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Sex abuse victim: I feel alive again

PUBLISHED: 11:42 22 April 2010 | UPDATED: 17:50 25 August 2010

SURVIVOR: Paola Borella: I was a dead soul until poetry brought me to life.’

SURVIVOR: Paola Borella: I was a dead soul until poetry brought me to life.'

A VICTIM of child sexual abuse says she has discovered her purpose in life after publishing a book of poetry.

A VICTIM of child sexual abuse says she has discovered her purpose in life after publishing a book of poetry.

Paola Borella, 32, originally from Welling, was sexually abused as a child when she lived in Italy, but kept it a secret for years.

It was only after she was raped at the age of 25 that she revealed to her parents her harrowing experiences.

Now, she has revealed all in a collection of poetry, The Blemished Rose, published by Troubador Publishing.

She said: "For years I was a dead soul until poetry brought me to life.

"I felt that if I'd read a collection like mine during therapy, it might have helped me and made me realise I was not alone in what I was going through.

"I had stored the memories, and being in the place where it happened brought the memories to the surface.

"I didn't tell anyone at the time. It's something that's very difficult to let out and when it's out it's very painful because you relive it."

After finally plucking up the courage to go to the police, Ms Borella claims she came across an obstacle in Italian law, which states that if you report child sexual abuse when you are over 18 the police do not investigate.

This huge setback resulted in her attempting suicide at the age of 27.

She said: "It was the biggest low in my life and it brought on the suicide attempt. I was in hospital and was given a number for a women's shelter and I started counselling.

"I firmly believe that in order to help others we need to come out and share our experiences. However, it's not always easy for survivors to do this, given the disturbing nature of what may have been experienced.

"I hope my book will not only help survivors but also be an insight to people who haven't experienced abuse."

Ms Borella now lives in China, where she works as a teacher-trainer. She is writing a self-help book in the hope that other survivors of abuse gain awareness and closure. For more information, visit www.theblemishedrose.com

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