This is Charlotte’s story.
As a 11 year old child my step-dad sexually abused me. Through disbelief, shame, guilt and embarrassment I kept it to myself for 11 years. I finally had the courage to talk about it when my mental health started to decline after having my son. I disclosed what had happened to me to a counsellor where I was encouraged to inform the police. After 2 and a half years of tedious court trials, my abuser appealed his guilty convictions and the high court allowed my abuser to walk free.
I have had various forms of input from various mental health services over the years and one thing that is no secret to anyone is that there is an increasing demand for these services and not enough funds to help everyone successfully. I personally have experienced ‘falling though the net’ and I have been left to my own devices on improving my own mental health. However if it wasn’t for my continued strength and my support from my family and friends I may not have been able to do this. Mental health is being talked about more in the media, especially in light of recent suicides of tv personalities. This is great but there is still more to be done to ensure there are sufficient resources out there for victims who need it!
My experience of sexual abuse has meant that I haven’t had chance to experience my life as others would have at my age. 15 years on I still struggle with depression and anxiety which I can only learn to control myself.
I share my story with the world to not be ashamed but to be brave and to encourage others to speak up about their experiences of sexual abuse. If not to fight for justice but to help better understand themselves and to not be ashamed of what happened to them.
I decided to do a sky-dive to raise money for The Survivors Trust. Sharing my story was HUGE for me as only my close family and friends were aware of what happened to me. By sharing my story and completing the sky-dive I hope to be liberated, knowing I have inspired others to be brave enough to come forward about their experiences of sexual abuse and to break their silence.