The Crown Court

“It feels like one long nightmare; like being held under water, unable to catch a breath.

It seems endless, ceaseless, incessant.

The pain surpasses any other pain I have ever felt.

There is a mixture of hatred, anger and guilt. Fear, hopelessness, helplessness.

There are unanswered questions, confusing emotions.

There is disorder and turmoil within, chaotic and out of control.

And the worst part? That I can’t share it. Who can I tell? Who can understand?

It didn’t just happen overnight. It happened gradually over the four weeks I was there. I had no idea what was taking place until it was too late. Too late to pretend nothing had happened. I would do anything to go back in time and erase those four weeks from my life. I have tried to obliterate it, but to no avail. It won’t budge. It stays with me as long as I live. And to be quite honest, that terrifies me. For I have seen in the past few months that I am unable to survive with it inside of me”

(typed June 2016)

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The above was something I typed up in June 2016, 6 months after I was sexually assaulted on a mental health ward by a male member of staff.

In June 2017, I went to court to give evidence against the perpetrator. I had to stand up in front of a judge and jury and explain in detail what happened to me.

I have never really connected to the person who stood up and argued with the defence barrister. I know it was me, but I don’t remember it being me. I have split myself up into pieces not wanting to associate myself with being a victim.

He may have been found guilty and jailed, however he is now out on licence and I am still in this prison I cannot see a way out of. I can’t delete what happened from my memory however much I try. And I am still trying to understand how this could have happened.

I was weak and vulnerable.  I was suicidal and depressed.  I was struggling to keep going. I trusted the person who gave me their hand to help me up from the floor. I trusted the person who sat and spoke with me for long periods of time.

I struggle to understand how a ward where I was meant to be kept safe, could have caused so much damage. The lack of care and support on that ward led to a situation that should never have happened. Anybody who worked on that ward during the time I was there should be thinking a lot more about their role in what ensued. Had the ward been run in the correct manner, had staff been doing the correct checks, had someone been speaking to me and seeing how I was, maybe this would never have happened.

The anniversary of the court case is coming up. And every time I think about it, I cry. I can’t contain the amount of feelings it brings up for me. But I also find it too hard to speak about. So I’m in limbo. I need to let it out but I don’t know who to. The same people who caused this distress are the people I am meant to turn to. How is that right?

3 comments

  1. Hi. Advocate has helped me write this. Really feel for you. I was sexually assaulted by a MH professional in the neighbouring trust. I reported it 3 yrs later only after massive support from a dedicated Samaritans counsellor who helped me draft the letter. Which the Trust then ignored. Instead of raising a safeguarding alert as required, instead of investigating. The police were fantastic and understood that I was too terrified to go to court. Rape crisis were fantastic but couldn’t support the severe MH symptoms that arose.

    The so called ‘ women’s lead’ offered no support whatsoever yet this trust boasts about having expertise in abuse of women . The Trust had just had a lead psychologist struck off for sexually abusing multiple patients. It was felt by all that they would go to the ends of the earth to protect their reputation over and above protection of the patient.

    My belief and that of many is that these abuses are targeted and there is a systemic abuse culture across MH Trusts. Only when there is an inquiry akin to CSE will the true horrors be revealed. And given there seems to be a ‘ gentleman’s ‘ agreement for certainly London trusts not to notify DBS as required then absolutely NO footprint is left unless a conviction is in place.

    As a woman you cannot be admitted to ANY setting without hearing multiple accounts of sexual violence including abuse by staff . It is endemic. Those managers who turn a blind eye are complicit to this culture and so those who abuse are attracted to MH work as they know they can assault with impunity. Can be pretty certain that my abuser abused other women ( indeed unknown to me the advocate approached the police with accounts of 2 other women”. The police often won’t prosecute unless MH support is in place so ALL an abusive trust gas to do is block care. Which is EXACTLY what they did with me.

    Whislt women are repeatedly told report and we will block services ( either directly or through trust behaviour) then sexual assault will continue. In London you can bet that the same names appear in cases across trusts. Often think that only in a coroners court would the truths emerge. They have without doubt driven women to suicide through never ending cover ups

    Liked by 1 person

    • Firstly thank you for contacting me. I’m so sorry you have been through all of this. It sounds awfully familiar and I’m so sorry you weren’t able to manage the court process etc. It isn’t easy at all and they had to make sure that I felt ok about it all the way through.
      I’m just so angry that the Trust ignored your letter. I also saw Rape crisis and felt they were unable to manage both the trauma and the mental health.
      It appears that the London Trusts are all built in the same way – trying to protect a ridiculous reputation over helping their patients.
      If there is anything I can do you can contact me through the blog or on twitter – @rivkah_g
      I really hope and pray it isn’t the coroners court that this has to get to. But I also believe that even in coroners court things can be covered and up people get away with anything. Sending strength and solidarity x

      Like

      • Thank you. Not on Twitter but was shown your blog by someone who is. Have gone as far as can. Best I can do is ensure documented for any future inquiry. Have had loud non stop support so not a single MH professional nor safeguarding body nor CQC can EVER say they didn’t know. They’ve been able to bury the bodies – quite literally- for so msny years because in MH there is no real voice or choice of provider. But they know. They all know. And were complicit. Take care as best can.

        Like

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