"Guilty," freedom, strength, relief.

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Joanne Alldritt

"Guilty," freedom, strength, relief. As soon as the judge said this single, amazingly powerful word, these forgotten feelings rushed through me. I had finally got my revenge. The confusion lead me to let out tearful sighs of joy and sudden outcries of relief. The man who had made my adult life a misery and ruined my teenage memories didn't have any domination over my thoughts or feelings anymore. From going ahead with the prosecution I felt satisfied that no other innocent teenager or harmless child would have to worry about this particular evil, pathetic man ever going near him or her again. It had taken twenty years for me to work up the courage to prosecute but it was worth it. My personality is now like it was, I'm outgoing, less sensitive and I've learnt to trust people. I just hope no one has to go through what I did.

When my mother sent me to Lowood boarding school after "average results" in my first year at a state school, I found it difficult to make new friends because firstly the clothes that my mother insisted I wore at weekends were not the most fashionable and the fact that I was the weakest academically in my class resulted in low self esteem. So I was thirteen and had few friends so to speak of. I could only assume that it was because of the "introvert personality," my mother always said I had. She implied that my shortage of friends was a hereditary condition, snapping at me the few times I complained," I was never short of friends, that problem must have come from your fathers side of the family." I didn't have a good relationship with my mother or father making it hard to tell them anything especially about the abuse I was about to suffer.
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It was the week of my thirteenth birthday, towards the end of my second term at Lowood when I heard the inauspicious words for the first time.

"Can Amelia Brown please report to the headmaster's office." I sat at my desk startled as the whole class turned their perfect heads of neatly plaited hair towards me. All I saw was a handful of glaring eyes and disgusted expressions as the teacher not thinking of the humiliation I was going through informed the class I would be missing certain lessons to go to remedial classes. I nervously hurried ...

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