On Parliament Floor, Scottish MP Recounts Her Rape

'I am not a victim; I am a survivor,' says Michelle Thomson
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 9, 2016 7:00 AM CST
On Parliament Floor, Scottish MP Recounts Her Rape
A jogger runs across Westminster Bridge with the Houses of Parliament in the background in London on June 24, 2016.   (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Two women shared extremely personal stories of rape in the UK House of Commons on the United Nations' International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women Thursday. Their stories left fellow MPs in tears, but it was Scottish MP Michelle Thomson, who represents Edinburgh West, whose words are being widely reported. In her "extraordinarily clear-eyed and articulate account," as Quartz calls it, Thomson said that the crime happened 37 years ago in the woods when she was 14, that she knew the attacker, that it happened "mercifully quick," and that she went home and told no one. "I was crying. I was cold. I was shivering. ... I didn't tell my mother. I didn't tell my father. I didn't tell my friends. And I didn't tell the police. I bottled it all up inside me." (See the video here.)

In the end Thomson never told her mother, which she says was "possibly cowardly" but also "an act of love" to protect her, reports the BBC. She did feel a "duty" to tell her husband when they got married 12 years later, but she says it wasn't until her 40s that she finally sought help through therapy. She says that while her self-esteem was damaged for years, and that she felt "spoiled" and disgusted by herself, she now knows that rape isn't about sex but rather "it's about power and control, and it is a crime of violence." And, she adds, "I'm not a victim; I'm a survivor." Her colleague, Labour MP Tracy Brabin, said she was raped by a stranger at 20, reports the Gazette and Herald, but she says she was "one of the lucky ones" because he got locked up. (This rape survivor worked with a man accused of rape.)

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