Show cover of CIS'ters' podcast- Hidden Harm

CIS'ters' podcast- Hidden Harm

CIS'ters supports women survivors of sexual abuse, by a family member, occurring when they were girls. We are a peer support charity and help women from all over the UK with information, support and knowledge from personal experience. We also help professionals and other supporters of survivors with information and training. "Hidden Harm" Podcast channel contains a series of podcast sessions, aimed to help survivors and those who support them, living in the UK. If you need support, please email us: or call 023 80 338080


Ep 1 Introducing CIS'ters
Opening Podcast for the Hidden Harm series. How it all began.  Peer support for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Support women who were abused as girls. Website address:
07:06 03/08/2021
Ep 3 Hurdles to telling about abuse as a child.
CIS'ters works to support adult women who were sexually abused as girls and many of them did not disclose when they were children. We talk through how difficult it is for children to tell someone about abuse they are experiencing or have experienced. What the common barriers are to telling about abuse. Website:
14:08 03/22/2021
Ep 4 Disclosing as an adult.
Often childhood abuse is not talked about until an event triggers the abused adult into telling someone that they were harmed.  Over many years, CIS'ters have gained a wide understanding on the topic of disclosure. From those who have disclosed or who are working to towards a disclosing to e.g. a partner, friend or family. We have supported women who have disclosed or who are about to tell someone. Here, we talk through the issues and difficulties faced and the decisions our members face. Website:
14:24 03/29/2021
Ep 5 Telling Partners, Family & Friends.
CIS'ters provides emotional support for females age 18+ who, as female children, were sexually abused within a family environment. Within this podcast we explore situations that might arise whereby a victim/survivor might disclose to partners, friends and family. There are different approaches to take but the right of the survivor to choose what they disclose, when and to whom are really important points.  Information is available on website – we also deliver training for professionals.
15:21 04/04/2021
Ep 2 What do survivors talk about?
Learning about what issues people have that bring them to CIS'ters. Overwhelming feelings and emotions. Ways of living with early repeated trauma. Outcomes of early life trauma and seeking alternative ways of being. Website:
07:28 04/09/2021
Ep 6 Disclosing to your family of origin
CIS'ters provides emotional support for females age 18+ who, as female children, were sexually abused within a family environment. Within this podcast we explore issues linked to disclosures to members of the family ‘of origin’. We offer insights into how to approach such a disclosure if this is something that the victim/survivor might choose to do, as other family members may well have their own agenda and/or perception of the abuser. Information is available on our website – we also deliver training for professionals.  
08:36 04/11/2021
Ep 7 Coping Strategies
CIS'ters provides emotional support for females age 18+ who, as female children, were sexually abused within a family environment. Within this podcast we explore issues linked to strategies that might have been adopted by child victim/adult survivors as part of coping with emotional distress. Information is on our website  - we also deliver training for professionals.
10:51 04/18/2021
EP 8 The pressure to forgive?
CIS'ters provides emotional support for females age 18+ who, as female children, were sexually abused within a family environment. Often victim/survivors are told by others that they need to ‘forgive’ the abuser in order to move on . This podcast explores the meaning of the word and whose need is being met when there is pressure put on the victim/survivor to forgive. It is made clear that forgiveness is a personal choice, and it is ok not to forgive. Information is on our website  - we also deliver training for professionals.  
10:17 04/25/2021
Ep 9 Loss (Newly recorded version.)
Loss through the eyes of survivors. NEWLY RECORDED VERSION Within this episode we explore the ways in which victim/survivors of sexual abuse experience ‘loss’ as both a child and into adulthood. Such losses are unique to individuals and are not only multi-layered but will evolve and change as time goes on. Being able to recognise and name losses can be helpful and although not able to change the past, it might be possible to access new opportunities linked to a specific loss e.g. education.
07:30 05/02/2021
Ep10 Collaborative working
CIS’ters is survivor led but also demonstrates the benefits gained from collaborative working with others, including professionals, who have skills and knowledge that are helpful to both the organisation, and to the wider agenda.  This podcast introduces the current Chair of Trustees, Samantha and how her contribution is helping to empower those within CIS’ters at a strategic level.
08:27 05/09/2021
Episode 11- The Power of Music
Music and particularly the role of songs have a powerful part to play in helping victim/survivors to improve their emotional resilience. This podcast highlights the way in which music and song can be harnessed to give us the energy that is needed at times to be able to move forward, a step at a time. Track list: "Step by Step" by Whitney Houston "Rise Up" by Andra Day "This is Me" from The Greatest Showman Motion Picture by Benj Pasek & Justin Paul "Proud" by Heather Small "Something inside so strong" by Labi Siffre
10:10 05/16/2021
EP12: Isolation through the eyes of survivors.
