Raped dancer gives support to Cornwall anti-violence charity
By eightwireify | Thursday, February 27, 2014, 09:55
L-R Tessa Skola with Karen Tudor at the Skoodhya AGM.
A woman who was repeatedly raped during her career as a
dancer has spoken in support of a Cornwall charity that provides support for
people affected by violence and sexual abuse.
Speaking at the AGM of Skoodhya, Tessa Skola, who was raped
at least eight times during her 20-year international career, said women who
have been raped have to deal with difficult emotions and it is often hard for
them to seek help.
Tessa, who has written an honest and shocking account of her
experiences, was raped on several occasions in locations around the world
including a date-rape in Britain and being raped by a gang of men while working
"I wish I had known about some of the warning signs that a
relationship was becoming unsafe", said Tessa, "it might have helped me to
avoid some very frightening and painful situations but that is just part of it.
I was raped by total strangers, out-of-the-blue, so safety when travelling is
"My experiences were not just down to the fact that I worked
as a dancer. It is the rape that happens behind closed doors, at home by people
we know, that are the most shocking and often the least reported. If this can
help prevent just one rape then it's worth working hard to get that message
Tessa now lives in Cornwall and is keen to spotlight the
issues associated with rape and violence against women. She explained that she
had not been able to access specialist support at the time of her attacks and stressed
how important the work of Skoodhya is in giving support to those who have
undergone sexual attacks.
Skoodhya runs Cornwall's sexual assault referral centre, the
Willow Centre in Truro, the SAFE project that raises awareness among secondary
school children of domestic abuse and sexual violence and a support service for
people who are called to attend coroner's court.
"Sexual violence and domestic abuse are, very sadly, more
common than people might think," said chair of Skoodhya's trustees Karen Tudor,
"we work hard to prevent future cases of abuse by education and to provide the
vital support that people need should they find themselves in that time of
"We take every opportunity to increase public awareness of
domestic abuse and sexual violence and the impact that these crimes have on
victims and survivors. We also want everyone to know that we are able to offer
support should the worst happen."