“...hello, are you still here.
...hello, say something.”
I have reached the end of my tail. Im broken.
This time it's different from the others. This time I can feel it in the depth of my soul. All I could do was listen to her story, but deep inside I wanted to shout or scream, anything to take the pain away….
So she continued to tell her story
“When I was 10 years old my mother met a man. I immediately thought of him as a father figure.
I remember looking up at the ceiling, and I remember feeling like I was dead,” she said.
“I felt dissociation for the first time: I almost felt like I was not in my own body. I was looking at the ceiling, which was also out of focus, thinking that’s all that’ll help me for the next few minutes as this guy is on top of me f and making so much noise. I was just frozen like, OK, do what you want to me, it’s OK, thinking that if he falls asleep, at least I can escape.
"I didn't know what was happening and I mean that, now I do, but at the age of 10 those things aren’t programmed into our brains. We don’t learn in that in school what sexual assault or rape is.”
" I never said a word to anyone about it ever again until I was 15 and for a long time I thought I was not worthy of being saved. I thought I deserved it."
“…hello, you still there? Please, say something…” she asked.
I’m listening please continue…
“The sense of “we” and “us” he’d always claim, enabled my self-blame. I often felt, as my mom had taught us: if one of your friends is doing something bad, then you walk away and get out of the situation. You don’t participate. So naturally, in my eyes, since I didn’t walk away, I participated, and therefore I was guilty.
I was uncomfortable and ashamed of what we had done, but I was also too afraid to tell anyone. I felt trapped and guilty. I feared the perceived consequences. The disappointment I’d cause for my role in this behaviour. But even when I’d muster up the courage to tell him, it didn’t matter. “No” was never an option for him.
If getting away from my abusers is all I’m good at, it’s a damn good thing to be good at.”
ShameShame is a natural reaction to being violated or abused. In fact, abuse, by its very nature, is humiliating and dehumanizing. The victim feels invaded and defiled, while simultaneously experiencing the indignity of being helpless and at the mercy of another person.
We, women, are used to being shamed and feeling shame. Women feel shame when they are heckled by men on the street. We feel shame when men make fun of our body or make disparaging remarks about the size of our breasts or behinds.
You are not a woman so you can never understand......
Denial- Being sexually harassed by your boss, family etc... these are what women go through. We tell ourselves to just move on and forget the whole thing.
Depression is one of the major after-effects of sexual harassment or assault. Victims may experience self-doubt, which can lead to self-blame, and the hopelessness of the situation can also lead to depression. When we traced these symptoms back, we discovered that they all began after the sexual harassment incident.
Fear- Fear of the repercussions is a huge obstacle women face when it comes to reporting sexual harassment or assault — fear of losing their job, fear of losing their credibility, fear of being branded a troublemaker, fear of their physical safety.
You are no match to a sexual predator. He/she has perfected their skills for many years….its a catch 22 and you were never supposed to win.
What can friends and family members do to support survivors of sexual abuse?
It is terribly distressing for families and friends to see someone they love and care about in pain and suffering. It can make families feel completely helpless not knowing what to do or say. Giving your support and being there for your loved one is a help to the person who has been raped or sexually abused. If they want to talk then knowing you are there for them will be a comfort.
· If the survivor seeks medical attention or plans to report, offer to be there. Your presence can offer the support they need.
· Be patient. Remember, there is no timetable for recovering from trauma. Avoid putting pressure on them to engage in activities they aren’t ready to do yet.
To those reading this who have endured abuse, you’re not alone and we are sorry for your experience. You didn’t deserve it.