Within this episode we explore the ways in which victim/survivors of sexual abuse experience a sense of isolation. Emotional isolation can be a result of the need to self protect as a child and then into adulthood. It is a way of maintaining silence and the fear of judgement. Whilst you can connect with others within a crowded room, emotional isolation means you might be unable to embrace the warmth of others. Please listen and share!
11:44 05/22/2021
Episode 13: Learning something new.
Learning something new "Moving forward" for a victim/survivor of sexual abuse as a child, entails an element of learning something new. Of letting go and finding new opportunities of "being" and of living. But learning new brings additional vulnerability and perhaps taking risks. This podcast explores these aspects. Includes insights into our CIS'ters "journey" with developing PODCASTs.
09:52 05/29/2021
EP 15 Self Neglect and Self Harm
Within CIS'ters as survivors we recognise that survivors can often neglect areas of personal care and that many use self harm as a coping strategy.  This podcast explores the issue of self neglect, and how it can compares/contracts with topics such as self harm. It takes time to recognise the way in which we neglect our personal needs and the pathways that can help.   Further information can be found on our website, including areas such as Self Harm >  
12:24 06/13/2021
EP16: CIS'ters Response- Report Abuse In Education
Within CIS’ters we have highlighted, with other charities, for many years the existence of escalating sexual abuse/rape/exploitation/harassment within our schools. The Department of Education has funded a dedicated NSPCC line for pupils  to report abuse in schools, and during the period 1st April to 7th June a total of 426 contacts had been made. Of these, 366 related to sexual abuse, exploitation with references to harmful sexual behaviour and peer abuse. Whilst the scale of the experiences of young people in the education sector is shocking to members of the public and to government officials, it is a sad reflection in that the news was not shocking to us, but an evidence of what we had feared and knew to be the case. This podcast explores the context of sexual abuse being experienced by pupils and what needs to now happen to change both behaviours but also educate not only children/teenagers and educators, but also the public as well. A further reality is that having sought the voice of the child to express their experiences, there are insufficient specialist resources to meet the demand should children and young people seek help.
14:36 06/20/2021
EP17: Domestic Abuse
Domestic Abuse For those sexually abused as children there is a heightened risk of re-victimisation as adults. This podcast explores the topic of Domestic Abuse and the ways in which this can occur, including coercive behaviours. Often victims of domestic abuse do not recognise the situation for what it is until much later and the abuser will use techniques such as gas-lighting to further confuse the victim.   Further information can be found on our website  
09:16 06/27/2021
Ep 18 Complex emotions when an abuser dies
In this episode we explore some of the complex issues and feelings that can arise when an abuser dies or is dying. As survivors all of our experiences as children are unique. This, and the family we grew up in, affect how we will feel and behave when an abuser is dying or has died. In addition, issues include not only the abuser, but other adults within the family and the extended family who might have known or suspected but failed to adequately protect the child (emotionally or physically.)
09:41 07/04/2021
EP19 The Survivors Trust
Introducing Fay Maxsted, the CEO of The Survivors Trust. Learning about what the trust does, how it came to be and the continuing work of the trust in supporting survivors.
14:35 07/11/2021
Ep 20 Reflections on the past few months
Producing podcasts has been a new venture for CIS’ters and in this episode Gillian reflects on recent months, and what else is happening within CIS’ters. If you would like to know more about CIS’ters and the peer work we undertake, please visit our website  
05:10 07/18/2021
Ep21 Counselling and Therapy
In this episode we explore what it is like to go into counselling, as an adult survivor of sexual abuse during childhood.  This approach can help many individuals to explore painful aspects linked to their early life experiences, and the impact it has had on them as adults.  More often than not the successful outcome of therapy can depend on it being the right time (for the client), the right model of therapy being used, the right therapist (in that the ability to form a therapeutic relationship is key) and the final element is where to access therapy. CIS'ters signposts to services in Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.  We hope that you find this podcast helpful in choosing if this is the right time, and how to access therapy.
13:10 07/25/2021
EP 22 Mind Your Language
In this episode we explore the impact of the way in which others might discuss sexual abuse and the impact that this can have on a victim/survivor.  Members of the public/work colleagues/others need to be more aware that inappropriate conversations, such as workplace banter, can create barriers to disclosure or appear to condone such abuse. We hope that this podcast will help raise awareness that it is not ok to make jokes about sexual abuse; and that this can also give abusers the mistaken belief that such abusive behaviour is acceptable – when it isn’t.
