Doesn’t Touch

Doesn’t Touch

This doesn’t touch the surface
Telling me to focus
On my inner sun
It doesn’t stop the pain
The damage that was done

The authorities don’t want
Free thinkers
Bold speakers
Criticism
Questions

Dismiss these as
People’s inner demons
When in fact
We just want freedom
From Oppression

©GS 

#DoesntTouch #NoIdea #NotOk #BelieveHer #InnerSun #Meditation #RapeSurvivor #GirlSurvivor #MyReality #FreeThinker

#StopOppression #FemalePoet #AnnaJuliet #Poet

Naming It

Naming It

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I felt unable to post this until I had finally escaped the place where this happened.  We sued the associates of the perpetrator who  were harassing me since I reported rape and sexual assault, driving me out of my former home and  we won the case.

This, my account,  was published 2018 in the anthology “To Report or Not to Report:   Survivor Testimony of the Injustice System.”   Released at the House of Lords, Westminster, London UK,  on the centenary of the Women’s Vote feb 6.  You can buy the whole book from Amazon.  it contains testimonies from survivors including contributions from well known activists Winnie Li,  Madeleine Black,  Alys Coudrey,  Emily Jacob and Dr Nina Burrowes.  All proceeds go to charities which support women and girl surivvors.  This chapter is “Naming It ”  By Anna Juliet

I reported sexual assault and rape (against me) in January 2017. It has been a horrendous ordeal. Since the perpetrator sexually assaulted then came back and raped me in my home. I am a singer songwriter. I wrote some poems. This one, “Prayer for my Room. “ is about how the perpetrator violated not only me but my home. Since this I learned that the majority of rapes happen at or near the victim’s home: (rainn.org). Research has found that the vast majority of rapes are planned. Realising I had been set up, I have found so devastating. The poems touch on some of what happened when I did report this. How the myths that police are sensitive and all have special training, from where I am standing, are actually just more myths. And then attitudes from wider community and society- expands this beyond just me and my room.

I could not sleep and people told me to go away for a while or redecorate etc. None of these would help. I slept in on the floor in the room where I was raped. In my beloved music studio. My safety was shattered. I was numb. Sometimes I felt the rapist had killed me inside. I began to visualise the room as like another person, who had also been injured and needed healing. It took the guilt away from staying there and just being… It helped me deal with this massive violation of spirit and physicality and what goes way deeper than can be explained.

This (Prayer for my Room) was the second poem I wrote after what happened. The first was a visceral account, which appears on police video. So I am not sharing it here. I will publish it later.

“I Couldn’t Name it” poem three, came from the moment of taking a shower/ washing over and over after the rape, while the perpetrator was still in the flat. Trying to act normal because I was so scared. It was about saying “This. is. not. happening.” when it had already happened. And me, the survivor, telling myself I could stop it being rape, by not naming it. The horror of what had happened and what could unfold if I report this. Not being able to face the enormity. On your own, how can you? I said, “I’m not having this.”Realising now this was an extension of not being able to stop the rape. The freezing. even before- when you sense danger – but see no escape route. The blocking out starts during the assault. The shock and horror of the pain.. It is automatic. I had no more control over that than the sexual violence. my body tried to shut down. to just trying to leave your body – trying not to feel and to rise away from the repeated hurting. When you get to the point of just waiting for it to be over. It continues through the aftermath.

Intimidating masculinised police officers. All the times you were petrified into saying nothing. And being intimidated into silence, even when in the act of reporting the assault. Giving a police video when you are in fact too afraid to speak.

I lost my voice for six months. I could not sing – sometimes I could barely speak. I have had a continual sore throat. Sometimes just from having to justify myself to people patronising and talking over me. Rape is a crime of your voice being drowned out – while somebody does stuff to hurt you, he knows you did not and would never agree to. The perpetrator enjoyed my fear and my realisation he had trapped me. Since speaking out, my overriding experience has been of being shouted down- and spoken to as if I am a child who did something wrong, often by authorities who have a remit to help survivors. Instead you are being punished for daring to say “I.” I could not bear to listen to music, let alone mix music: I went from being a productive music producer, to a little shadow.

