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Abuse victim waives anonymity right to speak to regional daily

An author and mental health campaigner waived her right to anonymity to reveal to a regional daily how she had been groomed and abused aged 12.

Hope Virgo spoke to the Bristol Post about the abuse she received at the hands of a young man at her church 16 years ago.

Ms Virgo, 28, revealed the incidents caused her to stop eating to the extent she needed to spend a year in the Riverside Unit, a mental health inpatient unit for young people in Bristol.

Her story made the front page of the Post yesterday.

Bristol victim

She told Post reporter Michael Yong: “I felt so guilty and ashamed about what happened and I couldn’t switch off from that emotion. By not eating I could switch off from the horrible feeling. It numbed all that pain.

“When I was unwell and dating, I could not feel things because I was nervous that people might abuse it.

“The psychologist in charge of me asked my mum to write down all the reasons she thought I was unwell, and one of those reasons might have been what happened with the guy from church.

“In one of our sessions, she asked a leading question about it and that’s when I made my first disclosure. She told me to go back to my room and write everything I remembered happening. That’s when it all came out.”

While the police became involved, Ms Virgo said she had not felt well enough to pursue her case.

She added: “It’s affected my relationships. I have to explain why I might just clam up and get really nervous. I’ve been really lucky I’ve had all the therapy and made a good recovery.”

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  • July 17, 2018 at 9:41 am

    Well done Hope. I hope at some point you will feel strong enough to pursue this through the courts to stop this man abusing others.

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