April 03, 2003
One Year On...

Well, we made it to our first anniversary. This site is one year old today! It was launched at a press conference in Dublin that followed the broadcast of "Suing the Pope" on RTE. Its a week for anniversaries and I am aware how poignant and emotional that can be, I know it is for me personaly and for all of us here at One In Four.

It feels important to mark this day, to recall this year and its passing. A year of monumental change for so many of us and a year overflowing with a whole mix of emotions. Pick one, any one and it will be there: sorrow and joy, rage and love, fear and courage, panic and clarity of thought and action...

I know that this site has come to mean much to many, many people and I know it also names painful, devestating wounds and trauma. It is a place of pain and hurt, a place where unspeakable acts have been spoken of, a place where we can feel like we want to die and still choose to live. It is a place where I have been priveledged to be, to be me, all that I am. It is a place that I cherish and value and a place that it sometimes hurts to be in...and I value that too. Above all this is a place of liberation.

I invite each of us to use this space to mark this day. Please post your feelings and observations of this anniversary under this post. Use the comments facility and we can build a lasting portrait of this last year and this incredible space. Be free to say what you feel... you will not be judged. Its ok to name feelings of anger and hurt, feelings of hate and rage in this space as much as it is to name joy or love...

Thanks to each and everyone of you for being here and for making this space all that it is.

Much love

Colm

Posted by Colm at April 03, 2003 01:57 PM
Comments

I found the oneinfour site on a bad night in November. I felt like I was drowning and somebody threw me a rope to grab hold of. I have bad days and good days, but what gets me through is knowing that OIF is there, behind me, ready to help if I need it.
I'm still vaguely suspiscious of why people want to reach out and help strangers. But two things I know for sure - 'it's okay to be not ok' and I am not alone.

Posted by: Ev on April 3, 2003 03:06 PM

Congrats to you Colm and all in the office on this your anniversary.
I havent been on the site since it's inception although it seems like I have been here for many years. What has it meant to me....well many things like, making contact with many different people of all ages and backgrounds, all with one thing in common. I must admit there was a time when I felt a bit of a fraud being here as in my mind I had come so far from being a victim to being a survivor, I didn't think I had anything to offer anyone here.But a survivor still needs support, we still need to heal alot of emotional trauma from a myriad of abuse, confusion and hurt still come up for us occasionaly. So I have found that by sharing my knowledge and experiences with others I have reached out a helping hand and in my own little way I hope I have given understanding, support and hope to those I have touched. In turn I have received the same back and have met and communicated with the most wonderful people.

Long may it last
much love right back at you

T

Posted by: T on April 3, 2003 03:11 PM

Hi Colm and Crew

Congratulations on your first year, I found the site after watching Shy Keenan's documentary "Our Little Secret". OIF has been a lifeline for me, not only making me realise that I am not alone in my feelings and that I am not the freak I have spent my life believing I was, but also in dealing with my step-children's abuse (not sexual).

I have always been so many different people - always trying to fit in but never quite managing it, but here I feel I can be as close to myself as I can manage and not feel ashamed.

So here's to the next year!

Love

Nat

Posted by: Nat on April 3, 2003 04:05 PM

Hello to you all at OIF!

I met Colm in person in Kilkenny on April 6 2002 along with Donncha and Pat and was amazed at their (external) cool, calm and collected appearance with what should have been a fraught night. Instead, it was a resounding success as legislation was set in motion which allowed Colm to return home and establish this site along with the organisation.

I have grown in my own journey by reaching out to others. I know for the many years I lived in Britain I had no-one to turn to but so long as I can, I shall continue to reach out to people who have suffered and continue to suffer.

It's been a joy, a cry, a sniff, a sob, a sharp intake of breath to read some of the harrowing stories we have to relate but we're brothers and sisters together. Let's make the team stronger by being there for each other!!! Please mind yourselves.

All the best wishes to you all!!

