What’s this all about?

As a victim of sexual assault I have had my life turned upside down, my beliefs and hopes decimated and my sense of self devastated. In trying to make sense of what happened to me, I have struggled overwhelmingly with a sense of isolation, fragmentation and dislocation. Despite reporting the assault to the police, despite excellent counselling and support services and despite an extraordinarily patient and supportive family, I have often felt unable to articulate, or be heard on, the devastation and upheaval that sexual assault continues to create for me everyday.

This blog is an attempt to create a public space where the impact of sexual assault can be described and discussed. Tomorrow, 25 November, is International Day For the Elimination of Violence Against Women and kickstarts the 16 Days of Action Against Gendered Violence. Inspired by this global activity to combat violence against women I wanted to see if I could make use of my personal experience of gendered violence to offer a perspective on rape, sexual assault, violence against women and how devastating these crimes are. It is my belief that until we learn to hear victims’ voices and to make space for them in our societies and cultures we will not be able to prevent victimisation from taking place. This is my action to speak up as a victim and to create a space for victims’ voices to be articulated and heard.

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12 Responses to What’s this all about?

  1. c5 says:

    Wow. Just wow. You are very strong and brave person for taking on such a daunting ‘task’. What amazing guts!

    I hope blogging about your experience with sexual assault will bring you healing. But more than that, I know that other people who have experienced violence will find a voice in the dark (so to speak) when they read your blog. So thank you.

    • kliz says:

      thank you. it means so much to hear this feedback. it’s definitely daunting but i really believe it’s useful for all of us, whether we’ve experienced something like this or not, to hear these things. thank you again for your comment, kate

  2. This was a fanastic idea, and a really brave thing to do.

    I too have gone through sexual victimisation, not so much assualt, I was used as a child prostitute, but I can relate to a lot of the unusal after effects of assualt.

    Anyway, I wish you luck in writting this, and I hope that it both helps you in your healing and helps to spread much needed awareness and understanding

  3. Lisa says:

    Firstly Kate, I say thank you, to you too, for writing your heart and soul for others to know how rape affects a real person and understand that ongoing and awful life-long change it makes to you and ultimately everyone in your life.
    I wish you much love in your path to repair your life and yourself. Time is good. Telling this now will help you and many others so you are being brave and wonderful in such a horrible place. I’ll forward the link to friends and family. Keep telling your story, we hear you. xx

  4. Vivian L. Ledford says:

    This is so wonderful and needed desparately for women that have been through this experience. It’s so hard to make sense of it all. It feels as if you’ve forgotten how to be and lost the old “you”. It’s so lonely out there in real life, the feeling of being a freak. Somehow, we need to get the word out there in front of peoples faces so that people who have experienced this violence can feel accepted, because most CAN’T seek out help for themselves. It’s got to be a common knowledge and easily accessible and others that haven’t experienced this need to know they can’t understand but need to be educated and supportive!! We need to bring positive and hope to this dark, negative taboo stigma because it’s real and has to be dealt with. This would help people that have been targets of violence and give them hope and support for “normal” again. It’s like cancer, they didn’t ask for this to happen, it is something that happened to them!!! Thank you soooo much!! Let me know if I could help in anyway!!
    Love,
    Vivian L. Ledford
    aka. VIVA LA LEDFORD:)

  5. AKG says:

    Thank you so much for everything you’ve written so far, and for what you will write. I’m going to share this with my friends who have not been victimized in hopes that they will gain a better understanding of survivor-hood. Everything you’ve written has been something that I wish I could have said in the thick of things but didn’t know how.

  6. jac says:

    Thank you for taking this difficult but deeply important, and meaningful journey. And for sharing it with us. It’s not easy to make sense of sexual assault after it happens, and finding the language to express how to feel, relate and heal is such a powerful thing. Thank you for this.

  7. Thank you Kate. You are inspiring women the world over to begin telling our stories.

  8. Jennifer Radloff says:

    Kate, I have deep admiration for you writing this blog. It must a tough journey. Here in South Africa, violence against women is a pandemic – it is horrific. And it is a dragging sadness to know this but mostly intense anger. So just to say I send you strength and you are making a difference – each action will create some change.

  9. Gillian says:

    I have read all of these entries up to the latest, Day 8, and I am in tears. Everything you have so beautifully articulated, I can relate to.

    I also just want to say, about the idea of trauma as having no time-line….I was raped twice in early 2006, and my ‘self’ did not register it until late 2009. Trauma can take hold at any time, no matter how long after it has been experienced. Sometimes, your mind just isn’t able to deal with it straight away. I don’t know why I’m sharing this; I guess I just feel so inspired and liberated by your blog so far.

    Much love to you.

  10. D C says:

    I am a survivor of years of incest as a tiny little kid. Then later on as an adult in college at RISD and I had to “strongly defend myself” in order to get away. The college did nothing.

    Then I got breast cancer.

    I have to say that rape is worse than breast cancer.

    I also have to say that both will be survived by me. All of it. They are not getting all of me. Not. Gonna. Happen.

    I am still here and able to give and get love and they won’t take my heart!

    Keep going Kate. You are strong and brave. xo

  11. Pingback: A Supportive Space | 16 Impacts of Sexual Assault

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