So I read this incredible article recently, and it got me thinking. I started thinking about the labels we use to describe ourselves. The biggest one being the whole victim/survivor debate. I personally feel like victim has a more negative connotation, so I refer to myself as a survivor. It sounds strong, like I fought to the death to defeat my demons. In a way, I did. I’m here, I’m safe, and after a lot of work, I’m thriving.
One of the hardest things about going public for me was the thought that people wouldn’t see me as me anymore, if that makes sense. I worried that people would pity me, and only see me as a victim. I saw myself like that at first. I remember the day I looked at my Mom and told her that I was just another statistic. It took time before I saw myself as anything else.
Take the time to recognize who we are
I think it’s important to take the time and recognize what else we are, other than survivors. I am a student, a daughter, and older sister, a four-year-old at heart, an activist, and a friend. Sexual abuse survivor is NOT the only label I have. Yes, it makes up who I am but it’s not all that I am.
“None of us survived a traumatic event just so we could spend the rest of our lives defined by that event. We survived it in order to move past the event and on to the other stories that are still out there to be told, whatever they happen to be.” My stories include getting my Psy. D and hopefully raising a family. My stories consist of concerts with friends and writing late into the night. My stories will include as many of my hopes and dreams for the future that I can accomplish. What about you? What else are you, other than a survivor?
This post was originally published on August 27, 2015.