2020 has ended!

Thank God 2020 has ended. I can’t honestly say its been the worst year of my life…because that was last year. This year has been so hard for so many. But we have all stuck together and gotten through it!

2020 will go down as one of the most depressing years of all. Whenever the television was switched on, it was case after case of Coronavirus and then death after death. So many loved ones lost to this horrible virus. In some cases this brough people together and in others it caused a divide. I want to talk about the pros and cons lockdown had on people, including myself. This year has been a massive challenge especially for peoples mental health.

My lockdown didn’t start off great, because I found out that my church at time knew my abuser was working in another church and said “its not their job to protect other people”. So I stood up for myself and all the other girls at risk. I left the church as that was the last straw. Then they sent an email stating I was not allowed to go there and my friends were not allowed to talk to me…..BUT the abuser and his family were still allowed to attend! Let that sink in! While all this was going on they were preaching about mental health and being there for people. Not only were/are they covering up sexual assault they were being hippercrits. The toll it had on my mental health was seriously bad. To this day I don’t know how I go through it. But thats why I am never going into an Elim church again!

The pro’s of lockdown

1. Taking time out before burning out. – I found that when we went into lockdown I felt a lot of pressure and anxiety come off my shoulders. My brain and body had time to relax and calm down. I wasn’t on edge, and anxious about bumping into my abuser and his family and friends. I finally felt safe staying in my home knowing they couldn’t go out. (This I know wasn’t the same for everyone).

2. Spending more time with loved ones- Alot of people don’t get to spend alot of time with their loved ones due to commitments like work. The lockdown has given them a chance to spend quality time with their partner and/or children. Making new memories that they might not ever had the chance to make.

3. Protecting others- We did what we were told and stayed in and protected the NHS and others around the country. This act showed how selfless humanity can be.

4. Taking up hobbies- Lots of people found new hobbies during lockdown. I always found it amazing when looking at social media to see what new activites people had found. For example: Writing, Horse Riding, Completing online degrees, Drawing, Knitting and lots more. How amazing is that espcially when some where new life skills!

5. Dicovering the amazing Dr Jessica Taylor!- Dr Jessica Taylor released a book during lockdown called “Why women are blamed for everything”. It is to help other women and girls who have gone through sexual violence. I have read this book and it is amazing! It opened my eyes to other oppertunites and other ways of thinking. It is a massive help and I would recommend it getting it. It also allowed me to discover Victim Focus he organisation, which I believe every survive of abuse would benifit from visiting online.

6. Finding closure of some sort- Some people like myself were able to find closure to past trauma and problems. I managed to find a new,safe, loving church and managed to stand up for myself to my old one. I worked on myself through lockdown with ALOT of self care and it really paid off. I know their are alot of people out there that focussed on self care and I am very proud of the them. If this is you, know that I am very proud of how far you have come.

These examples were only a few pros that lockdown had for some of us. Maybe you can relate to all of them or maybe just one. For some Lockdown had more cons then pros. Below will be a few examples of these.

The Con’s of Lockdown

1. A rise in Domestic Violence- If you have never experienced any type of violence/abuse then you are very lucky. Some people however during lockdown were stuck at home with their abusers. Normally home is a safe place for people. But if your in a domestically abusive relationship then it is the one place that isn’t safe. Cases grew by 20% and was called the silence killer of lockdown. Many men and women who found work and socialising as a way of escaping their abuser, suddenly found themselves cut off from it. Luckly charities and the police became aware of this silent killer increasing and started to take action and put things in place to help victims.

2. Deaths from Covid 19- We all know that Covid 19 can be deadly and that we need to take precautions when going out. Unfortunatly we all know someone that has sadly died from Covid. It was great to see the death rate decrease, but now its starting to increase rapidly again and at an alarming rate! We all need to protect eachother at this difficult time. Especially by looking out for people who have just lost someone.

3. Job loss- Many people have unfortunatly lost their jobs due to the pandemic. This has led to many more unfortunate events. This is something no one could have predicted. Family businesses going out of business, firms making people redundant. Alot of of people where saved by the Furlough scheme which I think is one of the best decisions made by the goverment. This leads on to the next point.

4. Declining in mental health-During the pandemic there has been a masive decline in peoples mental health. This has been due to job losses, deaths, the unknown and many other factors. A very important one is isolation and lonlieness. Many people especially university students and the elderly had this as their main problem. But thankfully kind people made a difference and helped them when they could. The goverment have become aware of the mental health crisis and hopefully they will put some procedures in place to help everyone whos mental health has been effected.

So thats my mini round up of the year. Lets hope 2021 is better than last year. I hope you are all okay and if you need help in this time, then to reach out to someone you trust or an organisation!

Be Kind and Stay Safe

How can you?!

