I am a survivor of sexual trauma. Saying this, I am absolutely terrified & equally empowered. In all my life’s more difficult experiences, I’ve tried to turn anxiety into action. To give pain a purpose. And now, as a mother to a little girl, it’s not just my own emotional health at stake. It’s hers too.
When a trauma is spoken, it loses its power. Secrets grow in the dark. But out here, they’re a torch. The sisterhood of sexual trauma survivors is huge. The CDC reports that 1 in 5 American women have experienced sexual violence. My heart breaks again every time I hear another name added to the list. And I also feel a palpable charge in the lightning bolt we carry together. With every hard & honest word spoken aloud, shame withers. Courage can begin to coexist with fear. And new life can begin to build on top of loss. I lost a lot of myself for a long time. I lost trust, hope, & relationships. And through the healing, I’ve found the versions of myself that future generations need.
This piece is dedicated to someone who spoke her story to me first. Who bared her soul so mine could be seen too. It’s for all of us who speak our traumas – and our truths – first. Even if yours is never spoken, I see you & I believe you. You are not what happened to you. Your body is a safe place to be. You are still you, first.