**Tw: sexual assault**
As a childhood sexual assault survivor, I spend a lot of time thinking about how this affects my daily life and how it differs from those who haven’t experienced sexual assault. For a long time, I felt silenced. I couldn’t talk about my experience because I couldn’t let people know who abused me. I couldn’t talk about it without crying, shaking or having a panic attack. It bothered me when people touched me (and still does!). As a survivor of childhood sexual assault, abuse shaped me. I grew up surrounded by trauma. The main problem was that nobody was talking about it. Sexual assault up until around 2012 was something that nobody spoke out about. I felt alone, isolated. I didn’t know this happened to other people. I didn’t know this was a common experience, especially for someone as young as I was when it happened.
Last week, a girl who I work with complained about the #Time’sUp movement, saying that the media shouldn’t focus on assault. The focus, she argued, should be put on people who are overweight and how the media portrays them.
I am tired of people trying to invalidate sexual assault survivors.
If this movement would have happened when I was first abused, I would have felt not as alone. Knowing that other people go through assault, too, makes a difference in terms of healing. It helps survivors feel not as alone and can help them speak out about their assault. All survivors of sexual assault deserve to have their story told. They deserve to be represented. They deserve to be mad and to be apart of a movement aimed to stop the abuse.
Current-day, with all of the sexual assault allegations coming to light, it can be very difficult for survivors. Every day, a new perpetrator is accused. Reading about these occurrences can bring up trauma for survivors (ex: Aziz Ansari, Larry Nassar). Being a survivor and having to see stories like this every day can bring on a lot of emotions — relief that these people are being called out and that they might not hurt anyone else, but also pain because they hit too close to home.
Sexual assault survivors deserve to tell their stories. They deserve to speak up. They deserve to not be silenced, to not be invalidated.
I will not be silenced.