Shropshire sex attack victim to help others with trauma
A disabled woman who was victim of a sex attack and hit by a car hopes to use her troubled past to help others who have suffered trauma.
Kathryn May, from Ruyton-XI-Towns near Shrewsbury, was just 22 when she was dragged into an alley just yards from her front door by her attacker.
Describing the terrifying ordeal, Kathryn said: "The world as I knew it changed when on my way home from work. I was attacked and my life was threatened just feet from my own front door. I lost my confidence further and I spent years battling with PTSD, anxiety and a lack of self-confidence.
"Going into adulthood, I worked hard on myself, focusing on life’s positives."
Kathryn, now 42, is planning on heading to university to study occupational therapy after completing an access to higher education course at North Shropshire College in Oswestry.
She has had her fair share of troubles in life, including being born with an arm deformity.
"During infant school, I tried the use of a bionic arm but discovered the only purpose it gave me was amusing the boys who just wanted their bottoms pinched by its slow, open and close mechanism," she said.
"It was hot, heavy, a hindrance and so not worth my self-conscious concerns.
"Through my parent’s encouragement, using some insightful tools and adapting, I managed to grow with independence."
And six years ago she suffered a severe back injury when she was knocked off her bike by a car travelling at 40mph.
"I spent a few years slowly recovering physically from this," she explained.
"My belief is that what doesn’t kill you can make you stronger. We only get one life and it would be a shame to waste a journey of possibility and potential on memories and fear."
Kathryn was joined at her graduation by adoptive mother Vivienne Freeman, who along with her husband Eric took in 43 children in seven years at one stage.
She added: "I've had struggles myself and hopefully I can use my experiences to help people.
"The course gave an opportunity to meet people of similar interests and I have some new friendships with people who have also achieved in spite of some very difficult circumstances.
"If someone had told me a year ago that I’d be starting University in September on a path to my chosen profession, I’d have laughed and politely bought them another drink."