Five Years After Being Sexually Assaulted, I Choose to Celebrate My Victories

Five years ago was the first time I was sexually assaulted (not counting the two times when I was a kid which didn’t have much of an effect on me). Frankly… I’m indifferent. I thought it would be upsetting to wake up today and remember all I lost when a man decided that his desires were more important than my wellbeing. The entire course of my life changed that day… and again and again as I was sexually assaulted repeatedly by ex boyfriends. But surprisingly, I’m calm.

Another writer said that recovering from sexual assault feels like a full time job. I couldn’t agree more. I fight against tough odds. I often get sick of all of this and wish I didn’t have to deal with it at all. I can’t change what happened to me. All I have control over is how I react. I choose to fight. I want to make sure what happened to me affects me as little as possible.

I could let this become a dark day, but let’s try something different. Why not celebrate how far I’ve come instead? As a survivor of sexual assault, it usually doesn’t feel like there is much to be thankful for. Those experiences should’ve never happened, and they will affect me for the rest of my life. However, I do try to look at the bright side. It makes life a lot easier. That’s a tall order in this case, but I think it’s time to redirect my focus again. Without further ado, here are the things I am thankful for regarding my experiences with sexual assault:

  1. I was never raped — or even anything close to it.
  2. It could’ve been worse.
  3. The sexual assaults I experienced as a kid didn’t affect me much.
  4. Two of the six people of sexually assaulted me learned from it.
  5. I only once blamed myself for what happened to me… and I soon realized that it obviously wasn’t my fault.
  6. I have symptoms of PTSD, but they are not bad enough for a diagnosis.
  7. My therapist says I have Post Traumatic Growth.
  8. I was able to go to a college where I could get free counseling.
  9. My college is full of passionate, dedicated sexual assault activists who are doing amazing work.
  10. I contributed to the activism at my college by raising awareness, teaching people about consent and supporting survivors.
  11. I had many opportunities to share my story at activist events.
  12. My triggers are getting less severe with time and I am learning to cope with them.
  13. Online feminist communities have helped me better understand what I’m going through.
  14. I am not at risk of using alcohol to numb the pain because it actually makes triggers way worse.
  15. Most of the people I’ve told have been very supportive.
  16. My boyfriend helps me through my recovery and is very understanding of my needs.
  17. My boyfriend inspired me to be more open with people which led to developing a support system. I don’t utilize it often, but it’s wonderful to know that I don’t have to go through this alone.
  18. I have the mental stamina to slowly but surely power through my recovery.

Thank you for reading this post. You can find my backstory here.

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