One of the most overwhelming and biggest feelings that come from experiencing Sexual Abuse is feeling as if you don’t have a voice. Often Survivors are encouraged by their abuser not to tell. This weight can become unbearable.
Your Voice Wasn’t Heard.
There is a theory called Poly Vagal theory. This essentially talks about how trust is difficult to have in relationships after you experience abuse, because you tried to reach out to another human being and ask them not to harm you, but they did anyway. Therefore, making it impossible for you to know who you can trust in the future. Often times, abuse happens within a trusted relationship, which causes for you to question how trust worthy your other relationships are and if you can trust people to help you when you need it. Therapy is actually a great way to navigate and re-learn what a trusting relationship might look like. It is a safe and controlled environment which allows you to build trust with another human being (therapist). Healthy relationships that consist of safety can be the best way to restore broken trust that you experienced with another human being.
You Are Too Ashamed to Tell Anyone.
Shame is so commonly felt after Sexual Abuse. You may feel like it was your fault that the abuse happened. You feel like somehow you could have stopped it, kept it from happening. You also may feel shame around sharing that this happened to you. If you tell someone about it, will they believe you? How will they respond? These are all such common questions that many Survivors ask and one of the many reasons why many Survivors never tell. What if you reach out and tell someone and you aren’t believed? You have become vulnerable for nothing and risked A LOT. What if someone tells you that it's your fault that the abuse happened? This would only be validating the words of the perpetrator.
You Don’t Know What Having a Voice Would Look Like.
Silence often feels like the least painful way to deal with what happened. It can often feel overwhelming to think about telling anyone or talking about what happened. You are right, it is overwhelming to talk about what happened and often, it can take you back to the event. However, you have to figure out individually what feels best for you. Maybe you need to tell someone, or maybe you just need to tell someone that it happened, without giving all of the details. Just to know that someone knows and you do not have to carry this burden alone anymore. Having a voice may mean you going to your local police station and reporting to the authorities what happened to you so that you can receive justice for what occurred. This is your choice, you get to have control over what it means to have a voice and how you want your voice to appear.
I want to close with a few statements. The abuse was NOT your fault. The ONLY one that deserves to take all of the load of responsibility is the perpetrator. No matter how you spin the situation, it was NOT your fault.
There are people out there who want to support you and believe you. You DESERVE to be believed. You don’t deserve to bear this pain and sorrow alone. Sexual Abuse has a lasting impact on Survivor’s lives and you deserve to have support. Don’t go through it alone. Some resources for you are:
These resources can provide for you to tell someone if you have never told anyone or to receive support around this difficult topic that you may feel that no one understands.
Take back your voice. You do not have to live in silence anymore. Silence is so debilitating and lonely. The perpetrator does not deserve to get away with doing this terrible act of violence against you.
How can you take your voice back?