09:51 08/01/2021
Ep23 Trauma and Physical Health
In this episode we explore the physical health conditions that can arise from trauma during childhood. More information on this link can be found on our website under the heading of ACEs. We hope that this podcast will help highlight the link between the development of some physical health conditions in many victim/survivors – and the early trauma they experienced.
08:39 08/08/2021
Ep 24 Abusers can be female
In this episode we seek to explore the increasing reality that not all offenders are male – that there are female abusers too. A topic that is often overlooked as it is counter to the belief that females are the nurturers.  We hope that this podcast will raise public awareness and that how individuals respond to such disclosures needs to be receptive and not create additional barriers.
07:14 08/15/2021
Ep25 Institutional CSA Cover Ups
This podcast highlights a recent report issued by the Independent Inquiry into CSA into how abuse has been covered up within faith communities. This report is just one of many issued by the Inquiry ( which is due to finish in 2022.  Part of the Inquiry is THE TRUTH PROJECT which is where victim/survivors can provide a verbal or written account of their experience of sexual abuse during childhood, including how and where an intervention could have taken place, or if it did why it failed.  The Truth Project is closing on 31st October 2021, so time is running out for anyone who wishes to choose this route to disclose what happened to them. The public fail to appreciate that there is no legislation that requires institutions to report their suspicions or knowledge of CSA. If there had been mandatory reporting, then all of the organisations that failed to seek appropriate help for children and to report the offender within their institution, would have committed a crime by not reporting it. This means that IICSA can only be critical of their failings and make recommendations. We are hopeful that one of the final recommendations by IICSA in 2022 will be the introduction of Mandatory Reporting. For more info on this specific topic look at
08:19 09/05/2021
This podcast talks about ISVA's. Who they are, what they do and how to find one. If you have a situation involving recent or non recent sexual assault or longer term abuse, contacting an ISVA allows survivors to make informed choices about whether or not to report and what future steps to consider, whatever their decision.  To find out further information on contact details for ISVA's please see this link from the survivors trust.  
13:29 09/13/2021
Ep27 You Think I Am Alright, You Are Wrong
In this podcast we reflect on the difference between recovery and resilience, the latter being a more tangible target. The topic includes aspects of trauma and the impact on emotional well-being including suicidal thoughts and also on physical well-ness.  The masks that many victim/survivors wear can create barriers to receiving help, not least because resilience as a presentation can be misleading.  If you are in a dark place emotionally and not sure that you can continue please contact either the Samaritans and/or your GP. You are not alone.
07:35 09/19/2021
Episode 28- ACE's
Episode 28 – Adverse Childhood Experiences This podcast explores the issue of ACEs and how important it is to build resilience in children and adult survivors.  Plus signpost - but our key message is that no one should be stigmatised by the number of ACEs they have experienced as a child. The focus is on how resilient individuals are, or can be helped to be.  Some adult survivors are incredibly resilient and others less so – understanding how to improve resilience is the focus, as children and as adults. Our next podcast is on something called The Window Of Tolerance and these two episodes are linked.  
17:29 10/03/2021
Ep29 Window of Tolerance
The Window of Tolerance is a idea developed by Dan Siegal. He suggested we all have 3 key states.  There is the optimum layer, where you are able to exert self control and everything is manageable. This is the like the middle layer of a sandwich.  The top of the sandwich is where you are very hyped up, buzzing, out of control. The lower layer is where you feel zoned out, withdrawn maybe numb. If you have a large optimum layer you cope better in life and do not easily zoom into the over stimulated layer or fall through into the zoned out layer.  This podcast explains the WOT in detail and ways of increasing your optimum layer.
12:13 12/20/2021
Loss (a revised & re-recorded version of the original episode 9)
Loss is a concept explored with the different perspective of the survivor of sexual abuse in mind. Clever insight into the experiences of loss, the differing circumstances and ways forward are discussed.  If you would like to know more, please see our website:
07:48 12/27/2021
The Power of Music (a revised and re-recorded version of episode 11)
When you are finding life heavy going, it can be a good idea to put together a play list of uplifting music.  In years past, this may have been on a CD. But all sorts of technology can be brought in here, from smart speakers to phones, spotify through to amazon music. Everyone has different tastes in music, but for this sort of of activity you need to find music that has a purposeful beat and meaningful words.  This episode introduces the listener to the concept of warrior music to help survivors of sexual abuse, but also anyone who has experienced trauma. 
10:10 01/03/2022