Questions I’d love to ask my old church and all the people who covered it up. Mamy others here may want to ask their abusers or friends the same questions.

How can you stand by him, when you know what he’s done?

Does it have to happen to someone close to you until you take action?

Do you think God see’s you as good Christians? I think not!

How can you sleep at night, knowing other girls are going to get attacked? When you just sat back and watched it happen

Why would you congratulate my abuser and his family?

How can you live with yourself knowing you lied to the police?

Did it make you feel better when I left the church? Or did it make you feel more powerful?

How can you support a family knowing their son is a sexual predator?

How can you work, attend or lead a church knowing you all allowed this to continue?

How do you feel knowing I know the truth and will never be silenced?

The main question should be How can you live your lives as Christians, and treat me the way you did?

Nearly every person that has been subjected to sexual assault will have millions of questions going around in their head. Those ones are mine. Lets end sexual violence together in and out of church!

Stay safe and Be Kind

I’m sorry

I’m sorry to whoever you are, The person I couldn’t save, The one attacked after me, and the others after that.

I wish there was something I could do, instead of blaming myself, I wish people had told the truth and justice have been served,

I’m sorry they didn’t care and allowed you to suffer too, Just know there is a way out both for me and for you

How to support a survivor

One of the hardest things a survivor (of any trauma) will have to do is open up to someone. This could be a family member, a friend, a counsellor or a work colleague. Finding the correct person to open up to is vital, because not everyone will be understanding and be able to cope with all the information they have been given. There is no correct way really in finding the right person, its a bit like the game ”Russian Roulette”. You will be able to tell if they/you are the right person by looking out for these qualities and actions:

  1. They do not judge you
  2. They do not victim blame you eg. ”you must have asked for it”.
  3. Their actions speak louder than their words. So basically when they say they will do something they do it. For example, cut off all communication they may have with your attacker and their family, to prove their trust and priorities.
  4. They suggest positive things to do to help you recover. For example going out for dinner or having a sleep over and movie night.
  5. They do not excuse the attackers behaviour
  6. They do not ignore what has happened and pretend like everything is fine
  7. They do not put friendship and reputation before the truth and the morally right thing to do
  8. They support you when you; breakdown, go to the police, confront your attacker and any other time you need supporting.
  9. They do not force you to anything you don’t want to do
  10. They listen to you and help you process what you have been through. This could for example, be over a coffee every Saturday lunch time.
  11. They priorities you and don’t let you feel isolated.
  12. They don’t spy on your social media and feed it back to your abuser and their family.
  13. They do not use religion as an excuse of any kind!

All these factors are vital to look out for if you are a survivors or if you are educating yourself on the issue and prepairing for the future.

Things not to say to a survivor

  1. Why are you always down?
  2. It can’t have been that bad
  3. Get over it all ready
  4. Just forgive them and move on
  5. There is always drama with you
  6. Maybe it was your fault
  7. You should have seen the signs
  8. Leave it to God he knows what he is doing
  9. Tell me all the details
  10. Why can’t you accept that I want to be their friend
  11. They didn’t do it to me
  12. Cheer up
  13. Stop attention seeking
  14. Be grateful your still here
  15. There are people dealing with worse then you
  16. My attack was worse then yours
  17. why haven’t you been to the police?

Thing to say to a survivor

  1. I’m sorry you went through what you did
  2. You are brave
  3. I will always be here for you
  4. You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to
  5. I believe you
  6. You are not alone
  7. If you don’t want to do anything today then thats fine by me
  8. If you need support with any actions I will help
  9. What do you want to do today?
  10. How are you feeling today?
  11. Is there anything you need?
  12. Can I please be awear of your triggers? (Not everyone wants to be asked this)
  13. Would you like to go out and do something nice?
  14. Please let me know if there is something I am doing wrong.

The way you treat and speak to a suvivor of any trauma really does affect their mental health. Don’t treat them as if they are stupid, because they have probably been through alot more than you can imagine and maybe more than you will ever go through. Just think before speaking and know that you have to be sensative.

There are two phrases I go by in life and they are; 1. ”Actions speak louder than words”- This is so important because you can have friends and family that say they will be there for you, but they don’t show it. If they don’t prove to you what they say then they don’t mean it. If they keep letting you down or treating you bad then cut them off. Yes it will be hard but it will help you recover and boost your mental health. 2.”In a world where you can be anythin, BE KIND”- You don’t know what people are going through in their lives. They might be hanging by the smallest thread. If your nasty to them or bully them then that could be the last straw for them. It doesn’t hurt to be kind to others. To me there are exceptions for example; You don’t have to be kind to your abuser or their family, to people who have covered up your trauma and those that delibratly hurt you all the time. People will tell you it will make you bitter and twisted, but if im honest your allowed to hurt someone has hurt you and by treating them nicely, in their eyes is going to give them the green light to do it again.

