It's been a while, my loves. I've been suffocating under my depression I'm afraid - and not the kind that drives me to exist as externally as possible but the kind that bullies you inwards, making you examine your own life as some sort of self-indulgent unanswerable existential question instead. I've started to feel the early flutterings of creativity stirring after a long hiatus, but I'm often seduced by this feeling, only to find it a false alarm. Time will tell of course.

Crime has become an obsession - and by that I don't mean I'm hiding lipstick down my knickers or smuggling cardigans out of Topshop (anymore) - I mean I'm experiencing another stint of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from being stalked, raped, sexually assaulted, beaten up and a few more I won't include simply because the first item in my list is enough. My problem is this: I don't know if I have the energy or the thick skin I know I'd need to try and report it again. I'm scared and I'm not used to that feeling. It's been a decade since it happened, and I wasn't believed when I went to the police at the time - after 3 long hours at the Police Station trying to put words to the worst 3 months of my life, which included having to tell them about the horrific sexual violence I endured and the content of the depraved email he'd sent to everyone on my contacts list to shame me. At that time I was told that emails older than 30 days old were inadmissible in court, so it was my word against his. I had no more fight and I left thinking maybe I'd made it all up - If only. Karma is no longer something I believe in.

I have a YouTube channel and when I talk about sexism I'm attacked. I'm hardly going to be keen to deal with a potential court case and the raking up of my past life. I get 'friendly warnings' from men advising me that I'll likely be 'doxxed' (have my private information posted online) for daring to speak out. Because the black and white of MRA (Men's Rights Activists) attitudes sees my championing of women's rights existing to only to go against theirs for the sake of it. They cannot conceive of the idea that perhaps the reason I'm more interested in women's rights is because I am a woman - and because in the bigger picture, if you really look at it, men have a better deal. When we say women are victims of domestic violence, they hear 'men are never victims of DV'. They hurl stats around indiscriminately and turn to anecdotes for evidence, instead of entering into a dialogue and taking into account that the balance must swing in women's favour for a while in order for us to truly become equals.

You only have to switch on the news to see women chastised and vilified simply for being victims of crimes and reporting them. It's insanity and it's getting worse. The male police officer who took my statement questioned me about my sex life. He suggested it was just par for the course in relationships that as a woman you were expected to sleep with your partner - even after he wasn't your partner anymore, and had not only raped you, but stolen money left to you when you'd just lost your mother. He wanted me to prove that the brick through my bedroom window and the break in to my car and the handwritten suicide notes and the blood on the walls had happened at all, let alone in quick succession and with many witnesses. The friends I lived with at the time ALL opted out of backing me up, not wanting to get involved, and in some ways I don't blame them. They saw him hit me in front of a pub full of people, heard him smashing up my room and knew he wouldn't have thought twice about punishing them too. I still believe he would've killed me eventually. I was totally alone when I needed help the most.

When you're in a relationship with someone who is violent and abusive you become smaller almost automatically. You hope that by doing this you'll be a smaller target, harder to hit. You begin adopting a submissive stance, looking downwards, walking softly; trying to avoid the eye contact you know might spark a reaction. Everything you do must be quiet and non confrontational and nothing you say should sound like a question - you're reduced in every way. Stripped to the bone. Ashamed that you somehow let this person into your life. If you break these unwritten rules you pay. Even after that person is gone from your life you carry this list of commandments around in the back of your head forever. They continue to control you years later, through relationships that feel like a world away. The slightest memory you allow yourself to have can ruin even the strongest bond you've built with someone else. You have to learn to check yourself daily to prevent it seeping back in through the cracks and pinning you down in the past forever.

Hands down the worst feeling for me is knowing that the person who did this to me is free to abuse others and there's not a damn thing I can do about it without jeopardising my mental health, and when you have as little control over your feelings as I and other BPD sufferers do, that's too high a price to Do The Right Thing. Every time I get on the London Tube, I see him everywhere, he haunts me. I physically jump every time as I feel the familiar lump in my throat and have to hold on to something solid to stop myself falling. I doubt this will ever leave me - it's as raw today as it was 10 years ago - in fact sometimes more so.  My PTSD only started this year; before that I'd locked it all away because to acknowledge it would be to let him win. How will I tell my son that I wasn't strong enough to fight for justice? To protect other perhaps even more vulnerable women? That I'm ashamed I couldn't stand up against him is symptomatic of how we perceive ourselves as women, and our need to look after the interests of other women we will never know. In fact this goes so far that I've spent endless time considering how my revelations might affect the women in his family, his mother and sisters who have no idea that their loved son and brother is a rapist. So I have to choose. I have to choose whether I do what I know to be right and accept that it will hurt me more than it hurts him, or I simply continue to live with this mental scarring, in a role I never signed up for, because in court I'd have to face him, see the pain on the faces of those who will want to believe him over me, and endure being blamed, tarnished, and emotionally broken by clever lawyers whose job is to rip me to shreds in front of an audience. It's a bloodsport.

To all the victims out there, I believe you. I'm so sorry I don't have the answers.


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