Hear and read about sexual violence survivors' experiences in their own words...
Survival: The Whole Truth
This was a pilot project undertaken by Rape Crisis England & Wales, member Rape Crisis Centre CRASAC and the University of Leeds. It developed out of a previous collaborative project, Communicating Feminism (2013-14). The audio testimonies are co-productions that were led by the experience and expertise of the survivors, who wanted to share their accounts. They have been gifted by the three women to RCEW to promote first-person survivor experiences and to contribute towards wider knowledge and understanding of sexual violence and violence against women and girls in order to effect change. These testimonies are being made available as part of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence (25th November - 10th December 2016).
Julia was a happy healthy mother to her children before meeting her partner, someone she had known years before, who raped her repeatedly. Hear her talk about how this made her feel, the ways it changed her and the overall impact it's had on her life. Julia describes her experiences of trying to disclose, for example to her doctor, and the difficulty she had naming what was happening to her. She talks about what it was like accessing specialist services at CRASAC, how they work at a survivor's own pace, and how comforting it is to know they'll always be there. Hear what Julia would like to say to the public, to her family, to the criminal justice system, and to other rape survivors. Julia's overall message is that this is only one chapter in the book of her life and that she will never give up the struggle to protect herself and her children and to find purpose in what has happened to her.
Listen to more clips of Julia's testimony here.
Listen to Julia's full audio testimony:
Now in her late 30s, Niamh was sexually abused as a child by her teenage uncle. She'd enjoyed a happy, active childhood before the abuse. Hear her discuss the devastating effects sexual abuse has had on her life, why she found it so difficult to report it and the relief she felt when she first rang the CRASAC helpline. Niamh reported the abuse to the police as an adult; hear her describe the reaction of her family, her experience of the police, the 2-year wait to hear whether her abuser would be charged, how important it was to her when he finally was, and the way she felt about the criminal justice system after the trial collapsed over a technicality. Niamh describes how CRASAC was the only constant besides the love of her mother during this difficult time, how they were on her side and even saved her life. Listen to Niamh's important message for other survivors here.
Listen to more clips of Niamh's testimony here (aftermath and disclosing), here (reporting to the police and after reporting), here (experience of the criminal justice system) and here (the importance of specialist support and a message to other survivors).
Listen to Niamh's full audio testimony:
After splitting up with her partner, Lily lived alone happily with her two children, allowing her daughter to see her father regularly to help maintain the relationship between them. When her daughter was 5, she revealed to Lily that she was being sexually abused by her Dad. It turned Lily’s world upside down. Hear her describe how she felt when she found out what had happened to her daughter, how difficult the terrible discovery was to fathom, and what she subsequently learnt about the criminal justice system when she reported to the police. Hear how very differently the police treated Lily and her daughter than she expected, and how she's been left feeling. Listen to what she would like to say to the police, the public and other survivors. Lily explains why she wouldn't report to the police again, why she feels everyone in their situation should have access to a specialist helpline number and why survivors and their non-abusing parents and supporters need services like CRASAC's to help them begin to recover.
Listen to more clips of Lily's testimony here.
Listen to Lily's full audio testimony:
Following the 16 Days of Activism, the audio will continue to be available to Rape Crisis members through the members area.