My trauma has changed the way I interact with the world.
Loud parties often end up with me hiding in the bathroom or leaving without telling anyone.
I have a huge distrust of men in general. Male professors and I never clicked the way I could with female professors; I have chosen a field where almost all positions of power are held by women; and I can count on one hand how many men I feel I can trust and rely on.
When reading books, if #2’s name appears in the story, I cross it out and sometimes stop reading that book altogether. I have a huge phobia of having to interact with people who share his name, which has affected me at school, at work, and at being a normal social human being.
I often can’t commit to hanging out with my friends or I end up canceling our plans last minute because I don’t like feeling locked in to any decision—even if that plan is something I would genuinely enjoy.
When I get home at night I feel intense relief that I have survived another day.
I’ve tried to describe these thoughts and feelings to my people. Mostly I’ve been unsuccessful. I hear my voice speaking these words out loud, but they don’t do my inner thoughts justice. The words seem foreign and irrational, and my supporters just can’t relate—not really. And I can’t blame them.
Supporters play an essential role in promoting healing, but it is not their job, or in their capacity to really, deep down, “get it.” I don’t know if anyone, anyone who hasn’t experienced sexual violence themselves, can really understand the thoughts and feelings that I described above. But many warriors can.
So, in the moments where warriors are feeling the most misunderstood, it’s time to find another warrior.
If you can’t find one, email me.