I want to start off by telling you how incredible, strong, and brave you are. I want you to know how much I love and care about you even though I may not know you. But most of all, I want you to know that I believe you. As a survivor who was doubted, questioned, and put through hell, I wish I had a person I could relate to, so I write this letter to you from one survivor to another in hopes you know you’re never alone.
I have no doubt that you were sexually assaulted, and I’m so sorry that you have had to experience this type of violence. As a survivor myself, I relate and know that this pain is unbearable at times. Surviving any form of sexual assault is a process of heartbreak, grief, loneliness, and fear, but you got this.
I can only hope that when you share your story and survivorship with others that those people believe you, see you, and hear you.
I want you to know that it’s common for a survivor to face judgment, doubt, and even to be blamed for what happened. These feelings can feel even more painful than your assault. I want you to know though regardless of others’ thoughts and views, I will continue to believe you, always, even if no one else does.
Every experience is so different, but many times a survivor of sexual assault will feel guilt and doubts about their assault. When something so traumatic happens to us, it’s natural for us to try to figure out the reasons why it happened and why to us. We live in a world where as a survivor of sexual assault, we are often asked or told that we did something wrong, and that is why we were violated. Rather it’s what we were wearing, where we lived, how we acted, and so on, but someway, somehow, they will always try to blame us, the victim.
Even years after your assault, you will still question yourself to an extent. This is a sad reality that you will live with forever. As a survivor, I want you to know that I will still be here believing you even if you have doubts, questions, and regrets about why this happened because, sadly, you will. But I’m here to tell you that your voice, your story, and your feelings are real. And they do matter, always.
You need to know that you don’t deserve any of this. You don’t deserve to be assaulted, abused, harassed, gaslighted, scared, and alone. Also, you don’t deserve to be silenced or joked about what you went through. You don’t deserve to be blamed and doubted for your sexual assault. None of this is your fault. No matter your story, someone chose to sexually assault you, and that is on that person only. Once again, no matter how your story unfolds, I want you to know that none of this is your fault. Remind yourself on the hard days how hard you fought to make it to where you are today. You did it; you overcame your worst days.
The emotions you’ll feel at times are unbearable and painful. But it’s good to remember that when you feel those emotions, you are processing your story and the survivor that is in you.
They always say the only way out is through. Healing is a journey, but things do get better. You will wake up one morning and not cry when you look in the mirror. You will smile, you will laugh, you will feel safe alone again, you will grow, you will heal. And you’ll take your life back one day. Your assault will always be a part of you, and you can’t change that. But it’s most important to remember that you are a survivor, and you fought so hard.
From one survivor to another, I want you to remember that you never deserved this. But you do deserve so many beautiful things that life has to offer. You deserve to heal, you deserve to be happy, you deserve to be safe. You deserve to be loved, you deserve support, you deserve to speak, and you deserve justice.
As a survivor, I want you to know I believe you.
Sabrina, A Sexual Assault Survivor
Featured image via Leah Kelley on Pexels