You will be coming up against some really nasty things over this year. You will be put in horrible circumstances where you feel guilty, afraid and alone. You will feel trapped. I am not telling you this to scare you but to give you that inner strength that you so long for and you will need.
It is not your fault what happens. It will feel like it at the time, it will cause you to act in certain ways but you can be free from it. It will take time. You will react in ways that will hurt others but also hurt yourself so much. And I will be angry at you for so long. Angry that you caused me to lose so much of what I wanted out of life.
Aged 29 and I opened this up to the justice system and felt completely let down, I was angry at you! I felt like it was your fault for so long. I felt like you should have reported when you were in hospital but you didn’t. I was angry at the way you painted pictures of us in diaries, showing us as easy people. I have only just realised that you were doing this to own your sexuality and who you were. You had no idea what you were doing you just wanted to feel something, feel in control, feel loved.
I was angry at you over the last year so many times, I resented not only you but the fact the abuser took charge of you. Took your sexuality when you were so innocent. I hate what he did to you but I hate what it has done to us for so long.
For the last 16 years it has controlled us. Controlled relationships, caused us to destruct so much. It is so frustrating that this all happened and you responded in this way. You called him a “Twat” in your diary which the police said made us look like we were jealous and angry at someone. I don’t even know what a healthy relationship is which is why there has been these weird power imbalances for so long.
I am ready to forgive you. It wasn’t your fault what happened. And it wasn’t your fault you acted in certain ways. I can see now you were just trying so hard to cope with it all. To cope with people getting close, people hurting you and to try and find out who you were. I wish it hadn’t come to this. I wish you had realised that you needed help sooner over the last year before you let so much slip in life. I know you built those walls around yourself to protect you and those you loved and I forgive you for that.
I forgive you and I forgive the abuser. It feels hard writing that down but I know together we don’t want to fear things anymore. We will not let fear control us and our past take over who we are.
What I want you to know right now is this:
You are loved and you deserve to be loved.
You deserve to be treated like a princess and you don’t need to panic when it happens.
You can let you guard down; you can risk letting people in because those who really care about you will love you no matter what.
You do not fear life anymore.
You do not need to let your past dictate who you are as a person.
And the best thing of all, when you are 29 you will 100% say “I love being alive”. After a tough year of wanting to give up so many times you will find that joy, that passion, and you will help people along the way.
Stick with it and stay strong.
Together we can fight it and be a Survivor.
Hope Virgo is the Author of Stand Tall Little Girl, and an international award winning leading advocate for people with eating disorders. Hope helps young people and employers (including schools, hospitals and businesses) to deal with the rising tide of mental health issues which affect one in four people and costs employers between £33 and £42 billion annually. She has been described by Richard Mitchell, CEO of Sherwood Forest Hospital, as "sharing a very powerful story with a huge impact". Hope is also a recognised media spokesperson, having appeared on various platforms including BBC Newsnight, Victoria Derbyshire, Good Morning Britain, Sky News and BBC News.
For four years, Hope managed to keep it hidden, keeping dark secrets from friends and family. But then, on 17th November 2007, Hope's world changed forever. She was admitted to a mental health hospital. Her skin was yellowing, her heart was failing. She was barely recognizable. Forced to leave her family and friends, the hospital became her home. Over the next year, at her lowest ebb, Hope faced the biggest challenge of her life. She had to find the courage to beat her anorexia.
You can connect with Hope via Twitter.
Please sign Hope's campaign to #dumpthescales here