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Rape ordeal's affected my grades.

Byline: Joan Burnie

Q I'M 17. I was raped 15 months ago, just before I went back to school for my fifth year.

There were two of them. It left me in a state and I still haven't recovered. I don't sleep well, if at all, and get flashbacks.

My social life suffered, too, because although I have a great group of close pals, Icouldn't be bothered with anything.

My family don't know because they've been through a lot recently and, even though I know they would be 100 per cent there for me, I didn't feel it was fair to give them more things to worry about.

The only people who know are two teachers at school, one of whom is a man, my guidance teacher. They've been helpful but they're not experienced in how to deal with something like this.

My fifth year ended up a bit of a disaster. I started out doing four highers and dropped down to one and only got a C. I want to go to university, so I decided to go back for my sixth year and do better.

I thought I was doing well, my attitude was healthier and I was finally starting to get my confidence back and my social life picked up. But my predicted grades came in and, while I'm passing, I'm not getting what I need.

I was gutted and my confidence took a huge knock again. Then my guidance teacher said I had to "toughen up", which was a real slap in the face.

To cap it all, I met a guy and we went on adate. We didn't sleep together but I let him go too far and then I froze and now I feel like a slapper. I'm sorry for rambling on but I think I needed to get some of my feelings out and I hope you don't mind.

A I DON'T mind and you're certainly not a slapper. You're being too hard on yourself.

You've gone through a particularly dreadful experience with precious little help from anyone including, it would seem, your guidance teacher.

His reaction makes me boil with rage on your behalf. How DARE he tell you to toughen up? If he had the slightest sensitivity, he would also have understood why your grades suffered and been much more supportive.

He should have realised he was out of his depth and you needed to be referred to those who would have been able to provide the care and counselling you require and desperately deserve.

So log on to Rape Crisis on www.rape, who will be able to help you cope better with what was a terrifying sexual assault. You should tell your parents and the police - but one step at a time. Please log on to Rape Crisis today. You've carried this burden too long alone.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jan 15, 2008
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