I hope dear reader you have been able to learn something from this post.

Until next time. Stay safe and BE KIND.

A letter to my old church

No names are used of people or places due to legal reasons.

Dear place of worship

I am writing to you on behalf of my mental health. The one that now suffers from PTSD, Depression, Anxiety and horrendous panic attacks. The one that was so suicidal at the way you treated me. We have sat down together and have a few questions we would like answered.

So first of all please can you tell me why safeguarding was not allerted when I orgionally came forward about being sexually assaulted by a memeber of the congregation? Oh right, the answer is because that member put their friendship with the father of my attacker first and didn’t safeguard me. He sat on the imformation telling me not to go to the police with threats. Then you as a church had the ordasitity to say none of it ever happened. I’d like you to really think about this point. How you should have acted, and how you should have reprimanded this employee. If it was handeled correctly in the first place, I would be less damaged, and less girls would have been attacked. How can you sleep at night knowing more girls were attacked!

My second question is, can you please tell me how you, and the organisation you are a part of can tell me you have conducted your own investigation three years later without my permission or participation? How you have the correct information and statements? I never consented to you using any of my information, that you may have had.

My next question and this is a hard one. Can you please tell me why you still welcome my attacker and his family with open arms? And why I was treated like I had sexually assaulted someone? I don’t care if his family pay the church alot of money. Or the fact that they have influence in the area. What I care about is the saftey of young adults and children! Welcoming them and acting like nothings happened, is sick and twisted. Just like welcoming the witnesses who got a confession and somehow “FORGOT” when questioned by the police. Its easy for you to sit there and say “oh forgive him”, “how do you think they feel, being told what their son has done”. I DON’T CARE about how they feel. If they all feel that young adults getting attacked by their son is a good thing, then they are as bad as he is! You clearly will only listen if he attacks your daughters.

Next question. Why are you still back stabbing me,now that I have left? Is it because I left before you kicked me out, because you couldn’t handel the truth? I still have friends who attend there you know. Do you really think they wouldn’t tell me what people have been saying?! For example: Apparently what I have said isn’t true, that it didn’t happen or the aftermath wasn’t as bad. Do you really think people are that stupid?! I get told everything you say. Thats because I have loyal friends, friends who tell the truth. Whats even funnier is that some of the people contacting me aren’t even my friends and they still tell me whats been going on. I kept my side of the deal not to name you or anyone that was involved. Mainly because you and his family threatened me with defermation of character. Even though I seem to be the only one that can tell the TRUTH! Then it turns out you have all been spreading rumors about me! But apparently thats not defermation of character! Maybe its because my reputation isnt as big as theirs, so no one else will protect me.

Finally, blocking me on social media, when I came to you with more conserns mainly about my saftey wasn’t the best choice. We all know why you did it. Because you thourght I’d had enough and was going to expose you all and it wouldn’t look good. Well in fact I wasn’t. Yes I’d had enough of it being ignored and it being unsafe. But no I wasn’t going to expose you. There would be no point. But your mistake was taking this action. Because this gave me the courage to write my blog. To spread the word and my experience. So thank you.

Let me just give you some words of advice. 1.When someone comes forward to say they have been attacked, take it seriously. Follow safeguarding. 2. If you find out an employee hasn’t safeguarder the victim, then fire them and report them to the police 3. Don’t threaten victims of sexual assault, because it eventually makes them stronger 4. Don’t cover up abuse within the church. Because one day you will slip up and everyone will find out 5. Take other peoples saftey seriously! I came forward to protect others and clearly you didn’t/don’t care. Otherwise they wouldn’t be welcome endangering people. 6. When you are warned about particular people, listen! Don’t ignore it. 7. God knows the truth and all of you will end up in hell. No matter how much you deny it. Maybe if you put it right then you might be saved, but its unlikely isn’t it.

So thank you for reading this letter. I hope it helps. A final word from me is, a church should be a place to worship God and be safe. Stop trying to please everyone and focus on the most important things like saftey! Because if you don’t sooner or later it will happen again. It would be a shame if it was someone close to you! Wouldn’t it! Karma is real and so is God’s judgement. I will never ever stop raising awareness about what happened. You don’t have anything over me anymore, its funny it now seems to be the other way round.

No best wishes .

A letter to my abuser

Below I am going to share a letter have written for my abuser. Doing this can really help process the trauma inside. The name has been changed for legal reasons.

Dear Dev

Why did you choose me? Why did you have to attack me? I didn’t do anything to you! I was asleep on your sofa. You had no right to touch me. I never consented to your actions then or after. But I promised to stay your friend and “forgive” you to save both your reputation and your familes.

