September 15, 2016

Advice from one survivor to the next: be true to who you are.

After being sexually assaulted, I felt I had changed in some way, and you may feel this too. Despite this change, I knew I had to stay true to who I was before it happened. However, being true to myself after the sexual assault was one of the hardest things for me to do. I was more irritable, indecisive and sad, among other things.

My friends were my rocks. They came with me to the hospital, and stood with me every step of the way. Even when I was angry and sad, or when I placed all the blame on them. They didn’t deserve it but they took it. Treat your friends with care because they will stand by you through this time in your life.

Being true to who you are is hard, especially when you don’t feel like you’re in your own body. What helped me be true to myself was to create an environment I was comfortable with.  Seeking support from the SASC helped me see that I was not defined by my sexual assault. I was still me, and needed to be me. I shouldn’t let one person change me. Neither should you. Be true to you.

I made sure I felt the best that I could feel about myself, and I am still trying to do this. My support worker at the SASC suggested I engage in more self-care, and it was the best thing they could have encouraged me to do. Self-care is different for everyone, but I made myself feel better by doing things and going places. This included going shopping, exercising, getting a massage – anything to take my mind off of it and take care of myself.

With practicing self-care and spending time with my friends, I started to feel a little happier day by day. No, it’s not going to work over night, and you will have some bad days. But when you start to see that you can be happy again, be yourself again, you can start to be true to who you are. You haven’t changed permanently. This is just a bump in the road. Be true to who you are and it will help.

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