BEYOND MERE SURVIVAL


what helped for me

i will attach information as i have time, and as i come across it in my work and research. however i wanted to share a bit what helped for me, in my own experience with sexual assault.

first of all, it took time. it happened at a time in my life where i had no emotional defenses, no support network or real understanding of what was happening to me. my body reacted in the best way it could: it repressed the memories, and shut down the emotional pain.

as a result i was a very angry child, and i got into  trouble routinely in school and outside of school. my anger kept me alive in a way, but it also almost destroyed me. as i teenager i dealt with the surge of memories and feelings connected with the sexual assaults by learning to live in a way where i did not need anything or anyone, where i was my sole emotional support.

i tried to get away from my family and all that could remind me of the assaults, and fell in love with music. for how cheesy it sounds i found real strengh in the nascent riot grrls movement, even if it was happening one ocean away. i started to read about feminism, and observe around me the societal patterns that excused and perpetrated a culture where rape and sexual assault are condoned, and hidden beyond a curtain of silence and shame.

i got to the point where i knew i had to get away from the memories and the people suurounding the assault, so i moved to the states, thousand of miles away from where i was born. i am not suggesting that moving is the answer. personally, it helped me feel safer, and to look at the messy pain i was carring around for the first time.

in a way it was vital for me to finally let the enormity of the sexual assault experience come out. on the other hand, at the age of 17, i was not able to deal with the past by myself, and i freaked out. this was the period of my life where i did the most drugs, drank the most, and made the most self-destructive decisions. i was assaulted again.

that was 9 years ago. since then i made the deliberate effort to ask for help, and to start loving myself instead of harboring all the anger and hate i had for my assaulters. i still hate them, i still am angry, but i learned to not let that hate and anger hurt me.

what helped the most was being patient with myself, become my own advocate and let people know when they are doing something that makes me uncomfortable. i also learned to be surrounded by people that are supportive, and let me be in pain when i need to be, without expecting some miracle cure, or without expecting to save me or make it all better.

it also helped me to learn about sexual assault, to listen to other people that share that experience and become their advocate and ally. it helped to work with other survivors to create a world where there is no sexual assault.

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1 Comment so far
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Hi there,

Thank you for sharing your perspectives on being a woman. A big reason why sexual assault and domestic assault happens in such epidemic proportions is due to women and girls being 2nd class citizens under the US Constitution. These crimes and more are the faces of sex discrimination that have not been eradicated because our government continues to pigeonhole men and women into gender boxes instead of celebrate our commonality as human beings. Please join FB United For Equality to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment by 2015.

Comment by Callie




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