As I sit here as a twenty-three-year-old reminiscing about the story I wrote in my grade twelve writer’s craft class, I realized that I was filled with so much hatred and animosity towards my loved ones. Never did I believe that after taking a year off school and attending a therapy session, I would heal from one of my greatest traumas. From the age of six, I had a fond memory of my older female cousin molesting me.
However, after having a conversation with her twelve years later, I realized that she did not do this with any ill will or wanted me to suffer. Instead, she was practicing repetitive behaviour that was taught to her as “normal.” To put it in other words, she, too, was a victim of sexual abuse. I believe that this vicious cycle of generational trauma ends with me. I am here to tell you about my journey of healing and the lessons I have learned on how together we can fight this injustice.
Forgiveness has been key in my healing journey…
but that does not mean that it will be for everyone. It has taught me how to come to terms with my sexual abuse and find different coping mechanisms that don’t impact my other relationships. Once I realized that my cousin was helpless herself and didn’t know any better, I forgave her for the mistake she made. Personally, I continue to have a relationship with her to this very day.
However, I am still working on my journey of forgiving my parents. Coming from a place of understanding rather than blaming has helped me to forgive. Growing up I believed it was their responsibility to protect me from any harm, do something about it. Over the years, I realized the burden no longer laid on them; they were only doing the best they could with what they had and did not know how to deal with the situation. It is a work in progress on learning how to forgive them, slowly and surely I am working on it each and every day.
The power of language has been monumental in shifting my perspective on this situation.
I learned that viewing myself as a survivor of sexual assault is much more empowering than viewing myself as a victim. It helped me get out of my victimhood. It showed me the power is now in my hands; I get to share my story in order to embrace it and then release it. It’s like a kite, rising slowly in the air supported by the wind, but flying fiercely high in the sky once it reached its peak. With the lessons I have learned, I decided to take my story from tragedy to triumph. I am no longer suffering in my stash of silence; instead speaking up gave me a new chance in the lottery of life.