So I’ve been himming and hawing about whether to put something so personal out here on social media. As some of you may know, I blog with MS Ireland as part of a group blog called ‘MS and Me’. I do my own personal blogs too here on my website and on instagram!! I always like to look at things on the bright side of the road, so to speak but I find myself sometimes getting angry over minuscule stuff and sometimes I feel like I need to let anger out but don’t want to come across negative so I don’t usually end up pressing the post button.
I normally blog about Multiple Sclerosis, so this blog is a bit different. As I mentioned before, I didn’t know whether to post it or not but I am hoping by posting this, I may be helping even one person out there who may need to hear my story and how it ended.
As you may know, I have MS and I suffer with on-going anxiety and several anxiety disorders. I was diagnosed in 2009 with PTSD. Again in 2013, I was diagnosed with PTSD & agoraphobia after I left my job in the bank. My life was a mess. When I was in college too, it appeared to many people that I was just a messer but that was not true. I avoided any seriousness as much as I could. Where did this all begin??
Ive always been a happy outgoing person & Ive always been anxious as far back as i can remember but the tip of the ice-berg was in 2009 when 19 year old me went out with my gay best friend on a night out. I was such a hippy and a big child. I remember the clothes I was wearing, shorts from pull & bear with purple tights underneath, a black top and black cardigan!! An innocent night out with my friend turned into something that would change my life and change me forever.
I was sexually assaulted by someone I didn’t know. I never spoke to before, I never even seen before and he forcefully went inside me!! I don’t want to get too graphic but it was the most terrifying thing I’ve ever experienced. I was screaming and crying, shouting and someone rang the guards. The guards were absolutely amazing and they asked me to give a statement & asked my friend to give a statement and other people too. I didn’t really see the relevance at the time but turns out its very important in court, what people see before or after events. They also sent me to Rothunda hospital for DNA forensics too, which was horrific in itself. To have vaginal swabs, I was so embarrassed!!. I’m glad I went to rothunda because they found his dna on me. I was given a leaflet about sexual assaults and a helpline number and was sent home.
I went into work four days later, I worked in Penneys at the time and acted like nothing happened and continued to do so for many years. In 2012 I got a call and a court date was set. I couldn’t believe it, I had to take the week off college and I didn’t go into work that weekend either. It’s the most horrendous thing, having to stand up in court and see someone who invaded me, who did something so evil, so cruel and I hated him. I wanted to kick him, punch him, I hated him because of how he made me feel. The court was a four day trial and bare in mind, I had no professional support. I was cross examined and it was so degrading, What where you wearing?? How much did you drink??
After that he was questioned, to which he just shook his head and denied everything with one word answers, yes, no, no etc. Then the witnesses were up next and I soon realised the important role they played. There was loads of important witnesses to what happened before & after and also the person who thankfully called the guards.
I realise this blog is very long so I do apologise. At the end of court, he was found unanimously GUILTY!! He was sentenced to 3 years in prison with 2 years suspended, which meant he would serve a year which is actually 9 months. I know our justice system is a joke!! The DPP appealed it and in 2013 (when I was working in the bank) he was re-sentenced to another 3 full years in prison!!
The thing that hurt the most, wasn’t even the assault, it was the years of fear that followed, I’d be afraid of people getting close to me, I am a control freak anywhere I go, I need to sit on the outside because it makes me feel safe, I can get up and run if I need to. I need to be able to run off fast to have a panic attack. Intimacy has been very hard for me, I used to have to be extremely drunk to have sex because I didn’t like people touching me. I used to end up liking people & breaking up with them or not even give it a chance because I knew I’d have to have sex eventually with them. I felt broken for a very long time!! The first boyfriend I had after the assault, I ended breaking up with because I didn’t feel good enough, I felt disgusting and dirty…
Then I discovered, I liked some women and I got even worse! For years I ran away from relationships because I truly felt never good enough and if people knew this about me, they’d look at me differently or see me as a broken person. Obviously these things changed when I met my beautiful wife Siobhan.
I also went to the Rape Crisis Centre in Drogheda in 2017 after i was diagnosed with MS. And my amazing counsellor helped me out so so so much!! She told me about how the rape crisis centres actually send a counsellor with women/men who have been sexually assaulted, to court with them for support. I obviously didn’t know about that when I was in court but its so important to know these things.
As I said, I didn’t know whether to post this or not. Ive suffered with extreme anxiety especially since this traumatic event in my life, but counselling really helped me come to terms and to live my life again. I am free now!! I spent a long time blaming myself, did I come across slutty? Did I deserve it? Is it my fault??
Believe me I spent about 10 years feeling ashamed of myself for a crime someone else committed!! I did nothing wrong! I am a strong person and I am hoping that this blog might help even one person get through such a horrific ordeal. Our justice system is terrible but its not all bad outcomes, my attacker got sentenced and it gave me some sort of sense of justice. There is also a lot of victim supports out there too. For anyone who is thinking of speaking out, please do and if you need someone to talk to, you can message me!!
Okay I’m gonna stop crying now, I think I’m a bit afraid of putting this out there for all to see, but I think the time is right & it has set me free in a way
Ten years later and I have never loved myself more, I am happy, content, managing my anxiety as best I can & making the most of my beautiful Life
Thanks for reading xx Christina