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.”

fuck.

that.

shit.

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.

Comments

  1. Hello, I saw something you wrote on babble, 2 years ago, about your 2 year old (at the time) having bad armpit odor, I was just wondering if you ever found out any solution? I’ve been eating hormone free and trying to keep her dairy free and it’s helped a little, probiotics help a lot but I want to find the culprit, and wonder if you ever did?

    Casey Reply:

    @Jennifer, I haven’t. Limiting dairy to just organic seems to be the only thing that really helps.

  2. You are fierce and magnificent and your words have power to make a difference. It took a long time for me to fight back, find my life again and learn a new normal. I’m glad you’ve got love and support and strong advocates xoxo

  3. And on the flipside…even if you don’t fight back? It’s still not your goddamned fault. Ever.

    I love you and your bravery.

  4. Even though we’ve never met in real life, I’ve followed your blog for so long I feel like we are friends. At least close enough for me to wrap my arms around you and cry with you. You are magnificent – you ARE. In every way and I’m sorry such a horrible thing happened to you. You are loved.

  5. Been there. Done that. Still doing it sometimes. Didn’t get a shirt.

    Love the message of encouragement to let our lives shine.

    Last year I took a self-defense class with Circle City Safety here in Indy. It was helpful and empowering and healing and night-terror triggering. But I did it.

  6. I love that you are getting help and healing. I love that you are your wonderful brave self who is sharing this with the world even though it can’t feel good to do so. You know I see you for who you are – a beautiful, beloved goddess on earth. Nothing could change that.

    Momo Reply:

    @Suebob, Cosigned.

  7. Sending you great big hugs.

  8. I love you so freaking much.

  9. All of the fist bumps through the internet. Your bravery is BA, and I love that your portion of magnificence shines light on the magnificence of others.

    You must be the greatest. Thank you for writing, and please keep doing it as long as you’re able.

  10. Hi..I’ve been a reader since back in the day. I just want you to know, how can we support you. How would you like to be supported? And perhaps, each other. I am a dv survivor and survived sexual assault. When I read this, I thought, thank you. Someone else who thinks, therapy is rough..been there so much these last three years. I go to a dv support group. They got me through…when friends avoid or when family are there kind of..when my ex is still horrible, they are there.
    I wish you much healing. You are brave for sharing your story. Strength to you.

  11. Lots of love to you.

  12. Scott L. Royal says:

    I am a man and when I read “I wish I had fought back” I could relate. On the day I needed to fight back I froze. Not a scream, no movement, no fight. Just frozen. Though I was not raped, physical lines were crossed without my consent and I had not the inner voice or strength to stop or thwart the action. Part of me is still stuck back there in 1978.

    You are heroic to be this far along this quickly and to be speaking about it. It took me over 10 years to talk about it. It was just 4 or 5 years later that I got to feel all those un-felt emotions over a 4 day period of time. Those 4 days were very difficult. I remained sober. I did nothing that would have put me in jail for life. I just felt those feelings for 4 days. And then those feelings subsided.

    Today, I remember it all too often and have other issues as a result. BUT, I am using a wonderful new affirmation that is helping me claim my place here on earth.

    “I am Courageous”

    We must use our experiences as a means to bring about the change so desperately needed in our society. For we are the ones that can bring the light into dark places and help liberate others from the silent isolation that is holding them captive.

    Your courage and blog are a beacon.

    You are courageous.

    Scott