I'm not going to sugarcoat it, it has taken me a long time to be able to reframe situations I have been through. You never forget. You never have to forgive. However, you do have to keep going. It is easy, and often understandable, to drown in the pain.
What I ask of you is to remember life keeps moving along. When you are ready to step out of that darkness, how you respond to your situation is entirely up to you.
I drowned in the pain for a long time. I began to realize that stepping out of my comfort zone may not be easy, but that I could make a difference if I used my voice to share my experiences. I am currently in my second year of pre-medicine studies. I aspire to be a physician's assistant. I learned that after a year on the job, I could become trained to work with sexual assault victims.
As much as I would love to challenge the legal system, I am pursuing medicine. I may never have received justice, but I think that working with survivors as a survivor myself will help instill justice. I want to ensure that patients receive proper care and have access to resources immediately and throughout their next steps.
Empathy is a powerful trait. It is one thing to sympathize and mentally step into someone's shoes. But empathizing is full heartedly feeling the ache due to having experienced something similar. Empathy can be a heavy weight if not put to good use. Many survivors have confided in me, and for once I feel that I will be able to actually help survivors in the future beyond just listening.
I do not think it was just a coincidence that I have been raped twice. The doors that I have opened for myself and other victims by fighting for my Title IX rights amaze me. To see how broken a system may start out as, and the progress a system can make when a survivor speaks up is profound.
To anyone struggling- I promise you that no matter how many times I have wanted to give up, I am so glad I have stuck around. All the pain you may be feeling during this time, that can turn into anything you allow it to in the future.