Trigger warning- Sexual violence and abuse.
Please do whatever you need to in order to look after yourself, including skipping this post entirely if necessary.
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This story came pouring out of me after another week of listening to survivors of abuse blame themselves, and not the perpetrator.
I hear it far too much.
It happens far too often.
And every time I wish with every fibre of my being that I could take it all away.
But it doesn't work like that.
All I can do is create a safe place for them to tell their stories. I can listen. I can respond with empathy, without judgement. I can ask gentle questions, so that hopefully, one day, they can believe what I believe: the fundamental truth that it was absolutely NOT their fault. And I can write stories.
Sexual abuse and violence changes a person's story fundamentally. And we live in a culture that all too often twists the narrative until somehow, incredulously, the victim becomes the one who is questioned and blamed. Do you know how difficult it is to change that narrative, when it's been repeated over and over again by the media, by police, by their own loved ones? Some days it feels impossible. But with the right support, people can heal. They can reclaim their story. To know they are, in fact, survivors. To know that what happened to them is just one part of their story, and that THEY get to write the rest.
So I wrote this story for them, for you, for me.
For the ninety seven percent.
It was not your fault.
If you are here to support survivors, thank you for all you do.
If you are here as a survivor, I believe you, and I believe in you.
For more information and support please see the links below:
NHS help and information