“Thank you for sharing your story.”
“You are so brave.”
“You are helping other people by letting them know that they are not alone.”
These are some of the most common statements heard from people who have just listened to a survivor tell their emotional story of sexual abuse or assault. In fact, helping others is a huge reason why survivors decide to open up. However, telling your trauma story can be one of the most effective coping strategies for dealing with trauma related stress and a significant step in the healing process.
With the support of a professional, shaping and sharing your story helps organize memories and feelings into a more manageable and understandable narrative. Plus, the process of creating the story is in itself beneficial. Additionally, listeners provide much needed interaction and support with their willingness to hear what the survivor has to say. Not everyone has to tell their story to a group since everyone’s trauma and situation are different. Some may prefer to say things out loud in a quieter setting, like talking one on one with an ACTS Trauma Counselor or Specialist or in a support group of their peers. Regardless, through various desensitization processes, like repeating your story over and over again, your mind and body get used to the triggers, feelings and sensations so that they no longer create the same involuntary anxiety reaction.
“My rape no longer controls my life.”
“Although I still struggle on days, I know my healing isn’t linear so it’s ok.”
“What happened to me is a part of me but not the total me.”
These are some of the words survivors of sexual assault say as their share the last chapter of their story…out loud.