Seven Years and Counting…

I walk in and sit down, handing her a stack of forms to be signed. This has become our routine every Friday morning.

“… and what is today’s date?”

“The 19th,” I replied.

As soon as the last syllable had left my lips, I had a sudden chill run down my spine. If today is the 19th, then tomorrow…

It has been another year- another year of panic attacks sparked from the emptiness around me- the question of ‘what if’ lurking in the shadows. Another year of unexplained sadness because it happened. Another year of hatred for men who look at me a certain way, more so when they call out at me.

In recent months, there has been an influx of attention in the regularity of sexual assault and the people it has affected, and yes, I shutter every time I see, hear, or read someone say Me Too. I’m empathetic to these survivors; these victims; these men and women from all over, but I couldn’t let my voice be heard. Not once was I able to say #MeToo. I was afraid that the world would then know my secret. I was afraid that I would be judged. And worse yet, I felt as if my trauma was worse than every one else’s, so why bother identifying myself with them?

People would ascribe to the #MeToo community based on a myriad of experiences. From catcalls on the street, to being unwantedly touched momentarily. From a drunken liaison that turned a bit rough, to an unconscious encounter that was hardly remembered. I understand that abuse is abuse, no matter the form, but I couldn’t associate myself with a girl who had an inappropriate comment hurled at her from a questionable man to my experience of being blackmailed into preforming sexual favors. It’s just not the same. Nor is it fair to compare an unwanted fondling from some stranger to my experience of having a knife held to my throat and being told my time was up if I didn’t cooperate.

I hate myself for thinking this way; that somehow my pain is more relevant than someone else’s- that my memories are more difficult to let go of. Comparing my trauma to another’s is in no way intentional. In fact, it comes from a place of fear; the same place that gives me the urge to take mental notes of my surroundings at all times and to be prepared for the worst. The same place that tells me I’m less of a woman because my virginity was stolen from me. The same place that dreads the day when my abuser is released from prison. They’re instantaneous, uncontrollable thoughts that get put on a loop in my mind spurred by the slightest of occurrences. You’re not good enough… You’re worthless… You got what you deserved…

This time last year, I made a similar post, recounting my haunting memories from my experience. I struggled through that day with a panic attack and crying intermittently. Will tomorrow be any better? Will I have the strength to think about what happened and move on without a single tear? I’m not sure. I am sure that being a survivor does not and will not define me. Nor does it make me more or less than anyone else.

So one hashtag, two little words, a million stories of pain, and now, a million and one- #MeToo. I say it out of solidarity, out of empathy, and out of love for those who have experienced abuse of any magnitude. #IBelieveYou.

17 thoughts on “Seven Years and Counting…

  1. You are so brave to sit with all the discomfort and pain, to share your story, and release the burdens that aren’t yours to carry. I am so sorry for your pain, for the anxiety, flashbacks and exhaustion from hyper-vigilance, I understand your struggle all to well. Sending you peace as you work towards recovery. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Well done. No woman’s pain needs to be compared or judged against anyone else’s; you were violated, and that’s one woman too many. #TIMESUP. You are part of an incredible turning of the tide, and every day that you survive and even thrive is a win for all of us. We need you and your visibility and strength! I send love and peace from Australia, G xOO

    Liked by 1 person

  3. If you have read much of my blog you know I am above all honest, true to others and true to myself. Often opinionated, sometimes not deploying a filter when I should…I am guess this might be one of the times I should deploy my filter or walk away without commenting and I totally understand and respect if you choose to delete or edit my comment because it is after all YOUR blog and your choice but I will say my comments and hopefully some of it may reach you.
    Firstly let me say your blog title concerned me…the “and counting” part. I am not a therapist, I don’t profess that I know how to help you. All I can draw upon is my own experiences, worst than yours? better than yours? who is to say!! but totally irrelevant because they were mine and they had an effect on my life. An extremely dramatic causal effect, my experiences and my reactions to my experiences led me to make poor decisions which led to more traumatic experiences and ultimately continued for over 30 years after my first experience with sexual abuse I was a survivor but also still a victim and a product of the abuse. We all heal in our own time, for some it takes longer but ultimately the choice becomes yours on if you allow your experiences to have power over you. My belief..for what it is worth is that while you are still counting down the days from when your experience changed your life you are still giving it power. You have it within you to take away it’s power, I know you can do it. I know you are strong, because you survived but you need to do more than be a survivor you need to take back control, no longer allow your experiences to have any power over you, your feelings, your choices. I know you are probably thinking I am talking shit and have no clue about what I am talking about and you have the right to feel that way… If you want to know where I am coming from check out the “about me” section of my blog..My experiences no longer have ANY power, I am no longer a product of the abuse I experienced, it no longer defines me. I have all of the control and all of the power. Getting to that point was life changing for me…And all it took was ME taking back the power!! Take away the power!! Stop counting the days from your experiences…start counting the days of your future where YOU have the power!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope to one day reach that point in my life, but the memories are still so raw for me. This ‘counting’ method that I refer to is more about the number of years since the culmination of my abuse that I have struggled through. Every year on the ‘anniversary’ date has been a struggle for me, but I hope that in the future, it won’t be; I hope to be able to not think about the meaning of that day at all and just live my life, but it hasn’t happened yet. Eventually my counter will be no more.

      Writing these kinds of posts on my blog is my therapy- it’s my cathartic way of letting go of the pain and emotions I still hold on to about my past. Thoughts and feelings are not easily controlable. If that it’s a learned and practiced skill. It sounds like you have mastered this and have been able to move on. I hope that I can get to that point in life sooner rather than later.

      Liked by 1 person

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