In this incredibly inspiring story, Tonia describes how poetry helped her survive 4 years of sexual abuse. Tonia begins with a poem that she wrote as a teenager, shares her story, and then closes with a poem written much later in her healing journey. Tonia describes why she shares her story – to help others find the courage to find their voice. She speaks to the power of our community as sexual violence survivors. She writes, “We should feel no shame; this was done to us, not by us. My hope is to reach and inspire others with stories like mine and to let them know that they are not alone. We are all in this together; it is not just my story, it is our story. Together we can make a difference!” Read Tonia’s story here.
In this brave account of the childhood sexual abuse she survived, Kylee shares her story of strength and hope. She shares her story in the hope that others may find inspiration in her words. She wants to let other girls and boys who have survived sexual abuse or who are currently surviving sexual violence know that they are not alone. Thank you Kylee for your courage in telling this story. Read Kylee’s story here.
In this eloquently written discussion of the healing process, Bonita touches on some important points about surviving sexual violence. She discusses the important role we play in our own healing process, that we have to be ready to embark on this journey for it to truly be successful. Her words really hit home with me, and I hope that you will find them inspiring as well.
She writes, “When the desire and willingness is there, the healing process takes on a journey exclusive to the individual. Everyone’s journey is different from everyone else’s and yet there are a few steps that may be similar for everyone. Besides desire and willingness, one of these steps is one of the most important. It may be a large step, a small step, or many of both. This step was very difficult for me. It is to realize that the event that took place was an event. It is not you. It was something that happened to you, but it does not make who you are. You are you, no matter what happens to you in your life. You choose who you are in spite of your surroundings and circumstances.” Read the rest of Bonita’s story here.
Today, we’re featuring a poem by Megan Molargik called “The Love of a Friend”, simply because it reminds us of the healing that can be done through the strength of a community. Join us in recognizing Megan’s strength, as well as the hope and love we find in each other.
In today’s feature, Lynn describes her experiences battling depression after enduring a childhood of sexual abuse. Lynn spotlights the important reality that depression and the desire for suicide are symptoms of sexual violence and not always a “different problem.” Lynn describes the common urge to escape through medicine, self-harm, and drugs in a thoughtful and inspiring story. She also writes about how journal-writing and art helped her to find hope and share this hope with others. Read Lynn’s story here.
In today’s SAAM feature, Michelle uses her story to shed light on an oft ignored sexual assault circumstance: sex workers being raped. For some heinous reason, the validity of this issue is constantly up for debate, and sex workers must work even harder to prove their stories when pursuing prosecution for their attackers. Her story is powerful and heart-wrenching, an eye-opening experience for anyone who doesn’t believe sexual assault can occur when a sex worker is involved. With more stories like these, we can only hope to open the eyes of the ignorant and begin combatting sexual violence towards all people, no matter their occupation. Read Michelle’s story.
Today’s feature is Sarah Ann Henderson, a former contributor to End the Silence Campaign. Sarah has shared several poems on the website that explore her personal journey surviving sexual violence. This is her latest poem, “Outcry,” and she is proud to share it with you.
“My body’s a breathing crime scene
I’ve known no other life
My memories are riddled with trauma
It’s a miracle that I survived
I live in a long-dead war zone
Flinching at threats that aren’t there…”
is after his ChildBride again
But I’m just the Flower girl
Shoot down once more
I’ve got to fly with you
Let me melt rather than become broken
Let me become flames and drops
Let us crash comically
And yes! Let us land so hard
This I can handle.”