(CNN)A British lawmaker moved the House of Commons to tears Thursday with her vivid testimony of being raped at age 14.
“It was mercifully quick and I remember first of all feeling surprise, then fear, then horror as I realized I quite simply couldn’t escape,” Scottish MP Michelle Thomson told colleagues during a parliamentary debate to mark the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
“Afterwards I walked home alone. I was crying, I was cold, and I was shivering and I now realize that was, of course, the shock response. I didn’t tell my mother. I didn’t tell my father. I didn’t tell my friends. And I didn’t tell the police. I bottled it all up inside me.”
Thomson spoke of knowing her rapist, trusting him, and feeling, afterward, a deep sense of shame. “I felt that I was spoiled and impure and I really felt revulsion at myself,” she said.
Thomson said her decision to speak so candidly about her own experience was prompted by a desire to dispel the taboo surrounding stories of rape.
“We women, in our society, have to stand up. … We have to be courageous. We have to call things out and see where things are wrong.
“One thing I realize now is that I’m not scared,” she added. “I’m not a victim. I’m a survivor.”
Visibly moved, Speaker John Bercow thanked Thomson “for what she said and the way in which she said it, which has left an indelible impression upon us all.”
Shortly after, people started posting her speech on social media, praising the Scottish National Party MP for her honest testimony.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon hailed Thompson for her “very moving and incredibly brave” speech. And several MPs voiced their support for Thomson.
MP Tracy Brabin later shared with the House of Commons her own experience of being attacked by a man who attempted to rape her when she was a 20-year-old university student. She told colleagues she slept with a knife afterward, counting herself as “one of the lucky ones.”
Prosecutions for domestic abuse, rape, sexual offense, and child sexual abuse accounted, in 2015-16, for close to 20% of all cases referred to the Crown Prosecution Services, which prosecutes cases in England in Wales.
CPS reports the victims of these type of crimes are disproportionately female.