The disregard of the police: from officers devoid of understanding, or interest to understand, what it is like to go through rape and sexual assault. The silencing never stops. “I couldn’t name it” comes from being afraid to say the word “Rape” due to repercussions. From perpetrator, friends of the perpetrator and ultimately my own community. The only reason I ended up reporting, was I had injuries and had to register to get emergency meds and care- e.g. the abortion pill. I would never have consented to unprotected anything, with anybody, especially not to violence, which the perpetrator inflicted. Then came fear for my safety. The horror of being told you wanted somebody to inflict injuries and swear at and degrade you while you were screaming in pain, that you would invite this type of abuse on your own body, to me is so ludicrous. I can’t believe this is still said or implied to survivors.

The whole step of having to do anything about it, is life changing. you don’t want that when you are feeling awful and traumatised and disheveled after a rape. A year ago I would never have believed at this point I could be facing a dilemma of leaving/ being forced out of my home because of no longer feeling safe there. I relied on promised police safety measures (to protect from the perpetrator returning), so I could make choices, not flee out of fear.

I received bullying phone calls from police, letting me know they intend to speak to friends of the perpetrator with no assurance of my safety, obviously putting me in much more danger. Further police communications argued the perpetrator’s “right” to enter my building and visit the residents complex where I live, even suggesting I move out. I was told if I encountered the perpetrator inside the building, police “hands would be tied. “ A disturbing email the rapist wrote within hours of assaulting me, was also ignored.

It takes time to realise, not naming it, changed nothing. It still happened. Not naming it, or calling it something else is a lie. Survivors of sexual violence, need support from the off, to be in a safe and confidential place to disclose and understand the enormity of what has happened to you, get safe medical care, a safe place to stay and take appropriate action: to be offered options. None of these were available to me.

In writing these poems and speaking out, I am naming it. We need to keep naming. By naming it now, I found other survivors. The tragedy of realising you are not alone in what you are going through, as well as the beauty and validation of meeting other courageous people prepared to stand up for our rights and stop rape culture.

If I’d had the right support upfront: 1. the perpetrator might have been prevented from taking advantage when he did and he might have been apprehended already before he even got to me, from what he said and did, he’d done it before. 2. I would have had no qualms about going straight to the police. People need support and to know their rights. In this country there is no legal representation for rape victims. You are meant to be allowed an ISVA (independent sexual violence advocate) but the waiting lists in London were over six months.

The perpetrator has automatic right to a lawyer. I ended up alone in the police station. Police would not allow me to have a friend even wait for me in the building. The sexual assault centre manager, who stood up for me, had gone. The injuries the perpetrator inflicted, left me in too much pain to sit up. It was a number of days before I eventually found out where I could go to get any tests safely done. Then the sexual assault referral centre called police in. I just did not know to go there.

The national rape crisis helpline constant voicemail, did not give out the number of the Havens, the suicide helpline number was on there instead. I had the most gruesome misogynistic things said to me by people on that line. I went straight to hospital after the rape and they literally ignored me every time I said ’traumatic incident.” I was in extreme pain. and terrified. Later when I complained, there turned out to be other women’s complaints who had been sexually assaulted, posted right on their website warning “Do not go there if you have been sexually assaulted”

. The never-ending nightmare started with the first approach of the perpetrator. In fact it started with the approach of a (female) friend of his who introduced him to me and brought him to our building and then proceeded to try to cover for him afterwards which left me feeling unspeakably betrayed. I since found out she directly lied to the police, which left me speechless. I no longer understand the callousness of this mentality. This has been one of the worst aspects. The brutality and impact of this and police behaviour, upon all the violation and trauma which assailant put me through, decided me, I must look for a new home in order to heal.

