Interview by Mohsen Fayyazi
My guest, this time, is an absolute angel with a heart of gold and invisible wings. She is a guardian, protector and a brave woman who wants to stand up and shout against an evil issue; child pornography. Carmen Mayes is one of four founders of Rock Against Child Pornography and Abuse UK (RACPA UK), which is an impressive charity indeed. It was created in 2007 to unite and awaken all rockers and metallers to be the tongue and speakers for those that Carmen called nameless victims.
I believe it is our duty, as humans, to join and help RACPA UK and similar charities, to protect and save children who are ignored or not heard by the media …etc. I was honoured to have an interview with Carmen recently, so please follow me by reading the interview (below) if you are interested to know more about RACPA UK. Maybe you would like to join them as well.
Would you introduce yourself and tell our readers about yourself please?
Thank you for giving me the chance to introduce myself and our work to your good readers/listeners.
My name is Carmen Mayes, a translator by profession, a child protector by passion and mother of an adult son. I am one of the 4 founders of the charity Rock against Child Pornography and Abuse UK (RACPA UK – charity registration no. 115 1556 – http://www.racpauk.org)
Can you tell us more about RACPA, the goals and the process?
When RACPA UK began in 2007, it was in response to the lack of awareness, understanding, support and help that surrounds the whole subject of child pornography and childhood sexual abuse. It is almost a taboo subject, not one that can be openly discussed, not one that people know how to respond to, a subject so horrifying that it is easier to believe that it doesn’t happen that often and certainly not to anyone that we may know personally. It happens in other places, to other people, never on our streets, our estates, in our suburbs. And when you come across the stories in the media, they are distant, removed. And of course, the victims remain nameless, faceless statistics.
We asked…what about those victims? What is being done for them? Are they being found, rescued, protected…being given the help and support that they need to heal? We know what happens to the abusers, that there is therapy, support; help with moving back into society…surely the victims get that as well? Sadly, we found that the answer to that question is no.
So our goal became to speak up for them, to make people aware of how devastating it is to be a victim of child pornography or sexual abuse, how it can destroy a life completely, or at the very least leave scars that may never heal.
RACPA UK work is based on 3 pillars:
Awareness and Education
Help for the victims
How did you find out that you wanted to set up RACPA? What are the particular reasons or story behind it?
It all began back in2006 when I translated a study for a university dissertation about the effects of sexual childhood abuse.
Once I had read and began to understand the scale of the problem and how little is been done to help the victims, I knew that I had to get involved and find a way to show support and help the victims of these terrible crimes.
I was soon joined by Beth Samways, a qualified counselor, who has worked with victims and together we set up RACPA UK as a victim based organization to raise awareness and bring about change.
Can you describe the relation between RACPA and the rock and metal music industry? And can you tell me how was/is the feedback from musicians, artists, managers, journalists and fans?
Since the very beginnings of RACPA UK we have had a great working relationship with people in the industry, management promoters and bands. They have always seemed to understand why we felt that music was the universal language that everyone listened to and was touched by, so our use of music to promote our work was something they all felt they could get behind. We have built firm and lasting friendships among the rock and metal community over the years and the support they have offered us on so many levels has been overwhelming. People come to RACPA UK gigs to not only have a great time, a brilliant musical experience, meet up with old friends and make new ones, but to show their support not only to us but to all the silent victims of abuse. We know that everyone involved is 100% behind our work that they all have a wonderful time no matter what capacity they are attending in…and that the support and solidarity they are showing to victims is priceless…because we hear from those victims who are overwhelmed to find that so many people really do care about them, their needs , and their rights.
Have you ever tried to work with some international NGOs like UNISEF or others?
No, we have not (yet) but would of course be interested in meeting, learning and discussing our aims and goals with other organisations around the world. Child Abuse and Exploitation happens in every country around the world, it happens in all walks of life and it needs to be addressed on a world wide scale !
What’s your and RACPA plans for the future and how do you see RACPA in the next 10 year for example?
After 6 years of hard work and fundraising, we have just bought our Information Bus,
fitted out with an area for IT ..where we can demonstrate internet safety…offer advice on parental guidance software…safe and educational sites for children…and share our tutorials that are being specifically written to cover as many aspects of cyber safety as we possibly can…and also with a private area where people who may need more confidential advice can come..have a coffee or tea…and just be listened to…a first port of call for those seeking help. Our long term goal ultimately is to establish a safe house, a place where victims in immediate need can come and not only be safe, but also find all the therapy and support they need in order to begin the slow process of rebuilding their lives. We will also incorporate a drop in centre that can be used by anyone seeking advice or information on any matters concerned with the issues, and a craft café where you can relax, enjoy the company, maybe learn a new skill….and just feel safe in a great supportive atmosphere.
Thank you so much Carmen for giving me your time, feel free to leave a message to the MSF readers here.
We would like to use this opportunity to thank you and every single person who has listened and learned about our work, who has supported us in so many different ways, from handing out a leaflet, to reposting posts on social platforms, from buying a wristband or our t-shirt, who have attended gigs and festivals that were organized to raise awareness and funds for our work. We need every single voice we can find to stand with us, to stand up for those who cannot do so for themselves: the victims !
Please do join us on Facebook, Twitter, Myspace and should you wish to read more about us: here our website: www.racpauk.org.
I wish you and RACPA success and I hope many more people join to co-operate in this great job!
Thank you again so much for this great opportunity to introduce our work to your readers and listeners ………….
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