The night I was raped, someone decided to take something that wasn’t theirs.
What I will never understand is why they also took my socks off?
I put my boots on and ran out of the house without them.
I was fixated on that…I just couldn’t understand. I was 18 years old; no-one saw my feet! I just couldn’t get it. I couldn’t understand.
The socks were in the house. They were no longer mine.
I sat at the police station and just kept talking about my socks still being there. It was almost the confirmation I needed that it really did happen. That’s the thing with psychological trauma, it can be so overwhelming and distressing that it goes beyond our capacity to believe the events actually happened.
We question, we doubt, we sit there in shock.
It was a moment that changed my life, and all I could do was focus on my bare feet sitting in my boots.
They felt naked, they felt violated… exactly how I felt.
From that moment on, my life spiralled into some pretty dark places. I felt like I had brought shame onto my family. I had hurt them. Or should I say, they were hurting because of what had happened to me, but I took that as I had hurt them.
That’s the thing with victim shaming. It’s the little remarks in the media or the questions people ask such as, “Was she drunk?” or “Why was she out alone?”. It makes the victim feel like it was their fault.
The truth is, they have already blamed themselves for it all from the start anyway. I know I did.
And that’s why I had to be ok. That’s why I had to just pretend I had dealt with it once CPS had decided there wasn’t enough evidence for it to go to court.
I didn’t want my family to hurt anymore, so on the surface, I was fine and outwardly appeared confident. I had some amazing jobs, but underneath I was fighting depression, anxiety, OCD and no-one could know.
I spent 10 years like that. 10 years feeling lost, feeling disgusted, feeling ashamed.
And then I stumbled across personal development and NL P. I was curious. I needed to know more about how, if I worked on my mind, I could feel better.
If I’m honest I didn’t really acknowledge how bad things were. I was caught up on the doing… let’s just get through each day.
That was until a company I was working with set a challenge to raise awareness for its charity, one that supported women survivors of childhood sexual abuse. I watched, as people took to social media and started sharing their stories, with‘Fight Song’ by Rachel Platten in the
I knew what I had to do. I didn’t know why but I needed to speak out. I had to really dig deep. I was going to bring shame on my family again. Everyone would know… But I knew that I had to do it. If it helped one person then it would be worth it. If I gave one person the strength to speak up
and be free, it was worth the backlash I was expecting to receive.
In my head I was expecting around 200 views and a huge drop in friends. I braced myself for the most horrible comments and judgement.
That wasn’t exactly how it happened…
Instead of 200, it had over 36,000 views! My inbox flooded with hundreds of people sharing their stories and I personally replied to every single one.
It took weeks, but in that moment, not only was I free, I was helping others to be too. Life got kind of crazy from there. I was asked to share my story to a room of around 50 women. My voice wobbled as I told it…but again I felt stronger.
I knew I could help someone there.
Driving home, my phone rang. They wanted me to speak at their annual event, to a room of just over 1000 people. I said yes… then just sat and thought for a while.
I had to stand on stage and speak about something I had been ashamed of for such a long time… I had to be the most vulnerable I had ever been… I couldn’t quite take it all in. Then, in that
moment, I knew. I had to do it in bare feet.
No one in the room knew why. It’s not uncommon for speakers to stand on stage and talk without shoes on, but for me it was so much more.
It was the moment I decided I was taking back my strength.
See, I’m not afraid to talk about the yucky stuff – the taboo subjects that make people uncomfortable. To me, that’s not just important, it’s a necessity. I openly talk about abuse, about how I work with survivors to help them to succeed.
I speak out and help those who have lost their voice and their strength.
That was me once. I had my strength taken from me.
Just like there was a time I used to hide my feet. Until someone decided to take that choice
away from me too. The night they took my socks… The night I woke up with my ankles being
held. The moment that would change everything.
When I stood up on stage, that was for everyone else. I wanted to give them hope, give them strength. I wanted to help them find their voice.
But the moment I removed my socks to stand there, that was for me. It was the moment I decided to be exposed. The moment I decided to take back my strength. The moment I decided to have bare feet.