Women's Health (UK) - - STRENGTH IN NUMBERS - rosieburn­

‘I’m a sur­vivor. But it’s hard to re­mem­ber that when I’ve been face-down on a hos­pi­tal bed with a team of nurses at­tempt­ing to se­date me.

That’s what hap­pens when I’m in a hos­pi­tal and I ex­pe­ri­ence a vis­ceral, full-body flash­back to the abuse I suf­fered, aged 13, at a co-ed board­ing school. I re­live be­ing raped, burned by cig­a­rettes and wash­ing blood off in the bath while my at­tack­ers looked on.

I stopped eat­ing and, after los­ing 10kg, I was pulled out of school. But the men­tal and phys­i­cal scars con­tin­ued to haunt me. Aged 15, I was di­ag­nosed with PTSD.

Ther­apy helped; an­tipsy­chotic med­i­ca­tion didn’t. I’ve been treated in stan­dard out­pa­tient units. I’ve also been sec­tioned and spent sub­se­quent days in an empty white room.

De­spite ev­ery­thing I’ve been through, I’m de­ter­mined not to be a vic­tim of my at­tack­ers, or of our health­care sys­tem – though I be­lieve it’s to­tally ill-equipped to sup­port those who have ex­pe­ri­enced acute trauma.

In­stead of wait­ing around to re­ceive the care I need, I lace up my train­ers and run. I’m do­ing three marathons in the next 12 months. Each one rep­re­sents one of my at­tack­ers – who have never been brought to jus­tice

– and every mile I run, I’ll over­come a small part of my pain.’

‘Every mile I run, I over­come a small part of my pain’

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