I have been deeply shocked to learn from my daughter that 12 years ago, when she was 16, she was raped.
She never told me anything at the time and apparently she never told anyone, but we were watching TV and rape came up in a programme. She switched it off and said nothing when I asked her why she had done so. Then it all came out and she was sobbing and crying for ages as she told me what had happened.
I just held her as she told me everything but all I could feel was useless — why hadn’t I, her mother, realised something was wrong? She never really seemed to mature and didn’t mix much with other girls.
I had thought she was just being a moody teenager who never really grew up and now I feel so guilty. MW
FIONA SAYS: SHE NEEDS YOUR LOVE, SUPPORT AND GUIDANCE
First, stop feeling guilty — you will be no use to your daughter if you're thinking about your feelings in this.
What she needs is your love, support and some guidance.
Just because she has told you, the problem won't magically go away. She has bottled up all her anger, resentment and pain for 12 years and this has clearly taken its toll on her.
I suggest you encourage her to contact a Rape Crisis Centre — she can call on 0808 802 9999 from noon to 2.30pm or from 7pm to 9.30pm.
She could also consider contacting a local rape crisis centre, which she will either find through the phone book or through the website rapecrisis.org.uk.