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This statement (consisting of: 3 page(s) each signed by me) is true to the best of my knowledge and belief and I make it knowing that, if it is tendered in evidence, I shall be liable to prosecution if I have wilfully stated in it anything which I know to be false or do not believe to be true. 

For 20 years I have tried to hide from all the feelings and all the emotions from that night. It is hard to open up and show strangers just how vulnerable I really am. What this man gave me that night was terror that has never left me. I can’t even think of the words to say how it feels. Terror doesn’t seem like a strong enough word. A stranger having control of your body and your freedom and you have absolutely no power to stop any of what is happening. You should feel angry but you are just so terrified.  

When I think of that fear, which has never left me, it feels like ice, like my whole body and mind is made of ice. I can only describe it as your body and mind shutting off because you can’t cope with that level of fear and powerlessness. You never fully return to the person you was before because someone took it from you. 

I kept thinking of my grandparents and how they had given everything for me to have a good life but I had somehow let them down. I blamed myself and thought it was all my fault. At the time I was in care and when you are in care there is no-one to tell you that you are wrong, that it was not your fault, so you build a life that is completely based on fear and worthlessness.  

You make choices that you wouldn’t make if you didn’t feel so worthless and it’s like those bad choices are your safety because they prove you are right and that you are worthless. You believe you can’t have what other people have because you don’t deserve it. You are worth nothing compared to anyone else so you will never be normal or have a normal life. It will always feel like you are pretending to be like other people. 

It’s hard to admit but that terror never leaves you. It has taken me 20 years to be able to have a relationship with a man and to have a home and all the things that people take for granted. No-one understands how it affects every second of your life after it happens. You have no peace. You never feel safe, you never feel free again. How can I describe what it feels like to never feel safe? I can only describe it as living in a world that is different from the world everyone else lives in. I look at other people and desperately want a piece of the safety that they seem to feel. Everyone seems so carefree and I feel like an outsider.  

Every single day of my life since, I’ve felt different. It is like I’m not the same as everyone else and I’m not as good or as important as them. I wasn’t important to anyone until I met my partner at 28 years of age because I couldn’t let anyone close enough. When I did start to have strong feelings for my partner, the sheer terror of experiencing those feelings for a person, literally a physical fear, I ended up diagnosed with PTSD because I just couldn’t handle the fact that someone wanted me and someone loved me and I couldn’t let my guard down enough to let them in. 

Every second of my life since this attack is hell and I constantly wonder what I did that was so bad to deserve this and so I just come to the conclusion that I must be bad, so bad things are what you deserve. That becomes what feels safe. I’ve tried to block out that night but it has never left me.  

I still remember just wanting my Nanna and Granddad to forgive me. I’ve never acknowledged that feeling before because I can’t face it yet. This man has ruined my memory of them because somehow, and I can’t explain it, the guilt and disgust I feel at myself makes me feel like I can’t let myself remember anyone loving me in such a pure way, and they were all I had then. Their lives and their memory was all I had back then.  

My life was chaotic. I’d just lost the only 2 parents I ever had and was placed into a children’s home. That alone was like hell for me because every second of every day I just wanted my Nanna and Granddad and for them to cuddle me one last time. Their memory and their legacy was meant to be the life I build but he took that from me. He took away my love and my ability to feel love from the 2 people who adored and protected me and it destroyed my future. It has literally destroyed my whole life in every way. I view myself as been so useless and worthless and when I consider the relationship with my partner I think “When is he going to realise he could do so much better?” I managed to land my dream job not so long ago but I constantly wonder when are they going to realise I’m not as good at it as they think. I feel I’m not good at anything and I am worthless. 

My whole life is about trying to create a good life for my little family. That’s what is mine now and I will die to protect them and not let them feel the effects of what this man did to me. They have given me my fight and my love back and made me strong and we have a good life, a privileged life and I did that. My partner works part time because we have a rescue dog but it is also because I want to provide for them. I want them to have the love and goodness I had, which this man took away, and they have that. They want for nothing and it is because I give them that life.  

So my power and my fight never really left me. He didn’t take it from me. He didn’t make me weak, he made me strong because living a life every single day feeling how I do takes strength. Even if I don’t always feel strong, love makes me strong so therefore he doesn’t win. He hasn’t beaten me. I want my family to have everything in the world that I struggle to give them. I want them to feel love that is unconditional and they do. I just want to feel like I’m not so far below everyone else and I’m not bad but by wanting to give my family what I’ll never get back and I’ll never give up on giving them that, I get back what he stole. 

On the physical side I have panic attacks. Panic attacks that cripple me and that I feel the effects of for days afterwards. I have this incredible partner but I have to switch off from him because nothing feels safe. I’d love to feel safe but I can’t because if I let my guard down something will happen and I won’t be prepared and it will kill me.  

So that is my life now. It’s a life that I live but one I didn’t create. That man created and dictated my life when he took all that he did from me. My safety, my self-esteem, my sense of love and power. I have to live someone else’s choices for the rest of my life and that is never going to change. But my love and power to protect and love my family keeps me going and keeps me strong. I have to fight every single day of my life against choices that someone else made for me.  

But I’m getting better. I’m allowing myself to feel love and I’m letting myself believe I can have the life I want, safe and happy and not constantly on high alert for danger. I can have a beautiful family, a safe, beautiful home, a job that gives me pride and actually quite a lot of money. I never thought I was worth that and I still don’t, but I fight every day to keep that life, maybe a charade, but I keep it going. I keep making sure it’s still my life because my family deserve it, and it is a life that would make my Nanna and Granddad proud. I’m getting that. I’ve got it. I just wish he hadn’t taken everything away from me so it wouldn’t have taken me 20 years to get here.  

I had so little. All kids in care have so very little. All I had was my Nanna and Granddad’s dreams for me that were mine too, a good safe life, and he took that from me. 

I hope while he has been on remand that he has a felt a tiny part of that, that fear and violation, but he’s got prison guards around and other people to bond with and make him feel a bit safer and a bit of comfort. I didn’t have that.  

That tiny bit of fear he may have felt whilst on remand is like a millionth of the fear he makes me feel every day of my life. So while I’d like him to be dead, I’ll take knowing that he is suffering now, just as my life is becoming more amazing than I ever knew possible.