Why did I get threats by church members to stay quiet or else? What power exsactly does your family have over the church and congregation? Why have loads of people allowed you to go free and not face the consequences? Why did you attack more girls after you promised the church you wouldn’t do it again? What is wrong with you thinking girls want to be raped/assaulted?

While you were swaning around back at university and pretending to be a good Christian. I was starting to struggle with my mental health, due to YOUR actions. Your actions have left me with a lot of shit but the main problem being PTSD. The flashbacks to the attacks. The flashbacks to the cover up, of high up members of the church and community. (They did it all for your dad by the way). The vomitting at random times and losing so much weight, my clothes didn’t fit. The worst being suicidal thourghts and sitting on window sills not knowing what to do. Even when you admitted what you did it still wasn’t enough for you to be charged! You can’t honestly call yourself a Christian while thinking its okay to sexually assault people.

I sit and think to myself why people thourght you were worth protecting. Then it came to me one day. It wasn’t you they were protecting, it was your parents. The embarrassment it would case them, the pain. EVERYTHING that I have had to put up with.

Do you know how many people have blamed me for your actions? Apparently I was asking for it. WHILE I WAS ASLEEP! Do you know how many threats I have had about defermation, because I have had enough of people allowing you to attack other girls? Oh wait yes you do know that. Do you know that I had to leave the church that I settled into because they didn’t do anything to protect me, until it was too late. But they still welcome you and your family putting other girls in danger? Oh wait you do. Or that you now also go to a different church and told them lies about the investigation, which is going to lead to more damage to others. Is that okay? To endanger girls for both yours and your families reputation?

Your attacks lost me my dream job, because of the aftermath! Do you feel guilty…. NO you don’t. Because we all know people will get you a job and protect you don’t we. You lied to the police stating we were in a relationship! Even if we were it is still sexual assault. Lets not forget the others who didn’t tell the truth.

I wish I’d never met you. You are a sick twisted bastard. Who still thinks its okay to work near/with young girls in churchs and abroad. You think its okay to spread lies about me to people, because you can’t own up to your actions. You think its okay to commit sexual violence towards women. Your the one that needs help. Well you personally need to be locked up in prison and on the sex offenders register. But we all know that wont happen, because mummy and daddy are protecting you. Your a grown arse man that doesn’t deserve anyones help. You ruined my life for long enough. Me and the other girls support each other and are moving forward. Hopefully one day another one will come forward and you will be put away FOREVER! I don’t know how you can sleep at night! (Because I can’t).

I just wanted to let you know that I am stronger then you think. I have found the love of my life and know I am wanted and safe. I will never give up hope that you will one day be caught! I am going to use my experience to help other young people. What you have done to me will no longer destroy me, it will be the making of me.

No Best wishes what so ever A

What hurts the most (Poem)

What hurts the most is seeing you happy
No care in the world for what you have done
I’m left picking up the pieces of the life I once had
Each piece so little and one by one

The pain you have caused me is strong and always there
Its really hard to ignore
I try my best to forget it
But it starts to feel like a chore

The flashbacks
The nightmares
The PTSD
Problems that I really don’t need

But with support of my friends and family
I can now take the lead!

Church Too Movement

Discloser: No names of people and places have been used due to legal reasons.

Most of you reading this will know what the #Metoo movement is. The #metoo movement was started in 2017. Less of you will know what the #churchtoo movement is. The #churchtoo movement is linked with #metoo but it specifically focuses on sexual violence in Christianity and the way it is covered up. Some of you might say a church would never do that, or that its something of the past. Well I am here to tell you both of those statements are wrong. I know this due to my personal experience with sexual violence and the church, which only started four years ago and still to some degree hasn’t ended. I am here to raise awareness, share my experience and make you aware of what can happen right under your nose.

I just want to say, before I go on that churches will say they will speak out about it and you wont be alone. What they don’t seem to realise is their actions are different to what they say. For example, my now old church said they would take action after my assaults where shoved under the carpet in 2017. Well actually they didn’t take action, they were just words, they didn’t care. If they did care something would have changed and people would have stopped shoving the family of the boy who assaulted me down my throat. They would have stopped worshiping them, but friendship and reputation was put first again! This to me is shoving it under the carpet again. So just be careful if leaders or high up individuals in a church say they will help you and support you when it comes to sexual violence. Actions speak (a lot) louder than words.

To start off with this movement focussed more on Catholics and the way that priest were able to groom young girls and boys and assault them. The accusations are hard to prove due to the time historic time period. But that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. It takes alot of courage to come forward and in most cases the sexual violence will have been covered up to protect the reputation of the church and the perp.

