This poem is written by a service user at Glasgow Rape Crisis Centre who has come a very long way in her personal journey to recover from trauma. She has never written poetry before but felt the need to let others know that she understands the battle they face following sexual violence.
Trust that you possess the power
Know that you are strong
Believe in your own self worth
You have the self respect
To kick them to the turf
Allow your pain to rise
And prepare to let it go
Then you have room within
To let positivity flow
When you feel cornered and trapped
As if there's no way out
Do not admit defeat
As intense and unbearable a feeling it may be
Remember it passes, it's temporary and set yourself free
You are already strong
But feel tired of fighting the battle
It's not a reason to give up
Rather rest and prepare
Like a soldier taking cover
In the midst of flying bullets and explosions
It's only natural to get a scare
It is not a sign of weakness
To duck and cover when things get tough
For all fighters get knocked down
But you have the courage to get back up
When the worst is over
You will be equipped for life
Not to fight but to experience what you desire
For you are the warrior who has ignited that inner fire
Attracting those who seek warmth and strength
You should be incredibly proud
For you believed in yourself to be brave
Enough to go the full length
Many thanks to NM for allowing us to share this with you. We wish you well as you continue on your journey and we'll be here to listen if you need us.
If you’ve been raped, sexually assaulted or sexually abused – whether this has happened recently or in the past – you can get support if you decide you want to report the incident, or incidents to the police.
It can be pretty daunting to think about reporting an incident to the police but there is support available to you and below is information from Police Scotland and from the Rape Crisis Centre in Glasgow about what you can expect if you decide to report.
We asked our colleagues at the Divisional Rape Investigation Unit in Glasgow to tell us what happens when a woman or man contacts them to report a sexual offence. We’ve also added information about the Support to Report Project here at the Rape Crisis Centre in Glasgow. You can also find out about the whole process from reporting to court on a DVD made by Rape Crisis Scotland, which is available on YouTube.
Police Scotland, Greater Glasgow Division Divisional Rape Investigation Unit (DRIU) are based at London Road Police Office, Bridgeton, and are responsible for the investigation, in a supportive manner, of Rape and other sexual offences which take place in the Greater Glasgow area.
In the past I had been scared to speak up about the abuse that I suffered and about what happened when I finally told someone about it and everything that entailed. I was scared to make people uncomfortable, I was scared that they would tell me just to be quiet because they didn’t want to think about it, they didn’t want to think that everyday someone out there, male, female, transgender, child, or adult, was experiencing and going through the massive betrayal that is sexual abuse. Then I thought to myself how utterly messed up that was, how are we meant to change the world and make it better for the next generation if we are scared to speak up? So here I am; I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and I do not care how uncomfortable that knowledge makes you, you can stop reading now or you can continue but it will not change the simple fact that the man I share half of my genes with sexually abused me for 5 years of my childhood, the man that was meant to protect me. I am not scared any more, this is my story.
This month, I wrote an open letter to the leader of Glasgow City Council. In the letter (below) I laid out the case for increased funding for the Rape Crisis Centre in Glasgow. We work with a comprehensive database so I was able to show quite clearly the number of survivors we provide services to, the number of calls, texts and emails we dealt with last year, the diversity of our client group and the complexity of issues we deal with. I was also able to show that although we provide services to six local authority areas across the West of Scotland, 65% of our service user come from Glasgow city.
This letter was first published in the Student Advertiser and was then picked up by the Evening Times which published an article on Friday 16th September and, of course, asked Glasgow City Council to respond. Their response was
“Glasgow Rape Crisis Centre has a very important role in supporting those affected by sexual violence against women. Despite a huge reduction in the Council’s overall budget in recent years, we have continued to fund the centre at previous levels. The Centre is able to draw on other sources of funding and is one of the many providers supported by the Council that addresses violence against women.
“The Council remains fully committed to tackling gender based violence, abuse and exploitation.”
What wasn’t in that news article was the work we do that so often remains hidden. We’ve tried to make this work more visible by blogging about ‘A Day in the Life’ of the Centre, and by posting on our social media, but that has its restrictions. We can’t relate the experiences women bring to us because fundamental to our work is the confidentiality of our service users. I cannot make the reader feel the anger that I feel when thirteen year olds come to our centre in their school uniforms to see the support workers from our young women’s project. But I’m also glad that they are being supported by well-trained, skilled practitioners who share a body of expertise we’ve built up over the past 40 years.
What wasn’t in that article was the experiences of women we see every day: women in the asylum process who have been raped in their country of origin or in transit to the UK, who may have been trafficked, who may have been imprisoned and tortured, and who cannot even begin to work through their trauma because they are battling daily to keep their place of relative safety here in Glasgow. There was no mention of the self-harm, the suicide attempts, the poor mental health, medication and hospitalisation that women tell us about or that a major achievement for a woman may be that she can get on a bus, come into town and attend her support appointment.What the article didn’t show was the contribution from our volunteers that we recruit, train and support year on year and who almost exclusively staff our telephone helpline. In the year 2015/16 our staff and volunteers contributed over £50,000 in unpaid hours to the work of the Rape Crisis Centre.
By Isabelle Kerr, Glasgow Rape Crisis Centre Manager
On Monday 5th September 2016 on my way into work I bumped into a couple of workers from another women’s organisation in our building.
“Hi Isabelle, how are you?” said one.
“Fine,” I replied.
“Another week at the coal face, eh?” she said
“As long as there’s plenty of caffeine to get us through it,” I said.
And indeed it was another week right at the coal face for Glasgow Rape Crisis Centre.
Monday 5th September
We’re at Stage 2 of a Big Lottery bid to expand our service so we can meet the ever increasing demand for support. Almost done now with our tweaking and re-tweaking so getting very nervous. This is my priority for early week.
It’s hard to keep a focus with the doorbell constantly buzzing as women arrive for appointments and the phones ring continually. It’s our Scottish Women’s Rights Centre surgery today so we’re even busier than usual (if that is actually possible).
At 12 o’clock I meet with Superintendent John McKenzie at Police Scotland's Public Protection Unit in G Division in Glasgow. Our Support to Report Project works closely with the Divisional Rape Investigation Unit so we’re often in touch with officers. John is being interviewed by STV on Tuesday for a news piece they have filmed about the Glasgow Rape Crisis Centre’s 40th Anniversary, talking about how things have changed for survivors over the past 40 years.