A fellow survivor was able to tell his story of sexual abuse in front of a crowd recently. I was impressed by the amount of courage and bravery it took for him to tell his story to others, especially since he wasn’t certain how he would be received. In my opinion, regardless of the size of the crowd, every one of us who has spoken about our abuse is incredibly brave.
Don’t get me wrong, but I also feel that as a survivor, the fact that you are alive is also very courageous. Life can be difficult, even for the most skilled and supported people. When we have been sexually abused by an adult when we were children, this adds a tremendous amount of stress, anxiety, and disadvantage for us who have not yet developed the processing pathways to deal with that level of violation.
Now, when a survivor discloses what has happened to them, this can be overwhelming, paralyzing, and life-altering. I would like to encourage anyone who has never shared their story to find a person who is trustworthy, sensitive, and open-minded. The relief that comes with releasing the burden of your secret is worth the risk.
I would also encourage you to find a therapist and a group to work out how to live your life as a survivor. Being able to talk openly about your emotions and feelings is incredibly empowering and affirming. Sharing with others who have experienced the same type of abuse brings a bond like those that are shared between brothers who have been through combat. For me, this was the kind of sharing and companionship that I had desired all my life.
If you are struggling and would like to talk with someone, I would encourage you to reach out. I’d love to hear from you.