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Diary of a Victim of Sexual Violence

Monday 4th October 2021

I’ve started this today because;

I need what I’m feeling and experiencing to go somewhere.

I want you, you that doesn’t know what it feels like to live my experience, to understand. I need you to know so you can help. Not me. I don’t want your help. I want you to help the hundreds and thousands and millions of humans who are walking around as victims of sexual violence without my gumption. Maybe if you know, you will start wanting to help; perhaps if you’ve got an insight, you’ll be able to work out where to start. And that start can look like how you, just you, can support victims and survivors to regain the lives that were forcibly taken from them by men you know. Because the honest truth is, you probably do know the men who are raping and sexually abusing us, just as much as you probably know women who have been raped and sexually abused. Maybe you can help by treating THAT woman with humanity, gentleness and kindness, and perhaps you can help THAT woman by asking her What. She. Needs and using your privilege to make sure those things happen. It’s a start.

I’m trying to make it easy for you here.

If you are one of the hundreds and thousands and millions, I’m sharing this with you because I want you to know that you are not crazy and it’s not you. For so long, FOR SO LONG, I thought there was something wrong with me. I’m here to share with you, bring you in, and give you an insight that lets you know that we - the hundreds and thousands and millions, are experiencing this, it's normal (for us) and it’s not our fault. I hope that you find solace in identification. The goddess knows I needed it and still do sometimes.

There’s a big part of me that sees and feels how institutions like Rape Crisis UK are desperately hanging onto a theory of keeping us apart. I understand the red tape they are tied in, and I know the need for not triggering one another with graphic details, BUT they and other professionals like them are missing something fucking HUGE.

We Know.

I know how you are feeling just as much as you know what I’m experiencing. Since launching Reluctant Heroines, I have got the best support and care from the women who know. We are the ones; WE are the ones. I know how your feeling when you are triggered, I know how your feeling when you are filled with rage. I know you know how I'm feeling when I tell you I'm having a bad day. I feel like the professionals try to get us to manage that, make it palatable for our families, communities and society in general. I say fuck that. I say, “hey, professional, don’t try to control me. Support me to express myself and process what I feel about what happened, give me the tools I need to rebuild my life and lead me to my tribe or move out of the effing way!"

Also, I don't know about you but I feel like the professionals aren't really bringing their whole selves to our healing, which is understandable - they have to look after themselves as well. But us, US, we bring our




Selves to the party/not party, "who said party? I don’t want to go to any party. I don’t know who’s going to be there or how many people will be there, I can’t control how close those people are going to be to me, or the volume of music, laughter. Whats laughter?!?!?! I don’t want to laugh. There’s nothing to laugh about".

That’s my because, welcome in x

Today, today, today, today, today....... I’ve been taking it one teeny tiny win at a time, “just make a cup of coffee”, “just brush my teeth”.

I’ve been reading Burnout Completing the Stress Cycle by, Emily and Amelia Nagoski that to resolve stressors, the problems that are causing us stress, we have to break down big arse goals into smaller more instant gratification kind. I’m not sure if it is burnout that I'm feeling? Maybe it's coming off the antidepressants. Maybe this is just the way I am but I do know that a day of stuff is too much. Much too much. Every supposedly "little" thing seems to be always preceded by 100 other "little" things. That’s 101 little things, that when I view them, seem too much to contend with. Two days ago the thought of having a shower sent me into overwhelm. It meant that the sofa and I did not part company all day, ALL day. I know, I know people feel overwhelmed all the time. And I also know how fortunate I am to be able to sit on the sofa all day when some humans on our planet do not have the luxury. However, what I’d like is not to feel so very overwhelmed by an everyday task to the point that if it leaves me unable to move.

And there’s this entire societal narrative that sings,” just get on with it, stop being in your head, think of the bright side, your safe now get on with your life”. But do you know what, since disclosing it's like I’m not able to ignore the little voice inside my head anymore when she tells me to go and do something. This time she said “go and sit down Leanna” and I can’t ignore her. What I know, before you start getting the schizophrenic labels out, is that voice is me.

Trigger Warning - personal experience coming up

It is the me that I had to shut down when they touched me and it didn’t feel right but I couldn’t say stop, I couldn’t say I didn’t like it because I was scared I was in the wrong and scared I would be blamed and belittled. It is the voice of the girl who screamed and fought and was held down and ignored. It is the voice of the girl who cried silently while he did what he did and didn’t stop even though I never stopped crying. It is the voice of the girl who knew it was wrong but was told it was just a “thing” that he did and that it was "normal". It is the voice of the girl who was made to feel it was "that" or punching, doors being slammed, the silent treatment, huffing and arguments about “men just need it and if they're not given "it" this is how they react”.

Because not all sexual violence happens on the streets, it happens in our homes by the men who are supposed to love us. And that's the rub, he told me he loved me all the time. I thought I was the crazy one like I couldn’t trust myself, that I was getting it wrong. Now, I still get a cold feeling when J tells me he loves me. How can I trust love, when love is so painful?

Trigger Warning Over

Anywho, the book says that stress gets stuck in the body and I know that, we all know that right. Stress getting stuck in the body is a layman's version of C/PTSD. And anyone who knows their C/PTSD onions has heard of somatic exercises and TRE (Trauma Releasing Exercises) The difference with this book is that it makes it easy to read. Less lab coat and clipboard and more comfy cardy and a brew. The authors (who are identical twins by the way) suggest taking part in an activity every day that helps to complete the stress cycle, You know the stuff exercise, a big cry, creative expression etc. But they give a caveat, unresolved and unprocessed trauma builds up and compacts so if you’ve got lots of unprocessed trauma it might just be a long old while until you feel the benefits - yay!

So today, I dug a hole in the back garden.

Do you think I can complete my stress cycles by turning my garden into the somme? Maybe there's part of me unconsciously digging holes to bury the bastards who did this to me?

My hope is that I can create something beautiful from this lifetime of trauma.

Cross your fingers for me x


Here's a link to Burnout Completing the Stress Cycle by, Emily and Amelia Nagoski


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