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Thursday, March 21, 2013

A different approach.



If you know me, you'll know that I talk pretty openly about being raped when I was 14 years old.
I proudly came forward about being a survivor at the inaugural SlutWalk march in 2011, and was honoured to be a marshall for them the following year. Up til then, only a handful of people knew about my attack.
In being open and honest about what happened to me, it has been my hope that perhaps other survivors might feel confident enough to come forward about their attacks and start another leg of the healing journey.

I post several articles on Facebook about victim-blaming and victim-shaming, and every single time I do, I shake my head in disbelief and wonder how I could live in such a questionable society. I just don't understand why it's always the woman's fault for what she is wearing or how she is acting, and so on.

That is why I haven't made any public comment on the Steubenville case. Thousands of people are expressing their opinions and saying pretty much everything I'm feeling and thinking. And it's not that I don't want to share my point of view on the trial and the outcome - which is just as horrific as the rape itself - it's the fact that I'm not adding anything new. Yes, it's the same outrage, but my gut has been telling me to come at this from another point of view. Listening to my gut has pushed me out of my comfort zone many times to tackle something I'd rather run away from, and I'm a better person because of it every time as a result.

So here's my approach: I'm writing a one-woman show to explain how I've gone on living life as a rape survivor. It's been a roller coaster ride of emotions, and difficult times, but there have been a significant number of happy days filled with laughter and pride.

There are numerous people, websites, organizations, etc that are fighting to change the way society and the media portray rape. I hope that things change for the better and that they change soon, but I know it's a surprisingly uphill battle. I'm going to continue to do anything and everything to fight this fight with them all, but there's something in me that is telling me to tell a bit more of my story.

My rape.
My story.
My recovery.
My life.
My conquering of demons.
My laughter.

I didn't think I would live another minute after my attack, but I did.
I want other survivors to know that their life will continue as well, and that there will be times of depression, anger, and pain, but there will also be times filled with friends, hugs, music and dancing.

It's time for me to share this different perspective of rape, and if it can help make others see a different perspective, then maybe it might not be such an uphill battle after all.

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