The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre has seen hundreds of people since the opening of the centre in 1979. These are comments from some of our clients over the years:
“Thanks very much for all your support and faith in me. Sometimes I wonder how I will ever repay you for all you’ve done, but I guess the best reward would be to get well again and enjoy my life. Thank you for helping me to help myself.”
“Just a brief few lines to thank you for your professional help and wise counselling over the past year which was a difficult period in my life. I feel now that I can move forward in my life. I realize that there are issues which may never be fully resolved, however, I do feel I can cope with them. Thank you for sharing my pain and helping me on this journey from the darkness towards the light.”
“I was very nervous going for my first appointment but the Reception staff made me feel so welcome. I never thought I’d say it but now as I leave I know I’ll miss this place and all the kindness and understanding and support I received here – it meant so much. I hardly recognize myself now from who I was when I first came. Thank you.”
“Thank you. Those two little words can’t even begin to express how much you helped me and what an invaluable role you played, and continue to play, in my acceptance and understanding of rape. For giving me hope when I thought there was none, for helping me love myself when I thought I was totally unlovable – thank you very much.”
“Just a note as a small gesture for all your kindness and friendliness over the past few years. Please continue your very good work as I am proof that your kindness helps on one’s road to recovery.”
Anne Marie’s story
Well it’s been nearly 3 years since I was a client of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre,
There were times when I thought I wouldn’t see today, but with the help and support from people at the centre I’m here enjoying life to the full.
My name is Anne Marie and I was sexually abused by my father for 6 years. What I’m going to share with you are some of the very low times, and a lot of the happier times I experienced during my 2 years at the centre.
I suppose what I’m hoping to do is give anybody who is going through the pain and hurt of surviving their abuse, the hope to carry on and to prove to the abusers out there that as survivors we are all very strong, resilient and courageous people.
There will be times during your journey that you will feel like things are too hard to carry on, that you don’t have the strength to fight anymore. Trust me you will always find the courage and support within you to carry on.
The centre will always be there for you, through your counsellor and the telephone support line, the resources are there for you to be the person you deserve to be.
It took me nearly 12 years to face up to my abuse. Many of those years were spent running and hoping it would never catch me. Well it did, and for the first 4 years of admitting to myself that I had been abused, I still tried to run from it.
I drank excessively and took at least 6 overdoses, which were all huge screams for help. Yet when help was offered to me, I ran again.
I spent these 6 years living in London which was far enough away for my family to not really know what was going on in my life. After my last overdose I took my running shoes off and finally asked my family for help. That was one of the toughest things I did, but probably the most sensible.
When I returned to Dublin I spent nearly 2 months in St Pats trying to face up to what was left of my life. During this time I reported my abuser to the police and confronted him for the first time in 10 years.
Unfortunately my abuser died before the police could arrest him and press charges.
I contacted the Rape Crisis Centre when I was discharged from hospital and so began a very painful, but worthwhile journey.
I felt it would take a miracle to help me ever feel normal again.
Well that miracle came in the form of the centre, and along with that miracle came a guardian angel in the form of my counsellor.
I’m sure there were times that she thought I mightn’t make it, I know there were times I didn’t think there would ever be an end to all the pain and hurt. But with her support, caring and friendship we made it.
Gradually I started to feel again.
I had cut myself off from feeling any emotion for years because that way I couldn’t be hurt again. There’s something about blocking out feelings that makes you feel very secure. No one can get in and you don’t need to leave yourself open to hurt.
Unfortunately that doesn’t help the healing process.
Over the first few months at the centre I gradually let down some of the barriers and let someone in to help me. It was very difficult and felt very strange to have someone really listen to you and really care about how you were feeling.
My counsellor did something that no one else had ever done in my life. She made me feel normal. She made me feel cared for. But most of all she believed me and didn’t judge me or criticise me for the way I had dealt with things in my life.
This led the way for me to be more open about how I felt, and let some of the emotions that had been buried for years to start coming to the surface.
I decided to join one of the groups the centre ran. We both felt it would help to be with people who had the same experiences as myself.
This was a huge step for me because I felt that my abuse was trivial compared to anybody else’s and having to speak in a group about how I felt scared the life out of me.
But I did it because it was another step in my journey.
Unfortunately the group brought up things for me that I found hard to deal with and I slipped back into my old drinking ways. Fortunately I was stronger now and I could see there was no point trying to deal with my emotions while drinking to try and forget them. So I took myself off to St Pats again, this time to help me get of the drink. It meant leaving the group, but the support I got from all the girls in the group was amazing. I knew I was doing the right thing.
The biggest battle I had now was to face the effects drinking had caused but also battle with the fact that I wasn’t an alcoholic. Trust me this was a hard one to fight because I knew the reasons for my drinking but also knew the consequences if I didn’t stop drinking to block things out.
Eventually I came to terms with the drinking and came back to the centre. Without alcohol to hide behind, I got to dealing with emotions and feelings a lot quicker. But boy did they hurt.
Once again the support from my counsellor and the back up from the phone line kept me going and kept me believing that I could turn my life around.
As I’ve said before there were times I didn’t think I’d make it, and the feeling of despair and not wanting to carry on crept back in to my life. Fortunately I had my counsellor to bring me back to reality and give me the kick up the backside that I needed.
Gradually the good positive feelings, started to outweigh the sad despairing ones and I started to feel good about me and the life I was living.
I even started a relationship which was something I had never done in my life. To let someone in to your life and see you at your most vulnerable is a hard thing to do, but the rewards are endless.
Slowly but surely I was becoming a happier, contented and happy person again. My life was something I enjoyed and I started looking towards the future.
My counsellor still asks me what the turning point in my journey was, and I still can’t put my finger on one event that turned things round for me. It was lots of things that just slipped into place and because I was more open to changes in my life, I let things happen without questioning them too much.
So here I am today. Back living in England with my partner of 4 years. Back doing the job I love. Buying my own home. But most importantly liking myself and knowing that I am a very special person.
Boy how things change…
I really hope that by sharing some of my experiences with you, that you will take that step to becoming the person you deserve to be. Sexual abuse can destroy your life if you let it. Be strong and always know that there are people out there to help you.
The Rape Crisis Centre helped give me my life back, let them help you too.
Poem submitted by former client of DRCC
Thank you so much for helping me stop running,
Thank you so much for listening,
Thank you so much for believing in me,
Thank you so much for helping me to open up and deal with my deep dark sacret,
Thank you so much for helping me feel safe again,
Thank you so much for taking me step, by step through my memories, emotions and trauma,
Thank you so much for opening the door for me, for guiding me and showing me support and encouragement,
Thank you so much for bringing a huge bright light back into my life and helping me out of that darkness when all I saw was black.
Thank you so much for showing me how to trust again, not only myself but others,
Thank you so much for helping me understand and believe that it wasn’t my fault, I did not wrong,
Thank you so much for helping me find love, trust, confidence, happiness and belief in myself again,
Thank you, my friends, family and all in the people in the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre for being the most amazing, caring, supportive people I have ever met. I feel so lucky to have met you all,
But my biggest thank you is for giving me back peace, freedom, hope, happiness and helping me become a survivor,
It’s because of the DRCC that I am no longer running, I am alive and living.