Photography by me! Becki Burrows
“An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behaviour.” Viktor E Frankl
Watched #threegirls last night. I am cleaning an old mac up. Here is an open letter I wrote with regards to Ian Watkins I just found that I didn’t at the time have the #courage to post. Today I’m testing my #courage… a post about sexual abuse and my experience as a ‘survivor’ in great britain.
Amazing. How many celebrities are suddenly experts in how to prevent sexual abuse. It has recently been reported that Peter Andre has been preaching for parents to read their child’s text messages to prevent sexual abuse. Suddenly, everyone’s an expert and everyone knows best.
Personally, the person who inflicted abuse upon myself was in the family home and was the dictator of the household. Writing in my personal diary would, as a child, only ever be short sentences… ‘today we went to my Aunts’. I was too afraid to write how I felt, what was going on, who I fancied. But I knew exactly when I opened that page, what had happened on a specific day. My father had everything I owned, everybody I hung out with controlled and watched. He told me he would check my diary. That my family would end up in childrens’ homes. There was no getting away with anything. Which is exactly why he hated it when I went to stay with my grandparent every so often.
He was sadistic and controlling. Whilst I can see Peter Andre’s point about checking your child’s phone – I wonder if it only gives abusers the power to be more controlling. The Ian Watkins case has only highlighted how unaware we can be of someone. Feel cheated? You bought his albums? You gave him that attention too right. You trusted him.
And he turned out to be a selfish, greedy manipulative bastard. Yep. I hear you on that one!
Having experienced and journeyed through the judicial system in this country – I have hunted down the abuser and took him back through the legal process. There are many occasions through this whole predicament, that I felt he had more rights than me. He was meant to get 8 years of which he was given 1 year and he served just 6 months of that sentence. It was a slog getting a solicitor to represent me. Due to the time left between 16 and 32. But that period – those years in which you are born raised and ‘nurtured’.
Well they are the footing to later years. And instead of being told I was a beautiful little girl (well arguably maybe I wasn’t but that’s not my point) – I was being smacked around – told I was ugly, fat, a prostitute, unworthy… the list goes on. My father was never sorry for what he did or the pain he inflicted. He was perhaps and seemingly only sorry I found him. Maybe now because he lives in fear. Not that he should, as he is not actually indeed worth any more of my precious time.
But it doesn’t matter if people say ‘you didn’t do anything wrong’ (although always nice to hear thank you and to me means you mean well)
but at the end of the day you are the one sitting alone dealing with it all.
Diagnosed with PTSD, OCD etc, with no understanding why someone might inflict so much hate and rage upon you and a lack of understanding of the affects of this from others. ‘Just get over it’.. ‘move on’ being the most commonly heard (for myself) advice. No real strategy for actually doing so.
I hope Mr Watkins gets a hefty sentence (this was written several years ago in a fleeting heat of creative anger). And I hope that the millions he made from his band will be put into a trust fund for the children affected. I hope he is stripped of everything he created (was this done?). Because he doesn’t deserve any more acknowledgement. (I understand posting this now makes this point hipocritical.)
Should be about the victims and how they will get their repercussion and their life back.
But I want to ask you … why do you care? Why is Ian Watkins or indeed the case of Jimmy Saville more important to you than the peadophile down the road? Is it?
It sickens me to see just how far the cult of celebrity and super fandom has come when grown women are passing their own kids round.
And to conclude:
I also urge you to think twice when you read this. And want to jump to the conclusion ‘oh she’s damaged goods’.. or whatever words we are conditioned as children to say and bully each other with.. which in the end silences and keeps victims of abuse quiet (one wonders where these one liners come from…). We need to teach our children and out future children to be open when something wrong is happening and live in a culture without#stigma and #shame and put that in it’s rightful place.
I am not what happened to me. I am a survivor, a warrior, an award winning blogger, a film lover, an art lover, a photographer in progress, a filmmaker, an activist, a trained #mua… I’m sure he would hate the fact Ive done so well so far. So that’s a fuck you! to him from me ! But I’m frustrated more that this shit has held me back in life and I wonder if shame wasnt so ingrained in our culture would the healing process have been speedier?