“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)
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?