Research has been carried out into sexual violence within the protestant church. For example pastors have been asked about their knowledge of the #metoo movement and the #churchtoomovement. The results found that only 16% of pastors had heard of the #churchtoo movement, but 85% had heard of the #metoo movement (Christianity Today, 2020).This shows that churches are aware that people can become victims of sexual violence. But also that they either don’t believe it happens within churches or they choose to look the other way. The research also found that Pentecostal and Baptist churches are unlikely to admit that sexual violence has occured within their congregation (Christianity Today.2020). This shows that more rules need to be put in place, to help victims who come forward. This is due to the evidence that churches try and ignore that it has occured and this damages the victim further. It is sad that I have to say that To me this is not a surprise from my own experience, but to others reading this it might be.

I have found from experience that churches find it hard when it comes to taboo topics. They seems to find it hard to talk about them. For example, I was sexually assaulted by a boy from the same church. They didn’t believe me as they said ”He wouldn’t do that he is a Christian.”. They seem to think every Christian is good and perpatrators seem to use it as a way to get away with breaking the law and hurting individuals. Their words changed when he confessed to them what he had done. They then told me to ”Forgive him and that he won’t do it again”. That was how they decided it would be solved. They didn’t go to the police. They threatened me when I said I wanted to go. (Looking back now I wish I had done straight away, but hey we can’t change the past, but we can learn from it. ) They didn’t follow the safeguarding and basically told me to get over it and if I didn’t then I wasn’t a good Christian. The church I was part of welcomes people who have done bad things in their life, people who may have been former drug addicts etc. But what they can’t handel is when they have to do something for someone being abused. They let me down massivly and still are today. I was threatened by them and the family for talking out and even the people I trusted have now stabbed me in the back. The members of the church team etc, have been told not to talk to me or contact me and blocked me from them and the church website. All this because I spoke out. I told the truth about one of their congregation sexually assaulting me and about two high up people ignoring it along with threats from his family (passive agressivly) and that is how they treated me. To me that is not a Christian way at all. They have treated me like I am the one who has sexually assaulted someone. In my opinion the devil is in that church. You can’t preach about justice and helping people, when you treat someone the way I have been when they come forward.

How a church handels sexual violence is very important. If they handel it incorrectly then it can cause further damage to the victim. If they handel it correctly and obey the law, then they can help with the recovery of the victim and in some cases evidence against the perpetrator. Apart from the example above on how my sexual assault was handeled I will give you a few more on how they can be handeled incorrectly and then some on how they should be.

Some victims are told that they must have done something wrong in their life, so that they have to suffer the consequences. This is utter rubbish! It is not the victims fault that the perpetrator decided to abuse them. They are not in control of them, so why are victims past actions being brought into the discussion, when it is irrelevent. You cannot blame anyone else other than the perpetractor for the sexual violence.

This next example is very personal and angers me everytime I read about it and if I am honest while writting this. Yes I am still a Christian but I have been told that I am a bad Christian, for not forgiving the boy who assaulted me and the people that covered it up for him. I have found that the word ”Forgive” is thrown around nower days within churches. We are told that God will only forgive us if we forgive others. Why should I forgive people who have delibratly hurt me and made living my life so painful? In all honestly we are told to treat others how we would treat Christ. I don’t think they would treat him the same way. It is your own choice to forgive someone. Demanding the victim to forgive the perpetrator can do more damage then help to them. I was forced to forgive my abuser and that has made my PTSD alot worse. I was in a room with him and a high up individual within the church and told that if I didn’t forgive him then I would be banded from the church. This was not the first time I had been threatened with this. I was so scared that I was going to lose all my friends and saftey net that I agreed. I also agreed to stay silent for them, only to come forward when someone else approached me about the same guy. The people in power in the church had twisted the meaning of forgivness and used to help the perpetrator than to help me. This has made the healing process alot harder for me. Using this against a victim doesn’t just damage their mental health but it also damages their faith and confuses them.

Some of you reading this are thinking so what can they do to help victims of sexual violence.

