Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

MP Michelle Thomson contacts police over childhood rape

michelle thomson
Image caption Ms Thomson said she had been overwhelmed by messages of support

A Scottish MP who revealed in the House of Commons that she was raped as a 14-year-old has contacted police about the attack.

Michelle Thomson said she had been "overwhelmed" by messages of support since reliving her ordeal.

Ms Thomson moved fellow MPs to tears on Thursday when she told how she was attacked 37 years ago by someone she knew.

The Edinburgh West representative said: "I'm not a victim, I'm a survivor."

She spoke out during a debate on the UN's International Day For The Elimination Of Violence Against Women.

Campaigners and fellow politicians have praised her for her bravery in speaking out.

'Take matters further'

In a tweet on Friday, the independent MP said: "Humbled by the responses and support.

"Thanks also to @policescotland for their rapid response and with whom I have made contact."

Police have not commented on the message. However, it is understood officers would make an approach to an individual to see if they wanted to take matters further if they publicly disclose they have been the victim of an offence.

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: "Speaking out about sexual abuse is incredibly difficult and disclosures are often made many years after an incident took place.

"Police Scotland will listen to any such disclosure, regardless of the passage of time, and will investigate.

"Our response is always victim-focused and every investigation will be tailored to meet their individual needs."

The MP told the Commons she had known her attacker and afterwards had "bottled it all up inside".

'Years of bitterness'

Ms Thomson said the rape had "fatally undermined" her self-esteem, confidence and sense of self-worth, and said she had not sought help until her mid-40s.

"I carried that guilt, anger, fear, sadness and bitterness for years," she told MPs.

Ms Thomson later told the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme that a decade ago she wanted to "go after" her attacker. But seeking help had given her "a liberty to move on".

She said: "I'm not doing this to try and go after somebody, it's not what it's about for me - hence the 'I'm not a victim, I'm a survivor'.

"Had it been even 10 years ago I would have probably said 'No, I want to go after him' and I remember after it happened I used to idly daydream - 'If I could do this to him, if I could do that' - because I was so angry and bitter. I'm not now.

"That, I would stress, is a personal perspective I'm taking and everybody must take their own view about how they want to move forward. I would encourage everyone to do what they feel is right for them."

Ms Thomson's decision to share her story publicly was hailed as "brave and important" by Rape Crisis Scotland.

National co-ordinator Sandy Brindley said: "Someone speaking so publicly about rape can send a strong message to other rape survivors - that the shame is not theirs and it is okay to talk about it and to seek support."

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon described the speech as "very moving and incredibly brave", and said it would help give strength to others.

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