Today has been insane. From waking up in an unfamiliar place to now sitting in an unfamiliar place. I started my morning in fairly similar way to many others. I read and wrote poetry. I was interrupted when asked what I was writing about and given a video to watch. It contained both the survivor and perpetrator of a rape. I hardly ever listen to someone admitting to and speaking openly about their crime. This was new. I, too shared videos and after this point came the stories and stories. Abuse from parents. Abuse from partners. Sexual violence from strange and familiar faces. So many stories.
I sat and I listened. I thought about all the times I had avoided listening for fear of being triggered. Now, it is too late. I was triggered, but not only that I am healing so goddamn beautifully that I could listen. So I took it all in. All the times people were dehumanised. The wrong words were used. The times they were dealt with incorrectly. The people and things that make you want to shy away, curl up into a shell and never address any of it. I was faced with someone who hardly had addressed what they had been through to the extent that some things they could not remember. I am always forgetting details. Day by day, it becomes less my story. It becomes detached from me.
I feel so educated now. I had no idea that re-victimisation for sexual violence was fifty percent. That is a high statistic. It explains why I live in fear. I understand for many the thoughts, feelings, the want for revenge or to hide within yourself. I understand not being able to open up, to let anyone in. I understand rushing to undo or running back to an abuser or never going near anyone ever again. I learnt so much today. I learnt that although we may avoid some things or talking about it or even ourselves, maybe we need it. I realised that when I hear about it, yes it still does makes me so sick. It is up there amongst the worst things you could do to a person, worse than death. It is dehumanisation. However, it is so humanising to talk about.
I remembered my best friend not telling me, because it is me. She did not want me to relive or hurt even though she knew I was probably the only person that could get it. I remembered the anger when I found out. It was not about me anymore. I was hurting for her, not me. My heart is growing. It grows for every survivor. For every story told. For everyone who had to go through that pain, my heart is with you.
Today, I remembered how hard it is to find someone to talk to. Not everyone is going to get it. Some people look at you and you know they have no idea of the pain. Others do not know what to say or respond inappropriately. For some you know they would rather not address these issues and for others you think maybe they know but will not talk about it. I will talk. I will always talk. I have all the time in the world for this issue. I can be triggered over and over, because I have learnt it is the way to heal. Ignorance is definitely not bliss. Especially when your body will fight your mind on this.
Something as simple as a touch becomes hard. Forming sentences is no longer easy. I smile at myself when I realise that I do it every day. I now write to survive. I was bought a book today. It is called Can You Read Me?. This is a question I ask of a friend so often after writing. My writing says everything that I am trying to. This book is a training manual for creative writing. It is for child and adult victims of abuse. Abuse covers a lot, but that is what is so great about writing. I will write, probably now for the rest of my life. More importantly, I want to inspire and encourage others to write or talk. For so many, it may never come out as more than tangled poetry or riddles. If it helps you, then that is all that will matter.
I read and I think how beautiful. To see that strength. That bravery. How incredibly beautiful. To know that we are all not alone. To know that we have so much more to live for, because the rape, it will not end you. I know now what I want to do. I thought about it a long time ago. I thought about helping others like me, but I knew I did not have the strength. There were times where I thought I was never going to have the strength. I walked around today, having listened, coped and survived. I walked around and thought, my strength, it has come. It came so much sooner than I thought it would.
I have read so many books, articles and blogs. I have watched informative videos. I will continue to do so. I will feed my brain and soon I will be ready and armed. I know where my heart lies now. Today, I was asked why I do not watch television and can hardly make it through films. I hate the portrayal of so many things. This issue is more serious than so many realise. I cannot see a negative depiction. I do not want to see even actors dehumanised. If I know that the portrayal will address something clearly, I watch it. Many popular television shows do not do this. It is not how they become popular and so I have no time for them. I want to fill my brain with content that can help me and others. I do not want time to be wasted if I cannot even enjoy it.
Today was insane. Insanely beautiful. Insanely progressive. Insanely human. I learnt how fortunate I am. I have safe places. I have what many only dream of. I once imagined a time I would be strong enough to trust, share and meet the right people. I have friends to worry about, talk to and listen to. I am able to pour myself out. So are they. Any time. Any place. Homes, cafes, bookshops. That was my today. There will be many other times and places. I will move again and there will be new faces and new stories. I am here to listen. It may be my purpose. It may be what I am here for and what I survive on, but not only that – what I thrive on.