Hanora Brennan

Posted by: on April 3, 2003 06:42 PM

hi everyone,

well...i just wanted to say dat one in four has made a HUGE difference to my life since i found the site a good few months back. a huge difference...i didnt ever think that id actually have gone into the office and all, and im so glad i did...even tho it was sooo hard the two times i went in, but i was always glad afterwards :-) ive met the most amazing friends ever through one in four, i just cant express how much yee all mean to me and what a difference yee have made. its still a mixture of sadness and hapiness, like sad for why we are here, happy tho that we have eachother. but anyway, thanks to u colm, and everyone in one and four!!!!! well done!!!

love,
ruth

Posted by: ruth on April 3, 2003 09:26 PM

Hi Colm, and all in one in four, and all of us who are one in four.
I just want to day CONGRATULATIONS, on reaching 1st anniversary.
One in four seems to be many things to many people, me included.
I was first motivated to check out this site, when I heard you speak, Colm, on an RTE documentary.
I was truly touched when I felt the warmth and support, and empathy, on reading through the posts. To name but a few, D's hugs, Christy's words of wisdom, Colm's warmth, Liz's strength, T & D's laughs and the fun aspect! Many new people have arrived since then, bringing with them, their own contribution. It's an amazing place.
It makes me feel less alone, less mad, more human.
Well done to all of you,
With much love,
Anna

Posted by: Anna on April 3, 2003 10:30 PM

First and foremost I congratulate Colm and all the magnificent staff at the OneinFour offices on this very special first anniversary.

When I first found this site I was two years into my counselling and I had the feeling I was expected to be fully recovered or near enough. Even with my very supporting family I felt I couldn’t keep on pestering them by talking about my past childhood abuse. Two whole years of counselling and I was still full of anger, shame, guilt and fear. I felt so much alone wearing the mask when needed but inside me there was a roaring anger and because I had vented all that anger in my sessions the first year, I was afraid to go back to the same anger a year later in case my counsellor thought I was losing my mind.

I searched the internet looking for some sort of support and after trying at least 5/6 sites I came across the OneinFour site. I couldn’t believe my luck; I read all the post and continued to read them for about a week before I found the courage to send a post to the message board. The response I received from Colm and many others was so supportive and encouraged me to continue posting almost everyday. I shouted, screamed, F’ed and Blind and vented every bit of anger in my body onto the message board and I was half expecting to be kicked out of the site. At last I had found a site where I could have my voice, where I could release the same anger I had released with my counsellor a year earlier. It wasn’t just being able to vent all my anger on the message board it was also the acknowledgement; the supporting responses from those who like me were survivors of abuse, the compassion and support from fellow survivors was the key in my efforts to find a route to my healing journey. My counselling was very constructive but I needed more then the counselling to find my way to healing and I found that way from OneinFour.

OneinFour first year anniversary! So much good in such a short time, Colm and his brilliant staff have so much to be proud of, may you go on healing with your excellent work for many more anniversaries and I will still be posting into the message board.

Well done you gentle people of OneinFour.

Christy.

Posted by: on April 3, 2003 10:53 PM

Congratulations Colm and Everyone at OIF.

By the way, I'm going by Lisa1 now since another Lisa has joined us while I was away.

This site has been a life saver to me in every sense of the word. When I found OIF, I was desperate, severly depressed and suicidal. Thanks to Colm, his staff and all my wonderful friends, I am still alive today and more alive than I have ever been.

This site is a special place. A place where you take off that mask and just be yourself. You can be angry, scared, happy, depressed or whatever you are feeling, but no matter what you are feeling, you are understood and supported, and you are never judged. I was so amazed to realize that I was not alone. I haven't been alone since I found OIF.

My heartfelt thanks to Colm, your staff, and to all the people here that I proudly call my friends. May we all find peace and happiness.

Luv,
Lisa :)

Posted by: Lisa1 on April 4, 2003 01:45 AM

To Colm, Staff of OIF and my new-found Friends from the boards:

Where I saw light, after much darkness
Where I was accepted, after being cast aside
Where people listened, after I was ignored
Where I felt heard, after being discounted
Where I could go 24/7, after always feeling alone
Where I could laugh, after being so sad
Where I felt safe, after feeling so paranoid

Where I could be myself, day to day, truthfully unveiling the pain of my abuse and the questions I had about healing:

THIS IS WHAT ALL OF YOU AT ONE IN FOUR HAVE DONE FOR ME!!

Thank you and congratulations on one year of this wonderful site!!

Rose

Posted by: Rose on April 4, 2003 04:33 AM

Congratulations Colm and all at OIF.

I have a mixture of feelings as I think of this anniversary. This site is a precious space and a life line for me and I know for so many others. I see it as a place where I can be myself. It is a place where for the first time I know I am understood in what I say and how I feel.

