"Why did you blame yourself after you were assaulted?"

I had a breakthrough in the early hours of yesterday morning. It took nearly a year for me to get there. I'd just written a lengthy, emotional post in the Facebook group I ran to when I was first assaulted. I wanted to thank them and explain a few things, like why I'd started the post with "Help. One of the people I'm staying with has just tried to...initiate a relationship." rather than outright saying "I've just been assaulted".

As such I ended up recounting some of the details of the night. The major one was that only hours before the assault, I'd been crying uncontrollably on Hoboken pier, and he'd been holding me, talking softly, and stroking my hair. It had been two years to the day since I'd last taken an overdose.

Shortly after posting this rambling explanation, I was slapped round the face by the realisation of why I'd spent months blaming myself for what happened. I had been confused. Who wouldn't have been? Someone who had been such a comfort to me had gone on to turn my life upside down and cause me so much pain that at the earliest opportunity I'd locked myself in the bathroom, where I curled up on the floor and sobbed.

It probably seems like a small step to most people, but for me, this is a major breakthrough in understanding what happened. It cements the knowledge that what happened was not my fault. It's something I've been repeating to myself for months, but now I finally believe it, nearly one year on. It was not my fault.

So when you're looking at someone, wondering why they're blaming themselves for something someone else did to them, ask yourself if they're maybe just reeling. It takes a lot to believe that someone who was once so kind and caring can go on to hurt you so intensely.