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Recovery Champion
Kirsty Rigby

I am a young woman of 31. I naturally possess a caring nature and would like to help people who have suffered just as I have. My abuse started when I was just 11 years old where I was groomed and taken advantage of this went on till, I was 13 years old We moved away from the area this had took place and between the ages of 14 and 16 a family member took advantage and sexually abused me I spoke out about non recent childhood sexual abuse in 2018. My abuser was charged with numerous sexual offences. It the progressed to court for a full trial in February 2020. Unfortunately, but by no means unusual the outcome of the case was not one that I would have liked as the perpetrator was found not guilty not just for the deviant sexual offences committed against me but other victims also. I have decided that I will not let my childhood affect my adulthood no more and I accept that although I am not responsible for the abuse, I am however responsible my recovery. I joined a peer support group called Hoods Down facilitated by Empower the Invisible project which is a support group for adults who suffered trauma as a child due to childhood sexual abuse/exploitation. It is facilitated by two individuals who have lived life experiences themselves. Whilst being a part of this group I have learnt that my abuse was not my fault and have been able to accept that. I am now focused on volunteering for Empower the Invisible to help show others that recovery is possible and help them learn different strategies on how to try and deal with what they are struggling with. I am now thriving; I have just completed a level 2 Awareness in Mental Health course as well as gaining a qualification in group facilitation so I can facilitate peer groups. I have many other achievements which will help me with my volunteering role and my life moving forward. My focus in life is to keep going forward with my recovery and to help others who have been in similar situations, we cannot change our past, but we can choose what we do to help change our future and I choose to live a life free from the trauma that has held me back from being the best version of me.

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