Raped dancer gives support to Cornwall anti-violence charity

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By eightwireify | Thursday, February 27, 2014, 09:55

 

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

abroad.

"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

vital too.

"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

across."

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

crisis.

"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."

      

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