I have been awake since three am thinking about women. Fifty-five minutes staring into the darkness. I know I must get this out before I can rest again.
Yesterday at work we were debriefed on our position on the Sarah Everard case. My colleagues along with the rest of the country had mixed feelings. We are in a precarious position. Questions of safety – personal, local and global are stirred. As a woman my memories return to haunt me. Walking down the street, behind you the sound of feet following you.
I have complex post traumatic stress disorder from being attacked by four or five young men who chased me, threw me to the ground, pulled my top up and strangled me with it before I somehow managed to get free. I made it onto a train but just as the doors were closing, hands forced them open and they cornered me. They smashed my head against the plexiglass repeatedly until I fell to the floor. Legs kicked me from everywhere continuously for what seemed an eternity. As the train rolled into the next station one of them pulled me up by my hair and spat in my face. There were people on the train. No one did anything apart from an old man who offered me his hankie.
I never reported it. I wasn’t sexually assaulted but it was a sexual assault. I did nothing to encourage them. I simply was a girl on her own who could be treated anyway they wanted.
It changed me forever.
Signals from my brain to my sex organs shut down. My periods stopped about a year after. I mysteriously become infertile. The doctors did not know why and still do not. I got used to it. I accept my childless fate but; Twenty two years later I am still in therapy and I still fear attack by young boys.
I live in a modern world where I want equality and sense of safety. I want to walk down the street and not be at risk of male patriarchal brutality. Last night I cried. Why couldn’t my life be different, why could I not have met Michelangelo at seventeen, why did this happen and affect my fertility?
The country mourns for Sarah Everard, her mother and family. Recently we have experienced many lessons through our grief and our understanding of society. Mostly that life is precious and is a gift from God.
My life aged seventeen was changed forever but like Job I understood and put my trust in the lord that things would turn around. It took me years to understand and accept my childlessness, but I did and I have never been happier or felt more loved.
“Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD”
Through grief I found understanding. I share this story for anyone who needs it. With love always x