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We are extremely grateful to the survivor who has written this poem, anonymously, about a recent event where she felt triggered, showing the disconnect she felt between being a victim and being a survivor. Both RSVP and the survivor hopes that the poem makes a positive difference to other survivors who have experienced the difficulty of being triggered, by the smallest of actions of others. We’re sure that many people will relate to these words and the difficulty of ‘the space in between’ following sexual trauma.


Writing can be a way to explore, navigate and reduce distressing and traumatic feelings. Writing this poem particularly helped the survivor when a bank holiday meant that she could not attend her counselling session. We hope the poem will also encourage other survivors to see how writing can be used as a way to manage difficult situations, and express painful feelings, whether they are accessing counselling or other kinds of support, or not.


Thank you to the survivor for giving her consent for this poem to be shared. You can read more of her work here.




I’m frightened, so frightened, and I’m so tired of being scared

It’s not the darkness that I fear

Not those things far away; or those that are near

Those things don’t scare me, it’s something more real

The casual comment, the look, the word

And I am back there again

In the place where I can’t feel

The space in between



I talk to her and she makes me feel safe

Her calm and her words a walled embrace

But it’s fleeting, not truly real

Because I can learn to play strong, can almost convince me

That I can be that one

But the fear will come again

And remind me our work’s not done


I don’t know why this happened

I’m not sure what I did

But I know that I don’t own me, and I think I never did

I can live with that, can be with that

Make that the life I live

And it will work until I come across

The spaces in between


It’s not the violent storm, the drowning rain

The punishing snow or hurricane

There are always ways and means

To manage those nightmares, but it seems

Those things can’t hope to affect

The still, dead, calmness

Of the spaces in between

She was so small, so tiny, so much fun

Till the darkness came for her

And told her what she must become

To be two people; the happy, the cheerful, the fun-filled one


I don’t want to know the other one, accept that she is real

But we seem destined to meet

In the spaces in between


I want to take a hammer, an axe, a knife, a gun

A weapon to make things clean

I want to take those things to purify

The spaces in between

Posted 9 May 2018

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