Erin Merryn in Learning to survivor:
"After pouring my heart out being so open and honest in my last post I often wonder about others out there who are survivors and how they do it? What have you done in your life to continue to heal your life? How do you cope with your memories? As many know I write to continue to heal. I also speak to large audiences and do not flinch in any sort of anxiety, crowds do not scare me not even when I talk about sexual abuse. Instead they fire me up, empower me to reach those listening, knowing that at least one person in that crowd will walk away a changed person, a voice discovered, a secret to reveal."
What has helped me? Well, crying when I can no longer contain it. Journaling daily and diving into the civil liberties advocacy work I've been doing for 10 years. I find distractions and I try to leave the world a little better than I found it. I can't change the past, but I can change how I react to it.
Like Erin, I chose to break the silence on my own experience. I was publicly shamed by men who felt their manhood was threatened by admitting that a woman could hurt them. I was doubly shamed by women who wanted to make sure that other women were never exposed as predators. In a small amount, that shaming continues today. I no longer feel the need to acknowledge such disgusting and worthless individuals.
I prefer to focus on those people who contact me because they were touched by my story, or have a brother, boyfriend or husband suffering in silence. They are worth my time. They are the reason I speak out and they are the reason I refuse to shut my mouth. The shamers have nothing to offer but hatred, immature behaviour and gender-based stereotypes and bigotries. I have no use for such empty souls.
Nearly 20 years down the road after so much silence and denial, I realize that she hurt me at a level I never comprehended until lately. That hurt will not last forever – at least not at the level it is today. While I will always carry some of this pain around and the healing will be a lifelong project, it will lessen with effort and I will learn to be happy again. I choose to survive and work toward learning how to thrive. I'm not there yet, but I'll get there eventually. In the meantime, if I can help someone else along the way then I'll consider the time well spent.
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