Rape is serious. Abuse is serious. These events do not discriminate against age, gender, race or ethnicity. It can happen at anytime in life, within a school, a family, at an after sports club or a random attack that is completely out of the blue. These are all different situations but none the less important or painful. Any form of emotional, mental and physical abuse is equally traumatic and can leave a mark on a persons life and future.
For many years, I allowed my attackers and the events to shape my life. I felt worthless, unlovable, unclean and a broken person that could never be fixed. Due to the attacks, I lost my voice believing that no one would believe me and my attackers continued to control my mind. The emotional torment on my mind has left the biggest mark, even though no one can see the effect in my head. I describe them as invisible ghosts which float around my mind everyday, continuously haunting me but go unseen by other people. It has been my mental health that has held me prisoner for so many years. I have hope in my heart that one day I will be free.
I found the first words the most daunting to say, to acknowledge what happened without reliving the memories through my flashbacks. The pain I felt was like an avalanche had engulfed my body, suppressing the air to my lungs, to be able to express the words which bounce of the walls with the room and having people listening to your words. Their eyes flicker and then open until there is nowhere for the tears to go, so they fall down their cheeks. Then, the relief starts to come back into my life but the magnitude of my words has caused a waterfall of pain and dismay to the others in the room. The guilt hits me once again and my mind thinks back to when I was younger and free. I go into my own world of protection, where I am safe for a moment until I am brought back around with the sound of crying and the next course of action to take. This is where it became complex and terrifying the arrests of the individuals which I was unable at the time, the contact with the school, contact will laws and police. Then, my family and mine life became consumed with trying to get me justice but this came at a physical, mental and emotional cost to us all.
Sadly, due to the events people spend years in silence, taking years to talk about the abuse they endured. I felt ashamed and alone with my trauma. There needs to be more transparency within the media, in the school system and in all areas of society. I feel as a society we feel uncomfortable acknowledging that these horrible events take place in the open and free society we live in. For instance, I was talking to a distant family member the other day and I briefly explained what I experienced at school in my teenage years. I mentioned the words rape and abuse, their response shocked me by saying 'was it that serious?'. This negative experience made me question whether I should keep honestly and openly sharing my story. For the last couple of weeks I have questioned whether things will ever change or will I kept hitting dead ends.
Deep down I know change is happening slowly but we mustn't forget that every survivor matters, every survivor should be listen too equally.