What you’re about to read may be upsetting but it needs to be said.
When I was only thirteen years old I was sexually assaulted on the 8th may 2000. Today I write this exactly 18 yers later aged 31.
I see so many people arguing about if they’re victims or survivors, does it really bloody matter? Some people don’t make it out the other side get drawn so deep into depression they can see no way out. Some people move on and push it to the back of their minds. In my head we are both victims and survivors.
It’s a terrible thing to happen to anyone and people don’t talk about it enough. So let’s discuss it, it’s raw it’s filled with emotion it’s awful in every possible way.
The person that attacked me wasn’t known to my family but his family were. I was an innocent child had so much going for me he changed that in a matter of minutes.
I have blocked a lot of what happened out and I’m not ready to bring it to the surface, but I strongly believe if it was talked about more it would happen less.
On the 8th may 2000 I started the day as a typical teenager I went to school I came home I chilled with friends and played outside with my siblings.
At around 7.30pm I went from my mums passed next door and up the alley way (note how close to home I was) as I always did to see my aunt and uncle walked passed the park and he was on the swing, some little kids got me with water guns and I was more bothered about that than the strange man sat on the swing with no children in sight. I got to my aunts the other side of the park and when I went to leave my uncle asked to walk me home, it was 8pm, a three minute walk and still light. I was a teen I didn’t need anyone to walk me home. Things would have been so different if I had paid more attention to the man in the park and let my uncle walk me home. I knew best I would be fine, I was wrong. I walked back he was still sat there, I ignored him he came out and started following me I got to the top of the alleyway walking fast at this point. Then bam he grabbed me from behind, I couldn’t get out I even tried to wiggle out of my School top in the hope I could get loose, I couldn’t. The full details I’m not getting into here, I just can’t I’m not ready even 18 years on. He threatened to stab me if I screamed and did horrific things to me. I cried and gave up fighting, what was the point. My brother and sisters bikes were at the bottom of the alley. I will never forget my sisters face when she came to get her bike, screamed and ran to get my mum. She was only 11 and had no idea what had gone on. I remember her little face so scared, so upset and traumatised, she will never get rid of that vision and I felt so sorry for her. I was thrown on the ground and the next few hours are a blur of not being allowed to shower, despite wanting to shave my skin off, being in pain, having police around me unaware of what they’re even saying to me, people counting and measuring bruises, examining me in places no thirteen year old should ever be examined. I remember being taken to the police car and my dad pushing a police officer and just running up the alley way. There was nothing anyone could have done no matter how hard they tried. Parents of teens can only protect them so much. Young people need to be aware of the dangers and use their own observation and assessment skills. The same skills I took for granted that day, the day I became an adult unwillingly, the day that changed my life forever that 18 years on from I’m still not over, but one of the many days that made me who I am today.
It far from stopped there, the nightmares, the sleepless nights, the pain, the flashbacks the bruising the fear of everyone and everything. I was accompanied everywhere my friend becky, a security guard, devoted her time to me, trying to get me out of bed and out of the house, I left school I couldn’t cope with the rumours.
As I got older I rebelled I couldn’t see the point in being a good person anymore. I was broken truely broken. My teenage years were filled with self harm, rebellion, foster care, eating disorders, social workers and innaceptance. I went through counciling until I was 20, yes 7 years. In my late teens I turned to alcohol to take it all away. I straightened myself out and got a job infact two, things were looking better.
At 21 I had my first child, a girl I didn’t want a girl I was scared of what she may one day go through despite my every effort to prevent it, (yes I know buys go through it too) At 23 i had another girl, I got post natal depression my flashbacks more prominent now I don’t want to leave the house with my children I can’t, I cannot take them out into that awful world. I was an awful person in my mind for bringing them into it, it’s dangerous they’re never going to be 100 percent safe. Six months after having my second baby. I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, anxiety disorder and depressive disorder after trying and very nearly successfully to take my own life. I went through more counciling, I have limited memory of my childhood, my councillor said it’s because my self protect mode is on and has blocked it all out. I can’t tell you my favourite films as a kid, nor foods, I can’t tell you about holidays we went on because it’s just not there. I can tell you one day, just one day has severely affected my entire life.
One thing I do remember is one day I went into my counciling trying to accept what had happened. She said she thought it would be beneficial to write a “don’t send letter” this is a letter where you write to the person and tell them exactly what you think and feel about them, how they have affected your life. You know what I did? I surprised myself, in it I wrote how I felt sorry for him, how I was grateful it was me and not my sister or another child, how he has made me a better person, how I knew he would never apologise, but I didn’t expect him to. How he was clearly mentally unstable and I hoped he got better. My councillor was surprised she said it wasn’t normal I should have been angry, swearing and telling him I wanted him to die, but I didn’t, I just wanted to be free from him. Everyday I still felt like he had hold of me and wouldn’t let go. I still feel that some days.
Now sitting on my stairs, my 4 girls at school, my heart racing, knowing I have plans today but fighting so hard to make myself go. I spent years locked in my house, my eldest girl was scared of swings because I couldn’t walk into a park with her for years for fear of who might be there.
Three times I’ve been in whiteness protection because he’s escaped parole. In March 2012 he went missing, I got a phone call “pack your stuff you’re moving” from the police. Two children at home and one in intensive care. How the hell was this even allowed to happen. I had two days with police outside my house and to pack essentials before being moved to an area I didn’t know, I had not friends and miles away from my daughter in intensive care and my mum who lived in the next road. I was moved to a house and it’s lovely, but there are alarms everywhere on all the windows and doors. A few years ago I got a phone call and the police told me I had to move into a safe house, my children were collected from school, I had to have a police escort to do so, had to pack a few emergency bits for my daughter as she needed medical equipment, chris had to come home from work and off We went, with the kids, we had one room, weren’t allowed to even tell our parents where we were. Weren’t allowed to go out nor the kids go to school. Locked away again until they found him. This will continue he comes out of prison again soon and the last time he was released he reoffended and he wont stop.
My entire life will be lived this way. But it’s made me who I am today, I wouldn’t change it. I still struggle to get out of the house on my own and taking the kids to the park is always a worry and probably always will be. The last couple of years though I’ve been getting stronger, strong enough to write this, strong enough to put a smile on my face every day and go to work, strong enough to do the School runs by myself, I passed my driving test a couple of months ago and am getting out more. It will never ever leave me, it affects the way I love, the way I live, the way I parent my children, the way I form relationships everything. I don’t want sympathy, I don’t need it, it won’t help me only I can help me. I want understanding, I want education for our children. I want people to understand yes it’s a hard subject, but if it’s not spoken About and taken seriously it won’t reduce.
I want people to realise it’s not something you can just get over and it does happen to people that don’t think it will. I want people to know it’s ok to speak up, it’s ok to speak about and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. People need to understand it could happen to anyone at anytime and no one is exempt, there is no age limit, it happens to people of all sexs and ages, and there is so much you can do to prevent it happening. Obviously I’m not saying it never will happen because there will always be awful people in this world, some closer to you than others, but awareness is the key to prevention. Speak up, speak out.
Please educate your children and yourselves.