These untruths and deceptions helped collapse the police case against a rapist they originally told me looked like a serial perpetrator- and stopped me getting justice or even the right to protection. The Havens are filing a formal complaint against the police on my behalf, with direct statements from me. I am struggling to even look at the documents. My first appointment with the ISVA was this week. I was unable to read the papers in their office, as I cried all through the meeting. The case against the rapist is due to be reviewed. I do not regret reporting. Reporting is not only about the police. It is about everybody. However appalling and unhelpful the response. I have spoken out. In making the statements, I pray I can get the words down. The pain is too much to bear. We have to turn this around. Silence keeps enabling rapists and abusers.

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©GS

Girl Survivor logos by Siobhan Sands

Click Links below for Poem pieces that are published with this chapter in the book:

Prayer for my Room

I Couldn’t Name it

Wall of Silence

All That’s Left of Me   

You can find them in the archive list on the right hand side of this site where they were first published :   go to  August /September 2017.   

Thank you for reading and for your support.  If you are a  abuse or rape survivor ,  sending you big hugs,  strength and all the respect there is.  Please join Girl Survivor on face book and twitter  and subscribe here to keep in touch.   Let me know how you are doing.  Never give up.   xx

Inside  the House of Lords where our book was launched

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#GirlSurvivor. #RapeSurvivor #NamingIt #ToReportOrNotToReport #InjusticeSystem #Woman #AnnaJuliet ##HouseOfLords #Editorial  #NotOK  #IBelieveYou #DontBeSilenced

 

Milestones

Milestones

A milestone in healing and relationship: Choosing a new bed with caring special  partner, when I started with sports bag against the door, in case he came to the door: unable to be touched. I still don’t want to have any sex.  Five years after rape . We have intimacy and closeness and a future to look foward to. We have time . Today we shared our birthday dinner: I paid for his he paid for mine – in our favourite riverside cafe – lovely vegan food .  I am glad I didn’t give up. Now we are moving the bed into bedroom and aiming to have the music studio where I have slept for 4.5 years since the attack –  for creating new music and art .

©GS 

#Relationships #GirlSurvivor #Woman #Love #Milestones #Sleep #Freedom #Care

Dear MP:  The Police, Crime,  Sentencing and Courts Bill,  2021 

Dear MP:  The Police, Crime,  Sentencing and Courts Bill,  2021 

I wrote this to my MP today – from my perspective as a survivor

As David Lammy MP put it, “ This would give higher penalties for damaging a statue than for assaulting a woman.” 

Dear (I have redacted my constituency here as I didn’t want to post my home locality online )
As your constituent, I am writing to request your vote against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2021. Your party should be upholding our freedoms, not further restricting citizens from exercising their democratic rights by way of peaceful protest. Individual liberty, a cornerstone of conservatism, means fighting for free speech, against heavy-handed policing, and in favour of adults choosing for themselves. 

This weekend, women, among them Mrs Kate Cambridge, visited Clapham to pay respects to Sarah Everard, a rape and murder victim, for which a male police officer is on trial. This was a protest by women for all of our right to walk the streets safely. A peaceful vigil was met with blatant brutality by the police, against innocent female protesters. I hope and request that that my MP is filing a complaint about this please , to demand those police responsible are sacked and charges brought against them – I am a rape survivor and seeing these reports struck a chord, as it has with many other survivors. Many of us have ourselves experienced brutal treatment by police. In a democracy, policing should be there to protect our right to peaceful protest, not to crush , threaten it and engage in violence toward innocent protesters. But the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2021, as it stands, threatens our basic democratic rights, which this country has always maintained were the backbone of our system. It seeks to expand the restriction zone from Parliament Square Green to all the roads surrounding it and up Whitehall, meaning that the government could simply ban any protests outside Parliament or Downing Street that it disagrees with. It contains clauses about single-person protests, whether standing or even just passing through. And it seeks to outlaw noisy demonstrations. 

