Jane Cox (Plays Lisa Dingle in Emmerdale) – In 2010 I had the most challenging storyline of my career in Emmerdale. The character I play, Lisa Dingle, a strong, middle-aged woman, a wife and mother, was raped by a work colleague who she and her family had regarded as a friend.
When the producer told me about the upcoming storyline I knew what a huge responsibility this would be. My main concern was to be as truthful as possible, because although I personally have never been raped, I didn’t want to let down all those many, many women, and men too, who have been. Most of us will know of at least one person who has experienced sexual violence or abuse.
Because of this story, many people came up to me, in the street, in shops, on the train, and told me their stories. Most had never told anyone before and had kept it a secret for years, hiding it from even their nearest and dearest. I felt humbled and privileged to listen and to have been a catalyst for this disclosure. It seemed a relief for them to be able to say ” that happened to me “.
Anyone can be raped. You don’t have to be young and pretty – “Lisa ” was in her 50’s, overweight, ordinary. She didn’t tell anyone for a long time as she was so ashamed and humiliated and thought it was her fault. This is unfortunately often the case.
There is a hidden sea of people who have suffered, are suffering, and have not got the help or justice they deserve because they are frightened to come forward in case they won’t be believed. The lack of convictions for perpetrators of sexual violence reinforces that fear.
This is where the essential work of charities like Savana come in. I was proud to be asked to become a Patron of Savana which advocates for sufferers of sexual violence. It is an indictment of our society that these charities still need to exist.
My name is Ian Ackley; I have lived in London for the past 28 years after leaving North West Derbyshire in 1988, after suffering habitual sexual abuse from my football coach. I went to London to try and start to rebuild a life for myself.
I pretended for a while that everything was ‘normal’ and was just grateful that I was finally away from the abuser. That wasn’t the case. Things were far from ‘normal’ and I realised I needed to do ‘something’; but had no idea what to do!! It was only after speaking to my partner that I realised that I needed to start to consider how things were affecting me and the impact they were having.
Through talking I realised that I could start to unpick what had happened to me and through the support I received I was able to start to make sense of what ‘had’ happened to me. Now 33 years after my abuse finished I am still with the same partner, have 4 beautiful children and live very happily.
It is true that I still revisit my past and some days are difficult but the fact is; that through the support I have received and the strength I have gained from that, means that I am able to openly discuss when I am struggling.
I urge you to do the same.