Being a survivor of sexual violence does not make you inherently damaged. It’s not to announce to your friends and families, or to gossip about online or in person.
Sure, it’s a trauma, but with proper, professional help, survivors can live and thrive in the world. Hold and honor this story with respect and confidence. Now that I’m married, I don’t have to share my story on romantic dates, but I still meet new friends and colleagues all the time.
I knew I needed a partner with an appropriate level of spiritual depth, emotional intelligence, and empathy to join me on my lifelong journey of being a survivor.In college, one of my big motivations for sharing my story publicly at Take Back the Night was to share it with the entire universe of potential love interests all at once, so I didn’t have to tell it again and again every time I met someone new. Sometimes, the relationship fizzled out before I had a chance to share my story at all.As the years went on, I experimented with many different tactics. On the one hand, I never felt like I wanted to hide my history of sexual violence from dates, just like I wouldn’t hide the death of a parent or a bad car accident.I found ways to start the conversation, and decided how deep I wanted to go based on the response.As a survivor and as a human, I can only be the expert in my own experience.