My name is Rachel and I am 38yrs old and a survivor of childhood sexual abuse.
I came to Surviving Together in February 2007 after a Victim Support worker suggested I give it try to get some extra support.
In November 2006 I finally reported my abuse to the police, I did not plan it and I do not know why I suddenly did it, I never thought I would have the guts to do it but I did. As you can imagine it was hard, I suffered several severe panic attacks and other times I felt numb, one time I was so overwhelmed with pain I cut my arm with a knife, in a bizarre way I was hoping to release the pain and anguish. A lady from the child protection unit was assigned to me and she gradually, over time, took my statement and all the necessary procedures followed.
All different aspects of my life have been affected over the years, I still have unresolved issues and tension with family members and even with myself but over the last year I have gradually started to understand myself and started to slowly stop blaming myself for everything.
My abuse case never made it to court although the police said they believed me there was just not enough evidence, my first reaction was anger, I felt humiliated and stupid but I was not going to let it dominate my life. I had to try and find a way to live with it, I felt I needed to try and find a positive out of everything – if not the abuser wins.
My partner is very supportive and loving and he supported me through everything, whatever I decided he backed me up, my children and him were what gave me the strength to move forward with life. Surviving Together were there for me when the police decision was made, other group members gave me support and it was good to discuss my feelings and issues with other survivors as they can empathise and understand how you may be feeling. I never thought I would or could go to a group meeting. The thought of baring all to a bunch of strangers just did not appeal to me, I thought it would be all doom and gloom but its not. After the first initial meeting I found a unique bond with the other women, we are all there for the same reason and we can empathise and really relate to each others experiences. The staff and volunteers are lovely, they try to help as much as they can and if they cannot help they will someone find who can and point you in the right direction.
My confidence has grown and I am starting to actually believe I am worth something and that I do deserve a nice life. I love helping other survivors move on with their lives, it’s great to make them smile and start enjoying life, as for my past, well that’s where I am trying hard to keep it and thanks to Surviving Together and my family I am starting to appreciate life.