I felt like I had no good reason to feel what I did

I was seven when my abuse started, it carried on until I was fourteen. It doesn’t seem that long, but time was immeasurable while it was going on. I remember waking up from a nightmare one night and telling myself ‘If I can survive it while it’s happening, I can survive it when it’s over’ but I was so wrong. It was almost like I had lost all reason to feel the way I did, when it was happening I could point to the people who hurt me and say, ‘That’s the bad thing, that’s what’s causing me pain’ but after things ended I felt like I had no good reason to feel what I did so my guilt and self-blame just expanded.

I ended up talking to someone in my school and her duty of care was to pass it on to the safeguarding officer and eventually the police. I remember having the police turn up at my house in a van, I guess I went into panic mode and exactly what I was trained to do, I denied everything and told the police that I had made the whole thing up. I had my family, the police, the school and the person who I trusted the most to tell, believe that I had lied about it all.

I think that was the hardest thing I ever did, so I decided to tell the truth. Still not sure whether everyone believes me or not, but to be quite honest, that’s not important, what’s important is that things are moving forward. Something that this experience had taught me is that sexual abuse transcends race, religion, and social class, it’s something that can be the breaking or making of you.

-Alice, Survivor