What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

Subject: What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
Date: 19 Sep 2016

Dear Him,

When you assaulted me in 2004, I felt nothing but confusion, fear, worry and most of all shame.

Shame at myself for not fighting back harder. I had no idea what was going on, no idea why it was happening, no idea why it was happening to me - out of the billions of people on this earth, why did it have to be me?

Ever since that day, I kept that secret. I continued to be friends with your daughter, she was my best friend. She was feeling so sad and I couldn't let your actions destroy my friendship with my best friend. Even though she did punch me in the mouth at school, when I asked her if she was okay, or when she dug her nails into my arm because she was angry. I forgave her every time, most likely because I was gullible.

The years went by and the secret stayed locked away, I did everything I possibly could to stop it coming to the surface, until one school day when I was 18. I couldn't keep the secret anymore. I came straight home from school and told my mum in the kitchen that you had touched me when you shouldn't have. She called the police for me and the next day, I had to sit on the sofa and tell two police officers that I had never met before what you did. I felt dirty and unclean, but the weight that was lifted off of my shoulders was unbelievable. It was as if I could start my life again.

It took the police over a year to collect evidence and statements before they took it to court. In court the prosecution solicitor said that what happened was my fault, that I was wearing clothes on that day that were seductive. With all due respect, I was a nine year old girl not a playboy bunny. Luckily the jury saw through your lies and after two days of discussion they came back with a unanimous verdict. Guilty.

You were sentenced to two years in prison and your name will be on the sex offenders register for life.

I feel nothing but relief and happiness that I have been able to unlock the hold you had over me and shout this secret from the rooftops. You abused me.

I can't say that my life is going to be normal going forward. I wasn't the happy go lucky child I should have been when growing up. I was shy and reclusive. I was never good at socialising or making friends in case they took advantage.

All I can do now is try to find a sense of normality and build the life that I depraved of for all those years.