I didn’t have a close relationship with my parents; as kids we were seen and not heard, they were strict disciplinarians and didn’t spare the rod when it came to physical punishment. They always fought and I remember when I was about 13 years old, my dad sending me to run after my mother to tell her to come back because she’d stormed out after yet another major argument.

When I caught up with her she said, “Go away, I wish you had never been born” words that shook me to the core and I’ve never forgotten since. It negatively impacted my future image of myself as being unworthy of being loved because I believed that if my own mother didn’t love me, how could anyone else and how could I love myself?

Then through my teens I experienced several sexually traumatic events that no girl or woman should ever go through; I was raped at the age of 15 by a man who was someone I trusted at my local swimming club, I was naïve enough to think that he offered me a lift home out of kindness. That lift cost me the rest of my childhood, a potential competitive swimming career, my education, some good friendships as well as my femininity and dignity. It left me feeling violated, ashamed and dirty. I didn’t tell anyone until I was 42.

I tried to pretend it never happened and for a while it worked. Then at 18, just when I was starting to trust men again, I was drugged and raped by a friend of my then boyfriend. I remember vividly how helpless and vulnerable I felt, and then to compound it all, shortly afterwards my mum left my dad. In her absence, my dad in his pain and despair, molested and tried to take advantage of me – fortunately I was able to escape.

This event sent me over the edge and I remember as a result distinctly planning my own suicide. It would have been very easy for me to do; at the time I was working as a Veterinary Nurse and lived in accommodation above the surgery. I had access to the poisons cupboard and recall going as far as reaching for a drug I knew would be fatal to me.

However – for some reason – ‘something within me’ stopped that happening; I believe it was the thought of leaving behind my younger brother who distraught at my parents separation was already trying to cope at age 16 with an absent mother and my dad’s excessive aggressive mood swings.

At age 19 I joined the Police Force; upon reflection I feel this was motivated by some hidden thought that if I couldn’t get justice for myself then maybe I could contribute in getting justice for others. Sadly it only proved to be the reverse and I witnessed many guilty offenders getting off with little or no punishment.

I left after 5 years’ service and thereafter began my passion in various careers in education, coaching and training.

For all that, I know I’m not alone, many of you reading this will – and can – relate.

In the 70’s children in the UK didn’t have resources like ‘Childline’ to turn to for help. So I suffered in silence for 27 years before plucking up the courage to start my healing and personal development journey and in 2002 I rang ‘Rape Crisis’.

After an initial assessment consultation during which I was told that ‘I looked like a typical rape victim’, my consultant then pointed out after lengthy questioning, that I was overweight (I’ve yo-yoed up and down the scales all my adult life) wore black shapeless clothes, didn’t wear make-up or nail varnish (and still don’t), didn’t wear perfume or any jewellery (and have only done so minimally in recent years).

She then continued, ‘this is because you’re subconsciously trying to protect yourself and make yourself unattractive to men’ and although it sounded harsh, on reflection I knew she was right. Then came the really devastating blow, she ended the consultation by saying ‘sorry there is a waiting list, it´ll be 12 – 18 months before a counsellor will become available!’.  Not what I want to hear after feeling I was finally ready to talk.

Hopefully things have now positively progressed beyond my experience in the UK and worldwide in general.

In 2005 I felt compelled to go on a two specific journeys. My first was to address my health I attended regular group exercise classes and also worked with 2 brilliant personal trainers at the gym – it took me 5 years to lose 5 stone.

My second journey was to specifically seek out personal development and relationship experts to heal myself.

I immersed myself in knowledge about the differences between how men and women think, feel and behave in regard to their personal relationships. Also along the way, I discovered some very powerful passion and intimacy techniques, strategies and skills that really work.

These techniques showed me how to heal and love myself, whereas before (with my ex) there was distance, little connection and the feeling of settling for an ‘okay’ partnership; I have now reclaimed my true authentic ‘feminine’ core self and I’ve learned to let go of inappropriate control and trust without feeling the need to protect myself in my invisible suit of masculine armour.

I now have a relationship with massive connection, where I feel alive, loved and cherished, this is what I’ve been craving all my adult life.