Leah’s Story

Cirtek cgl photo Leah

When I was 14 I was groomed and sexually assaulted; not that I realised at the time. Years went by and the guy who had assaulted me was caught by paedophile hunters whilst trying to meet a fake 14 year old girl online that he had sent explicit messages and photos to. It then clicked what had happened and the police were called. There were interviews, statements and hundreds of questions.  My life had turned upside down overnight.
A few months had passed.  I was vulnerable and turning to alcohol for an escape. One night I decided to have a drink at my home with a male I had met through friends. I was raped that night by him in my own home. The police were called; he begged and pleaded with me to not speak to them but I had to and he left in a rush, escaping before the police turned up. It was the longest day of my life. There were questions, blood tests, swabs, statements, forensics – the whole police team was on the case. I was scared, alone and even more vulnerable than I ever thought I could be.

On the 23rd September 2017, I made an impulsive decision that my life was going to end. I couldn’t deal with it all anymore. I woke up that morning hating my life, hating my body and basically hating the world around me. I couldn’t understand why it had all happened to me and why I was so different. So I took myself off to a motorway bridge and within 9 minutes of being on the scene, I was flat out on the motorway floor fighting for my life. I had a broken back, a punctured lung and a few scrapes and bruises. I was taken to 2 different hospitals and I was unable to go in an air ambulance as I was too unstable. Within a week, I was back on my feet and walking with a back brace on. In the early hours of one morning, it all hit me what I had done. It was my first suicide attempt and well, I didn’t do it by halves… so many people had questions, but I just couldn’t answer them. All I knew was that I wanted the pain to end.

The rape court case was dropped, and that again triggered me off. I was fighting against the system but was told I couldn’t and I felt that I had no power. So the month’s tablets were stocked up and all taken in one go. The next thing I knew, I was feeling like I was choking to death.  It turned out that I was being brought round in intensive care. The months passed, the self-harm increased, I was not eating and I was constantly overdosing. I may as well have had my own bed in A&E. It was the only way I knew how to stop the pain, even if it was just for one night and at the risk of losing my life.  Services passed me from pillar to post. I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and no one seemed to want to help me. Instead I had professionals ask me, “what do you expect me to do” and, “what do you want?” but not in a kind way. Life was a daily struggle with the feeling of abandonment, and I was still extremely vulnerable.

2019 came, and so did the grooming case from when I was 14. I realised I would have to relive the whole thing and I was slowly losing my grip on life around me. To end the pain, a week before the court case I again self-harmed even more and took a huge overdose. I again ended up in an intensive care unit. The difference this time was that I was being sectioned for my own safety. I had to beg and plead for the court case to go ahead. I had battled so hard for this during the previous three years. On the Monday we got the go ahead for court, I re-watched my video interview and was prepared to give evidence the next day. The evidence was given and I went back to the unit and constantly self-harmed until I finally got the verdict…Guilty.

My lucky angels and stars were over me that day. I was free and could live again. Over 6 months later I haven’t attempted suicide thanks to the project, Chris and Rachel and all the support I have been given to learn to start living as safe and normal an adult life as I can. There’s been so many times I thought it was the end, I wanted it to be the end but I’m blessed it wasn’t and I really hope I can help others to get through what seems to be the end and show them it isn’t and there’s a lot more to life.