I’m kicking off Sexual Assault Awareness Month a couple days earlier. I’m going to be answering some of the questions I was asked to prepare me for my radio interview last week.
Not everyone was able to listen to the interview so I thought I would post these here.
- How long ago was your sexual assault? 7 years ago this spring
- Who was the person that assaulted you? An acquaintance of mine.
- How long did you know him? I would guess about 3 months
- When did you realize that what happened to you was sexual assault? About 5 years later when I was hit with the semi truck of pain and hurt I had buried down and “forgotten” about.
- Why did it take you so long to realize that? At the time of the assault I was at the lowest point of my depression and after my last suicide attempt failed, I blocked everything out and pushed forward into making a better life for myself. I think the biggest thing is I was assaulted by someone I knew. Sexual assault is horrible regardless but due to my personal experience I think it’s even more horrible because it was someone I trusted.
- Why did you decide to share your story? I’ve gotten to the point where I can own my story and not be afraid and if it can help others, why not? Also, I want to raise awareness that yes, stranger danger is bad, but people are being hurt every day by someone they know and trust. It’s time to shed some light on these dark issues.
- Why share now? Something told me that now is the right time. I practice being fearless and this is a hurdle I must jump over in order to continue to heal. And I want use my voice to reach out to the voice-less and educate those who just don’t realize.
- How did you begin the healing process? I started talking about it in therapy after the semi truck of past pain hit me and I gradually opened up to a few friends and my now husband. I was still in disbelief that I was sexually assaulted. I started on the long journey of acceptance and healing.
- What or who was most helpful? My therapist has been a great support. I’ve have had a few close friends offerer me nothing but good support. Whether listening to me, validating me, or praying with me. Blogging also has really helped me. But, the most freeing and empowering thing was going on the radio and verbally sharing my experiences.
- Do you think the healing process will ever end? I suffer from mental illness issues and I believe with those, that it’s going to be a life-long journey of healthy choices and staying on the right path. I’m a Christian, so I believe a daily walk with Jesus will keep me on the healing track. I think doing that with this journey will be helpful as well.
- How has the healing process changed how you think about yourself? I see myself as a strong, amazing, love-able person. And the fact I’m willing to speak up and try to help others, says a lot. I’m not ashamed and I feel I have a lot to say. I also see myself as a new Creation in Christ, the old has gone, the new has come. For me that brings so much hope and peace. I no longer see myself as “damaged goods” etc.
- What “new” things have you discovered about yourself while going through the healing process? I’ve discovered that the worst things I imagined could happen to me that I could get through. Like, running into my abuser. One day he saw me and tried talking to me. I completely ignored him. Totally not worth my time. And it felt so empowering.
- What is one message you want to communicate to everyone reading this? You aren’t alone. This happens too often. By people we know. It’s not ok. And it’s not your fault.
- How can someone help support a friend or loved one who has experienced sexual abuse or assault? Listen to them, believe them, validate them. Love them.