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You see it time and time again. Some woman, any woman, maybe even some woman you may know personally experiences any sort of sexual assault and as soon as she gets the courage to speak out about her experience, she's immediately confronted with opposition instead of support. Sexual assault/abuse comes in many forms (anything from some unwanted groping to being raped) and every form of sexual abuse/assault causes permanent scars. These scars aren't visible. The scars a woman carries with her from sexual abuse have been hidden away, yet under close scrutiny those scars are worn with everything she thinks, she feels and she does. All one needs to do is open their eyes and see the pain.

I totally understand why it takes some women years to be able to speak about their experience. I understand the years of self-hatred and shame they bear. I understand the feeling of knowing how speaking out will open an ugly can of worms devouring maggots and once it's open, it can't ever be closed again. I understand the feeling of knowing how some people will think you have an over active imagine, you just want to cause trouble and of course, some people will do the worst thing possible. They'll pity you and try to keep you in the "victim" box. It's especially damaging to anyone who has managed to move past being a victim to be constantly stuffed back in that cold, dark box by everyone around them.

I understand being reluctant to say anything because once you say anything, a barrage of questions follow. How could something like that happen? Are you sure it happened that way? Why has it taken you so long to say something? Why didn't you just say no? Why don't you remember all the gory details? Being the center of attention is the last thing anyone who has been sexually assaulted wants.

I understand how people question how it's possible to forgive the person who assaulted you. Forgiveness has little to do with  the person who caused you pain. It has more to do with taking back your power and allowing yourself to heal. In order to do that forgiveness is required. That forgiveness includes forgiving yourself for being too weak to stop the assault or for putting yourself in harm's way. How many times do you hear "well, she asked for it?" No one asks to be sexually abused unless they're a masochist. For most, sexual abuse is a horrifying, crippling experience and it takes a lifetime to heal.

Imagine in some cases having someone you know and trust sexually assault you. Imagine not knowing who to tell or how to tell someone because you don't know if anyone will believe you. Imagine feeling conflicted about saying anything because you know if you say anything it will cause pain for the person who assaulted you. Why in hell should that matter? Trust me, it does matter, A twisted sense of loyalty can form to protect the person who assaulted you if you know and love that person, but along with a twisted sense of loyalty a permanent sense of dread forms as well. If someone who's supposed to love you would harm you in that way, then what is the rest of the world going to do to you? What are all those faceless nameless individuals who don't care about you going to do? You feel as long as you protect your abuser, you protect yourself as well.

Being constantly on guard takes its toll on a person. Sometimes the person lets that guard down and says "what the hell!" Some people become promiscuous as a way to deal with their pain. They see having sex as a way of being in control. So the more sex you have, the more control you have. Some people turn to drugs and/or alcohol to numb the pain. In the end, nothing works. The pain stays with you staring you in the face each and every day.

I understand that it's an ugly topic to discuss. People who have been subjected to sexual abuse would like nothing more than to keep that ugliness hidden away, but the longer it's hidden away, it festers and affects how you look at the world. It affects every relationship you have and often times, it prevents you from having a lasting relationship. Many people who go through this experience spend their entire life seeking something they just don't know how to have or where to find it.

* reposted from 9/18/18

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