Below is the introduction to a podcast on the theme of ‘strength in adversity’ that I recorded in January 2021 for the brilliant ‘What We Read Now’ series hosted by Jenny Wong, which is available on YouTube. The podcast features a selection of my poems exploring the strength that children who are being subjected to sexual abuse find within themselves each day, to survive.

The podcast is part of the longer programme with L.Kiew, Tolu Agbelusi and Serge Neptune. I have included the Youtube link, should you need to see the poems captioned as this is not possible with an audio recording.

Please be aware that the podcast responds to my experience of being sexually abused in childhood, and may be triggering for some people. I have tried to handle the material as safely as possible. The podcast lasts for 15 minutes. If you need support with this topic, the Mind website has valuable links.

Introduction by alice hiller: Thank you for inviting me to read.   When I was first asked to work with the theme of strength, I was daunted.  None of us is feeling that strong right now.  But I realised that keeping going when we are feeling daunted, or defeated, is where strength comes in. 

Two days ago File on Four, on Radio 4, ran a landmark programme about women who sexually abuse children.  This was my experience between the ages of 8 and 13, when my abuser was my mother. It has led to my work to change awareness around this crime.

Sexual abuse, perpetrated by abusers of all genders, has tragically flourished under lockdown conditions.  I have therefore created a reading, which I hope will help all of us connect with children who are being subjected to this crime currently, and adults like me making their lives in its aftermath [continued on audio link].

Audio Link to podcast by alice hiller on strength in adversity here.

Link to Youtube Video of ‘What We Read Now: Strength’ here.

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