Silence = disempowerment = illness
At age 4, I was strangled, sexually abused and raped, my sense of safety shattered in an instant. Frozen and silent, my only option. I retreated inside myself, internalising my screams and turmoil. Outwardly I appeared a shy, obedient child.
I carried the heavy burden alone for 30+ years. The lifelong impacts of being trapped in silent terror devastated every fibre of my mind, body and soul, showing up in multiple debilitating health conditions.
As an adult, my vulnerability was exploited. I was abused by more perpetrators and subsequently almost died from an eating disorder; a result of a severely shocked nervous system which caused extreme cognitive impairment and disruption to eating and digesting food.
I am beginning to heal and regain my health not only because I’m able to now speak up for that little girl but also because I’ve experienced the safety of being truly heard, believed and supported by those who listened and met me with compassion. This is my wish for every survivor.
Ignoring this global issue does not make it disappear. Nor do attitudes of “leave it in the past, move on, get over it.” If only it were that simple. Survivors don’t choose to suffer endlessly. It was not only our mind but our entire nervous system that lived through the events.
Trauma resides in the memories held within our body. It requires the development of sufficient resources to safely process and resolve the trauma and facilitate integration of the body, mind and emotions. This requires time, patience and safe human connections.
When someone finds the courage to speak their truth about experiences they should never have had to endure, it’s important to give them the empathy they deserve and let their voices be heard. I honour the pain of every survivor, all of whom are brave whether they have the opportunity or circumstances to speak out or not.
Remaining quiet no longer serves me. I’ve returned to the essence of who I really am. The burden is on the perpetrators. Silence perpetuates the cycles of illness and generational trauma and takes lives. Restoring a felt sense of safety and feeling heard encourages healing and growth.