Since the Prime Time Programme I feel my life has been turned upside down. The realisation that I had not dealt with my abuse and the challenge that I needed to take the next step became very real for me. For months I avoided that and eventually linked in here and contacted Colm. I know I would not have taken the step in reporting if I had not the support here. Linking in here has made everything so real – too real at times. Now, I cannot keep the abuse ‘out there’ any longer – it is part of my life which is painful. I would love to escape from this truth but there is none. It is a truth that makes me feel very angry at all that has been robbed from us in life. It is a truth that some days I find very difficult to live with. This site is my life line and I am so grateful to have this space.

Now, I know I am no longer alone. During the past few months I have made new friends through this site. I have a sense of belonging and there is a glimmer of hope in all the darkness. The journey of everyone here is just beyond words.

Thank you Colm, staff and everyone here for Being Here.

Congrats,

Love and Support………..M

Posted by: M on April 4, 2003 09:03 AM

Guys,

one day and one year old.....woooo hooooo :) , sorry i'm late, but sure someone has to be different eh? only got on line a few mins ago...so here goes...

well now, did i ever think that i would come to know so many people in my life who actually genuinely care for one another?? the honest truth is no. Ive always been sceptical of people, and find it difficult to place my trust in anyone. But since finding this site in November, that little trust issue has raised its head again....how do i know i can trust these people...you guys...?? i didn't know for sure, but i believe i can :) , and it took me a while to realise that. And since i made that leap, well, words can't describe how much all of u guys mean to me.

yee are the bees knees and cats pyjamas, personal "dentists" without knowing it, and i am so glad that i have taken this leap of faith here. I have done many things out of character lately, well, not really out of charachter but rather feeling the fear and doing it anyhow, but it has been worth it, and the first anniversary...jeeney mac, well done everyone.

yez are all part of my life u know, before i thought that nothin good could come out of this crap...i.e. the abuse, but here it is lads..new found friendships, support, genuineness, laughter, no more isolation, feelings of aloneness, need i go on?? Thank you guys, and thank you to the wonderful power of technology for allowing us to get together in this space.

Cheers :) to everybody for bein here, for reading, for posting, for lafing and crying, and thank you to all of u working in the office, oh im getting all weepy now.....

One in Four rocks!

Cath

Posted by: Cath on April 4, 2003 10:51 AM

Think on you

So I turned and wept for you
In the warming sun.
My face wet and glittering,
Now deep blue
And teardrops roll away my pain.
They - like tiny precious stones
Confound my sight
Their altering hue,
Mock the sky - as a sky at night
Pain drops out in glistening colours
The likeness of a constellation

Jewels liquid with pain
Bring light and lightness to my heart
And I, in turn, think on you.

Happy Anniversary ONEINFOUR

Posted by: Andrew on April 4, 2003 11:15 AM

I was surprised to discover that my first visit to this website was on April 6th 2002. I hadn’t realised that it was so near its inception.
One year on, how do I feel? Privileged, Grateful and Hopeful are probably the three most appropriate words for me to use today.
However throughout the year, I would have felt many and varying emotions. I would have started out very tentatively, progressed to being almost obsessional. In the recent past, I have been forced through illness to be sporadic in my contributions, though always constant in my reading.
I have felt sadness, anger, joy, rage, helplessness, sympathy and empathy. I have felt included, excluded, a little rejected at times. I have been happy to be here. I have hated being here. I have hated the fact that I have reason to be here. I have loved meeting the people that I have met here, but I have hated what brought us together.
I have started to feel in some tiny way that I belong, though I have hated this belonging. I have raged against the fact that I have the qualifications necessary to belong here. I have been livid with the people who have contributed towards making me the person who needs to be here. I have hated them and I have hated me, and I suppose I have hated this website for showing me how badly I need to be here. I have hated reading other people’s writing that showed me such similar feelings and emotions to my own that proved to me that I needed to be here. Yet I have felt privileged to be able to share that writing and be a witness to the emotions that have accompanied it.
However, I have also been empowered, by the support and love and acceptance I have received here, to do my own writing, to visit my own pain in a way so real that I felt compelled, having shared it here on the website, to show it to a wider audience, and go on to have it published, thus perhaps helping in some small way to show our collective pain to the world , and to educate people to the horrific legacy that follows childhood sexual abuse.
I feel privileged to share this space, I will be forever grateful for the people I have met through this space, and as I move forward in my own journey, sharing this space with others on their journeys, today I feel hopeful for the future. I have no doubt that I will continue to revisit and re-experience all of the emotions and feelings I have described.
Thank you so much to all involved in the setting up and continued successful running of One-in-Four. I love what we do, but I so, so hate the fact that we need to do it!

