What time is it? Time to bring about awareness of sexual violence and ways we can prevent it. The month of April has been set aside as Sexual Assault Awareness Month in the United States. Rape and sexual assault is one of the most under reported crimes in America. Approximately 68% of sexual assaults are not reported to police and 98% of rapists will never spend a day in jail or prison (rainn.org/statistics). These numbers are very disheartening which is why it is so important to highlight and bring about awareness to this crime.
Our blog posts this month will be geared towards bringing into the conversation many different perspectives. We will hear from men, survivors, friends and family, and many more. However, let’s not stop there. I celebrate each and every survivor of any form of sexual violence. Be it rape, sexual assault, attempted rape, attempted sexual assault, incest, molestation, or whatever you feel comfortable calling it, even if all you call it is “that”. I celebrate you. Whatever you did or didn’t do to survivor was the right thing to do. So many of us beat ourselves up for how we reacted to this violent act. However, you have to let yourself off the hook and give yourself a break. We have to understand that we aren’t as in control of our bodies as we think. Our bodies were designed to take care of themselves. The adrenaline in our body is responsible for how we react and ultimately respond to what is happening to us. We have three options, fight, flight or freeze and we don’t get to choose. So if you fought for dear life, ran, or you froze and somewhat seemed to go along with it, it was what your body and brain felt was what needed to be done to keep you safe.
Today, I’d like to share with you the story of a woman named Rhonda. Back in April of 2007 during my time of individual counseling, I was given this story and I would like to share it with you. Rhonda like so many of us was a victim of sexual abuse at an early age and afterwards felt ashamed, isolated, abandoned, and numb. She was haunted by the memories of what happened to her and quickly began to wear the mask of what everyone wanted her to be. Until the day she decided to unveil the mask and heal. Let me be very clear, every survivor's story is unique and different. However, we all are affected in many ways that we are not even aware of. However, as Rhonda's story conveys, we can heal, forgive and thrive as a survivor. By embracing the truth and reality that this did happen, it hurt, and it is forever a part of your life, we discover that it does not have to consume or define you. Click here to read her story.
Let’s talk to each other and encourage those that are still trying to decide if they want to take off the mask. This journey to healing and restoration is not an easy one and it takes a lot of work but it’s worth it. But we also want the world and others to know that you are not alone nor do you have to heal alone. So go ahead, leave a comment (you don’t have to even use your real name) or if you want to talk more privately, click here and leave me a message.