When I say ‘ended’, I mean that the physical side of the abuse finished because it’s so important to recognize that there never really is an end to abuse. I don’t say this in a hopeless way; but more as an acknowledgement that the memories, the thoughts, the feelings; they don’t just ‘end.’ 
Note: why am I not posting this on the actual anniversary? Because I'll be too busy having fun with my best-friend! 

1.        I’ll never forget the day I really first reported it
This is something that you may think I’ve spoken about but actually, I’ve only ever talked about my reporting the abuse to professionals and the Police. The reason I haven’t been able to talk about the first reporting is that it’s been hard to find a way to see it in a way that doesn’t reveal who my abuser was because - for legal reasons - I can’t do that. So basically, the first time I ever told someone what was happening to me happened after a huge argument with my abuser and something in me snapped and I thought ‘this is never going to end if I don’t do something about it.’ So, I told my abuser’s ‘boss.’ I was called a manipulative liar and it, obviously, left me completely convinced that I could never tell another person. 

2.       I can still feel unconditional love

I always thought, going through what I had, and dealing with it by dissociating, meant that I’d always stay cut off from the world. I – and others – put a lot of trust in my abuser and I actually relied on him at some point before it began so I worried that I’d never trust in another person again. That I’d never feel another feeling towards someone because I’d be forever scared that someone would destroy me the way that he had. It did take a long time to get to where I am today in terms of relationships but going into recovery helped me to appreciate all of the people who had been there for me through the hard days and in stabilizing my mental health, I’ve learnt how to build stable and healthy relationships.

3.       Hate can swallow you whole

For a long time, I felt the most passionate hatred towards my abuser, and I think that for some time, this was understandable but when it continued and grew into an unhealthy, all-consuming feeling that began to take over my life. It regulated everything I did, everything I said, everything I thought… All of my actions and behaviours stemmed from this anger – I did things to spite him. I said things and treat people always with this anger at the forefront of my mind. I barely had any thoughts because all I could concentrate on was the overwhelming hatred.  

4.       I might always struggle to use his name

It isn’t just for legal reasons that I don’t say his name – I don’t use it even with people who already know his name. My abuser also had a job title that would very easily identify him but it’s not just for legal reasons that I don’t use that either. I think that my rationale is that using such identifiers would make the entire thing even more real and that isn’t me being in denial – I think that I’ve well and truly accepted what has happened to me – rather that giving this person such a strong identity, would make him more important. Like those lyrics: ‘by the time I’m finished, they won’t even know your name.’

5.       No amount of readers will disqualify what he has done to me

I’ve talked a lot – especially after reaching half a million readers – about why the number of readers matter to me but as important as they are… no amount of success will ever take away what has been done to me. It took me a while to accept this because part of me looks at that like ‘this means he’s ruined my life.’ But now I look at it as though: ‘well why should it?’ It’s important to acknowledge the sheer magnitude of what he has done and that it cannot be diminished by anything.

6.       I might never cry enough tears over it

It’s twelve years on but if I allow myself to properly think about it all then yes, I could cry a river! And it’s one of those feelings - like the hate – where it might never completely go away because it’s completely reasonable to cry over something like this. Now I’m going into recovery, it’s more about learning to manage these feelings in a healthier way and in a way that doesn’t hinder my future or harden my current life. 

7.        I’ll never look at my body in the same way again

People talk about rape and abuse a lot more these days, but this has meant that you can now think you’ve heard people say these things before. It can harden and de-sensitize you to such a difficult subject – something that’s really worrying and scary. So, you’ve probably heard survivors talk about feeling dirty or being ashamed of their body following their trauma and that is how I was left. During the abuse I showered every single day and would spend so long in it just scrubbing at the skin he’d touched and the hair his hands had been in. It made me feel sick to think of his touch – it still does. Then I guess there’s also the added aspect of me coping with the abuse through self-harm and now being left with the scars of that.

8.       Can I let it destroy my chance of making a family?

As I get older, it becomes more and more reasonable that I begin thinking about having my own family one day. The way it stands, I don’t care much about having a man in my life, but I definitely want children and thanks to modern medicine that’s still possible without having a man in your life! I think that perhaps my fear to ever do what needs to be done to have children, hinders a lot of my hopes and dreams in this aspect of my life and that fear comes from the abuse.

9.       It’s a waste of my time to consider what-ifs

I had the opportunity to be in a different environment to the one I was in where I was abused and yet I didn’t take that opportunity. Inevitably, I’ve wondered what would have happened if I’d taken that chance. I, most likely, would never have been abused. I’ve slowly learnt though, that it’s no use to wonder what could’ve happened if something had changed in the past; it just wastes my time now, and my future. We can’t change what has already happened and moving forwards is about accepting that and making the most of what you have now.

10.    It has ruined some songs for me

There was one instance during the abuse where my abuser sang a song in public yet stared at me the entire time. Years later and my Mum took me to a concert of the band that had originally sang that song and I had to stop myself from crying when they performed it. There’s also another song that was released during the abuse and whose lyrics I’ve always associated with it and when I heard it again in Hospital, I ran out of the room, cried, and self-harmed. I can now listen to both songs and hold it together, but I can never feel the emotions that were probably intended from their lyrics.

11.     April 20th will forever mean the same thing

 Like a Birthday or Christmas, April 20th will always mean something to me; the end of the abuse. As good as that sounds - as much as it sounds like a date i should celebrate - it's also a little bit sad that it's another day when there's some focus on what has happened to me. So I started trying to do something special for this date every year so that it can now be the date that something else happened and whilst all of these new memories will never replace the one of the abuse, they can give it a bloody good run for its money! And that's why this post is going up earlier than the 20th - because I'll be having too fun with my bestfriend to care about posting it then!

12.    Should I be grateful for it?

This is a new attitude and thought process that I’ve adopted recently and it’s all about hanging onto the positives that have come as a result of the abuse. A huge one being my blog and all of the successes that have come with it. It makes me think that maybe – just maybe – it was worth it to be where I am today. To be who I am today.
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