Saturday, 5 July 2014

Please Don't Suffer Alone

The recent trials of Rolf Harris, Jimmy Saville, and Max Clifford have left me thinking about my own experiences. The first time it happened, I was a naïve teenager and the police, despite their obvious concern, made me feel like I was the criminal. It didn't help that the case was dropped thanks to the real criminal's friends and family giving him an alibi.

Because of it, I made myself as ugly as possible. I refused to play the “Skinny is pretty” game. My wardrobe, even now, consists mainly of band shirts and jeans. I rarely wear make up. I turned to drink and drugs to mask the pain and darkness (Been clean for 10 years in August!). In all, I've subconsciously wanted to blend into the background and make myself as invisible as possible.

Over the years, it's happened several more times. Random men grabbing and groping and thinking it's okay because, you know, no woman is going to report it because no one's going to believe them. And, if they do report it, they'll either be made to feel like a criminal, the case will be dropped, or they'll have to dredge up memories they really don't want to dredge up. It takes a strong person to say “Yeah, I'm happy to go to court, see my abuser again, and be cross examined by a bunch of people who think that I'm lying”. Because, if I'm frank, it's a really fucking harrowing experience and can set back any recovery by months, if not years. We always say that it's men assaulting but, unfortunately, women can just be as bad as men. The pain and agony is no different if the sexes are reversed.

It happened again recently to me and, while I won't go in to details, it was enough to leave me shaken up and crying. As one friend said, “You're a tough cookie, so this has got to be bad for you to be this nervous”. I didn't want to call the police. I didn't want to face the questioning and the doubts and the feeling that I was the criminal. I didn't want to feel like I was the one being accused of something because I'd dared to report someone who'd done something wrong. I didn't want to feel like I was wasting police time because, as the news likes to repeatedly tell us, they're doing more policing with less money.

But I had to do because what if the next girl wasn't so lucky? What if she couldn't run? Or something else happened?

However, this time the police outdid themselves. They were supportive and kind and, for the first time in a long time, I felt as though I wasn't the one under suspicion. Faith in the police = restored.

If you've been through something similar and feel that you can't report it, please know that you can. Policing has changed a lot in the last few years and there are specially trained officers and support personnel. They'll accompany you through the whole process and make any time in court easier. You'll be able to give evidence without even being in the court room. Please don't think you have to keep it quiet. Tell someone, anyone. There's phone numbers you can call if you feel like you can't talk to family or friends. My email address is in the contact page of this website. Please don't suffer alone.

National Child Abuse Helpline: 1-800-422-4453
National Domestic Violence Crisis Line: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
National Domestic Violence Hotline (TDD): 1-800-787-32324
Center for the Prevention of School Violence: 1-800-299-6504
Child Abuse Helpline: 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453)
Domestic Violence Helpline: 1-800-548-2722
Healing Woman Foundation (Abuse): 1-800-477-4111
Child Abuse Hotline Support & Information: 1-800-792-5200
Women’s Aid National Domestic Violence Helpline (UK): 0345 023 468
Sexual Abuse Centre (UK): 0117 935 1707
Sexual Assault Support (24/7, English & Spanish): 1-800-223-5001
Domestic & Teen Dating Violence (English & Spanish): 1-800-992-2600
Rape Crisis England & Wales: 0808 802 9999 1(open 2 - 2.30pm 7 - 9.30pm) e-mail
Rape Crisis Scotland: 08088 01 03 02 every day, 6pm to midnight

Full list of support phone numbers (including suicide, drug and alcohol abuse, LGBTQ, and others) can be found here:


  1. Well done for reaching out, well done for reporting it and well done for being such a fantastic source of support for so many. I am so sorry you have had to suffer this again. xxx

  2. I'm so sorry that this happened to you, not once even but twice. You are a lot stronger than I am. I went through something similar when I was younger, a teenager. I didn't go to the police because I knew it was my word against his and even when I did try to tell ppl I thought I could trust the response was not what I had hoped so I never said any more. No woman should ever have to go through this.

  3. Last year I was raped for the second time, I could not fight nor run. I live in a very small and reasonably close community so have kept it between me and the person that did it. I have written evidence. The rape was bog standard in terms of what is was, it was the stalking and creeping that got me. It finally over and I see what a naive fool I was to put up with that crap for so long. Whatever piss poor excuse you're offered it is just that. If you can report. Do.

  4. Rae, your strength to talk about your beyond-words-horrid experiences of sexual abuse are admirable. You have given others the courage they need to stand up to their attacker and get something done! Gosh, so proud of you and send you a cyber-hug, my dear love, n x

  5. Rae, I am sorry to read this. I just want you to know that you are supported, thought about and cared for by me and all your friends. I am sorry you went through this but I am heartened that you are strong enough to discuss it, deal with it and - as usual - feel duty bound to help others. Take care, the Queen of Steam. Your friend, Wiz. xx