Love,
Liz.

Posted by: Liz on April 4, 2003 05:39 PM

Well now…one year on in the board….

I have to take a totally different slant to it. This time last year on the inception of the board (which I was not aware of until October) my life had been turned upside-down and around in circles thanks to Mr O’ Gorman and Mr Jackman.

You see…this time last year before Suing the Pope….I was just *fine* thank you very much. Just bought a house, in a nice job…all my shit contained in their little nice compartments in my mind, nice and tidy and in control…. I was just *fine*, alone and isolated with my mind…but just *fine* nonetheless. I knew no different.

Went to my parents in Wexford for Easter weekend and allllllllllllll the furore in the Church was completely at the forefront of every ones mouths down there. I had not seen the programme aired previously on BBC 2, but thanks to the story in every single fucking conversation, on every single television channel, on every single radio programme, I became familiar with it very quickly.

Then crunch time comes on Easter Saturday night, talking with parents and my Dad pipes up…’but sure wouldn’t you think that Colm O’ Gorman would have gone home and told his parents at the time’ and I am like ‘well its not that simple’ and conversation continues like this, me standing up for the aforementioned Mr O’ Gorman, who was a stranger in my world and my Dad going ‘no but any child can go home’. Until I get soooooooooooooooooo angry (something in my very tidy and contained mind I had never done) and spurted out ‘well I couldn’t come home’….WELLL,…the silence fell…and if I could have pressed rewind or run away I would have. But instead Dad blew up…got angry and left the room…my big secret I held for oh so many years and sorted out through counselling ‘alone’ was out…FUCK! It wasn’t meant to be like this…

I went in a state of silence….and to bed …alone again in my mind. My diary entry that night was ‘you stupid fucking fat dirty fool’. Next day was ‘feeling soooooooo shameful’ Next day ‘so alone, so sad… so like it was when I was a child…it all makes sense now’

Ohhhh…and then it came to April 5th … (God forgive me!)…and diary entry was …’FUCK Colm O’Gorman and his big mouth, will he not just SHUT-THE-FUCK-UP…and leave us all alone. I was perfectly fine and contained and had it all sorted out until he went ahead and had the word ‘sexual abuse and rape’ on every single fucking television programme, every single fucking radio show, in every single fucking paper….’ ‘…it’s ok for him he will just head on home and leave us all here in our shit… I was fine with this secret alone…and now my family is hurting so bad and it’s all my fault and I don’t know how to sort it out…what am I saying I *had* sorted it out….I was *fine*… now I’m just scared….’

I found the website in October, the day after the Cardinals Secret, following a summer of really having to work some shit out and be real with myself. To accept that although I thought I was perfectly ‘fine’ I was only living on half cylinders because I was still living in my mind, containing things, compartmentalising them … The focus now went on my mind, body and spirit and being kind and nurturing to all parts equally…Wow…I’m emotional….

This website and the boards was such an amazing place for me to find. I was in a place where I really needed to connect with people. The shame and absolute self hatred which I had for most of my life was declining daily and I was desperate to reach out and just ‘be’ me. And I found it on the boards. I have met THE most amazing people on this board. I have been my most honest and the most *Deirdre* I have ever been here on the boards. I have laughed (hysterically-out loud-to-tears), cried (silently) and loved and been loved in return. And for me to allow that into my life has been astonishing …

So guys … remember the site is here for us… but it is us all that makes it what it is… it is an amazing space….and it is us that makes it amazing…

MY SAFEST HUGS

Deirdrex

Posted by: Deirdre on April 5, 2003 01:29 PM

I know these congratulations are belated, but when I tried to post the other day, my computer seemed to freeze. Is the machine joining in my response pattern? Because this site is a tremendous place, safe and challenging, somewhere to break out of the isolation, a place where I have learned to 'unfreeze' at times.

I have made some friends here. I have been touched here by what others have shared. I have gained insight here that has helped me on my way.

A lot of hard work has gone into providing this facility, so for all the unseen work I want to say a big thank you. And a huge thank you to everyone who has posted here: for the times I've laughed, and for the times I've cried. A huge thank you for being there.

