Letter from a survivor

Friday 6th July 2018

Letter from a survivor

Dear Survivors,

Whether you’re thinking of going to WRSAC / The Women’s Centre or coming to the end of your support. You will be made to feel valued, safe, respected, supported, understood and know that all you discuss is in the strictest confidence.

You will feel so comfortable after just a few sessions, you’ll feel like you’ve known your WRSAC counselor for years. As you trust you’ll start to talk, unravel what has happened to you, how it made you feel, how it still makes you feel.

I, personally went through lots of different feelings and emotions. Denial being the biggest then came fear, upset, stress, anxiety, vulnerability, feeling dirty, ashamed, weak, withdrawn, angry, paranoid and the list goes on.

It is not unusual after rape, sexual abuse or domestic violence to be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress. Remember all these emotions you are going through are ‘normal’.

I struggled to sleep, had nightmares and suffered with vivid flashbacks and was so anxious – I didn’t want to go out.

In-between my sessions with WRSAC / The Women’s Centre – I kept a diary to express and offload how I was feeling and used it as a tool to physically see how far I’d come.

My time with WRSAC / The Women’s Centre has come to an end. I was prepared by my WRSAC counselor well in advance. When I was first told, I was a little scared for the next part of my healing journey because I had been supported so much, shown great empathy and compassion as to what had happened to me. But I know that my WRSAC counselor would not have ended my sessions if she didn’t feel I was ready.

After the shock I read through my diary and realized for myself just how much stronger I had become. As an empowering moment / milestone I burned my diary to release what had happened to me and al the feelings that came with it.

For the first time in a long time I feel in control and I’m not prepared to let what happened to me rule my life any longer.

I am now ready to move onto the next chapter. Yes the physical and emotional scars will never go away but the tools I have been given by my WRSAC counselor has helped me embrace the emotions and deal with them. So when I have a flashback now – I quickly change my train of thought and think of something positive – so I don’t feed on the emotions any longer.

When I look in the mirror I don’t see myself as a ‘victim’ anymore – I see myself as a ‘survivor’. For the first time in a long time, I am excited about the future and I’m starting to smile again.

I would like to thank WRSAC / The Women’s Centre for making this service available to me. It is crucial that the service in Cornwall continues because unfortunately those horrific crimes are happening on a daily basis. I will always be eternally grateful for the support this service gave to me. And I would like to personally thank Jo, my WRSAC counsellor. Thank you for believing in me and pointing out my strengths, valuing me as a woman, helping me to see all the positive things about myself and my life and most of all giving me the confidence to walk forward with courage. You have played a very important part in my life. I will never forget how you made me feel and I will take what I have learnt from you onto the next part of my journey.

And lastly a personal message for all you survivors out there. I wish you all the very best on your journey of recovery and healing. Remember things will seem worse before they get better. Embrace the bad memories of what happened to you and in your own time, something will click and you’ll realise you don’t want what happened to out controlling your life any longer.

Remember you are stronger than you think and braver than you’ll ever know. I believe you. You can do this!