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I’m still here…

Just wanted to put it out there that I am still actively participating in my case. I can’t comment too much on the activity as it is an ongoing court case. 

But I can talk about how it feels knowing that my case is going through the motions for a court case. 

It’s a hard process, lots of reliving every painful moment. I’ve cried a lot, I’ve dwelled on the pain, I’ve pushed it out of my mind for days, weeks on end. 

I’ve retold my story. I’ve driven several hundred miles, taken time off work, cried alone in my car on the way home. Screamed out of utter frustration and fear. 

Having something so raw come back to life after trying to subdue it is probably the strangest feeling I’ve ever experienced. 

I want to be strong, I want to push forward but I don’t want to forget the pain, I don’t want to forget the way this has made me feel. 

I’m trying to learn to self-empower throughout this experience. 

I have affirmation post-it’s on the bathroom mirror, a list of affirmations on my keyboard at work. 

I’m not done fighting this battle and on days when I wonder if the pain and suffering is worth it, I think of every single person who never got this chance. 

You guys are the reason I’m still here, still fighting. I love you all. 

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Why I Marched. 

Today was an important day in the history of the world. People all over turned out to say that Equality is what matters most. 

I marched with my sisters and brothers in support of equality in healthcare coverage, equal pay for equal work, equality for our immigrant communities, equality in love, in marriage, in representation. Equality for LGBTQIA, for minorities, for women. I marched for the preservation of rights and resources for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. 

This day was about invoking my first amendment right. It was about saying “We’re Still Here”. It was about promising to participate in the democratic process for the rest of my life in the interest of fairness, equality and representation for all

I have many friends who believe the marches today were futile, obnoxious, unnecessary. To all of you, I hope that you get fair and equal representation. I hope that my efforts help to preserve your healthcare coverage, I hope that I’m also protecting your rights to assemble, to bear arms, and to vote. I fight not just for myself but for you and your families. I March and protest because I care about you, no matter what you believe. 

Peace and love to everyone.

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A New Year, New Chances. 

After a year that seemed so horrible, so irredeemable, I’ve found it difficult to remember all of the good things that happened this year, specifically in my own life. 

As is often the case, writing out all of the good things helps to serve as a reminder. So, without further ado, my list of positives from 2016. 

  1. I celebrated my one year anniversary with my seventh grade crush. 
  2. I stood next to my best friend as she married the love of her life. 
  3. We (7th grade crush) moved into a new apartment and survived the move. 
  4. My rapist was arrested and formally charged with second degree sexual assault. 
  5. I mastered my fear of canning and made my Great Great Aunt Ruby’s Chutney, continuing a family tradition of having the Chutney at Christmastime. 
  6. I got to see video clips of my grandfather, his brothers and my great grandmother (whom I never had the joy of meeting) from around 1936-40. 
  7. I donated 12 inches of hair to locks of love. 
  8. I watched my baby sister make her debut, continuing a tradition of  Debs that goes all the way back to the ’20s! 
  9. I found out that my 7th and 8th great grandparents were residents of  and are buried in the town I currently reside in, pretty neat! 
  10. I improved my credit score, paid all of my bills on time. 
  11. I helped to edit a legislative proposal. 
  12. I knitted a blanket! 
  13. I started going back to the gym, still trying to nail down that habit! 
  14. I drove to the beach to see my mom. 
  15. I took a day trip to go rafting (nearly drowned but still had fun!) and went to Clingman’s Dome. 
  16. My Instagram clip was used on The Weather Channel! 
  17.  I changed out an electrical cord on our dryer! 
  18. I successfully repotted succulents from my best friend’s wedding and they’re still going strong!

There are certainly more, they’ve just slipped my mind at the moment. All up it has been a great year, full of love, laughter and friendship. I had forgotten all of my blessings and had really honed in on the negative there for a while but when I really sit and think about it, this year has been good to me.

I hope 2017 is just as full of goodness and light. Cheers to the new year, new promises and a chance to make the most out of life!! 

All of my love and best wishes to everyone, everywhere! xx

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What if he gets away with it…?

So my case is going to court. I don’t know when I have to be there, but it’s a matter of public record now so I feel like I can speak a little more about how this process is affecting me.

I am STRESSED. I have to confront the very person who has riddled my nightmares for two years.

I have sought out counseling a little closer to where I’m living which I’m hoping helps reduce my current level of anxiety. It’s a lot to handle, I wasn’t anticipating to be this torn up about going to court.

I started this process with a definite goal and absolute confidence in my direction and plans to pursue charges. I still want to press charges, I want to continue this process. I ultimately want justice.

Up until now I hadn’t thought about the chance that he might get off. Obviously no matter what the outcome is, I have to move on with my life, I have to push forward.

Parts of my life feel like they’ve been in a holding pattern for two years, I’ve just been waiting for news on my case. It comes in waves and then the news that we were going to court came like an avalanche. I think the strangest part has been the fact that my anxiety wasn’t really present until about three weeks ago. I was doing great, taking everything in stride. I guess it’s one of those scenarios where you keep chugging along and not acknowledging your stressors and all of a sudden they all spill out in a two week long panic attack.

