It has been a few days since my last blog and I felt amazed at the response. Thank you to all who wrote, offered support, who posted incredibly moving stories on Mumsnet and on blogs, who posted on Twitter or who read the Story of the Young Girl.
When I wrote the blog then pressed the 'publish post', I will admit that my hands were shaking.
That day, I cried an awful lot, felt very wistful and read many stories other women had written - different women, the same devastation. I felt utterly wretched and angry at our vulnerability and strange legal system.
Where do you begin once you have shared an enormous secret which changed your life?
Tears dry, practical head replaces wistful head; food has to be cooked, work done, back to life and back to reality.
I feel different now. I feel lighter and have a greater understanding about how other women have been affected.
The realisation that the woman I am today is very different indeed to the young girl who had the course of her life altered in a few hours.
Today, the person I became can assess people very quickly, can stand up and defend myself against those who try to violate your life in alternative ways eg harassment. I have learned not to feel fear and to fight for what is right.
Some people go through life and never seem to have been affected by trauma, losing loved ones when young, violence, moving house. I am never envious of these people but wonder if they hide the issues which have affected them or am genuinely glad for them that they have had a straightforward life.
Those of us who do recognise and have been wounded by the less pleasant aspects of human nature; we try to heal ourselves of the pain, try to make sense of what has happened. We become different people to who we were. We work almost on a Shamanic level to redress the imbalances. Silently.
I have come to terms with my trauma. I did not like the journey as it was long, difficult and lonely but I've reached a place where I feel safe and prepared now.
To be believed was a crucial factor. For women and men to say from their heart 'We believe you', unconditionally, anesthetized the pain I felt when sharing my story. It felt empowering and positive. The years of loneliness fell away and left a huge space filled with love.