Dear Oxford 14-year-old,
I’ll call you Sarah. I don’t know who you are, but if Jeremy Vine can write to a 15-year-old from Romford attacked by a group of teenagers to offer his support then you deserve no less.
And I deserve the publicity for my shoddy little cause…
Sadly, you join the ranks of 1 in 5 women who will experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetimes.
Rape, groping, men wolf-whistling, men sitting on trains with their legs apart, men paying you compliments, men not paying you compliments, male bosses not paying you the same as male colleagues who haven’t taken time off for maternity leave, golly gosh, kiddo, it’s EVERYWHERE!
Although I dare not read the details, because I will feel too much and that is not useful to you, I want you to know that I am holding you in my thoughts.
Me, me, me….oops, sorry, I’m meant to be thinking about you, aren’t I?
I am utterly appalled at what you have been through, which is why I am waiving my legal rights to anonymity to “come out” as a rape survivor. “Coming out” as a lesbian was never this hard, even during the worst of Section 28.
Oooh, there I go again!
…I want you to know that if you are angry, you are right to be angry. I am angry. I am angry that we live in a society that continues to confuse the difference between “rape” and “sex”.
Which is why people go on trial for sex all the time. Errr, wait, I think I lost the thread…
For years after my attack I had to avoid coverage of sexual violence, especially those ghastly tabloid headlines sensationalising and trivialising rape and sexual assault. It is OK for you to decide to avoid things that cause you distress. It’s the way in which our brains protect us; it can help us heal…
Be a snowflake! You can see how it helped me become rational and not at all obsessed and bitter, can’t you?
What I can also tell you is that our Prime Minister, Theresa May, has listened to survivors, as well as self-described “victims”. There is someone in 10 Downing Street who has listened very carefully. But sadly many in the media are not listening to her.
You are, for the time being, a “victim”. Perhaps “veteran” is a better term – of a savage war of sexual terror conducted up and down the UK, and around the world.
But…. *shhh* …. don’t mention the Muslims!
Clare B Dimyon MBE (Human Rights)
Look how well I did out of it!