  1. Well for one stop covering it up!
  2. secondly stop victim blaming. These are the two most important things churches need to learn to stop doing.
  3. More help is needed for the victims. They need a safe place where they can open up and seek advice. They need suppport, this can involve spiritual advice (as their faith is likely to be damaged), but also support with going to the police or seeking professional help. People who become victims of sexual assault are going to be vulnerable at that time, the more support they get the easier it is going to be for them to heal and process what has happened.
  4. Leaders of churches need to start talking about it in their sermons and making the congregation aware of what can happen and to look out for the signs. This will show compassion towards to victims and make them feel safe, but also it will be a warning to perpetrators that sexual violence is not tollerated in the church.
  5. Stop putting friendship and reputation before the law. Yes the church is called a family because of how close everyone is. But when it comes to such important situations the law needs to come first. I honestly don’t care if they are a good friend of yours, if they have hurt someone you should tell the truth and help the victim. I don’t understand how some people sleep at night when they put the reputation of the perpetrator first. They have committed the crime so they should pay for it, simple as. In my case the reputation and friendship was put first which has allowed other girls to get hurt, and loads more people giving him special oppertunities.
  6. Leaders of churches should be have intense training on sexual violence and safeguarding. This would help educate not only them but also others on the issue and help put things in place to prevent it happening. Pastors and other leaders are also known as teachers, which means they are listened to and followed. So they can use their high status to raise awareness of sexual violence and also help end it. On the point of safeguarding, most people believe it just means a place has to be safe for children. Well that is not the case. Safeguarding is also ment to cover any body who is vulnerable and also young adults. Everyone will be vulnerable at least one time in their life and that is why the guidelines are in place. Safeguarding should always be followed, if they are not then unfortunatly the outcome is going to be like mind.

So yeah there you have it. This isn’t a full indepth post about the movement as I want to get the most important information across to you. I don’t want to become a sleeping pill, or that person you don’t want to talk to. I want you to take away the fact that more needs to be done to protect vulnerable people in churches from sexual violence. And also that more needs to be done to prosecute both the perpetrators and their assailants. To me the most important conclusion I have come to is that there needs to be more support for suvivors of sexual violence within churches. I have found that there is a real lack of it. Yes professionals can help with the damage to your mental health, but unless they are religious they can’t help you with the spiritual side of it. I hope to one day play apart in creating a safe place for healing when it comes to sexual violence within Christianity and other religions.

Please stand with me today and end sexual violence in churches!

Until next time, STAY SAFE AND BE KIND.

P.s. Here are some helpful links to read

https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2018/september/metoo-domestic-violence-sexual-abuse-pastors-lifeway-2018.html

https://www.womansday.com/life/a32131753/church-sexual-abuse/

https://faithandleadership.com/what-can-churches-do-response-metoo-movement

You said (poem)

You said it didn’t happen ,and that I lied ,That it was all in my head ,Even when I cried

You said I should stay quiet ,don’t make a sound ,He won’t do it again ,As my heart hit the ground

You said Christians don’t do that ,So just forgive him ,Move on and forget it ,And take it on the chin

You said you don’t remember ,That I was going mad ,Reputation is important ,Especially his dad’s

I say i’ve had enough ,I won’t be silenced anymore ,It’s time to take my life back, Which is something I can ensure

This may have started with you ,But it ends with me ,Soon people will see through you ,And I will be set FREE

Written by myself, for every survivor of violence and hate.

Sexual Assault

Hey everyone… I just want to start off with a quick message before I go deep into this post. I want you all to be aware of the studies around sexual assault etc. But firstly I have my very own message to my friends, family and counsellors who have helped me. Then one for the fake friends, community and others who lets say didn’t do anything or much to help me.

I just want to say thank you to everyone who has supported me, helped me and believed me when I came forward about being sexually assaulted. I also want to say screw you if you are one of the people that blamed me (victim blamed), covered it up, lied about it or made my life misreble. I am here to say that I have come out of it stronger and happier. Yes its been hard and no thanks to many. But to the few people who have been there for me, you have made a massive difference to me and I can’t thank you enough.

No names have been used of people or places due to legal reasons

What is sexual assault? There is not one specific definition of sexual assault as there are many different forms. But the main conclusion is that “sexual assault is when another individual intentionally touches you or forces you to do things sexually WITHOUT CONSENT!”. This is different to rape which is ” Someone intentionally penatrates a persons body WITHOUT THEIR CONSENT!”. Both these acts are illegal and come under the term “Sexual Violence”.

Statistics

1. The CPS’ decision to pre-charge attackers has fallen by 14% (Taylor.J, 2020). This shows that the justice system is picking and choosing what cases they take to court.

2. A third of people believe women who flirt are responsible for being raped or sexually assaulted (Rape Crisis, 2020).

3. 4% of men and 20% of women have experienced some type of sexual assault since the age of 16, that’s approximately 3.4 million female and 631,000 male victims (Rape Crisis. 2020).

4. 510,00 women and 138,000 of men aged between 16 to 59 had suffered a sexual assault in the last year. This is from 2017. (rape crisis.2020)

5. The England and Wales crime stats showed that around 5 in 6 victims (83%) did not report their experiences to the police (Gov.uk. 2020). This is mainly because the victim is scared to come forward. For me I was threatened by people and told that I wouldn’t be allowed to see my friends at church etc.

