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.
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.”
Our latest feature, a poem entitled “Darling I Tamed Myself For You.”
“The sweetness of your smile softened the edges of my heart
But I never realized your effect until we began to part
And when I saw how little of myself turned out to be true
Darling, I came to realize I tamed myself for you…”
In this moving account, Taylor describes surviving an attempted rape. Her words bring light to the important reality that attempted rape can have many of the same effects on a survivor’s physical, mental, and emotional health as rape. Here is an excerpt from her story. Make sure to read the full account, and check out the other stories, poetry, and art posted on the site.
“My reasoning behind keeping it a secret at the time was that I was afraid no one else would believe me. I had no proof (the cuts and bruises had faded away), there were no witnesses, and it was just my word against his. I only told one person: my best friend. Of course, she believed me, which brought me great comfort. I never told my mother. Even to this day, she does not know because I don’t have the heart to tell her. Above all else, I did not think what he did was as serious as “attempted rape”. I tried to blame myself, and dumb down what happened to make it seem as if it was not a big deal. But it was. It took my best friend, and my therapist, years to convince me it was ruining my life by not addressing its severity.” Read the rest of Taylor’s story.