RCASA Sundays with Case Management: “I don’t just survive, I live”

In Outreach, Sexual Assault Awareness on January 23, 2011 at 8:00 am

Hello all,

As you read in our blog yesterday, we will be starting a new page specifically for survivors of sexual assault.  This page will be an opportunity for survivors to speak about how their experience impacted their lives.  The page will provide survivors the opportunity to showcase things like their literature, art, and poetry.  We want to encourage survivors to send their submissions to survivor@rcasa.org , it will be reviewed by staff  and possibly showcased on the page.  Please complete a release which will be accessible from the page or visit our office to sign one.  Submissions can also be made anonymously.  So today I will pre-feature an entry from one survivor who has graciously submitted her work and her permission for posting… Please pass the word to any one you know that is a survivor…

She writes……

Survivor….What does that word mean for a rape or sexual assault victim?  I remember the first time I heard that I was a survivor.  I tried to pretend it didn’t happen.  I went through the motions at work, but didn’t do a great job.  I would go to my church and pretend that everything was OK. I felt so out of control.  Even though I was holding it together on the outside, my insides were falling apart at the seams.  Can they see? Do they know? Do I look different.  I was afraid of every sound.  I stopped hanging out with my friends. People would ask “are you OK?” I would put a smile on my face and answer a quick “I’m fine”. I felt crazy.  The people I did tell, told me that it would get better with time.  Put it in the past. Move on with you life.  At least your alive.  Yes, I would think to myself, I am alive, but I am not living.  I am afraid to live. To go outside.  I was on my own so I had no choice but to work, but there was no one else around.  I was ashamed, embarrassed that I did not listen to sound advice.  I did survive, I was alive, but inside I was dying.  Slowly dying, and then one day a friend told me about the rape survivor hotline.  She took me to the police station because she knew an officer who dealt with these kinds of cases.  It was a couple of weeks after it happened, but it felt like years, it felt like yesterday.  The officer tried to get me to press charges, but I could not. I didn’t even remember exactly what house it happened at. That is what I told them.  I remember everything. The officer gave me a number to call if I needed to talk to someone.  I called the number. I am not sure what I expected, but they listened.  They calmed down my fears and let me speak. They didn’t judge and the first thing they told me after I finished speaking was “IT WAS NOT YOUR FAULT”.  My body rejected that because it was my fault in my mind.  I chose to walk into that house.  I had sensed something was not right, but I still went in.  I tried to explain to the lady on the phone that same thing, but again she said in a very cmmanding voice, “IT WAS NOT YOUR FAULT”  My heart grabbed onto that.  She asked me if I had wanted him to do the things he did. “I said no”  Did you say no at anytime? ” I did say no, and I struggle, but I couldn’t stop him.  I don’t even know how he was able to get my pants down.  It was like he had 8 arms.    Again, she told me ‘IT WAS NOT YOUR FAULT’  She then asked me other questions that pulled more information out.  I told her about my inability to function the way I used to.  The fact that I was afraid to even go outside.  She got me set up to meet with a group, and I started to go to that.  I met other women who were in same situation as me.  Some experiences were so horrible that I would begin to minimize my experience. The group leader would not let that happen.  Rape is Rape, and no matter the circumstances surrounding it does not change that fact.  It doesn’t matter if you went into a home willingly. If you were at a party drinking, it still doesn’t matter.  The fact that you did not want it to happen, and it was forced upon you makes it rape.  Yes, I am survivor, but I now realize something more than that…. I am a conqueror as well. I know that I would not have made it through without God and my faith in Him.  God has been my rock, and has sent me people to help me through this horrible thing.  Being raped takes away your dignity, it takes away your self-worth.  You feel like less of a human being and more like a piece of discarded tissue.  When I was at my lowest God was with me. He spoke to me and let me know that I was still loved.  I was ashamed because I knew that he had done everything to save me, and I couldn’t except that he still loved me.  How could he love me when I couldn’t even love myself.  I was not just worthless to others, but I was worthless to myself.  He kept calling me, and I ran away.  This is another peice of my puzzle though,  I hope if you are reading this that you take away that fact that ‘IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT”.  If you are raped, it is never your fault.  Also, no matter how it happened, you are a survivor, and you are on your way to being a conqueror.  YOU WILL HAVE TO WORK THROUGH IT, but as you deal you begin to heal.  I love going out with my friends now.  I was able to get married and have children.  I don’t just survive, I live.  God bless you all!  

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