Yesterday, my perpetrator entered a guilty plea. He is now a convicted felon and sex offender for life. I got to face him for the last time. My nerves were killing me but I made it through the day. The courtroom was filled with my supporters who stood by me when the verdict was read. It was a great day, probably one of the best days of my life. I know that so many survivors never get their day in court. Their voices are never heard.
I broke down emotionally about two days prior to court. I finally realized that my healing didn’t depend on him entering a guilty plea or even going to jail. My healing has nothing to do with him, so at that moment I knew this journey didn’t end with the ending of the case. My healing is going to take time. Forgiveness is a process. Finding a voice loud enough to empower the self takes a lifetime. I took the first step the day I decided to tell the truth.
Even prior to my case I’ve always had a heart for victims of sexual assault or victims of domestic violence. I would post stuff on my facebook about rape or domestic violence to bring awareness. I got a call from a family member today giving me a warning about the “type of stuff” I tend to post and that I may regret it one day. I felt my heart break a little because that’s the culture of silence talking and it perpetuates shame.
Let me make this perfectly clear, I have no regrets about telling the truth. I have no regrets about fighting a broken system. I have no regrets about standing up for my rights. I have no regrets about telling my story to anyone willing to listen. The only regret that I have is not choosing to do it sooner. It’s my promise to never stop talking about it. Does it make people uncomfortable, sure. But I guarantee talking about it saves lives. It provides freedom for the individuals trapped in darkness. I know it did for me.
This is my story and I’m not ashamed of it anymore. I’m not afraid to shine the light on dark places. Are you? I’m a Survivor.