“Recovering from sexual assault is scary as hell.”
I am a survivor of sexual assault. Although it is painful to share something so personal in a public setting, I feel it is important, and I’m proud of myself for taking this step.
People often ask me: “Do you ever get over something like this?”
And my answer is: “To be absolutely honest, it is always with you. I’m not sure the healing is ever complete. It’s a complicated, and on-going, journey.”
Sometimes I feel I’m back to being my normal self again, and then I’m triggered out of the blue, and I feel I’m a mess again. Thankfully, that happens less frequently now.
One of the worst things for me is not being able to fully enjoy sex myself, or to watch sex in movies etc. Basically, what is normal, and healthy, and fun has become tainted by my experience. Anytime I’m in a sexually-charged situation my mind ‘does a thing’ and I feel like I’m disintegrating and losing touch with reality. I start to get a knot in my stomach, and I start to feel ugly … and terrified … and angry … I’m not sure if that makes sense to you, or not. It’s hard to describe – but you probably get my gist.
I guess what I’m saying is that being sexually assaulted has fundamentally changed who I am. Perhaps, on some level, it’s a wound that never heals.
But there is another side to this. I think I am stronger person today than I was before the sexual assault. It has helped me get in touch with my bravery and courage … and also with my empathy and compassion. I have an amazing heart for other people who have suffered. I’m like a mother bear. I feel angry at how they have been hurt, and damaged … and I want to protect them, and to be there for them, and to walk the journey of healing with them. I want them to know that this wasn’t their fault – just like I’ve learned that it wasn’t my fault. So, all of that is definitely positive!
From my experience I’ve also learned that you need to take your healing at your own pace. Yes, I allow myself to feel my feelings – but I don’t allow myself to get bogged down in them. I’ve learned how to drift in and out of painful times.
And although I recognize that there’s no formula for healing, I also know I won’t be broken forever. I’m going to continue working on myself, and I’m going to continue being there for others.
Life isn’t over after sexual assault – for I’ve shown to myself that I can take back my power.
And you can do, too.
“And here you are living, despite it all.” – Rupi Kaur