Joe

Posted by: Joe on April 5, 2003 01:38 PM

One of the many things that surprised me, astonished me, about One In Four was the sudden realisation of not being alone. I've harped on about the head and the heart but it's the best way I know of expressing it. One In Four has helped me believe in things and feel things in my heart, rather than just knowing them as a concept in my head. So I knew I wasn't alone, but I didn't feel it until I came here. I didn't feel it so I didn't believe it. Now I do.
One of the things you guys have taught me is that the mask I wear day to day is no longer very different to the real me. What I show people nowadays is more or less who I am inside. I wouldn't have known that only for One In Four and even in as short a period as these last few months I've grown and learned so much as a result. I feel more grateful than I know how to express.
I'd never met or spoken to anyone who knew what I was talking about, never talked to anyone who really understood, before this. And it's the most amazing feeling of release and relief and belonging. You guys are my long lost brothers and sisters, you're my family and my friends. My heart is here.
This place gives HOPE. I don't know of many things more important than HOPE and One In Four just throws it about the place for free, like! Can you believe it? It's absolutely amazing! How many other places give people hope? How many other places make people feel welcome and wanted and understood in a heartbeat?
I found One In Four because I'd seen Colm on the news, was very impressed, and wanted to send him an e-mail. I wanted to congratulate him, wish him well, tell him how much I admired him for the simple fact that he'd found his voice and was using it not only for himself but on behalf of all who have experienced sexual abuse. Ok, it's not really a simple fact, it's huge, it's massive, it's beyond belief. By placing himself in the public eye he has sacrificed so much, more than I believe I would ever be able to. His bravery, integrity, and compassion astound me. (but I don't think I've told him this so keep it quiet ok? Shhhh :))
The same goes for everyone else on the One In Four team and all the guys on the boards. You blow my mind. I'm flabbergasted and dumbfounded and shocked to the core at the bravery, understanding, compassion, empathy, support, warmth, and love of every single one of you. You absolutely and utterly rock. I said it before, I'll say it again, you make me feel REAL. I can't thank you enough for that.
So, Happy (belated) Anniversary and Congratulations and Thanks to One In Four!
Best Regards,
Mick

Posted by: mick on April 5, 2003 08:03 PM

One in Four has been a rock, a mooring place for me. No, I have not been abused, but my now grown child has been. The beautiful, savage, sorrowful, defiant, courageous poetry and stories have given me an insight into what abuse does to the human spirit. I see my own child's sufferings through you all. You have helped me understand.

My pain is great and like yours will always be there. You are my support and in you I find hope for the future.

Thank you all - thank you, thank you...........

Posted by: A Mother on April 6, 2003 08:09 PM

I'll never be able to meet the people on here probably, but between OIF and the other website, I feel more confident and braver then two years ago. Colm, I think you're very kind and I'm glad you came to the other website too because otherwise I would have never known about OIF. At night especially when I feel the worst and can't sleep and restless, or feel very bad, it just helps, why I don't know, to come and post what is happening. Thanks for the place to do that. Arianna

