A woman who grew up in a Bucks town said she was 'overwhelmed' by the response to a campaign she launched to grow awareness of the shame that stems from childhood sexual abuse.
Emma-Jane Taylor, 51, who grew up in Marlow and attended Spinfield School as a youngster, arrived at the mantra that "being abused as a child was not her shame" in 2021 as a way to reclaim her childhood, rather than letting it be defined by a sexual assault.
She shared the sentiment on social media, writing: "I am not afraid to say that I was sexually abused as a child. I was just a child, it isn't my shame" and the post quickly gained momentum, with other survivors encouraged to share their stories under the hashtag 'NotMyShame' and Emma-Jane got a first taste of how the campaign might help people on a larger scale than she could have imagined.
The movement didn't truly take off until June 2023, however, when Emma-Jane posted a photo on Twitter, wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the slogan 'NotMyShame', which received over 21,000 lights and over 2,000 retweets.
Alongside the photo, she wrote: "As a 50-year-old woman, I finally feel strong enough to stand up without shame, fear or embarrassment stuck to me like leeches.
"I have turned the tables and can confidently say (that) being violated/mistreated as a child is not my shame."
Reacting to the influx of engagement with the tweet, she added: "I'm genuinely overwhelmed by all the messages I've been reading today.
"My wish is that this campaign grows stronger, that we turn the tables on a matter than often gets let out of 'chats' because it is too dark, awkward and depressing... just not half as dark, awkward or depressing as it is for the child or survivor who is desperate to find a way to live their life and feel better."
Not only did Twitter users from far and wide want to share their stories under the 'NotMyShame' hashtag but demand for the slogan t-shirts was so great that Emma-Jane set up an online shop, with all profits going towards her self-founded charity Project 90/10, a non-profit with the goal of eradicating child sexual abuse.
Since going viral online, Emma-Jane's campaign has continued to move from strength to strength, collaborating with charities from the USA, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, among others, and being mentioned by Pakistani actress Nadia Jamil at a United Nations meeting.
A private Facebook group was also set up after the outpouring of responses to her social media posts and comprises over 100 members supporting one another from around the world, regularly organising meetups and safe spaces for fellow survivors to come together and connect.