The point of ordinary people being able to protest is that they can be heard by those with power. Unamended, this Bill would kill off the kind of lively, visible, widely-supported, vibrant activities Best for Britain and many other peaceful organisations have engaged in. The role of our government should be to facilitate safe and legal protest, not make it harder – and it is possible to do that under the existing laws – changing them is a political move, not one designed to make protest safer. 

I believe in international liberal democracy and want Britain to lead the way in promoting those values. But we can’t credibly do so while eroding the liberties of the British people at home. For example, we can’t with good moral authority criticise China for clamping down on pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, if we curtail those same freedoms at home. If we are to build Global Britain as a respected brand on the world stage, we must uphold the right to peaceful protest. 

As my MP, I look forward to hearing that you did the right thing and voted against this Bill. 

Thank you 

Yours sincerely

GS

#policeCrimeSentencingandCourtsBill2021

#GirlSurvivor.  #RapeSurvivor #ReclaimTheStreets #IBelieveYou #Woman #Democracy #DontBeSilenced #AnnaJuliet #SarahEverard #PoliceBrutality #RightToSpeak #Abuse #ViolenceAgainstWomen #PoliceCrimeSentencingandCourtsBill2021 #MP #NoJustice #InJustice

Can You Stand With Me?

Can You Stand With Me?

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How d’you regain your dignity?
(Can you stand with me through this)?
Can you hold me while I slip and slip
and miss and miss?

I beg you not to leave me alone
In what is my own
crime scene where he violated me

Home
I can’t sleep at night without you
beside me
So many nights I don’t sleep at all
if you weren’t here
I’d be bending your ear
on a long distance phone call
Sometimes it seems
only you hear..
Sometimes it seems
I don’t exist at all,
Annihilated, before I could pull
through,
(if it’s possible to pull through)?

Turned away from so many doors
from so-called support
because of obvious
overwhelming trauma,
as if this were my own doing

Too many people who could
no longer look me in the eye
as if it is I they despise,
not the perpetrator-
his and institutional lies.

They don’t care about my cries,
my pain,
if I never stand straight again,
Crumpled under shame,
blame
victim taming,
silencing.
Counselling which is only
to suppress,
like Prozac,
to keep girls nice,
quieted, meek.
Not proud,
strong,
unashamed,
Beauty

They demand from girls and women
payment in kind
Give us your life,
in return
we’ll give you nothing
Maybe at the end
of several years,
we will hand you back your
innocence,
broken, in a box
while the perpetrator walks free,
or not.

It makes no difference
to us
It’s the same result

Innocence
was never bliss.
There is no justice
In this.

God bless the man you are
who could stand with me
through this
Can you face
the lack of happy endings
can you take the risk?
I can’t sit back
and say nothing about it
You’re still with me
through all this shit
and I will never forget
when all others split
You stand with me
through this

©GS

#GirlSurvivor #AnnaJuliet #RapeSurvivor #TakeaStand #DontBeSilenced #CanYouStandWithMe #GS
#love #relationships #abuseSurvivor #communication #fightforlife #Trauma #NoJustice  #femalePoet #UnNumb #body #you

miss love

miss love

hands-istock
I love you darling
You are my heart
I love to swim in salty water with you
and touch you in the night
I love it when you hold me
I don’t let many people see me cry

I miss your cooking
I miss your cat
I miss your hugs
I miss you

I don’t miss a beat
when you’re here with me
I want you be always there with you
I’ m just better
I just get there with you

I don’t want to go on without you
I love my life with you
when I’m on my own I miss your arms
around me
I miss you
kiss you
cari ti
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©GS
#GirlSurvivor #love  #relationships #abuseSurvivor #communication #fightforlife #Trauma #NoJustice #AnnaJuliet #femalePoet #UnNumb #body #you #MissYou #AnnaJuliet

