BEING a survivor of sexual assault leaves us with many scars. There are constant reminders of what we went through. Sexual assaults affects us in many ways; many of us don’t ever realize how until, in some cases, it is too late.
Being sexually assaulted affects how we see ourselves, how we treat ourselves and how much we love ourselves. There is a break in reality and in how we view everything when we get sexually assaulted. Many look in the mirror and can’t marry the image of who they see, how they feel and who they used to be. Sexual assault leaves many survivors feeling separated from everyone, unsure of who they are and how they should proceed.
Many of us who have been sexually assaulted, will say that we picked up and did what we had to, to move on. We convince ourselves that we have dealt with what was done to us. Sitting and reflecting on one’s life will show that we have been more affected than we are willing to admit. Survivors of sexual assault are more inclined to be depressed, to suffer from addiction issues, to suffer with eating disorders, to have intimacy issues, to have self-esteem issues, to be insomniacs, to have control and trust issues, to build up walls that they hope will keep them safe and secure.
When does it get better and what can we do? I’m sure many ask themselves this on a daily basis. It takes time and work. You probably want it all to go away. The road to healing is never easy; you have to face some harsh realities about life, your family, your friends, those you love and trust. It means setting difficult, but necessary boundaries. Our boundaries help us take control and tell those around us what we are willing to accept and what we will not. As survivors we find that we are eager to please and find it hard to disappoint; but doing what is best for you comes first.
Your choices were stripped from you when you were sexually assaulted. Setting your boundaries is a chance to make choices about what you want and don’t want. It gives you a chance to do what you feel is best for you. There is nothing wrong in putting you first, your abuser put his needs above yours. Your family and friends, in certain instances, put their needs above yours. It is your turn to decide what you want. You have nothing to feel guilty about. We are made to feel guilty for a crime committed against us.
I am telling you that you were never guilty and have nothing to be ashamed about. As survivors of sexual assault building back our self-image and esteem takes time. Surround yourself with people who understand and are willing to help you on your journey. Distance yourself from those who blame you or try to silence you. Sexual assault is not the survivors’ fault. I will keep repeating that no one asks to be sexually assaulted. St. Lucia doesn’t offer us many options for support. But we are here to help and listen. Feel free to contact us via phone or email if you want to talk. We need to make the changes; we need to start to change.
For those who have survived and are willing to speak to us and share your stories; feel free to call or email. We want to help, we want to create change. We want to create the supportive environment that is so desperately needed in St. Lucia. The time has come to speak out. You did nothing wrong and having nothing to be ashamed of. Know that you are not alone. Let’s raise our voices and demand what we need regarding how sexual assault is dealt with in St. Lucia.
Remember that sexual assault is something that happened to you, it does not define you. You are a strong, beautiful, intelligent woman/child/man who has suffered a trauma through no fault of your own. Always remember that you are not alone, that you have nothing to be ashamed of. We are taking the baby steps necessary to make it better for all. KNOW YOU HAVE A SAFE SPACE IN PROSAF.
SouyenneDathorne, Velika Lawrence
Email: email@example.com – firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook: SURVIVING SEXUAL ABUSE IN THE CARIBBEAN: https://www.facebook.com/pages/PROSAF-Surviving-Sexual-Abuse-in-the-Caribbean/165341356853908
Twitter: @PROSAF_SUEEZZY: https://twitter.com/PROSAF_Sueezzy
Webpage: http://www.prosaf.net (under construction)
Telephone: 1-758-724-9991(sue) 1-758-723-6466 (vel)