On the build up to a ground breaking documentary such as Raped: My Story you never quite know how the general public will feel and react to a taboo subject as this. Personally I didn’t quite expect the overwhelmingly positive reaction that we received.
Wednesday 22nd November came round quicker than I expected. All of a sudden it was there sat on my doorstep waiting to be let in and show the world what it had to offer. I woke up with a controllable amount of anxiety as I prepared myself for the day ahead, I couldn’t help but look at my phone with little to no intervals to discover what people where saying about all of us featured in the documentary. I believe this to be my minds way of keeping control of the situation; self-care is still by far the most important part of any survivor breaking their silence.
Some sloppy journalism from one publication early doors knocked our team back a few steps but fortunately this was recovered by a couple of exceptional pieces published later in the afternoon. It was at this point, with a few hours till show time that our group chat rang to the sounds of family. Although we had been brought together for the wrong reasons, we soon knew that we would be staying together for the right reasons. A group of people that have still never met, coming together with the hope of changing the way our society addresses an issue that affects a sizable proportion of our population, supporting each other through the national coverage of what will have once been our deepest darkest secret.
I never expected to be sat in my lounge with my mum looking at television staring back at my own ugly mug. The surreal experience of seeing yourself along with the millions of other people tuned in to Channel 5 is something that will stay with me forever. During the first advert break I thought I was living in an aviary, tweeting sounded from every direction with hashtags changing hands like a Frisbee at a picnic. The whole nation had given us their backing, their support and their blessing to begin to talk… talk about something that they had so often avoided.
Lambent Productions and Channel 5 had given us a stage, a platform to share our story in a bid to help others and for that I am eternally grateful. Even in the days that pass I see messages from people seeking support for the first time or finding it in themselves to engage in conversation with their family. This is something that can only be described as magical. Thank you.
The group chat with my fellow survivors and the reaction from the general public shows me that the world is beginning to change. We are beginning to understand what rape is, who’s at fault and what affect it has on the victims. Although this is still only the beginning we can now feel that within our lifetime we will reach the end. People pull together through shared experiences, natural disasters and unthinkable acts of terrorism… why? Because they understand how one another is feeling, what they need and what they have been through. This is why survivors of unwanted sexual experiences stand together. With more programmes and conversations on this topic we will become more educated in this area as a population, which in return will enable us to support those who need it most.
People are afraid of the unknown and who can blame them? So, what’s the answer? Make it known.