MSP Michelle Thomson has said “too little has changed” since she spoke publicly about being raped at the age of 14.
In 2016, while an MP, Thomson gave a speech in the House of Commons revealing that, 37 years previously, she had been attacked in a wooded area by someone she knew.
She later contacted the police, and Thomson now says the perpetrator was identified and charged but not prosecuted due to the passage of time.
The SNP MSP spoke during a debate on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women at Holyrood on Thursday.
She said: “In 2016, then an MP, I spoke in the House of Commons about being raped at the age of 14.
“Too little has changed.
“In the immediate aftermath I received thousands of cards, letters, and emails.
“Simultaneously, I received extensive abuse on social media, almost always from men.
“After my speech, I made a complaint to Police Scotland.
“The perpetrator was identified and charged but not prosecuted due to the passage of time. It was never reported in the press.
“Making a police report was difficult. I learned why some facets of my adult character were as they were.”
She continued: “When I described my varied career to Police Scotland, they explained to me that my workaholic habits were entirely understandable.
“When someone like me starts running, they keep running. For many women, however, it is into the arms of an abusive partner, drugs, or drink.”
With her voice breaking, she said: “Disclosure was me finally standing my ground.
“I was naked from the inside out and all I had was my small internal voice that whispered, ‘hear me’.”
Thomson was praised for her bravery in speaking out in 2016 and some other MPs were moved to tears by her speech at Westminster.
The Social Justice Secretary, Shona Robison, also spoke in the debate, saying the Government’s Equally Safe strategy for preventing violence against women and girls was to be updated.
She told MSPs that this “refresh” of the strategy would build on its achievements.
“Since we published the delivery plan in November 2017, we have made real progress in delivering the 118 actions it included,” she said.
She continued: “Whilst we have achieved a lot, there remains much work to do. A world without violence is possible.
“I urge all of us to work collaboratively from constituency to committee and across this chamber to do all we can to eradicate it from Scotland.”
Speaking for the Liberal Democrats in the debate, Beatrice Wishart raised the issue of spiking by injection.
She said: “The relatively new phenomenon of needle spiking hit the headlines recently.
“It’s shocking but rather than lessen its impact by giving it the term – almost a jokey phrase – of spiking, let’s call it for what it actually is.
“It’s the intention of a perpetrator to render someone incapable so that they can sexually assault and abuse them.”
Scottish Conservative MSP, Alexander Stewart, spoke about domestic violence, describing the impact his father’s abusive behaviour had on his mother.
He said: “As a three-year-old child I witnessed the devastation, and traumatic impact of violence subjected to my mother by my father, and that has never left me.”