Safety in Numbers - #WhenIBecameFree

Why do you believe me when I tell you I've been a victim of sexual assault, multiple times? 
What makes my words credible to you? 
Over the years I've laid out my story on the pages of this blog, and up to my recounting the last attack in August of 2007 where I audio recorded the hour-long attack, I have no proof. 
No proof other than my memories I voice. 
So, why do you believe me? 
Why do you believe I was molested at the age of 5 by a 16 yr old neighbor? Or that a veteran of the Vietnam War, also a neighbor, molested me a number of times? 
Why do you believe that also at the age of 9 I was molested by someone extremely close to my family (not blood-related)? 
Then as a teen the boyfriend of the woman I was babysitting for came home drunk and assaulted me....why do you believe me?

Is it because the only one I ever named was my ex-husband - and because I had the proof in an audio file? 
Is that the only assault you believe happened to me? 
The others I would name if I remembered their last names. One of them I will always keep his name a secret out of protection for someone I love.
Do you believe me?
Is it because these assaults were not committed by someone famous? Someone you may have respected? 
Why do you believe me? 
Do you believe me? 

I am a woman on the verge of celebrating my final year of my 40's. Twenty years ago I could never imagine myself speaking of these assaults- my nightmares. They were my secret I carried deep in my soul, the very ones I allowed to eat away at me. Only a few people knew about them - a couple of close friends and my mother. My mother was the first I ever told. Her reaction sent me further into seclusion when at the age of 14 and after a failed suicide attempt I was told never to speak about it again as it would kill my father to know. She went on to say it was disgusting. I was laying in my bed at the time -Trapper John, MD. was on the television. Do you believe me when I tell you that? 

Do you believe me when I tell you after she walked away I curled up into a fetal position curling up next to and as close as I could get to the cold wall of my bedroom in the basement? 

I can tell you tell you that uttering these truths of mine does not come easy. Healing is not a cakewalk. 
I can also tell you that every time I find the courage to speak of my life, doors open for others to own their's and start voicing their stories...all while  I walk my path of healing. 
It is a domino effect of "me too!" 
Much like when you see on the news of someone reporting a high profile person as an abuser - like priests. "Me too!" starts echoing from the flock they once shepherded and survivors step forward.
Do you believe it when it happens? 

Safety in numbers. 

I can tell you that prior to finding their voice a once victim keeps their truth under lock and key out of shame ...guilt...and fear. That fear can represent many things from fear of losing their life, their home, their job, their family, their standing in the community's the main reason....fear they will not be believed. 

It takes seeing, reading and/or hearing someone else speak out. Watching that person's courage play out or hearing that they were not the predator's only victim. The "me too!" domino effect falls into place.  They find that safety in numbers gives them the strength and once that strength starts taking hold they don't care if they are believed. The only thing that matters is the poison they carried deep within has now found a way out. 

Do you believe me?


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