6. 1 in 10 young adults have left their churches due to sexual assault/abuse (Christianity Today, 2019). I am one of those people. With the #Metoo movement happening some of you may have noticed the #Churchtoo. This is because the younger generation are growing up now with knowledge about sexual abuse in churches. They are not as scared to come forward anymore as people are more aware of what has been covered up before. I am not saying everyone listens and does what’s right because they don’t. If the church doesn’t handle it correctly then my advice is not to listen to their threats and never stay silent. You know the truth and you should speak it.


The lasting effects of sexual assault on the victim

It is common knowledge that victims of sexual assault and rape encounter mental health issues. This can be from the attacks themselves or due to the way the issue was handled. I have first hand experience from both. Sexual assault and rape cases need to be handled with care. If it is not then it can damage the victims mental health. Mine for example was not handled correctly and damaged my mental, physical and spiritual health. For example before I was put on my anti depressants I could not stop being sick. Not everyone else reacts like that. I feel that people need to be taught in school how to help a friend or family member who opens up to them about being attacked. I have cut out many people in my life because of the way they treated me when I came forward about the attacks. I believe that more education on this topic will reduce the amount of damage caused to a victims mental health.

Not everyone reacts the same way to being assaulted. So some people may develop mental health issues like; Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, Eating Disorders, Panic and many more. Others might not. Some people can’t trust others and build relationships, whereas others can. Some people suffer from sexual problems (vagimismus) and some don’t.Some people end up turning to drugs and alcohol and some don’t. Some people end up with IBS or other chronic illness’ and some don’t. It depends on who you are and the situation you have/are in. No body should judge another person on the way they have reated to serious trauma.

Also a victims life can be completely changed. For example they may lose job opportunities, friends, family, community, control of themselves all because of someone else.

Victim Blaming

What is victim balming? Well some of you ready this will have some knowledge on the subject. The definition of victim blaming is, to pass the blame of the perpatrators act/acts on to the victim. I will give some examples further down on the post.Victim blaming can be used in a variety of situations like sexual violence and racism. I want to make it clear that victim blaming seems to be used more when it comes to females being victims of sexual violence against men, then the other way round. This then allows the perpatrator the power to escape justice.(Mine did and living quite happy as if nothing ever happened).If there was more focus on preventing sexual assaults and rape with an open mind, there would be less victim blaming. Victim Blaming causes the victim alot of stress and damages their mental health. This can lead to depression, anxiety, PTSD, panic and many more issues.The stigma needs to be broken and perpatrators brought to justice.

These are some examples of what victim blaming is. If I was really scientific I would break them into categories, but I want you to soak in the important information without scientific distraction.

  1. They were drunk
  2. They where warned
  3. They asked for it
  4. They must enjoy it
  5. They must have teased them
  6. They have needs
  7. They didn’t say NO clear enough/ or a number of times
  8. It was an accident
  9. Your lying
  10. They are a christian so they wouldn’t do that
  11. I don’t want to ruin their/ familys reputation
  12. The bible says forgive, so forgive them
  13. They wont do it again
  14. Think about their family

Can you imagine being blamed for someone elses actions? Lets have an example shall we. Imagine you fall asleep at a friends house on their sofa, because it is hot. You trust this person and think its fine to have a quick nap. Imagine your disgust when you wake up with them sexually assaulting you. Then when you open up to people about this attack and others, YOUR blamed! You get told; ”You must have provoked him”, ”It was your clothes”, ”He wouldn’t do that, he is a chrsitian so your lying”, ”It’s your fault as you were asleep”, ”You put yourself in danger”,.” The bible says forgive so forgive him and he wont do it again”. The list goes on. So you tell me how its that the victims fault?! They were asleep, it was the attackers choice to sexually assault them! Imagine if that was you or your friend/family member and you blamed them for that persons (attackers) actions. Well some of you reading this have, because this is one of the attacks which happened to me, and this is what some of you said to me. THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK!

I just want to add onto point 14. You don’t have to think about their family at all. The person who attacked you didn’t think about you, your family or theirs. I am offically fed up of being told to stay quiet for his family. Or the best one is, think how bad they feel hes been accused….! What i’d like to say back is maybe think how I feel (not him or them) that their son attacked me. Actions have consequences well unless you have lots of money and an excellent reputation….

For Survivors

1. IT WAS/IS NOT YOUR FAULT

2. You are not alone

3. I believe you

4. Take time to heal

5. Cut people out of your life that side with your attacker

6. Not everyone can be trusted with the information

7. Not everybody you talk to wants to do whats best for you. Sometimes they want to protect the attacker.

8. Don’t let your religion (If you have one) be effected. If a church or temple doesn’t believe you or allows it to continue then leave. There are plenty of other buildings. My favourite quote is ”You go to church to worship God, you do not go for the people in it”.