I Can’t Talk

I Can’t Talk

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I can’t talk
Words don’t come
I feel sick
and kind of numb
You say
Don’t be sad
I’m not
Ok I am
You say
“I mean
Don’t be sad because
of me”
I says, I’m not
Ok I am
Sad but
Not because of you
It’s not about you
I’m not sad I’m scared
OK I been crying
I’m crying all the time
Or never at all
I cried in my dreams
When I was silent
Like my screams,
Only other girls who went
Through this
Understand what I mean

©GS

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#GirlSurvivor #RapeSurvivor #relationships #abuseSurvivor #communication #fightforlife #Trauma #NoJustice #AnnaJuliet #femalePoet #Numb

How do you?

How do you?

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How do you thank someone
who stood beside you
all along
how do I tell him?
He is the sun
he shines
when everything is dark
he never runs
he stays
when everyone has gone
when I’m weak
he is strong
He never lets me give up
my song
I was ready to leave
hang up my efforts to breathe
He said no, please
I love you,
Please don’t.
You’re lovely
You’re amazing
you’re wonderful
when all the others
try to crush my soul
a little bit of me
start to feel whole

©GS
Outline woman celcius how do you 1
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#Wholeness #AnnaJuliet #Love #Recovery #RapeSurvivor #BelieveHer #Friendship #Relationships #TimesUp #Consent #InformedConsent #HerStory #MyBody #Respect #GirlSurvivor

Home

Home

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When you did that
When you spoke about going away
So easily
A little bit of me closed off
Didn’t die
Just retreated inside
I cried and I cried
I felt so deep

You said
Have your feelings for me changed?
I couldn’t answer
Lately I need quiet
Lately I didn’t need
So many words
With you

I just wanted to lay down
With you and I
Lay my head on your chest
I feel your arms around me
So comforting
Here I am safe
I’m never bored

You were there with me
Sometimes
When I was
In the depths of hell
Crying for
My lost soul
The parts of me I left behind
I could never share with you
Or maybe I will

I said
I’m not a woman any more
He took all that from me
Did I lose all that?

You said no
You are, you are!
You’re beautiful
I love you

My heart leaps when you
Say this to me
Like it didn’t when
Anyone said it to me
Before.
I said

Home is in your arms
That might be my new song
It’s a boring title
Maybe, no?
You say:

“No
It isn’t.
Really,
I like it”
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©GS

My own fear of abandonment.  Something I had to face.  This deep vulnerability, that left me always leaving first,  Until I find real love.  Then this really hurts to face the risk of loss.  To love yourself when you are alone, is a start,  Only then can I feel home.

Surviving rape shatters deep parts of you that really hurt to try to put together.  To be with someone who is prepared to sit with you through the pain.  When I have felt so worthless, to hear “I love you,”  from someone who really means it, is incredible to me.


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#AnnaJuliet #GirlSurvivor #RapeSurvivor #BelieveHer #NoMore  #BreakThe Silence #DontBeSilenced #AbuseSurvivor #WomensLivesMatter #GirlsLivesMatter  #EndVictimShaming #Intimacy #Relationships #Love #Home

Too to

Too to

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Too unstable to be raped
Too quiet to be raped
Too loud to be raped
Too rude to be raped
Too outgoing to be raped
Too beautiful to be raped
Too much of a mess to be raped
Now that she has been raped
I mean who would anyway?
Look at the state

Too full of tears
And back ache to be raped
I mean maybe she was in pain before he raped her
So it can’t be rape

Too much audacity
She reached out to other survivors
Without the support of police

Too polite, happy and looked like she was
getting on fine with the perpetrator to be raped
He played the bass
I was there at the gig that night
He was always alright with me
I am a single mother and he
Worked with old ladies
My mum knew him and
He never gave us any problems
Ok he has dropped pornographic comments
And he is awkward around women he doesn’t know
I don’t know why
He always carried a condom
But he was always allright with me

