For all the survivors out there, here is my message:
Every day is hard. Sometimes you’ll feel guilty, sometimes you’ll feel like it’s your fault, sometimes you’ll feel like no one believes you, sometimes you’ll feel like maybe you made it all up, or that nothing ever really happened. But stay true to yourself. NO ONE KNOWS BUT YOU. I, myself, have even received a few messages on social media sites from people claiming that I made it up, or that nothing ever happened. But I know the truth, and I am not the only one with a story. Now, every case is different and everyone deal with things differently, but there are a few pieces of advice that, I think, apply to any survivor of abuse:
First and foremost: TELL SOMEONE! TELL SOMEONE TELL SOMEONE!!! the statute of limitations laws are different in every state and sometimes, only give victims a short window of time to report the crimes. If you can’t tell someone in your family, or a teacher, or close friend, sometimes it can be easier to share your story with a stranger, like a school counselor or therapist. Cities across the country have community centers that often provide free counseling especially for teens and young adults. Also, hop online and look up sexual abuse hotlines in your area. there are MANY MANY local organizations as well as national whos mission it is to help survivors of abuse. Some places are required to report any abuse to the authorities, and this is a good thing! it SHOULD be reported! not only to protect you, but to protect future victims as well, (cause we all know its NEVER something that happens “just once”)
Next, remember: We survive because we didn’t cause it. The abusers would like us to think we brought this on ourselves, that somehow something we did or something we were caused them to violate us. But it was something THEY did and what THEY are. Their treatment and threats were violence that they committed upon us, things that sicken us and manipulate our emotions years later. No matter what they said or did, we will survive because we know it is not our fault. It doesn’t matter what the feelings were, we didn’t cause this. This lesson was the hardest for me to learn, and may be for you too. I KNOW those feelings of self hatred and shame, and they’re normal! Which is why it’s so sad. Isn’t it strange that if someone shot you for no reason, you’d hate them and blame them, but when someone rapes you, YOU feel like it was your fault?! Its terrible… And sad, and common. Again, why we all need someone to talk to. someone to tell us we’re not alone.
Keep in mind: We use the emotional pain to make us Strong: Our abusers may have thought they broke us, beat us, dominated and manipulated us, but they strengthened us. They may have thought they took advantage of our weakness but the weakness is theirs. Their twisted behavior has left us with deep emotional pain but that pain makes us strong. It strengthens and reinforces our resolve to recapture every part of life they tried to steal. Every time their abuse comes to mind, force it out with happy, pure, thoughts, until your mind is overflowing with joy. Every time you sense an emptiness, fill it with useful, meaningful activity. For me, I found comfort in volunteer work. It made me feel better to know that i was helping others, and for many, in helping others, we also help ourselves.
And last but not least: We survive to help others survive: And this statement never meant so much to me as it does now. We get even stronger when we know there are other victims out there who need our help. We know more than anyone how alone you can feel after being abused, but now, we can be there when someone else needs us. We can become that person who understands and comforts…maybe even saves another from abuse. There may be no greater reason to survive than to help others become abuse survivors in recovery. This has given me purpose in life, motivation, and direction. Rather than dwelling on what happened, i have redirected my attention to helping those who truly need it. Those who haven’t learned the lessons that i have stated on here. Those who just need someone to tell them they are not alone. Together we are stronger. Reach out to someone and never never never feel ashamed to share your story, cause, more times than not, it will only encourage someone else to be strong and share theirs.
My dream is that one day we live in a world where society encourages us to stand up for ourselves and speak out about sexual abuse. Where everyone feel safe to talk about it, where no one fears people not believing them, but we are far far away from this world. Things will only change if you make an effort to change them. So i encourage you all to find that inner strength, and remember YOU ARE NOT A VICTIM!! YOU ARE A SURVIVOR!!!
Peace and Love