You are brave.
You got away… you lived through it…and you told other people about it. People who could find justice for you and people who didn’t think this kind of thing really happens. You told your story for the others – the next generation – and you offered hope for the ones who are still trapped. Maybe not by a cage or bound by chains, but held in captivity by fear and self-doubt. You have given hope to others and you have put out a call to action to others who are horrified by all of this who can truly make a difference. There are so many out there who didn’t get your chance to escape…there are many more that still don’t think they can and there are even some out there who don’t think they don’t want to escape. This alone puts you in a category of heroes that doesn’t really exist. People will call you a lot of things – Victim. Survivor. Overcomer. And while all those things are true, they are not who you are. The only one who can truly define you is YOU! And it might take a while before you are able to do that and that’s OK. This whole mess will always be a part of your life but it won’t always be the primary thing on your mind and someday you will sleep through the night in peace. Sometime soon – find something you love doing and do it as often as you can. And don’t forget to BREATHE. Deeply and Often. Find friends – especially women friends – outside of this cocoon of victims’ services and law enforcement – ones that don’t know anything about you – and learn to trust people again on your terms. Set clear and firm boundaries for yourself and if anyone does anything that even comes close to violating those boundaries – cut them out of your life. You can relax the boundaries as you learn to trust yourself and others over time.
You are smart!
There is a light inside of you and it will burn brighter every day. You may doubt your wisdom sometimes but it’s really important that you don’t second guess yourself. Don’t try to figure out what made you vulnerable – find out what made you strong! Of course it’s ok to be vulnerable – it’s what makes us human – but we women can be strong and still be soft. You can trust your instincts. You can trust yourself. And you will learn to trust others worthy of your trust again. Take 15 minutes every day and dedicate it to empowering yourself.
You are important!
You are important as a person, as a woman, as a survivor and as a voice for others. And you have many other “titles” and “labels” that define who you are. Be the best woman you can be and all the other things will fall into place. If you make a mistake, don’t be afraid to admit it and ask for help from someone you trust. Your past is what you did – it’s not who you are! Your FUTURE is great than your past. Your best days are AHEAD of you. Don’t look over your shoulder at your past and worry about it. Keep your toes pointed forward and your eyes on the prize…a life filled with love and joy and peace.