Oh he has to stop doing that
“ Overriding no “ thing
He is too pushy
Too eager, too over excited
Too immature
Too domineering, with an entitled attitude to women
Too demanding to take no for an answer
You’re a strong woman
Maybe you wouldn’t have minded so much
If you weren’t a strong woman

I am weak now
I stay home with my head bowed
Afraid to go out
Get told I am aggressive That i did shout
Now
Plead and beg for help
But it fell on deaf ears
As I used the wrong tone
Though my voice had died and
It would barely come out
Still I try to speak out
Still I tried to reach out
They said you changed your story
Changed your mind
You told us cuz
It is how you will be defined
If you don’t know your own mind
“How would he reasonably know you weren’t consenting?”
As if rapists were reasonable men
Yh I know you said you were screaming in pain
But tell me,
Describe your underwear again

Can you explain consent law again?
Because it is about will
It is about did you want what he did?
Did you agree to all of it?
Of course not
He knew
He said he knew
He said it’s not nice what I’m doing
Has anyone else been nasty with you
Did someone try to force you before?

Too quiet to rape
Why didn’t you scream for help?
Not just scream in pain
Why are you shouting
Why are you so angry?
Maybe that is the problem
Maybe you hate men
He never had a girlfriend
Not in two decades
But his last one
Was his best mate
Maybe the problem is your race
Too old to rape
The perpetrator was angry
He said “you’re quite young
Aren’t you
How old are you?
Did you used to be a model?”
Grabbing my hair too
He said:
“Do you know how old I am?
I’ve never known a blonde.”

“Rape is not a hate crime..
It’s just misogyny”
Which to save you
Looking in the dictionary
translates as “Hatred
Of women.”

Just to be clear
This is the voice of a policeman
Smirking
He said: “Injuries, so what?
What does that prove ?”
A man jumping up and down on you
The damage sixteen stone can do
“I believe you perceived you weren’t consenting
The suspect said it was all consensual
All the torture
He put your body through
Though you said it was rough and painful”
No. I said HE was really rough and
He hurt me.
I am in agony
Please
Let me see a doctor
Please
Please don’t let him near me
I am terrified
I am afraid to go outside
Since that night

Too young to know better
Too sexy to be raped
Too ugly to rape
Too stupid to be rape
Too clever to rape
Too flighty to rape
Too unreliable to rape
Too disabled to rape
Too full of fear to rape
Too flirty to rape
Too potentially mentally ill to rape
If you count the PTSD
She sustained along with her physical injuries
During the rape
No visible injuries
Skeletal bruising goes too deep
Internal bruising and lacerations
Maybe your shower gel was too cheap.
You didn’t let me see a doctor for weeks
Then invent other reasons for my
Injuries

Too boring to rape
Too pretty to be taken seriously
Too intelligent to be raped
Too assertive to be raped
Too outspoken to be raped
Too much of a strong lady to be raped
She didn’t appear distressed
When she was making her complaint
Maybe she was putting on a brave face
But who does that
After rape

Too fat to be raped
Too thin to be raped
Too distracted to be raped
She talked about the same things again and again
With a phenomenal amount of detail
That is not normal
She has always been consistent

Too resistant

Too educated to be raped
Too stupid to be taken seriously
She put herself at risk
She asked for it
He injured her
But she wanted it
She wasn’t clear
She was too clear
She inflamed his temper
She fell asleep during the movie
She didn’t make him feel chemistry
She
She
Never he
Stop blaming the victim
Stop the shaming
It is you who should be ashamed
This is not a game
It is a crime
The perpetrator carried on
Despite her refusal
He wasn’t blind to
Her terror
Resistance
Screams
Reluctance
Tears
Pain
Her cowering
Her pleading
He carried on regardless
He didn’t worry about her being
Too anything

©GS
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