How Sexual Assault and Domestic Abuse Have Changed Me… In a Good Way?

Obviously I don’t mean to say that it’s a good thing that I’ve survived sexual assault and witnessed domestic abuse, but I’ve been thinking lately about how it’s changed me in a good way. I’ve written about how sexual assault has changed me in the past, but here are a few new thought’s I’ve had about the subject:

I will call people out if they gas light me.
Literally last weekend my mom was trying to gas light the heck out of me. Ironic, since she was the victim of domestic abuse for a couple decades and was on the receiving end of gas lighting a few times per week. Anyway, as she tried and failed to gas light me, I said things such as “You’re putting words in my mouth.” “I watched gas lighting a few times a week until the end of high school. Do you really think this is going to work on me?” “I took notes as we were talking about this and you’re still trying to tell me I’m wrong?” I did not back down. Frick, I was so proud of myself. Yes, I hate talking to my mom like that (who is a lovely person 99.9% of the time, I might add), but if a person’s going to try to gas light me, intentionally or not, they’re not getting away with it. I can spot that shit from a mile away.

I have no tolerance for disrespect.
Just like I said previously, I will call people out on it.

I also won’t tolerate more sexual assault.
Last fall I was sexually assaulted yet again. I actually called out the guy and reported him. If I weren’t already a survivor, there’s no way I would’ve been angry enough or confident enough to do either of those things. In the past, I’d usually downplay how much it hurt me.

I’m very careful about how I communicate with my boyfriend.
We don’t disagree often, but when we do, I’m always critical of what I’m saying and how I say it. For example, I never insult him. Once I jokingly called him stupid and felt so awful that I immediately apologized. He wasn’t offended, but I saw my mom get called stupid so many times. I saw what the insults did to her self-confidence. I’d never want to risk doing that to A. And I can’t remember any specific examples, but there have been times when I word things in a mean way during arguments and then I immediately say something along the lines of “Sorry, that wasn’t very nice of me. Let me reword that.”

I’m going to live longer.
I’m more susceptible to PTSD when I drink, so I only drink if my PTSD isn’t already giving me a hard time. Therefore, I drink less and may live a bit longer. So that’s cool, I guess.

I’m better able to support patients with PTSD.
I’m going into the healthcare field and because of my experience, I have a better idea of how to treat trauma survivors. When I see PTSD in their medical history, I ask them if they have any triggers I should know about and what they would like me to do if they get triggered during the appointment. Little things like that can make such a big difference when it comes to making the patient feel comfortable and supported.

I’m better able to support other people like me.
Few people have come to me for support when they’ve experienced sexual assault or domestic abuse, but I’m better able to help them than the average person since I have experience with both. They’ll never hear stupid shit like “What were you wearing?” or “Why didn’t you leave him earlier?” from me. I know better.

I’m in a good position to help non-survivors understand our perspectives better.
When I do talk about my past with non-survivors, they often learn more about both issues. There’s so much stigma and misinformation and I’m glad to do my part in slowly dismantling it.

It’s brought out my strength.
Not to be all conceited, but I do take a step back sometimes to really appreciate how far I’ve come. On my good days, I feel like a real badass.

Thanks for reading this post. You can find my backstory here.

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