I knew it was coming, but that hasn't lessened the impact. I knew that I would enter a new phase of some sort on April 19, but that hasn't really helped my understanding of what's going on. I knew that my emotions would fluctuate, but that didn't prepare me for them.
I knew people would reach out to me once I made myself available because it's happened before. While I've never kept being a victim a secret, I only made it public knowledge when I pressed charges 4 years ago. Even then, still within my bubble, as I started to tell my story, friends started telling me theirs. It was humbling to hear "I've never really talked about this before, but I was assaulted..." Facebook friends messaged me, telling me their stories, sharing their pain and frustration, seeking relief from the silence they'd been forced to keep.
And so I've opened a door, no a flood gate. I've received messages from friends, friends of friends, and strangers. I have talked to women and men who have dealt with abuse. I have prayed with moms who are fighting for their child's rights. I have had counselors and sexual assault group leaders make contact with me.
I have a few trauma-friends who get it, who have helped me a great deal. They are raw, real, and have kept me grounded. Daily at least one of them asks "how ARE you." They put that emphasis on the word "ARE" because they know; they know that I will put on my advocate persona in public and protect myself. They have helped me understand my own emotions better. One of them talked about her emotions being "agitated" right now. Yeah. I think that aptly describes it.
One of the women with me Monday is an attorney who was victimized by a client. She has become a staunch advocate for victims, and has asked me to write a blog for her, outlining my court room experience for other victims. I am also preparing for my story to appear in the Southeast Outlook. Both of these tasks seem daunting right now as, like my friend, my emotions are agitated.
I'm still not ready to write a great deal, but I want everyone to know I'm OK. I have scheduled a session with my counselor to debrief the experience. I am going to the court house today to get a copy of the court documents and video. I have not decided if I will watch the video this weekend or not, but I want to have it on hand when I'm ready.
Thank you for your love and support. Thank you for helping victims find their voices.