I’ve been going to the crisis centre for about two months. The first session we had was one of the hardest hours of my life, as I went into the details of who and where and when. I thought that I’d got the hardest part out of the way but I was wrong. For the last couple of weeks we’ve started to talk through how I felt at the time I was raped, instead of the ‘what happened’ it’s now ‘how did that feel’ and that is so much harder to work through. I have dissociated myself from those feelings for so many years and through so many self-destructions. It’s hard for me to remember how I felt. So, what did I feel? Confusion mainly, I didn’t understand what was happening, I didn’t understand why saying ‘no’ to someone would be ignored. I felt powerless, hopeless, you grow up believing that you inhabit your body, that it’s a space you truly own, and that gets harshly shattered when someone else inhabits your space, without you wanting them there, when they are invading you (physically) and hurting you. I felt a loss of control and I felt scared, so fucking scared. I told my counsellor that I felt too scared to move or scream or fight back, which had bothered me for a long time, but she reassured me that that’s okay and normal to be ‘paralysed’ and that not doing anything doesn’t mean it was my fault. We’re working on guilt, she wants me to get past my guilt, past my self blame. She says ‘it happens’, she says ‘it wasn’t your fault’, and I listen to her and try to believe her. I think I’m nearer the point of completely letting go of my guilt and shame than I’ve ever been before and while that would be wonderful, it would be completely terrifying. I’ve carried this with me for over a decade and it’s familiar, it’s almost ‘easier’, but I am determined to keep talking, keep changing my perceptions, to challenge myself. I had a realisation a few days ago; I lived before this and I can live beyond it. I can grow. I can be a better person because of it. It can make me better because of it. I’m discovering new ways of grounding myself, without anyone specifically telling me what to do. I am handling triggers much better. The flashbacks can still be awful but their intensity has lessened. I still dissociate a lot, *a lot*, but during my last session, even though it was painful, I didn’t dissociate, I hooked myself to the sleeve of reality. I am discovering I can make my own choices. I am discovering what feels right for me and learning to let go of what doesn’t. Rape is a complete loss of power and control, but when we take back that control and articulate ourselves to others who want to help us heal, when we shed even the thinnest layer of damaged skin, we take back some of that power. With the help of my counsellor, and my own late night reflections, I am, slowly, jaggedly, blindly taking back a bit of that power.