Posted by: arianna on April 7, 2003 06:19 AM

I have been finding it REALLY difficult to put words on how I am feeling in relation to the famous Anniversary…..I suppose Dee came the closest here to how I feel about the whole ufcking year. It has been a dreadful year for me….Remembering and suddenly revisiting lost and terrifying memories for over three decades….try and deal with that one when you are quite cosy in your life thank you very much….getting on and managing and then all hell breaks loose…and all because of that programme ‘suing the pope’ and Colm O Gorman and the others…...I have felt Nearly every emotion imaginable in the past year…I have had a breakdown standing up….complete shock….serious anxiety….panic…flashbacks…..depression….sleeplessness….sadness beyond belief ….I walked the streets day and night because I had to keep moving…at all cost movement was the key….if I kept moving I would be ok…...got blisters on the soles of my feet to work off the intensity of the feelings…I suffered terrible obsessional thinking about the abuse…listened to endless music in my ears….my lifeline…..In all of this chaos I kept working ….god knows how….kept the house going…..just about….As everyone knows here its hard to deal with this shit but we do…I covered it up….tried very hard not to let anyone I love around me suffer because I was in pain…my children and my husband…my friend S was great…but by in large it was my problem…not theirs…not fair to burden them with my problems….just kept coping….and struggling every inch of the way….all the time remembering more and more about my past….the therapy chair…the doctor….the solicitor…the police…...the local priest who is so kind to me…It was a priest who abused me as a child….During the year I felt ten…I felt 13 I felt an adult then a child again….and I struggled on…walked and burned the pavements…and I coped at all costs I had to cope…..I found one in four…I kept thanking them…as if thanking people was the definition of my who I am…. ‘thank you Colm for my fucking existence’…thank you for this and for that…for listening ..for caring….for letting me express myself….I was always thanking somebody else because I did not believe I was worthy of all or any of this… I still felt shit…and dirty and lost and afraid and terrified….I was a tortured soul....I have made fantastic friends here over the year and I am really really glad about that but I hate the whole thing…every inch of it…..The one emotion I find really hard now is Anger….how I admire everyone here who can shout from the rooftops…and let it out….not me though…..all my life anger symbolised that I had done something wrong because that’s the way the bastard ensured my silence…after all I would go to hell and burn and be burned....and as a result of it I have to make everything right and take responsibility for absolutely everything…..I am a brilliant problem solver….facilitator….I make things ok for people all the time….It is bloody exhausting….If anybody is really bad angry around me I am a child again….I am lost and I am terrified…I am locked up in a car…I am sexually abused and raped…I am a nobody…I am back in the darkness…..I have avoided anger where possible…yes I get irritated by things but find anger impossible…..it scares the shit out of me….In the past few days I think I am feeling anger for the first time!!!!!!! ….its such a physical thing really…..I get this pain in my chest and I react to things…and that now is way past my safety zone….its like it rises from somewhere very quickly and it sort of takes you over…..so the above stream of consciousness while it is about myself it really is the first time I have ever said here how it is for me….as I am always nice and reassuring and polite….and I think I have ‘thanked’ myself out of it. I do love everyone here sincerely and would be lost without you….That was the one thing he could never take from me was that capacity to feel love and compassion for others…but that’s what this year has been like for me…awful…enduring….and I have been so sick….so incredibly horribly sick….and while I am really way way better that’s how its really been for me….As most of you know by now I burned the bastard in my poem above...…and boy does that feel good…As far as .I am concerned I am a walking miracle to have survived…I survived because of all the help all you guys who make up one in four give me daily on the support board…..We are all in the same boat…that’s what makes it special here…..it’s a bitch….its painful and its so very wrong that any of us have to suffer but here we can get well and reclaim ourselves. I plan to do just that....
I am going to wish myself a Happy Anniversary for staying alive throughout this awful year and I am going to thank myself instead of the rest of the world for my existence and believe it. Well done G!

Posted by: g on April 7, 2003 11:28 PM

Paddy Last quite literally!

I remember the day that Colm told me about the web-site and forum. I suppose having gone it alone for so long, and always deeply suspicious of any form of self-help group, I treated the news without due regard.

But in a sense of duty moreso than anything I duly logged on every now and then and read with interest as the personalities developed, the stories were told, wounds edged ever closer to healing, friendships formed, and more importantly a sense of community developed.

Being such a "high profile" sex abuse victim made me feel that I had to be very reticent and careful about what I posted in the early days of the forum. I was afraid that a journalist or a churches lawyer would read what i said and use it for their own aims, I was afraid of what people would think who knew me, I was afraid that people would realise that I wasn't strong or brave, but a pitiful, weak little man who let one moment in his life dominate his entire life so much for so long.

I watched in envy as the friendships and healing continued, and with increasing anger at the stories being told, and of the consequent hurts and suffering. It was then one day I had the bright idea.

I have an almost pathelogical hatred of lying, and it never would have occurred to me to disguise who I was, but I could use an alternative e-mail address, that wouldn't be lying, that would just be omitting a portion of the truth (he said hopefully).

Christys writing had inspired me to write a few poems, so over the course of a very scary few days I posted each. The reaction I got was so wonderful and supporting and inspiring and caring. Should I have been surprised? No, but I was. It allowed the oppurtunity to open up, to reveal the hurt that had been surpressed for years.

I was lucky, I talked about my abuse with my family from day one. I'd spent a lifetime talking about my abuse, but only the generalities. Now I had an oppurtunity to talk about the specifics, how my abuse had carved, changed, defined and continued to define my life with people who understood, because they knew what it was like.

