Establishing contact with your innocence


If you were raped as a child, it hardly bears stating that you are completely innocent of any wrongdoing, whether you can yet believe that or not.

But for many of us, innocence is not just a legal definition. Innocence, or that lack of a sense of it, is something that goes to the very core of our souls. It is supposed to be something light, sweet, free of taint.

I had the knowledge of a red light district lady by the time I was 9

It’s very difficult to feel that any innocence can have been preserved when you were given knowledge of things a child should never know about. Many of us feel as if we were some sort of child “whores”, and the unjustified sense of dirtiness sticks.

Yet if that was true, it was also true that I believed in fairies, kindness and goodness, pretty flowers & puppy dogs. I  imagined myself to be Cinderella, Snow White, or Rapunzel in a Beautiful magic castle. I was an affectionate – or affection-starved – child who loved everybody, and while that was used against me, it was a quality I retain still.

I refused to stop loving, and that is a triumph. Can you recall games and toys you liked? I have many original 1960s Topsy & Tim  books – eBay is great for the out-of-print ones. I also still treasure a ladybird publication of Cinderella – and  these books bring back to me her innocence that never died, even while such ghastly things were happening.

I am persuaded to believe that there is in most of us a flaming innocence that no rapist could put out. I hope you will find yours if you have not already.


NAPAC is a UK-wide charity supporting adults who were abused in childhood. Support line 0808 801 0331, free from UK landlines or mobiles 10am-9pm Mon-Thu & 10am-6pm Fri

CISters is a UK charity that provides emotional support for females (18+) who, as children/teens, were raped/sexually abused by a member of their immediate/extended family. See

or call Samaritans free – lines open 24/7 116123


The dolls I dismembered as a child…did anyone else do this too? *may trigger


If you listen to my radio interview (linked on my Twitter profile @shinybluedress) you will understand why I struggled to remember any negative/bad feelings that I should have felt about the sexual abuse I endured from aged 4 . Except guilt that is. Guilt that I loved my abuser and felt complicit in the abuse.

Anyway one day in a counselling session I told my therapist about the dolls I mutilated as a child. I explained that this really was the only negative thing I could recall and it all seemed a little wierd and pathetic really. My first doll was a cheap plastic one – poor thing – don’t think she had a name. I sat on the swing at the top of our field and wrenched her arms legs and head off. I couldn’t verbalise why I did this except that I remember feeling incredibly disappointed and angry that I could not find the “something” inside that HE was trying to get to. Anyway I remember burying the dolls body parts and banging the soil repeatedly with the little spade I had.

The second doll was a china one that lived at my nanas house and probably belonged to my Aunt. It was a beautiful doll and she had what looked like real teeth. I remember jabbing a pencil into her mouth, knocking the teeth into the body of the doll somewhere. She always rattled after that. I got into so much trouble for doing that.

The third doll my uncle (perpetrator) bought me. She was expensive and very pretty. I called her Samantha after the main character in the “Bewitched” USA TV programme. For those of you too young to remember, Samantha could make herself disappear whenever she chose. Are you getting the picture?
Anyway my uncle had several beautiful outfits handmade for my doll But she also came to a sticky end too, poor thing. I dismembered her and used a scissors to cut between her legs. I just had to find out what was so special inside.
I buried her somewhere too – but nearly 40 years later when I was clearing out mums house after she had died, I opened a drawer and to my horror I found all of Samanthas outfits folded neatly in tissue paper. I was completely undone at this point and howled loud and long.

Anyway I’m sort of slightly relieved that I can remember something that indicates I was troubled by the abuse. However, Im sorry if this story upsets probably every other survivor reading this because no doubt all you can remember about the abuse you suffered is bare minimum extreme pain and fear. But strangely, feeling nothing is a kind of torment too.

Thanks for listening & Take care

“climbing mountains in therapy” If you’re having counselling & it feels worse…

imageIf (like me) you have spent your life denying or minimising or distracting yourself as a way to cope with your past – then actually FEELING things about what happened to you now that you are in therapy can feel overwhelming and can feel worse.

But it’s ok. It’s really ok. It’s part and parcel of facing the past – of thinking and processing the memories. It’s like you have had a festering boil of pain inside you that’s caused you problems and now you are taking the dirty dressing off and probing it – with the help of your Therapist – to let some of the pus out. And it hurts like hell. But it has to come out so that healing can begin. It will only continue to fester and cause you more problems in the long run.

It is a difficult journey. I liken it to walking up the mountains in the Lake District. It’s a slow painful climb and you think you’re at the top but all you’ve climbed is a small hill – and you see other steeper hills that you need to climb and sometimes you don’t feel you have the strength to do it and you wish you could go back down. Sometimes I can feel lost and alone on the mountain and then I find other people on the journey too (pandys) and they give me a “leg up” so to speak to encourage me to keep going.

Take it a step at a time. Try not to look to far ahead. Be gentle on yourself. This is new territory for you and sometimes the familiarity of how we used to cope can seem better than this new place we find ourselves in.

As you climb each steep painful slope – the views will be different – you will be faced with new challenges but your Therapist can be with you to hold your hand and help you on the journey.

From @shinybluedress