As a survivor, I understrand first hand how it feels to not be believed.
I was in kindergarten the first time I spoke up about my abuse; I told a teacher at my school. Both my father and grandmother went to the school, met with officials, and assured them I simply had an active and vivid imagination.
A few years later I spoke up again, this time, in confidence to my dad. All he did was tell my abuser I was talking, to which there were consequences that I suffered.
Again, at 14 I once again spoke about my abuse; finally, I was thousands of miles away from my abuser and those who had protected him.
This time police and counselors became involved, a trial ensued, facing the rest of his life in jail my grandfather shot himself in the head, and half of my family stopped speaking to me, my father included.
That was in 1995.
I was 15.
I didn’t speak up again (minus occasional deep and vulnerable conversation with my closest friends) until January of 2017.
I share this to make one simple point.
Just because YOU are hearing of someone’s abuse for the first time, does not mean it is the first time that survivor has spoken up, tried to speak up, or sought help.
You have no idea what kind of shame, guilt, self-blame, embarrassment, anxiety, and pain is keeping a survivor’s lips sealed. You have no idea the grooming and conditioning that was endured to ensure silence.
You have no idea the strength and the courage it takes to speak out so publicly.
We live in a day and age where information (accurate or not) is readily available at our fingertips, everything is in real-time, people think their opinions make them experts, and EVERYTHING is made political.
Sexual abuse is not political.
Sexual abuse doesn’t discriminate, it doesn’t pick sides, it has no political agenda and pays no mind to how you cast a vote.
Sexual abuse is a thief. It takes away its victim’s sense of self, it takes away their control, it strips them of their confidence, their free will, and their sense of safety.
Sexual abuse changes the way a person views the world and the people in it.
How they recover, and when they choose to speak their truth to the world is their decision and they should be supported, not criticized, judged, or discredited because they took so long to get there.
Trauma affects people differently.
I believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, and as a survivor I stand with her.
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