by proxy, those who love them. So please, I’m urging you to support the astonishing, life-enhancing work The Children’s Society does every day.’