TW: Sexual Assault
I’ve had this on my mind for a while now and I’ve had several occasions to speak on it but I didn’t think any other platform would be appropriate besides this one. I’m someone that gets emotional when speaking and I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to effectively express myself the way I want to.
If you know my Instagram especially my 2020/2021 era; then you know that as soon as something happens I will jump onto my socials and tell everyone what happened and how I feel about it.
I’m a sharer and at times I over share, and in the heat of the moment or when I’m truly affected by something I tend to say or write just about anything. But overtime I’ve realized that sometimes it’s better to share something when you’ve had time to process it and when you’re ready to. Especially if it’s something that could possibly affect the next person.
So instead of posting videos on my social media platforms I came here to share with my family.
There are many social factors that come into play when it comes to assault and various violent crimes. There are family dynamics, religious beliefs and various demographics like age, gender or race.
And a lot of these factors have worked to take blame away from perpetrators and wrong doers in our communities and placed them onto victims and survivors.
Now I don’t come from a family with a strict background or at least strict enough to make me feel like silence would be the best option. But because of how I had seen people on social media and in real life react to survivors speaking out; I chose what I thought was an easier route – Silence
I’m not going to go into details about my experiences with violent men or explain how, when or who. But I want to go into what I’ve been feeling and going through.
What has crippled me the most over the years was the fact that I didn’t speak out at the time. I knew immediately that what had happened to me, never should’ve happened.
But I was in places I never should’ve been in and my fear was that if I gathered enough courage to seek help, or justice I’d be ridiculed and accused of taking myself into the lions den.
I’ve heard people ask “but where was she going” or “why was she there” and then accused of “wanting it” and this comes back to me taking the decision to just stay quiet.
… i think I wanted to avoid further humiliation
I’m at a point where I can now speak on and express how this has affected me. At an age where I understand that it wasn’t my fault and that there is nothing i did to deserve this.
But as much as I’ve passed the self blame stage, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to say that I have found closure.
I don’t know if you can relate but when someone has done you wrong and it’s never spoken about again or there’s never some kind of acknowledgment of wrong doing from them; you feel cheated.
And when you feel cheated, you can’t get closure. Especially when the wrong doer just gets to move on with their life and you’re stuck in that moment.
Some months ago I was thinking about how I feel less sad about it all, but I think it’s not so much that I’m less sad but more that my anger has become my more dominant emotion.
I’m angry at the fact that this had to be my villain story. Really ?!? The universe or whatever higher power you believe in thought “let’s not give her a childhood stutter, no that’s too easy, let’s completely traumatize her and keep her in a constant cycle of self blame and self doubt”
I’m angry at how many people I’ve avoided getting to know and how many experiences I’ve missed out on because till this day, I can’t trust myself. It comes back to that self doubt issue because at the end of the day I put myself in a situation where I could be manipulated and taken advantage of.
I’m angry at how I’ve let people disrespect me because I’ve felt like nothing. Where my self-love and self-worth has been in the gutter.
I’m angry at how I can’t forgive myself or move on. Because even when I do meet people they tend to sense my pain and this literally chases them away.
There’s someone who at the end of my first year told me we could no longer be mates because she didn’t know how to continue being close to me when she could literally feel my pain and exactly how I felt when she was around me.
Do you know how broken you must be for someone you don’t even talk to about any deep personal feelings to see it ?
I’m not saying all days are bad days. I have my good days and recently I’ve had more good than bad.
Days where I don’t blame myself for the past and days where I’m truly comfortable in my skin. Days where I love myself and when I recognize what kind of treatment I deserve from people.
I’ve stopped linking my past experiences with assault to how much love I deserve. And I’ve had less and less invasive thoughts. I’ve stopped compromising in friendships and romantic relationships.
But my biggest worry right now and one that I’m especially struggling with is how I feel about the impact this has had on me.
Thousands of women, children and men go through some kind of physical assault everyday, so I never want to acknowledge the pain and isolation it’s caused for me because I honestly feel silly that it’s had this much of an impact on me.
I’ve minimized the impact that this has had over me because my ‘experience wasn’t as violent as other survivors’ experiences’. I’ve minimized my trauma because here I am; alive when many weren’t fortunate enough to leave this nightmare with their lives.
I don’t know what sick kind of survivors guilt I have and I think I still have a long way before I can get rid of it.
I’ve reached out to people and I’ve tried to find out if this is something I can some day get over and from the responses I got, it’s clear that it’s different for every person.
I don’t know if you’re reading this and you are struggling with coming to terms with your experience, forgiving yourself, speaking out and getting justice or any physical issues you might still have.
But what I can say is all the people I have spoken to reminded me that what has helped them and what continues to help them is practicing self compassion.
One part being self forgiveness and being as kind to yourself as you would a close family member or friend.
And two; preparing yourself for upsetting memories by recognising your triggers and interestingly enough practicing ways to self soothe when faced with these triggers.
Today was a good day so I was able to put my thoughts down in writing. I’m still a long way from recovery but here I am actually acknowledging my past. This wasn’t a recovery guide per se but I hope this helps you or inspires you.