Working as a Rape Crisis Advocate can be frustrating at times. It’s hard to listen to so many heart wrenching stories, before jumping right back into my daily life, pretending like nothing is wrong because confidentiality regulations and basic respect for the people I speak with ensure that I cannot discuss the nature of my calls with anyone. It’s so hard to sit here, day after day, wanting so badly to tell people what I know so that they can be educated about what rape really does to people. Still, I do it, because in this situation my silence is important.
Sometimes I wish there was a way to get rapists, rape apologists, those who make rape jokes… everyone, really, to listen to the stories of survivors so that they could see just how much damage rape can do. If people knew how sexual assault really feels, how it often robs people of their power, makes them feel like strangers to their own bodies, causes nightmares and flashbacks, leaves the survivor feeling alone and powerless, even guilty… if they knew all of that how could they still rape? How could they still make jokes about rape?
I will never share someone else’s story, but what I can do is break my own silence.
I’m a survivor of sexual assault. What happened to me was no where near as traumatizing as what many people go through, but still, it hurt. It took me over a year to stop blaming myself for what happened, and even longer than that before I started to feel safe again. To this day I still get anxious when I am alone with people I don’t know too well, especially men, but I survived. I will never be quite the same person as I was before my assault, but I survived.