Sunday, 12 February 2017

Disclosure – What it can feel like

Let me tell you what it feels like to disclose; to share my story, to disclose my abuse, to talk about it and to let you in. Disclosing to some random person or even all of you here reading this was and has been hugely difficult and challenging over time. So let me try and explain to you what disclosure can look and feel like. The years and years of build up to disclosing are toxic and damaging; holding onto trauma can damage the brain, relationships and cause many disorders, for example, PTSD and cPTSD, DID and other mental health disorders. Some victims and survivors of abuse turn to substances, alcohol and can lose everything and end up on the streets homeless. We refer to survivors as such as some do not make it, some sadly pass away and some commit suicide, some of those who survive campaign to help others and raise awareness of this insidious crime and the long lasting life-long damage of abuse.  

So let me educate you as to what the build up to disclosing feels like...

So let me tell you why I feel blue, why I lost trust and why I was bust. Why decades of shame, blame, silence and tears, living in fear, embarrassed and guilt-ridden, I was a hostage and hidden. I felt worthless and frightened, marginalised, an outsider looking in. I had been sucked in by a charmer, lied to by a groomer, coerced by a narcissist, gaslit by a psychopath. Life has been sad; I even asked if I was really bad.

I have been lost at a heavy cost, I became invisible, haunted with a miserable soul and my heart and spirit broken, my voice was taken; you see my abuser spoke for me. I thought I was smart but even I fell apart. Abuse is abysmal; it is a sick excuse for silence and secrets, threats and fear, exclusion and segregation, rejection and elimination. We become nobodies encased in guilt & shame and the damage is life-long, we never forget.

He held my head against a wall, took me by the throat, pulled me along by my hair and pushed me till I fell with his flying fists. His evil words flowed like fjords which damaged my psyche and he thought he would break me. My confidence was destroyed; I was embarrassed, ashamed, dirty, unclean, muted, unseen; my personality stripped, I was controlled and gripped, my sanity was blown, my mind not my own. I was told I am paranoid and it was all in my imagination. My brain was fried and my inner child died; I never cried, you see I couldn’t my tears had run dry, I was completely cried out. Is it really me? Would I ever be free?

I lived like a zombie and life was lonely; I was encased in a fog my body trapped in a bog. I was being sucked under by quicksand and manipulated by his hands. Isolated, kidnapped, and taken hostage in my own home; invisible, unseen, all I wanted to do was hide, my heart had died. The pain and trauma left me in a coma; the lethargy was indescribable…please let me sleep till I see next world, let me die; take me now anything but these lies and mental abuse.

I was angry, confused, cynical and scared; triggers the worst, flashbacks a curse. Sleepless nights and nightmare fights. The foetal position kept me safe; you see I took no chances from his unwanted advances so I barricaded the bedroom door trying to protect my inner core. You see I was not consenting which for him was degrading.

All this a secret behind closed doors, a door he held the key to, quite literally. A charade played out privately, I must behave publicly. Mustn’t cause any doubt of this big fat lie, we don’t want neighbours to pry. But back home I get the stick, a fist or a barrage of words. Who’s going to believe me and give some reprieve, there’s no one who knows because it’s too outlandish, scandalous, and outrageous; too taboo this dirty word called abuse. You see no one talks about this ghastly stuff because it’s too uncomfortable, it doesn’t happen at others tables.

Outwardly I look fine; my façade in place, lipstick shining nothing is ever out of place. My persona flawless, polished & gleaming but underneath there is a pain so deep that I am trying desperately to escape. The pain goes to the core of my being and that damage is life-long and, I believe, can never be fully healed although the past is past and I now live in the moment – not the past or the future – the moment.

Disclosure is the hardest act, and that’s a fact; to open up and share my dirty laundry, my personal story with all of you, for all of you to share, have a pop at, an opinion and a judgement, even discuss embarrassing and shameful, makes me feel dirty and unclean, muted and unseen. People see me differently now and I am different, I can never to be the same again, how can I and nor should I and I shouldn’t have to explain to you or anyone what it feels like to be abused.

So, don’t tell me to get over it or move on; don’t tell me to forget it or it’s in the past because let me tell you it’s impossible. What most survivors need are someone who listens and believes and who can scoop you up and believe in you; can give a hug and smile and a cuppa tea. If this is possible there’s a small chance of healing and a small chance of hope and peace, of breaking the cycle and the pattern. There is a chance of a brighter future, a chance of peace of mind and a chance of being somebody again and a chance we can find a safer place to live and breathe in solace.

Now you know a little of what it feels like to suffer decades of abuse and then have to tell some random stranger in a uniform, your journey of abuse, over and over, somewhere clinical because they decide that’s the best way to disclose. And when you do find the time to listen to me, you have no excuse to disbelieve or doubt my words or feelings, question my mental health or my historic sexual activity. What you do have to do is listen, hear, believe and care about me. You have no excuse or reason to disbelieve me or anyone else who finds the strength and courage to disclose their story of abuse.

Never judge a child, teenager, young person, adult or the elderly whether they be male or female, of any gender, social standing or culture who have suffered abuse - historic or current, sexual or otherwise, domestic violence or abuse or not. Consider how challenging it is to speak, possibly as long as three score years and ten later about an evil perpetrator that abused them as a child.

Remember others may never tell or my find the courage, beat the shame and tell someone safe before their passing. We must honour the brave that comes forward and disclose this insidious crime who have the courage to speak out to endeavour to make changes to current systems, laws and procedures in order to safeguard current and future generations of children and young people.

So when someone discloses their horrific abuse have the decency and respect to believe them.

The greatest gift you can give a victim or survivor of abuse is to believe them.

This is a small precis of my talk about Disclosure in Antrobus, Cheshire with @VoicingCSA on Saturday 11th February 2017. To see the full talk please go to: 
Voicing CSA Facebook Page:
Email: at 
Twitter: @voicingcsa

On Saturday 12th February 2017  I was lucky enough to meet and spend time with actor Chris Harper at the Escape Charity Event at Old Trafford VIP Suite, Manchester. Chris currently plays the role of groomer "Nathan" in Coronation Street; as Nathan, he will go on to groom Bethany over the next few weeks.  I spent quality time discussing my own story of grooming, gaslighting and coercive control with Chris in order to assist him with his research in his role as a paedophile and perpetrator of abuse.

You can read the article/interview with Chris Harper  in the Sunday Mirror today (12.02.2017) where, as an Ambassador, he supports charity  Voicing CSA and shares a small part of my story here:


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