This story is not about the sexual assault itself but about what happened the day I wrote about it to read out to my counsellor, and the day I read it out to her.
However, first I would like to state that being sexually assaulted is not something cool, trendy, or something to brag about. Sometimes survivors don't tell anybody for many, many years and I was one of these. They can have feelings of shame, guilt, hate, and all the other feelings that any victim has. Today, more so than many years ago, it is more acceptable to reach out for help after sexual assault. This in no wise changes the emotions or the damage done to the victim.
I felt like I had achieved nearly everything I wanted to achieve from my counselling sessions. I had discovered how to feel, how to write and talk about my feelings, how to bounce back when things went wrong, acknowledge all the wrongs that had been done to me removing my guilt and forgiving the offenders, acknowledged my isolation and broken free. I felt like I had all the skills I needed to keep going in life and to keep my life generally in an upward direction.
However, there was one goal I had not achieved. This goal was extremely important to me for without doing it everything else could quite easily unravel at any time. So without any prompting by my counsellor I started to write down the story of my sexual assault which I would read out at my next session.
I started off the document saying what it was about and why I was writing it. I wrote a bit about where it happened and danced all round the subject with insignificant information instead of coming right to the point as I usually do. Yes, I was procrastinating which is rare for me. Although I wanted to do this, it was really, really hard. I made myself a drink, walked around the house, and checked my internet usage - anything and everything so that I did not have to face that horrible memory.
Feelings of shame, embarrassment and anger were welling up inside of me and I felt like a dark cloud was shrouding my head. I knew that this was going to be a huge emotional fight but one that I would eventually win. I continued writing about related stuff but it was not relevant to what I really wanted to do.
A full A4 page of typing later and I finally started to write about what happened. Despite the nearly thirty years that have passed since the event and the lack of use of this memory I still recall the event very well. In two short paragraphs that took up less than a third of an A4 page, it was out. It was now written in black ink on white paper.
There were a couple more paragraphs that I wrote to complete the whole story. When I finished writing the dark cloud started to lift slightly but was still oppressive. I hoped that the feeling would not last long as such a feeling could cause depression. Thankfully the next morning this feeling was gone. I was back to my usual self. Now all I needed to do to complete this project was read it out to my counsellor.
On the morning of my next counselling session I busied myself with work. I was so engrossed in it that I was nearly late for my appointment. As I neared the office I started to feel sick in the stomach from nervousness. I quickly found a toilet and then I hurried to my appointment.
At the appointment we discussed how I had been, what I had done, and new events that needed to be discussed. I then told my counsellor about my decision to stop counselling sessions and my reasons why and read out what I had typed up for that session. It was not easy to read it out loud but it was also not as hard as I thought it would be.
After I finished we discussed how I felt and why I still felt shame and guilt. We discussed my age, circumstances, and what else I could have done which taking all things into consideration was nothing. We also discussed what I would say to someone else in my situation at that age. There would be no condemnation, no harsh words, only sympathy, and loving concern making sure the girl knew without a shadow of a doubt that it was not her fault. He was the perpetrator and he was responsible for his actions which were wrong.
This discussion was very frank and honest on both sides and at the end of it I was glad it was over. I felt more self-assured that I had done all I could to prevent such a thing from occurring, but that this man had taken advantage of me and the situation we were in at that time. Also I became more aware that this man used a lot of manipulation and controlling tactics to get whatever he wanted.
I made sure that if I ever needed help in the future that I could come back and see my counsellor, then said good bye not only to some lovely people, but to regular counselling sessions. From now on I was going apply what I had learnt to my life to make it the best life I could for the rest of my life. This does not mean a bed of roses, but as a teacher once wrote in my autograph book “May there be enough clouds in your life to make a beautiful sunset.”
© S. D. Goeldner, 2013.
© S. D. Goeldner, 2013. Last updated August, 2016.
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