We were delighted to receive a call out of the blue from the Whistlestop Cafe in August. The cafe at Teignmouth Railway Station hosts a weekly night for local bikers and holds a collection each week. We'd never had any contact with the Whistlestop or bikers before so it really was a surprise to be told they'd raised £120 for us.
We're not an obvious charity to most people because rape and childhood sexual abuse are difficult topics to talk about and it's often easier to focus on "fluffier" issues like animals!
It's remarkable to us when a group of people step up and deal with the issues face-on; it is certainly what survivors of sexual violence tell us they want.
We were presented with a cheque for £120 by Gus who works at the cafe and the owner was keen to talk about why Devon Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Services was chosen as a charity to support.
Melissa Middleton, who has run the Whistlestop for 15 years says that the charity recently helped a friend of her hers. She added "I was also helped by the original rape crisis service in Exeter, over 17 years ago. It's a life saving service and a life-changing service and it really helped me to stop pretending to cope and to move back on with my life. The help I received back then helped turn me from a victim into a survivor and I'd really encourage anyone to come forward and ask for support".