This blog post was originally posted on atribecalledqueer.com/blog but was copied to this site due to the personal subject matter.
TRIGGER WARNING - Sexual Assault, Rape, Molestation
I recently watched the new HBO show 'I May Destroy You', which was created by the uber talented Michaela Coel. I waited a while to watch it because I knew I would be highly triggered. I had no idea just how triggered. Since absorbing Michaela's artistry, I've been forced to digest not only what I witnessed but my own personal traumas. While I've done so much healing work on myself with years of therapy, I never truly addressed a lot that has happened to me for fear of judgement and my own shame. But I can't ignore it all anymore. The older I get I realize how deeply my trauma has impacted all of my relationships and my ability to form real bonds with others. I also feel how it has affected my body. Whenever I allow myself to think of things that have happened to me I immediately get really intense heartburn, or muscle spasms, and/or headaches. It's time for me to release this shit. I'm finally ready.
As a child my innocence was taken away from me in one of the cruelest of ways... sexual molestation. As a teenage girl I again experienced sexual abuse, emotional abuse, degradation and exploitation. As an adult, I have been raped, sexually assaulted, drugged, fetishized, manipulated, silenced, used, and gaslit. My heart has been broken, healed, broken and healed again. My body has been violated time and time again. And this trauma has found an interesting a way of manifesting itself in my mind. I've had recurring nightmares, flashbacks, depression, anxiety, suicidal ideations, communication problems, anger, breakdowns, and so much more.
I've spent an exorbitant amount of time thinking about sexual violence and the life long ramifications on the psyche of survivors. I know that I am not alone in the pain I've experienced. Statistics on sexual violence are frightening. This HuffPost article states that "every 98 seconds someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted. That means every single day more than 570 people experience sexual violence in this country." Just thinking about how many people are affected by this makes me want to curl up in a ball and cry. Especially when it comes to children. I can't even begin to imagine how this pandemic has increased the amount of violence (sexual or physical) that folks are experiencing. Despite the emotional upheaval I've experienced in my lifetime, I do find comfort in the fact that the majority of survivors (myself included) can find a way to push through and heal.
There are a plethora of support groups to help survivors. RAINN offers a 24/7 hotline for whoever needs it. Therapy is always the best option for dealing with the long lasting trauma because you can really unwrap and process it all over an extended period of time. Peace Over Violence is another great organization with many resources available to survivors. If you yourself have experience sexual assault, molestation, rape, or any other kind of sexual violence, please know... IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. I am sorry you have experienced such a violation. Do not let shame warp your thoughts. I know it's hard but you can push through, you can still have a wonderful life filled with love, beauty, and joy. You are worthy of that and SO MUCH MORE! It's also ok if it takes you time to come to terms with everything, or to even understand what you experienced. I myself have barely begun to acknowledge, accept, and name out loud some things I've experienced in my childhood. It's all ok. Life itself is a process that requires us to be gentle with ourselves and to forgive ourselves whenever we need to. One of the hardest part is forgiving others, especially those who have caused us deep life long pain. I'm working on that. Because I will not let them destroy me.
In love and light.