Towards the end of 2017, a number of high profile men in the show business industry were in the media due to allegations of sexual assault and harassment over a number of years.
These allegations led to sexual assault and abuse being talked about more openly, not just by those who had been affected by the high profile cases being splashed across newspapers and social media, but by everyday women like myself.
The hashtag #metoo started trending, being used to highlight just how many of us have been victimised in the past. The stigma that had once been attached to speaking out and finding your voice when it came to having been sexually abused appeared to have lifted, and this can only be a positive thing.
The problem is, for many of us who did speak out, whether at the time or years later, once we had found the strength to let somebody in on our secret, being brave enough to tell our tale simply wasn’t enough.
I have been sexually assaulted twice. Once was by a member of staff in a well known hotel chain in London, the other was abuse by a family member when I was in my early teens.
I found the courage to speak out about these things, on two separate occasions. I took the case to the police and I told them my story and I think the unfairest thing of all is that as I did go to the police, and because both of those cases were dropped, I am not even allowed to speak about them in any detail, for fear of myself being the one to get in trouble for it. How messed up is that?
Going to the police to tell them what happened to me was hard. It took courage, it took guts, it took a lot out of me to speak through what happened on those occasions and to recount it step by step, feeling ashamed simply uttering the words of what I had let happen to me.
To then have those who were meant to help me, to bring some justice, inform me that nothing would be done to these men, that the lack of substantial evidence meant they were free to carry on and potentially hurt somebody else, that hurts.
It feels like a kick to the stomach, and it feels so incredibly unfair, that no amount of hashtags on social media will help give those of us who weren’t given justice the closure we so desperately need.
This is obviously a painful subject to talk about, and one I wasn’t even sure belonged on the blog but ultimately I have been silenced enough. I will mention no names for fear of breaching the law, but I refuse to simply sit back and pretend these things didn’t happen to me as my abusers have.
To go through something like that, it changes you, it has an effect on you which you end up carrying through the rest of your life. Why should the actions of these men shape the way I live my life? How is it fair that their actions have affected me but not them?
I have no idea what I thought this post would achieve, other than releasing some of the emotions I hold on to so tightly. It is always my hope that by sharing my life with others, that I can help bring some hope to others, that even through the toughest times, you can make it through the other side, not unscathed, but perhaps stronger for the things you have been through.
I will probably never get the justice for what was done to me, but I hope that by speaking out, I can bring courage to others. I was a victim. Now I am a survivor.