The first step is to speak out, speak up, speak together in unity with other survivors.
As survivors of sexual abuse we’re good at hiding; hiding feelings, hiding our pasts, hiding what happened to us. But we don’t need to hide any longer. It’s time we stand together, speak out and be heard. We need to rally around one another and find our collective voice as survivors, but this starts with each individual sharing their story. It starts with you! The more voices we have the louder the message will be.
One in 3 women have been sexually abused by the time they reach their 18th birthday. Three times as many women are survivors of sexual abuse than even breast cancer. Where are our pink ribbons, runs’ for recovery, runs for the “cure”? Why aren’t streets blocked off for people cheering us on, our survival, our journey, our courage? Why aren’t we standing together and having 3 day walks, raising money for awareness and treatment? Educating girls and boys, men and women. “Take Back The Night” is on every college campus to speak out against violence against women. Yay for them. But where are we? Where is the rally for Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse?
Only survivors and those who love survivors can make this human rights movement happen. Human beings should have a right to be free of sexual assault. Those of us who have been through it and have recovered, removed the trauma, removed the “secret” are a position to help our little sisters and brothers along the way.
But we remain quieter than any other group of ‘victims’. I believe it’s because sexual abuse is still a taboo topic. Like suicide or mental illness there is still a stigma towards sexual abuse victims. Survivors need to start talking about their experiences, sharing with other survivors to gain strength to help in their healing and to bring awareness to the issue. By talking about the issue of sexual abuse and by educating people, the topic will become more accepted just as issues like AIDS, Addiction & post-traumatic stress have throughout the years.
We NEED to start talking! START GETTING ORGANIZED. Talking about what has happened and what is still happening to our daughters our sisters our brothers. We need to stop being ashamed, stop feeling stigmatized, because it is NOT our fault that this has happened to us There is nothing to be ashamed of or feel guilty for, we did nothing wrong, our perpetrators did.
So why share your story? By doing so you not only help heal yourself but encourage others to share their stories, and heal themselves, creating a kind of domino effect. We need to share our strength and hope and struggles so others know that there is a way to heal and not only heal but to overcome the trauma and flourish in this life.
The healing journey is just that, a journey, typically a long one but an extraordinary one. There will be ups and downs throughout but as with any trek it’s easier with companions, to help hold you up when you’re feeling weak and for you to be able to return the favor to others when you are feeling strong. We do not need to remain victims. We need to come together on this healing path, for support, for encouragement and to know there is a way to move past the pain and darkness so we can come running, full force, into the light of peace, hope and joy once again; the place where we all deserve to be. Come join me and so many others on this journey of healing.
WATCH FOR OUR NEXT POST, “HOW TO REMOVE THE SECRET”