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Free Yourself, When You’re Ready

Experiencing something traumatic such as a sexual assault, can be extremely difficult to express to others. Sure, it would be ideal to speak up immediately, but that seems easier said than done. Sadly, survivors often feel too ashamed and embarrassed to come forward about the horrific events which once occurred. Some want to get their story out but fear judgment from others. Some fear speaking out due to threats given by their attacker. Others prefer not to relive such disgusting acts. Sexual assault victims tend to blame themselves for what happened to them, especially when what they experienced wasn’t provoked. Could it be they were at the right or wrong place at the wrong time? Or maybe even putting entirely too much trust into someone who sadly failed them. Either way, it’s distasteful to experience and even more sickening for one to commit such a violent crime.

April is the month to bring awareness to sexual assault, and there are so many people encouraging survivors to speak up. As I agree with speaking out on an assault, I recommend waiting until you feel the moment is suitable for you. Sure, we all want to see justice served for those who violently attack others, but we also wish for survivors to decide when they want to face the public openly. You have those who victim-blame when the innocent survivor is already doing that to themselves. Imagine coming forward, and on the day of trial, the defense tries everything to accuse you of being the reason you were sexually assaulted. Or accusing you of “taking things the wrong way.” Or what about accusing you of being a liar and “making everything up.” And to top things off, your attacker is sitting in the same room, constantly making eye contact with you. Nobody wants to relive nor endure such a diminishing moment, so they silence themselves. They mute themselves with the hopes of forgetting what happened altogether.

You can not force someone to speak up about a sexual assault. When they feel the time is right, they will come forward. If you have been assaulted, I hope you find the courage to relieve yourself of the troubling and painful memories. Maybe you don’t want to face your attacker in court- make arrangements to speak with a professional specializing in sexual assault cases like a therapist or counselor. Write in a journal how you truly felt before, during, and after the attack. Have you been able to heal? Look into joining support groups in your local community or social media platforms and see how others like yourself have been able to manage. Think of ways to keep yourself safer so it’ll never happen again, or at least the chances of it happening again would be slim. If possible, relocate yourself from where the attack occurred if you’re still there. As I know, PTSD is real, and there’s plenty that could trigger unwanted thoughts. Try your best to forgive, but never forget so that you can move forward. Again, all of this is easier said than done.

Good luck with your healing process; you are not alone.

Much Love Hooters,

-Cherry and the Hoot

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