Seven years ago something happened. Something we did not see coming and something that was a factor to changing our daughter’s and our lives forever.
Seven years ago today our daughter came back from her holiday. She had been excited to go and we were excited to have her back safe. We waited up for her. It was 2 August 2011 and at half past 8 my status on Facebook read that I was waiting for Ellen to come home and getting quite impatient to see her. We had really missed her. By all accounts she had had a great holiday, we had had several messages from her. She was just 17 and really enjoyed the freedom she was having. She did return home that night but her friend’s mother came in first. The joy of seeing our daughter changed in a flash and we both felt completely floored. She ran upstairs and wouldn’t come down. Her life had been changed forever in those moments in the early hours of that morning. The authorities had threatened to take her passport – she had to just leave it there and get home.
I slept on her bedroom floor that evening. I couldn’t leave her, she was so traumatised.
This is an extract from our daughter’s blog in 2015 – 4 years later:
“I was a victim of sexual assault when I was sixteen and it really does ruin your life. I fell so so far but blossomed in a way I never thought was possible. Until it happens to you, you don’t know, how it feels. I couldn’t get out of bed or shower, let alone eat or see people. Especially men. When I managed to build up the courage to leave the house I would freak waiting on people at work, even men with families my hands would shake and I couldn’t serve them. Or on a train platform I would start panicking when a male commuter stood too close to me. Even my own friends, I was suddenly wary of the people I once trusted. In one night I had been physically and mentally ruined. It destroys everything you believe about the world. We think we are so invincible until we are controlled.
This music video is extremely hard hitting but should be carefully displayed. I hate the idea of the world growing cold to everything through the internet and not able to be shocked as we’ve ‘seen it all’. It definitely shouldn’t be freely available to children online, maybe come with an age consent of some sort. But all in all it’s brutal, honest and true. I was hugely impacted for months and months and floated through life convinced everybody wanted to hurt me. Which of course wasn’t true. I came out a stronger, more beautiful person and learnt to see the absolute best in people. My attacker was never caught, so I had to create my own closure.
You genuinely can’t realise how heart breaking rape is for an individual and his or her family. Years later I am a Mother. Not a survivor, a thriver. I see what Gaga is trying to do with this short film and it could be extremely effective in the right hands.” – Ellen Scott 22-09-2015
I have omitted the video of Lady Gaga’s song ‘Til it happens to you’ because just like Ellen I started watching it and couldn’t bear it.
Ellen had counselling by trained people yet still this kept coming back to haunt her. We knew we would have to be very tolerant and patient and that trauma can manifest itself in many ways – anxiety, depression, rage, withdrawal, over exuberance. We took it all on the chin. We were patient and slowly slowly she got stronger……..
It never went away though, it never does. The ‘what if’s’ and ‘why’s’ are always there.
Mental health is affected by trauma and this was not the only trauma in our daughter’s life but it sure was a biggie.
Look after yourself stay safe and look for the signs in others…… not calling your friends and turning down invitations is not always being unsociable, aggression is not always just that it could run far far deeper. Look beyond the label of ‘druggie’, someone’s ‘bad behaviour’ and look beyond the self-inflicted scars on someone’s skin there may be a person in there who is suffering and needs help. Look at the bigger picture – there always is one to find. Be kind as Ellen was. She got it….. she wanted to help everyone who was suffering.
Written by Anna Scott | 02.08.2018