9. Only come forward when YOU want to.

10. Don’t let anyone else pressure you to do things. You are your own person they do not control you.

11. Seek help. You friends and family might not be the best people to talk to, but your GP can put you in touch with counselling. This might seem scary at first but trust me it really does help! Do not be afraid to get help.

12. Try and join a support group. This can be in person or on social media.

13. Never give up

14. Never stay silent unless you want to.

15. If you want to then spread awareness as it can help you heal.

16. you should not feel bad for taking anti-depressants if you have to. They help you a lot. You don’t have to stay on them forever, even a short amount of time can do you the world of good. Break the stigma

17.You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.
C.S. Lewis

18. Go and buy yourself a copy of ”Why Women Are Blamed For Everything” by Dr Jessica Taylor. This book has changed my life and I can tell you it will change yours too!

Religion

It is no secret that sexual abuse is common in all religions. I am a Christian I want to expand on this particular religion and point. This is also because my sexual assault included religion.

These are a number of reasons as to why sexual assaults happen in churches

1. They trust the person/people

2. Feels like a safe environment

3. Believe people are good and following the Bible

4. Easy access to groom children and young adults

5. Close community so action would be taken if something happened……

These are only a few examples there are many more.

When it comes to talking about religion and sexual assault, to me it feels like I am walking on a type rope. I am scared to talk about what has happened to me. But I know if I don’t then I will regret it. I can tell you information you will only get from someone who has first hand experience of it. For example I was told to forgive, as it says forgive everyone in the Bible. Can you imagine what that does to a person? It messes with their head. When I was told to do this (well threatened) I felt like they agreed with the attacker. Since then I have realised that they did and so did so many people. So don’t let them fool you into forgiveness. It is just giving them a reason not to take notice and hoping you will forget about it. Due to the severity of the trauma it is wrong to tell the victim to forgive. This can cause massive distress when it comes to their faith. Imaging thinking you are a terrible Christian because you can’t forgive the person who DECIDED TO ATTACK YOU!

Some churches believe that women are the weaker sex, which means they wouldn’t be bothered if they were sexually assaulted. Well I can tell you that I am bothered that both myself and others have been sexually assaulted. This argument has not much place on this post as it really infuriates me (sorry).

Another reason sexual assault is not brought to light is due to the close relationships/friendships formed in churches. For example I was told that two witnesses (with confessions from my attacker) did not want to come forward due to not wanting to ruin the reputation of the boy and his family. This made me feel so angry and worthless. I was so disappointed that someone could do that. Someone I trusted and respected would rather stay silent then bring justice. This is why you should be so careful who you trust.

I finally want to add that you should always check the safeguarding of any organisation that you join. Make sure you agree with it. Make sure it covers you as they mainly focus on children and not young adults. If you think it is wrong then report it. Most people don’t even know their organisations safeguarding procedures. So please do check. At the time I came forward they were not followed and I didn’t know them. If they had been then there would be a different outcome and fewer girls attacked and a safer place. But instead he was allowed to continue the behaviour freely.

Im glad the safeguarding was changed because of what happened to me, but if I am honest it was too little and far too late. Never once did the people who failed to follow it apologise. If I am honest I don’t believe they have learn’t their lesson, but I am not sticking around to find out 👍

Not once did the boy who has made the last four years of my life hell, apologise. Instead I have had other victims contact me. Which I don’t mind as I feel I can help them.

If you don’t stand up to them, then they will continue their behaviour. But if I am honest I did stand up to them and I still don’t believe that any of them have changed. Friendship and protection will always come first in organisations. The law, well your guess is as good as mine.

If you feel like you are being silenced, belittled and much more then please move organisation. I did. Yes it is hard, but you can do it.

DON’T BE SILENCED

I believe that more help is needed for trauma victims when it comes to sexual assaults/rape and religion. I believe it would have helped me a lot and many victims would probably come forward. So much is happening under our noses, and unless we raise awareness then it will stay buried.

Resources that you will find helpful for overcoming and healing from sexual assault can be found on my ”Mental Health” page.

Thank you very much for reading. Just know that you are not alone if you are a survivor. If you are a family member or friend of someone who you know has been a victim then check on them. Help them.

Victims are treated alot worse then the attackers. Please think about that statement.

I finally want to add that if you are reading this post and you are the person that attacked me or one of the people who victim blamed me, screwed me over, lied, protected my attacker and worse things…… fuck you (sorry but it had to be said). I have overcome the pain and suffering you deliberately caused. I am a fighter and wont give up. I am going to make a difference and keep raising awareness.I will NEVER BE SILENT. I know the truth and I will never stop speaking it.

You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.
C.S. Lewis

STAY SAFE AND BE KIND.

P.s No names of people or places have been used due to legal reasons 👍