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Dear Survivor - Laura Brown

I hope you know that what happened to you was unforgivable,

And that it wasn’t your fault, you didn’t deserve it.

The guilt, the shame – it’s normal,

Yet it shouldn’t have to be.

Remember, your feelings are valid.

You can hold on to your anger as long as you need to.

And talk about it as much as you like.

There’s no time limit.

Very few people are going to understand, and fuck it’ll frustrate you.

But you can do this.

You’ll find those you can share your story with. They’ll have stories too.

And together, each other’s dark will be lifted.

It’s going to be hard at first.

Trust, friendship, even conversation.

Yet don’t you dare apologise – you didn’t chose this.

You’ll get there, bit by bit.

And I promise you,

One day you’ll look back and smile.

Because against the odds you made it.

And God damn it feels good to be alive.


"A year ago I felt dead and now I feel alive.

I've always struggled with anxiety but this time last year I was tipped over the edge. I was abused by my first boyfriend. Verbally for months and then sexually. I was trapped and broken and left it far too long to ask for help. And when I asked for help none came. No one believed me. I felt so damn lost and I wanted nothing more than to just end it all.

That autumn was fucking long and It wasn't some miracle recovery. Eating or sleeping properly was out of the question and I spent far too much time crying on the floor of my room. But I knew it couldn't carry on, I couldn't keep mourning who I was before. It took time, perseverance and a lot of effort. I started with that cliche - changing my appearance; dyed my hair, cut it short, bought new clothes and got a piercing. Cheesy, but it helped. I wrote daily notes on my flats walls - reasons to stay alive. I joined the gym and a sports society at my uni, and started making new friends.

By January, things were a lot better. I had started to trust people again, and the friends I'd made let me tell my story. They believed me, without judgement and told me what I'd been needing someone to say for almost a year ''It wasn't your fault" I think those words are something everybody needs to hear in life. Shit happens that none of us deserve. It's been a year now and things are a million times better. Obviously, I won't forget what happened. But in a weird sort of way, I wouldn't change it. Because who I am now is so much stronger than the me before. I genuinely love living.

Everyone has a story, and there are times in everyone's lives that they feel the way I did; alone and scared. Regardless of the cause and how big or small it may seem to others, those feelings are valid. You can't help how you feel. And I wrote my piece to remind people of that. It's okay to feel lost. And as long as you don't give in, and try as hard as you can (in whatever way you can manage) to keep going, you'll get there. And it'll be worth it, because the most difficult roads lead to the most beautiful destinations."

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