By request: Trigger warnings for sexual assault and harassment.
It happens in an instant. The moment gets replayed, again and again. You learn to shut off the cycle, to get help to process the anger and embarrassment, to feel safe.
But the bottom line is that it never should have happened. Never. You did not deserve it. You did not cause it to happen.
There are ways to re-glue your brokenness. There are ways to disguise the cracks, the signs of repair. But you will always know they are there. You will forget them for longer and longer periods of time. You will still have a kick in the gut when you remember.
It’s OK. It will be OK.
You tell people you trust. Really trust. It’s hard. And you learn you can trust people to support you.
But then… You tell people you shouldn’t have trusted. And they accuse or shift blame to you. Sometimes, without your permission, they tell other people. And you feel the cracks again. And you grit your teeth and pursue healing. Again.
Sexual assault is real.
Sexual harassment is real.
Sexual microagressions are real.
If you are reading this and have a burden of brokenness too big to carry on your own, please find support, get an ally, or look for help. You are worth it. You are loved. You are lovable always, forever, completely, as you are, as you will be.
There are many pastors, counselors and friends who will stand with you. They will listen. They will believe you. They will provide tissues (when you need them) and a strong shoulder (when you need that, too). I am one of them, or I will try to be. But there are many, many more…
It’s OK to be broken, by the way. It’s OK to have “a history” that makes others sad or uncomfortable. It’s more than OK to not have things all figured out (the “why me” moments are raw and real.) It’s also OK to have that brokenness out there, untended, wild and raw. It’s OK not to have your hurt “fixed” or “held in.” I’m not suggesting that’s your goal. And people will try to shush you. Don’t. Speak up.
One last thing. You do not have to tell your story to everyone who asks. You can simply say #MeToo (full stop).
Please take care of you. You’re the only You we’ve got.
LINKS and HELPS
There are many, MANY links out there. Too many. Here’s four sites that I trust, and I think that you can, too.
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline
- RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network)
- IPV Health (Intimate Partner Violence)
- Dr. Christy Sim – Consulting and Training Domestic Violence