I'm glad I can talk about it. I didn't for years... til one night I barricaded myself in my then-boyfriend's bedroom (no drama with him, it's just where I was when the need overflowed) and wrote about it, longhand, page after page in brutal detail.
And then I stashed that and didn't talk about it for...maybe a year?
But by then people knew it had happened... and people started telling me "It happened to me, too." And I got more and more open about it, because me being open about it meant that people knew they could come to me, that
a) it was safe to talk to me about it, and
b) it was safe to talk about it in general.
And then there was LJ, and me standing up in front of hundreds of people in a virtual sort of way and telling my story, and the ripple effect from that... continues to touch me.
And I'm finally in a position where I can talk about it in person, as part of my local rape crisis center's Survivor Speakers' Bureau. And... there is so much power to that. To standing up in front of 50+ people and saying what happened. And how it felt. And how I have healed and am healing. And then taking half an hour of questions that start general ("Did you tell your parents? How did they feel?") and circle in til there are other people saying, during or, privately, after: "It happened to me, too."
So,loooong story short: I am glad I can talk about it. Because it means you know you're not alone. It's hard and it's awful and it leaves landmines scattered all over your life, but you know you're not alone.
Mine'll be 14 years this June. Sometimes feels like yesterday, sometimes feels like forever ago.
Three more things:
1. I have long since lost count of how many of you have disclosed to me, told me about your rape or sexual assault. But I know I've driven three of you to rape crisis centers. And.I am honored that you trusted me. All of you. I am honored that you knew you could tell me, that you asked me for help, that you knew I would give it.
2. I did a ritual a few years back for survivors of rape and sexual assault; I posted a poll asking people to check the tickybox if they wanted a candle lit for them. There were over 200 candles.
3. It is never easy, doing a speaking engagement. It is always terrifying, breaking myself back open for a room full of strangers. But it is always rewarding. I have yet to come away from a speaking engagement with the feeling that I have not done something tremendously good and right.
Actually, four more things.
Tell me about it. If you want to disclose, disclose. This is a safe space. You are safe and understood here. (Not screening comments, because people can track even comments that are screened. If you want to talk about it non-publicly, you can e-mail me: shadesong AT gmail.com.)
And I'm willing to do that ritual again - to light a candle for each of you, my attempt at alchemy, sending you peace in exchange for that shared pain. But