Yeah. I know this is already a thing you may be tired of seeing on your social media feed. I’m tired of seeing it too. I’m tired of knowing that so many of my sisters–AND BROTHERS- out there have been assaulted, abused, harassed. I know that those are now becoming just words, sad words, but just words that you are already glancing over with numbness. I’m tired of needing to feel numb to the pain just to get through another day.
I’m tired of feeling numb! I’m also tired of the endless anxiety, fear, exhaustion, flashbacks and panic attacks that I experience anywhere from once a month to sometimes several times a day.
I’m tired of knowing that somewhere out there my abuser still walks free. Free to hurt other people. Free because, like so many people, I didn’t report him or his crime. I didn’t report it because for so long I didn’t even realize what had happened to me.
I could not even begin to comprehend it all. By the time I knew, understood and wanted justice, it felt too late, too impossible, too crazy a story anyway. Who would believe me? Who would listen and understand? and Why would they?
I’m sick of being silent about it so I won’t upset someone with my story. I don’t want to cause anyone to feel what I feel when triggered. But I do want to shake all of us out this numb state so that something can be done to help all of us, to stop the violence committed by the bigger, stronger, more powerful, more affluent on the weaker, more timid, fearful, poor, ordinary women and children in our lives.
I’m sick of walking on eggshells for the comfort of polite society. I HURT.
All my sisters -and brothers- HURT. EVERY. DAY.
I have worked hard every day for the past 30 years or so to conquer my panic, anxiety, and fear. There have been successes and failures. Good days and bad. It will always be with me, no matter how much healing takes place. It hit me in places I didn’t know I had.
I spent several years introducing myself as a rape survivor to almost every new person I met. It was a way to cope, to try to understand myself better. Sure, I had therapy and it helped so much. Therapy, along with my super supportive husband, helped more than anything. Not everyone has that opportunity. Therapy is expensive. And sometimes you just need the validation of having one person hear you, listen and say ‘I believe you and I love you.’
I also created art to deal with my pain. This art remains in a closet because it’s raw and visceral and painful to see. I’m never sure if it’s ok to show to people. I no longer tell my story at all, unless it seems like something a given person might want to know. I hate to bother people with it. It’s ugly and painful. I don’t want to be judged for any part of it.
I’m tired of hiding my story and my art. We need to stop hiding, stop judging victims. There are women hiding their pain, afraid to share their own ‘me too’ because they may be in danger even now or they may simply be afraid of being judged. ‘Why did you stay?’ is a question I hear over and over. Domestic violence was also a thing in my life.
Rape and domestic violence go hand in hand for many.
If we, the ones who got out, stop hiding and judging, the world becomes a safer place for women -and men- to ask for help. No, you don’t have to absorb someone’s pain if you cannot handle it. Just be there. Standing up. Saying “me too”. This alone is powerful and will give courage to someone else.
If you are hiding your pain, your story, afraid to say ‘me too’ out loud, then say it softly. Whisper it. Tell someone you trust. Ask for help. Ask someone to just listen if that’s all you need.
Tell me your story. I’ll believe you and I’ll even cry with you. I’ll tell you my story if you ask. I’ll keep it to myself if it hurts you too much to hear it. But I will not keep quiet the fact that it happened. That I did not deserve it. That it’s ok to feel what I feel now. and That it’s NOT ok that someone hurt you, me or anyone else.
I’m here. living. loving. hurting and healing. and listening. I love you.