The reason I am writing this and sharing my story, is to show you what can happen if you speak out about sexual violence. You deserve justice for what has happened to you! Rape and sexual assault are so under reported, and it should not be. It is a violation of our bodies, and the perpetrators need to be held responsible.
It can be scary coming forward and seeking support, you may be examined physically, and you may have to face them again in court and relive that awful experience, but you will get justice. You will give other people courage to come forward and this may save someone else going through the same thing. But you may not always get the conviction you deserve. However, if the person does it again, this will be on their record and maybe the next person will be successful in their conviction, all made easier by your earlier bravery.
Unfortunately, I have had a lot of experience with sexual violence. From random harassment in the streets and pubs, through to assault. For me, it all began when I was just 6 years old.
I do not remember the first assault thankfully, but I do remember coming downstairs and telling my Mum that ‘my front bum hurt’ and then disclosing how I was assaulted by a family friend. My Mum called the police straight away and there was an investigation into this. I vaguely remember going to court (mostly remember the big dalmatian teddy that my dad bought me) but luckily, the perpetrator did get convicted. I was not the only child he had molested.
A few years later…
Fast forward to four years later and this time the perpetrator was my mum’s boyfriend. This abuse continued for a year, my Mum did know about it and unlike last time she did nothing to help. I was scared about what would happen every time she left the room as this is when he would take the opportunity to abuse me. The abuse ended when I ran away and went to live with my dad (he did not know about the abuse).
The police were called and another investigation occurred, this time there was no good outcome. He had destroyed all the pictures he took and evidence on his camera and laptop. The abuse he forced me to do did not leave any impact on my body that could be used for evidence; therefore the charges were dropped. Thankfully, due to the allegations I was not forced to go back to my mum and stayed with my dad.
My teenage years
When I was 14 years old and in High school, I had my first boyfriend. A little context for this; a lot of girls in my year were claiming they had lost their virginity and bragged, I also claimed the same even though it was a total lie. I was already an outsider and thought if I told people I’d had sex I would feel more accepted. My boyfriend was aware of this little lie to.
One day, I went to his house to meet him for a date at the cinema, we went upstairs. He started to pressure me into sex, I refused and tried to push him off. He wasn’t much bigger than me, but he was stronger, he continued to push me onto the bed and tried putting his hands into areas I was not comfortable with. Eventually, I managed to completely push him off me and ran outside.
I’m not sure why I did this, but I still went on the date with him! I waited outside until he was ready and went to the cinema. I did break up with him shortly after and it wasn’t until several years later when I reflected on this that I realised what had happened to me and what could have happened. I never reported this to the police as years had passed before I realised it was even assault.
Although the things I have experienced were terrible, I don’t regret speaking out and seeking help. It is really important that whether you decide to report to the police or not, that you get professional help and support. Bottling up these kinds of emotions can have devastating effects on your physical and mental health, impacting you in later life.
These experiences had an impact of my mental health and I sought out counselling. Speaking openly about these experiences helped me process what happened and regain my confidence.
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This website was developed in collaboration with North West Police Crime Commissioners, NHS England, and Sexual Assault & Abuse Services.
The North West SAAS Partner Network (Strategic Direction for Sexual Assault and Abuse Services) is led by NHS England and covers Cheshire, Merseyside, Cumbria, Greater Manchester and Lancashire.