Sexual Assault Awareness Month
I rarely share my story.
And when I have I leave out a lot.
But a few weeks ago a friend of mine @veganphotographer asked me to share a bio about my childhood/adolescent life for his thesis. The questions he raised caused some spiral effect in me trying to figure out why I talk about my trauma the way I do.
When I first started volunteering as an advocate six years ago in Orange County, a lot of the narratives centered around sexual assault on college campuses. This was a growing movement at the time, highlighting the ways schools failed to support victims so as I was coming into an age of being somewhat comfortable talking about my own experiences, I realized that mine was not the same as the stories I kept hearing about
The victims/survivors I was supporting and the narrative I heard focused on those who were NOT believed. Who had to defend themselves constantly. And who would most likely never get the justice they deserved cause the legal system sucks. They are survivors who were constantly blamed for what they were wearing, drinking, behaving.
But my story is one I would never have to defend. My abuse was very clearly wrong. And my perpetrator did go to jail for a brief time. Also, there's so much I don't remember (or choose not to remember?) because I was so young during all of it.
I didn't realize until I was writing my bio for my friend that I was minimizing my experience to make space for those who I felt needed to be heard MORE. Every time I volunteered, studied, spoke about assault, rape, gender based violence, I remove myself from the work I'm trying to do. I separate my own story or don't talk about it at all because I don't think people should care about this shit just cause they've been victims. They should care because its the right thing to do
Now I'm living in this city surrounded by people who have reminded me how crucial it is to own our experiences. To reflect, unpack, and not diminish any parts of ourselves for any reason. I have a lot more to do, but what better time than now right?
Written and shared by Jayda