For me it was a long time before I could start to think about my life again. I was really stuck in the past. There were two people around me who never pushed me to ‘get over it’. They were supportive even when I was pushing them away and acting crazy. If you love someone who has been abused, just be there with them. Let them know that you are there for them no matter what. Even if it doesn’t seem like much, you might be the only lifeline.

It’s impossible for people to know how a single act of violence can change you forever. I had to stop waiting for things to go back to ‘normal’. This is my new normal. I am easily startled, I don’t like to be alone at night, I cry without any reason. These things don’t make me less of a person. I made a big sign and put it on my bedroom wall. It says “you are a human being who feels things deeply - life is change.” It helps!

The rape stopped defining my life when I decided I wanted something new in my life that made me feel like I have a purpose. I quit my meaningless job and went back to school. It has been hard but I feel more optimistic about the future.

I remind myself every day that I am a whole person who has experienced abuse. I created a calendar and filled it with my dreams and goals. I look at it whenever I start to feel broken.

Remember that it happened to you, it’s not you. Think of it as a wound that can be healed. You don’t have to do it all by yourself, reach out and find others who understand. Move forward when you’re ready.

Sexual violence was an act by a perpetrator. Rebel against allowing it to define you or your life. REBEL!

​I didn’t want to see myself as a victim of abuse because I thought it made me weak, or it made the abuse my fault. I thought the problem was that I didn’t want others to see me this way. With help from good friends and a therapist, I have come to understand that it was also me who was judging myself as weak and at fault for what happened. I was sexually abused as a child and I lived in abusive relationship for many years. I made excuses for what was happening to me because I believed deep inside myself that I deserved it. No one ‘deserves’ abuse. I am learning to acknowledge that abuse has happened to me, but being victimized doesn’t define me as a person. I deserve to be loved and respected and that starts with me.