“You’re not alone.” This is such a cliche saying but if you are surviving sexual assault (Lets face it- this is undoubtedly the most painful experience you will hopefully ever have to live through) You need these words. You need to know them and embrace them with a sense of wholeheartedness. I know because this is my story. I need to know everyday that I’m not alone. Here are the numbers:
1 in 3 American women will be sexually abused during their lifetime. (George Mason University, Worldwide Sexual Assault Statistics, 2005)
1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men will be sexually assaulted before the age of 18. (Finkelhor et al., 1990)
In 2002 247,730 people were raped/sexually assaulted in the US, according to a National Crime Victimization Survey (www.ncvc.org
In 2002, 54% of rapes and sexual assaults were reported to the police (www.ncvc.org
Every 2 minutes someone somewhere in America is sexually violated (www.rainn.org
I know that my story is not unique and I don’t stand alone. I’m not afraid to share my story. I should say, I’m not ashamed anymore. Yes, I still struggle, a lot. But I refuse to be silent. My only hope is that if you are a survivor reading this that it might encourage you to speak out. My rape occurred in July of last year.
I am a white, middle class, well educated, female. This may not be self evident due to my poor grammar but trust me… I hold a Masters Degree in Psychology. Does this break any preconceived notions about victims? It can happen to anyone. I wasn’t at a party drinking (although even if I was… It still wouldn’t be my fault.) Victim Blaming is NEVER the answer. I was at a Bible study, where I was drugged. My perpetrator has no criminal history. He is an all around good Christian guy with a good heart. Yeah right. Give me a break. Does this break any of your preconceived notions about perpetrators?
A huge part of myself died that day in July. I was diagnosed with PTSD and suffer from bouts of extreme depression. I was violated in the deepest sense of the word so this reaction is not uncommon. If you are suffering, I need you to know that this reaction is normal and its OK to seek help. There is no shame in it. Counseling has become a normal part of my life. It helps me to balance my negative thoughts and to see that the light at the end of the tunnel is not a train. 🙂
This Blog is to document a painful journey. My story which consists of both the ups and downs. The real story and not the sugar watered down Christianese one. I’m not sure if anyone is ever going to read this but its a comfort to just allow myself to express the pain and often times anger that accompanies assault. I’m in the process of pressing criminal charges. Yes, I completely understand the re-victimization of the justice system. Its horrific. The only thing that gets me through is knowing that I’m not just fighting for myself. I’m fighting for the next woman. I’m fighting for you.
-From the Ashes We Rise