A YORK woman said the reaction to her book about how she dealt with being raped as a teenager had been “heartwarming”.

Jennifer Potter, 42, reported her experience 20 years after the attack and waived her legal right to anonymity to encourage others to talk to someone about their experience.

Last year she self-published Brave Souls after raising £5,000 through crowd-funding, and donated 100 copies to IDAS, which supported her through the court case which saw her rapist jailed for five years.

He has since been released, and Brave Souls has been expanded, retitled as Stronger, Braver, Wiser, and picked up for wider publication by Trigger Press, who publish books which raise awareness of mental and emotional health. Profits will go to The Shaw Mind Foundation which works to reduce suicide in the UK.

Jennifer said: “It’s been really heart warming to hear from other survivors who’ve reached out after reading the book. Mostly the book seems to be helping people realise that the complexity of what they’re experiencing in their thoughts and feelings are normal, which is of course helping to bring reassurance and some peace in what can be a traumatic time.

“Some people have reached out who are in the middle of a court case to simply share what they’re going through and to not feel so alone. For me it feels like the book is doing exactly what I hoped it would - offering hope to people that they will learn to feel ok and that they can get through the difficulty. In some way I guess it’s giving them a sense that there’s a community of people out there that understand and I think that’s really important.”

Jennifer Potter in 2017, when Brave Souls was first self-published.

Jennifer said the interest shown by Trigger Press was “massively validating”, and her book would be available in the high street for the first time.

She said: “I understand that Waterstones in York will have some physical copies in and I think that’s going to be a real highlight for me, actually seeing a copy of a book I wrote that can help others, in an actual book shop.

"The book is aimed at any person who has experienced sexual trauma and the families and friends that support them. It’s a book I looked for over many years and never found. Although the narrative follows my journey, from the incident to keeping it secret and then finally reporting to the police and ending up in court, its main focus is on helping individuals to recover and heal from such an ordeal.

“I really hope that it will help people find peace and happiness longer than the 20 years it took me."

Jennifer will hold a Q&A at a book launch at York Explore on November 29 from 6.30pm, with stands from IDAS and Soul Space a York support group for survivors. Places, free, should be booked at exploreyork.org.uk/event/jennifer-potter-stronger-braver-wiser

*Anyone affected by sexual assault can contact police on 101, IDAS on 0300 0110110, or Bridge House, York’s sexual assault referral centre, on 0330 2230362 (9am to 5pm) or 0330 223 0099 outside office hours.