But further than that, I began to reach out and try and help others on the message board, not because I had to, but because I wanted people to experience the power of the support I had recived. It was immensely empowering to give someone the "benefit" of your own "wisdom" and sit there thinking (a) you had been a positive part of someones life and (b) hmm, Pat, could do with listening to your own words there mate!

There have been few uniquely and quintessential defining periods of my life, the notice board was definitely one of them. A year ago this weekend I took a large quantity of anti-depressants and washed them down with a large bottle of Vodka, unconciously mimicing the weapon of choice that killed my abuser. By god I had a few very interesting days after that I can tell ya! I can say that if it wasn't for the forum I probably might not be here now, and you can't get more life defining than that really can you?

When I realised that my cover was blown on the notice board, as more people realised who I was (very bright, I'd gotten as far as using an alternative e-mail address, but still called myself Pat!) I made the decision to revert to my original e-mail address that gave away my name. Something as trivial sounding as that was a powerful moment for me, I claimed what I had said over the previous months, it was mine, I was responsibile, it happened to me, I talked about it, it was mine, no-one elses, and I was proud of it and who I was, no matter what happened to me.

I would like to thank three people, though you are all amazing, wonderful people. My friend Colm for providing this space, Christy for his inspiration, and last, but not least Dee. This woman, who I imagined to be a small, dark-haired, dumpy, rosey cheeked girl with a strong country accent (don't ask! But entirely incorrect by the way), supported me from a distance that quite frankly changed my whole outlook on life. I don't think she will ever realise the effect she has had on so many lives with her support, her cheer, her caring, her >, and of course her safe hugs, and all while carrying her own burdens. So this is just my little testament to her. Thanks you Dee, yer a wee wonder!

Well cheers me dears, here's to another year, and another....

Posted by: Pat on April 11, 2003 06:41 PM

Hi everybody,
Ok, i know im also a little late here, but well the truth is that although
i knew that i would eventually post a comment here, i just didn't know what
to say, there are no words for it... how could i possibly describe the effect
that One In Four, the boards, and everyone who i've met through it(either
in person or otherwise) have had on me??? I couldn't. I didn't/don't think
it's possible. But, nevertheless, i thought i'd give it a try anyhow....
so here goes....
I found the boards on 7th january. Had never heard of One In Four, Colm
O'Gorman or Suing The Pope. Had just come accross them while browsing the
net. It's hard to believe that it was three months ago. Sometimes, it feels
like it was only yesterday. But mostly it feels like i've known you guys
forever.
My life has changed so much since i found this space. No, actually, my life
itself hasn't changed that much, but *I* have changed. I am a different
person these days, and am still changed all the time.
Some people say that they found it hard posting for the first time, that
they stayed and read for a while. But me, i just read a few posts and then
posted my own. It just all seems to come pouring out of me when sitting
at a keyboard.
Posting that one message i never imagined what lay ahead of me here. Never
thought i would find such wonderful people here. Make such wonderful friendships.
Friendships like i had never known before...
So, i posted and i kept on posting. And yes, a lot of the time when you
post, you press the submit button and all you can think is "shit, what did
i do that for?" but always you get a response from people who you know have
been there/are there, people who you know truly understand and that makes
ALL the difference!
This is the first place where i have ever felt that i really belong, the
first place that i feel understood... It's amazing.
I would be lying if i said that the past few months have been easy, and
i know that the next few will be just as hard, but i have to say that just
knowing that i have this place and you guys, i know that i will be ok, and
that i will get through it.
And going to the open nights and stuff, yes it can be hard, there is no
denying that, but there is also such a positive side to them,and they can
be so funny. I may storm in there, and giggle away like i haven't a care
in the world, and sometimes i think "hey what am i doing coz this isn't
the real me?" but at the same time, i dont know who the real me is. Nobody
does! but i've just realised that that side of me is also part of the real
me. I have discovered a side to myself there that i never knew existed.

And yeah, i've been down to the offices so much lately that they're probably
trying to think up ways to get rid of me... hehe...But seriously, like,
Colm, Dee, and all the guys in the offices they are so amazing. They may
say that they are just doing their jobs. But, no, they are doing so much
more than that. They wound bend over backwards to help us, in a way that
i have never seen before. So, guys, for that and for EVERYTHING!
amanda xxx

Posted by: amanda on April 14, 2003 12:16 PM
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