Let me preface by saying that no one is obligated to share anything about their lives. Sometimes it is easier to heal if you keep your story private. Also, no one should ever feel guilted into helping others with their testimonies if they do not feel comfortable sharing. This article discusses ramifications for people who have decided they are open to sharing their testimony with others.
When Mckayla Maroney came forward about her sexual abuse from Dr. Larry Nassar, she inspired many other women to share their story. At Dr. Nassar’s trial, there were 105 impact statements read, and over 140 women had claimed he abused them.
If one person had not spoken up, this entire chain reaction would never have been set into motion. The #metoo movement is emblematic of this; everyone is coming together. All of this goes to show people should never be ashamed to share their testimonies because the benefits of sharing outweigh the drawbacks.
The biggest benefit is that people will relate to you. This isn’t a possibility; it is a certainty. When people are impacted on a personal level, everyone’s pain is eased. Both you and the reader will no longer worry about being abnormal. The shared experience will be comforting and empowering because you both know that someone else went through the same circumstance. All it takes is one person to reach out and others will make the connection. This connection helps you both no longer feel alone.
When people no longer feel embarrassed, alone, and outcast, they are more willing to seek help. Maybe someone will be inspired to form a support system among friends and family, or someone will be courageous enough to seek professional help for deep underlying issues.
Regardless of the circumstance, no one will want to be vulnerable if he or she is certain that people will be disgusted with what the person’s needs are. If you know that it is okay to feel the way that you do, then it is easier to process because you can allow yourself to feel the emotions without judging yourself.
Sharing can also directly help people seek help because it can spread helpful information. This can include the available avenues to pursue help in various circumstances, effective coping strategies that the person found to be effective for them, and how to react in tough situations. Reactions could include the appropriate support line or emergency line to call, what you can do while you wait for professional help to arrive, actions to help manage urges, and how to talk to loved ones about issues that they struggle with.
Of course, reading someone’s testimony can never replace professional help; testimonies should be used to guide people to take the next step in their personal healing. The best part about sharing is that one person can inspire more people to share and start the cycle over again.
As amazing as all the benefits are, there are drawbacks. The biggest one is exposing yourself to judgment. However, people are always judging. Escaping it is impossible, so why not benefit yourself and other people while you are being judged. Also, people are probably so involved in how your story relates or doesn’t relate to them that they aren’t focusing on you as a person.
Unfortunately, like Mckayla Maroney, a viral icon who shares a story of abuse is slightly dehumanized. People focus on the story, the social implications, the moral issues, and how it affects them in their daily lives. The icon’s pain isn’t directly mourned because people are egotistical and people often distance themselves from emotions of strangers.
As cynical as it seems, your story will likely be distanced from you as a human, but this can be comforting. People might choose to react to the story instead of reacting to you personally. This proves that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. If you decide you are ready to share your testimony, be encouraged! It will positively benefit more people than you realize.