I never thought I would be in a place to write an honest letter to the attackers. I always hoped I would get to a place where the abuse and rape didn't define or affect me to a level where I was unable to engage in the world around. This day has come where I have finally let go of the past. I am not a victim. I am a survivor.
Dear Mr Morgan - Thank you. Thank you for being the person who verbalises what we think everyone else is thinking, but too polite to say. Thank you for telling me I wasn't raped, that it was, as I sometimes think it might have been, all in my head. The CPS didn't prosecute him, so according to you, it didn't happen. Thank you for absolving me of that memory, which years of treatment for PTSD, whilst helping me with the PTSD, hadn't managed to remove. Oh, and also, thank you for confirming that I didn't have PTSD either, not having been in a war, I could know nothing of what PTSD is - it was all in my head.
We've been raised in a culture where the man is supposed to be the provider. The pre-defined gender roles that have existed forever, seem to continue today and as a result we think that we know our place in society. We are to work. We are to build a family and to provide for them. But what happens if we can't do that?
From the outside the a mental health condition is invisible to the eye, hidden deep inside a person's brain. Nobody can see the internal battle that an individual has to face every single day. It is not a choice. It becomes the individuals normality a life with routines, patterns, rituals that have to be done to keep the anxiety at bay.
When I was first diagnosed, I became extremely withdrawn. I hated being touched, hugged, or shown love because I felt I was unlovable, unworthy, unclean, and frightened. This was even with my own family. My mum continued to support and hug me even when I would push her away. A simple hug makes all the difference, this allowed me to grow to trust and love again.
I am glad that I have now come to terms with grieving for what my birth could have been, with the healthy baby I could have had. The fact of the matter is I didn't have those things. I still gave birth, my child did come home, I am still a mother but to a heart warrior who I wouldn't change for the world.
Bravery comes in many forms. We need to be brave enough to admit that some battle wounds are the invisible ones we carry every day, brave enough to seek help and no longer suffer in silence, brave enough to admit that more needs to be done in terms of NHS mental health funding, or brave enough to lead the way in research and technology for future therapies.