This Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week, Disabled Survivors Unite is sharing messages on our blog written by survivors for survivors.
We recognise the importance of people speaking out about sexual violence, and we stand with all those who have told their stories, but we also know the current media coverage is overwhelming for many survivors. Due to how difficult these past few months have been especially, we decided to ask survivors to write messages of support and advice for other survivors who are struggling.
Today we’re sharing messages from Hannah and David.
If you hear or read something upsetting, it’s ok for you to be upset and cry. It’s ok for you to be angry. Equally you might see something which you think should upset you but it doesn’t. That’s ok too, we shouldn’t feel bad about not being upset either. Try to be kind to yourself.
I’m not sure that the hurt and anger will go away completely anytime soon, though it is only 6 months since the incident so I guess it is early days.
These occurrences are now in the news on a daily basis and although this can bring up awful memories for victims, including myself, all this publicity can be looked on as a positive thing. The fact that it is now being so widely reported makes everybody very aware of these things. And this could make it easier for people to be open and to talk about things.
Yes it is absolutely disgusting and distressing that this is so widely spread, but it is only by the publicity and awareness that the way this is dealt with that can bring about change.
My anger and resentment is not only directed at my abuser, but also the limitations of the law and the way it has been dealt with. Maybe something can now change.
I think for me, the biggest breakthrough to my healing was the realisation that it WAS NOT MY FAULT AND I DID NOTHING WRONG!
At first I became very withdrawn and was asked all the time by family and friends “what’s wrong” and “are you okay”. I guess I was too embarrassed and ashamed to say what had happened.
However I realised I had nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about. I have nothing to hide.
As we have all seen recently, once someone speaks out then others will feel able to also speak about their experiences.
I guess that what I am trying to say is that it can all be turned into a positive and that the abuse is now more openly talked about and then and only then, we can bring about change.
I also wrote a letter (without any intention of posting it) to my abuser to say how I felt at the time and how it had affected me. I must admit that on rereading it I was surprised at how angry and upset I was, however this was very therapeutic and may be useful thing for other people to do.