I went back to the gym this morning and it has helped curb my anxiety so I think I’ll keep doing that, having an outlet seems to help a lot.

All of that being said, I am 100% ready for this process to be over. I have a life to live.

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When it all falls apart.

Part of my recovery has been attempting to construct a life that I feel is worth living. Re-discovering my independence, motivating myself to come back to center after being thrown so far.

I have spent the better part of two years clawing my way through muddy emotions ranging from being thankful to be alive to wanting to crawl in a hole and be ignored for the remainder of my existence.

In some aspects I have achieved some of the goals of my recovery, I am stable enough to be employed full time, I moved out of my mother’s house, I am financially independent for the most part and I don’t cry every. single. day. I also have love, trust and support on an intimate level.

But today, I started out crying. The one lingering piece of my recovery, arguably the hardest part has been developing a sense of self-worth, re-building self-confidence and understanding that this heinous crime does not define me.

I have this habit, like most humans, of approaching my life as a balancing act. My catch though is that everything has to be perfect, house clean, fridge and pantry stocked. I push myself to obtain this false “perfection” and then fall apart when things aren’t the way I think they should be. I have been pushing and pushing myself, grinding myself down, guilt tripping myself because my house isn’t perfectly clean, I don’t always cook dinner and when I do, it isn’t always healthy, I’ve gained a lot of weight in two years, I don’t have the motivation to lose it either. I have picked myself apart from the inside out, systematically attacked myself until I couldn’t take it anymore and lost it this morning.

I have been going through crying spells, quite a lot of them actually. I feel terrible for being so down, like I should somehow suck it up and not cry, not let it be known that inside I am still deeply shaken, still pushing myself to overcome this massive trauma.

It is really hard for me to understand that life is not perfect, dirt exists and houses will always be dirty in some way, there’s no such thing as having and doing it all and it’s okay to fall apart. People will still love you if you haven’t done the laundry this week and have purposefully put off cleaning the shower. Also coming to terms with the fact that my self-worth is not attached to my ability to clean, my weight or my “togetherness”.

I’m incredibly grateful to have someone at home willing to hold me when I’m at my weakest, most vulnerable. I don’t know what I would do without my support system, you guys are my world.

 

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Two Years…

This time, two years ago, I was laying in a hospital bed. I couldn’t move my arms and legs effectively and had no idea what had happened to me. All I could rely on was what had been told to me. Minor details of what would come to have a major impact on my life.

I was being poked, prodded, tested and given a fist full of pills to swallow. All while giving my initial police report. Looking around, I could see blood, bruises and a badly broken piece of my clothing still barely clinging to me. Some things were missing, some were intact.

This is all before my rape kit had even started. By this time I had been in the emergency room for hours.

My poor mother, I can’t imagine what her heart went through when she answered the phone only to hear me on the other end, telling her that I had been raped, was in the hospital and needed a change of clothes.

That day was one of the worst days of my life.

Reflecting on everything that has happened in two years, I am surprised that I’m able to function normally in society. A large part of that is the overwhelming support I have received from my community.

I have to give myself credit in my healing though because I have fought tooth and nail to overcome and manage the resulting emotional damage. PTSD is a strange and unfamiliar beast, it flares up when you least expect it to and it will grip you so tightly you no longer recognize yourself. The nightmares, flashbacks, and extreme paranoia are only a small part of the terror it inflicts.

I have walked through hell to get to where I am today and I am thankful to be alive, to be able to love fully and trust. So many survivors do not make it back to a place of love, trust or stability. Many suffer in silence for a lifetime. Many must confront their assailant on a daily basis. Thousands do not even survive.

Ironically, I am one of the lucky ones.

 

If you want to read the rest of my story, visit consentiseverything.BlogSpot.com

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Letter to the Stanford Survivor

Dear Sister,

Thank you. As I patiently wait for my case to unfold, reading your statement has given me renewed hope. I knew I  had a voice, I knew I could tell my story. What I doubted was whether I had the strength to face the future. Would I survive whatever the defense will throw at me, I work in Sexual Assault now and I know what they say. I know what they do.

You have shown me through your penned eloquence that yes, I can and will survive. I can make a statement, tell my story to the one person I most fear. I will do it and I will make my voice, my experience, our collective experience heard.

You and I have had the same nights, the sleeplessness, every single lamp turned on and every door locked two, three times. Make it a fourth just to be sure. Wanting to tell your story but not wanting to tell it at the same time. Not knowing whether you could face another day of crying, of utter despair for your personal losses. The days where you stop and look at the sky in absolute awe, realizing that you are lucky to have made it to another sunny day. We cry tears not only for ourselves but for those that weren’t so lucky, how close we came to being a part of that statistic.

We have been tasked by the universe to champion our fellow survivors, to send out the call that we will no longer tolerate rape culture, we will no longer accept alcohol as a “motivating” factor, we will no longer stand for the lack of accountability. We must use our strength to let our voices be heard, to be strong for those who are lost in that darkness.

Know that you are strong, beautiful, worthy and exceptional. You are my idol and will be my strength as my case progresses. We are united in our fight and survival. I will forever be grateful for you.

All of my best wishes and deepest thanks for you.

Love,

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image credit: ethosmagazine.org