It takes a lot of courage for survivors of domestic violence, sexual abuse, childhood abuse or any type of abuse to share their experiences. Fear and shame keep many victims and survivors from talking about abuse that occurred. Many often carry that secret around for many years or for their lifetime.
For many years fear and shame kept me from talking about abuse that occurred in my past. I was afraid because of the things that happened to me, what I witnessed happen to others and being threatened they would do the same to me.
I was ashamed because I felt so disgusting because of what others did to me. I felt as if I was damaged, worthless and unlovable. I was also afraid of what people would think of me if they knew the things that happened. I later realized I was afraid they would see me in the same way I saw myself.
After a lot of therapy and hard work I began sharing my story and it’s the best thing I could have done; not only for me, but also for victims who don’t have a voice. It has become my mission to be a voice for the voiceless. I’ve become the voice I needed when I was victim.
I started publicly sharing portions of my story a couple years ago and it has been an amazing journey. I’ve been speaking a lot more and now I normally speak a couple times a month at different events. The impact my journey has had on others is truly amazing and I’m told it gives others hope to keep going.
A few months ago I was asked to be part of a survivor panel with two other survivors. I never met them and we didn’t know what this survivor panel would look like or how it would work, but we all agreed to do it. Everything has fallen into place and we already have several opportunities to speak at other events.
Last week we had our first panel event. One of the ladies was coming back from vacation and had flight delays and didn’t make it back to Florida for the event, so it was just two of us on the panel this time. We’ve emailed, texted and had a conference call, but we didn’t actually meet until the event.
Our experiences are very different and journeys have been different, but we survived. Not only did we survive, but we are thriving and together we are sharing the darkest days of our lives to help spread awareness and to be a voice for the voiceless. During our panel session this week there were many emotions by those in the room. They were engaged in what we had to say and they left encouraged to continue helping victims.
Together we have become a louder and stronger voice for victims.
The event closed by watching a music video that was created for Carmel High's Amnesty International Club event I spoke at. The video and song, titled Room 112 were created by The Whiskey Wasps and the lyrics are from a poem I wrote. I have posted the video below.
I’m excited to see what will become of our survivor panel and the events we speak at. I feel honored to be on the panel with these two ladies. I’m looking forward to getting to know them more and building a friendship with them.