This post is about something I want to do for my birthday, but it also contains information on a subject which may be upsetting to some people so I’m doing this first:
TOPIC IN THIS POST IS ABOUT SEXUAL ASSAULT (NO DETAILS) BUT DO NOT CONTINUE TO READ IF IT IS NOT SOMETHING YOU ARE ABLE TO DEAL WITH AT THIS TIME.
In my previous blog post, I wrote about having a lot going on right now which made me feel like I just wasn’t up to engaging much in social media. I kept having people on Twitter berate me for not using my platform to discuss what others were talking about, I was accused of not caring, and told several times by people that they were “disappointed in me” for not sharing my opinion on what others were outraged over. I’ve posted a couple of reasons why I wasn’t engaging in these discussions, one being that my kitchen had to undergo a forced remodel due to massive amounts of black mold that was discovered from a tiny leak in a pipe in the wall behind the cabinets (which my homeowners insurance is refusing to cover. Awesome.) We’re now on week six of repairs and have one more week to go, which has been extremely difficult to deal with considering my dog was also diagnosed with advanced kidney disease the week before all this happened, but we are getting through it. But the main thing that’s been going on for the past three months is I’ve been helping someone very close to me deal with being raped a few years back, and no one knew about it, until now. After spending months talking about this together in person, by text, by phone, and by them having dozens of therapy sessions to deal with it all, this person felt ready to go to the authorities to report it, so we went to the police station together last week and did just that.
I learned a lot in this process, not only about the physical and emotional toll this takes on a victim of sexual assault, but how the legal process works, especially if you don’t have physical proof. There is a lengthy investigation that has to happen, which can take months. When someone sexually assaults another person, they have a history of doing this to other people, and the investigation may potentially lead them to other victims that didn’t come forward out of fear of not being believed. There’s no guarantee that the investigation will secure a conviction of the perpetrator, but reporting it to authorities is always the right thing to do, as scary as it may be, and the officers repeated this several times while we were there. The abuser will not stop with you so just the fact that they have a report on record will help if/when they assault someone else who DOES report them in the future.
The other thing I learned in this process is the emotional toll it took on me. Over these past three months, this person and I have discussed what had happened to them, but I wasn’t prepared for how emotionally devastating it was for me to be in the room and hear every detail of the act itself, and the level of unbearable fear and pain they endured as they were assaulted. Even though this person felt emotionally prepared to report this, sexual assault is something a victim will have to deal with for the rest of their lives. They say time heals all wounds, but some wounds will never truly be forgotten, and to that I say thank god for therapy.
So this is the part where I talk about my birthday.
Birthdays are a celebration of life, and life is worth celebrating, no matter what happens along the way. My view on life is always move forward, take care of you, and help others whenever possible. I have never wanted gifts for my birthday, only time spent with those I love. But this year I am asking for a gift; the gift of supporting RAINN, an organization which offers critical care for sexual assault victims, both physically and emotionally, as well as information regarding safety and prevention, education, warning signs, and public policy on state and federal levels. Every 98 seconds, another person is a victim of sexual assault. I am supporting RAINN to bring awareness to this organization for survivors to know there is hope, and there is definitely help, to get you through this so you can go on to celebrate life, love, and many, many happy birthdays. To quote Maya Angelou, “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”
Here is a link to my donation page if you would like to contribute: https://fundraise.rainn.org/fundraiser/1548379
And yes, I made the amount I am raising $4,900 because I am turning 49 and I am a numbernerd like that. Thank you for the gift of helping others. Together, we can make a difference.