The Reality and Journey of Uncovering Historic Trauma & VAWG/Sexual Violence Talk – The Global Tofay

The Reality and Journey of Uncovering Historic Trauma & VAWG/Sexual Violence Talk - The Global Tofay Global Today

Trigger Warning: this post will heavily focus on sexual violence trauma, particularly that of rape and spiking crimes and the aftermath. Please do a headspace check before reading this if this is possible to trigger you and take care of yourself if proceeding x

I’ve spoken in drips and drabs about what happened to me three years ago, but never in completion and never enough to make me feel like I truly told my side. The first post I made I referenced it as a sexual assault, because i still wasn’t ready to admit what really happened to me. It took me a good long few months to admit that and even at the start I thought it was rough and I was struggling but I was wrong. That was nothing. Right now I’m in the full throws of realising, remembering, thinking, overthinking every tiny detail of what happened, and even reliving it in graphic flashbacks and intrusive thoughts daily to the point of complete disassociation or meltdown. I’m waiting for therapy, but with waiting lists plus the fact I’m currently in intensive treatment for my personality disorder, that isn’t doable right now. So it’s just me, and my thoughts. And that can be a dangerous place. 

It really hit me when my psychiatrist told me at a medication review my diagnosis had been altered to include complex PTSD, and no one thought to inform me. I don’t even know who diagnosed this but it’s there. In black and white how affected my brain is by something that I thought I locked away for good 3 years ago. The three year anniversary back in July was also pretty rough. A notification for a Snapchat memory popped up and it was of a group photo of me and my friends from the day, and I completely broke down at work and disassociated and sobbed to a coworker about why it upset me so hard, I’d been fine all morning and by lunch I snapped and couldn’t take it anymore. All I could think and question was why now? Why did I have to deal with this now? As if I haven’t got enough in my tiny loud noisy annoying brain. I wished I’d never realised it. But also thought about how I probably always knew and it’s most likely had a bigger impact on me the last few years than I’m likely to ever realise, this backed up by my mental health team and my ISVA (independent sexual violence advisor) assigned to me at the time. 

Then the blows of the case being dropped came, and subsequently a month or two ago my case with the sexual violence services was closed and my ISVA unassigned to me and no longer in regular contact which I held so dear as my only person to speak about this with. Those were hard. Having to admit that’s it and it’s time to move on wasn’t easy and still isn’t. The lack of justice for victims of sexual violence is horrific and a topic for another day, but some days it really just hits me in the chest that I’m the one who has to suffer and he isn’t. That fucking sucks. I knew the case wouldn’t proceed very far, it had been three years and All I had was some meaningless Instagram messages and my word that it happened. But being told that there isn’t enough evidence to prove and sentence my attacker as a rapist when all I can do it think about that night on repeat, is hard. They tell you “it’s not that we don’t believe you!” But that’s exactly what it feels like. They tell you it’s to protect you from standing up in court and telling your story for it to be shut down with the lack of proof to convict, but it feels like they don’t even give you the chance to speak your peace. Because no there isn’t evidence, but I can tell you where we met, when we started speaking, details surrounding the vague and odd Instagram messages, screen shots of our texts to friends, conversations with friends had the next day of me not remembering what happened and brushing it off at the time. But that’s not what they need. It feels like they need you to have a photo or concrete evidence and how is that ever going to be possible for such an intimate crime? 

The fear that it’s caused in my everyday life I never expected. To have to rush into my car, keys tightly between my fingers and lock the doors instantly and then get my breath back because of how anxious it made me, to have my hands shake from how fast I try to lock and bolt my flat door panicked that someone has followed me up, to not be able to wear my ear defenders from the painful noise out and about because I’m scared I won’t hear someone approaching me, to freezing and feeling sick to my stomach when I see police officers or cars around me, to not being able to sleep without underwear or some sort of bottom half on in fear I’ll wake up without them. I’m terrified. So terrified. And it never stops because the violence towards women never stops, and it’s bullshit. The fact that I’m so very far from alone in my fears saddens me more than anything. I don’t even want to return to the city it happened which used to hold so many good memories, because now it holds a haunted poisoned one. 

Realising and recovering from trauma is never easy or have a set schedule. It’s taken me just under 3 years to acknowledge it even happened. It took me a month to report it to the police when I did. It took me a few months to even say the word rape and admit I’d been raped. And it took me 3.5 years after the event to start reliving it through flashbacks and constant intrusive thoughts on repeat of what happened. My brain making me watch it over and over until it can piece the picture back together. And obviously it never will. Because I never had those memories to begin with. They were never mine to recover, only his now. And to him they’re twisted and turned into a narrative that makes me feel sick to my stomach. Three and a half years later and my life feels like it’s falling apart all over again from something that’s so old. How can something feel that way? So old and yet so painfully fresh? 

Three years ago, i met a police officer working in my nearest city whilst at university on a dating app called tinder, who met up with me after a day of drinking with my friends for a birthday, after he had postponed us grabbing a drink all day long later and later. Three years ago I sat with him for that drink in a bar in Sheffield that no longer exists. Three years ago my memories of the day before I went to the toilet are clear, where I went, what I did, who was there, daft details like a woman recognising me as the girl she saw fall into a bush some hours earlier. But I came back from the toilet and finished that drink and everything after is in fragments. Three years ago that officer took me to his uni house he shared with four girls at the time, a walk I can only remember in hazy snippets. Three years ago that officer raped me as I drifted in and out of consciousness, in no fit state to consent, to argue or to fight back. I say officer, because as far as I’m aware he still wears that badge and title, and I wear the one of a survivor, but feeling a victim more and more everyday. 

I will not be silenced by you matthew. I will not be silenced of the crime you committed against me and refused to comment on when questioned. 

I will continue to speak and speak out on sexual violence and violence towards women and girls because these stories of women who didn’t get to come home will haunt me every time I hear them. I will speak out in the names of all those who never got to, for Sarah, Sabina, Sherrie, Emma, Klaudia, Patricia, Phyllis, Constanta, Egle,  Michelle, Beth, Julia, Gracie,  Ingrid, Maddie, and thousands more. One woman is murdered every 3 days in the UK by male violence. And I will never stop shouting about it.

Meg x

#Reality #Journey #Uncovering #Historic #Trauma #VAWGSexual #Violence #Talk

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