A Letter From A Survivor
Below is a letter - shared with the consent of a helpline caller - received by Rape Crisis Scotland, shared in the hope it may encourage others to reach out for support.
"Over the past wee while, I’ve reflected a lot on the conversations we’ve had and really want to express just how substantial your impact has been.
I often wonder if things would be different, more so easier now, had I sought out support earlier. I don’t think I was in the right headspace to address what had happaned though. Past reactions had been so negative that my perception, surrounding these experineces, was distorted. An unhelpful narrative had been set, making trusting others, even those with good intentions, impossible. Strangley, in spite of the many challenges lockdown has brought, I believe now was the right time for me to finally reach out.
I can’t remember how I found out about your helpline, however, I do recall being highly sceptical, not anticipating anything positive to follow. If no-one had believed me before, why would now be different? Honestly, I waited, and at times still do, for you to tell me it was my fault or that I shouldn’t be calling. That I was wasting your time. I know now that’s not something you would ever think or say. You really aren’t going anywhere. You genuinely are glad I called. You really do believe me. Despite my frequent attempts to evade topics; underplay feelings; and long stints of sitting in silence (or better yet tears), you always sat there with me. You promised you would be there for as long as I needed and it’s clear now you mean it.
I still feel rubbish about what happened. I know the past can’t be erased so these feelings will never be fully gone. However, I now have moments where I do believe it wasn’t me and it didn’t happen because I was a bad person or deserving of such treatment. You helped me see that. Previously, I had never understood what good could come from digging up the past, making long-term support seemingly pointless. Although I had heard countless times, that with support, things do get better and people do recover, it’s not something I actually believed. After speaking to you, I not only trust the process, but at times can see a light at the end of what has been a very long and dark tunnel. The future doesn’t seem as frightening anymore.
You told me I was strong. You told me I was good enough. You told me I didn’t need to be anyone other than myself to be deserving of kindness and compassion. You won’t ever know how much that means. It’s clear to me now, that independent of how long it’s been and how much or little I want to say, you will always be there so I don’t have to take this journey alone and that’s nothing short of incredible.
Thank you for always listening; for giving me so much time; and helping me find the courage to tell my story the way I want to. Thank you for never rushing me or turning me away. You saw I was worthy long before I did. Thank you for always treating me with respect and speaking to me like a real person and not just some damaged thing. Really, just thank you for being safe."
The Rape Crisis Scotland Helpline is open every night from 6pm - midnight. Please know we really do want to hear from you:
Call: 08088 01 03 02
Text: 07537 410 027