I totally shut down after it happened. I didn't see my friends, I would hardly speak or eat. Nothing felt good. I just spent time alone in my room. I struggled to sleep at night and when I did I had really aggressive dreams and they really scared me. They were all about what I would do to the boys if I saw them again. I didn't feel in control. I got flashbacks too - it was like it was always going to be there inside my head like I was some kind of prisoner.
We'd reported it to the police but they didn't refer us for help. My mum took me to the doctors and a student doctor started to cry when they heard what had happened to me. They referred me to CAMHS. They denied the request without even seeing me and just said that my case wasn't severe enough. I just thought 'What on earth do I do now?'
"I was scared about what I would do to the boys if I saw them again. I didn't have anyone to talk to about it. "
Because I didn't get any help straight away it was all weighing on me and I didn't know how to deal with it. I was just suppressing it for as long as I could but then it would come rushing out and I would go over and over it in my head. The anger was just bubbling up and little things would trigger it. I was scared about what I would do to the boys if I saw them again. I didn't have anyone to talk to about it. My mum was there for me but I didn't find it easy to talk to her, both because I was struggling to find the right words and I felt ashamed; like I'd let it happen to me.
I got help five months after we'd gone to the doctors and it felt like a long wait. I was still so angry that I found it hard to talk, but Sue* was really patient with me. Over time I found the more I opened up and spoke about my feelings, the better it felt.
" Talking really did help. It helped me find out who I was and that I wasn't going to let what happened define me. "
If I had got help earlier it would have helped me to come to terms with the assault earlier and I could have started to get on with my life. I didn't have the normal stage of going out with my friends and going to parties. It would have stopped the anger bubbling away inside me, and have helped with the flashbacks and dreams, as talking to Sue allowed me to come to peace with the situation and they gradually subsided.
I think all young people who have been sexually assaulted should be able to access help as soon as they need it. I'm so much happier now and I am planning for the future. If you had told me that a year ago I wouldn't have believed you. Talking really did help. It helped me find out who I was and that I wasn't going to let what happened define me. I am far more confident with who I am now. My message to anyone who has experienced something similar is never give up, because life can get better. Mine has.