I just came from two hours of a very emotionally intense sexual assault support group I’ve been attending for the last six weeks and I’ve learned two things:
1. Don’t get raped. Now I realize it’s not a choice, that assault and rape are about taking away the control of another person. But if you find yourself in a situation where you think “Huh, this isn’t what I want…” but either the voices in your head or the voice of your attacker says “You asked for this/this is your fault/you owe this to him/me.”
You imagine me right now, full of impassioned anger with my hands on your shoulders and you FIGHT LIKE HELL. I wish I would have fought. The worst that would have happened is he would have gotten angry and hurt me. But hey, he did hurt me. And he did knock me unconscious — and I’ve been working through a thousand layers of guilt, shame, and blame ever since.
“Don’t get raped” may be the stupidest thing I’ve ever said in my almost 10 years of doing this, but if ONE person reads this and finds themselves in an assault situation I hope they know that fighting is an option. Yes, you may get hurt, but I would hope any physical wounds that may occur would heal faster that the emotional and mental pain of a consent violation crossing over into a sexual assault.
I’d take broken bones and a black eye over what I’ve been through the last couple years.
I may know you, I may not…but I do know this — I don’t want to see the magnificence of any more of you dimmed by the selfishness of another. You are so magnificent in a way that is unique to you, and I hope you believe that that magic only you possess is worth physically fighting for if it ever comes to that.
2. If you have already been hurt, or for whatever reason you aren’t able to fight back if something does happen to you: GET HELP. Cody left work today to drive me to therapy because there was no other way I was going to go. Therapy sucks. Individual, group, all of it. It sucks and I hate it. It hurts and it’s raw and it’s vulnerable and I freak out a little bit every time I have to go.
But I am getting better.
I am so. much. stronger.
I never could have imagined I’d be where I am now with everything in less than 4 months. When I first met with someone they told me there’s no possible way of knowing when things would get better, but if I did my work things would eventually improve.
I saw improvement as an impossibility.
I was convinced my only option was to learn how to cope with this entirely new and uncomfortable life.
If you’re here in Indianapolis the place I’ve been going to is called Prevail, it’s completely free for victims of domestic or sexual abuse and the advocates there have changed my life. I’ll never be able to repay them for the life they’ve helped me reclaim, but someday I will be able to do something. All I can do now is be an example that the work they are doing is working and that it is worth it. To the donors and foundations that keep Prevail free for everyone, thank you.
This post won’t mean much to many of you, but to one of you it may be everything. The thing that keeps you safe, or convinces you to get help.
You’re totally worth it. I promise.