An MP reduced colleagues in the House of Commons to tears as she told for the first time how she had been raped as a 14-year-old girl. Scottish MP Michelle Thomson took the brave decision to speak out as part of a debate on the UN International Day For The Elimination Of Violence Against Women.
Ms Thomson, who is the MP for Edinburgh West, said that she thought of herself as a survivor rather than a victim. Now 51, she said that she had been raped by someone she knew after he dragged her into the woods following a social event together.
Shame and revulsion
Now a happily married mother of two, she said she had felt horribly ashamed at the time and had only felt able to seek help to deal with what had happened to her when she reached her 40s. As she told of what had happened to her, many MPs could be seen wiping away tears.
House of Commons Speaker John Bercow was visibly moved and his voice cracked with emotion as he praised her for her bravery in choosing to share what had happened to her in such a public way.
Ms Johnson, who is currently sitting as an independent, said that she remembered feeling surprise, then fear and finally horror as she realised that she was unable to escape. Following the incident, she said she experienced feelings of revulsion towards herself and felt she had been “spoiled”.
Labour’s newest MP Tracy Brabin then stood up and said that she had been the victim of an attempted rape. She said it was vital that young men were educated on having respect for woman and the need for consent. She also called for strategies to empower women who are suffering domestic abuse so they felt able to leave.