April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and this year the relevance is especially poignant. High profile celebrities stand among the accused. In the wake of this national discussion, many people who’ve never suffered so much as an unwelcome sexual advance, ask the question, “Why don’t victims speak out right away?”
For survivors of sexual assault, harassment or abuse, the reasons for remaining silent are complex. Some victims suffer an anonymous and violent attack. Others, like myself, endure ongoing psychological and emotional abuse by parents, close members or friends. A prior relationship with the perpetrator compounds the sexual element involved. In my journey toward healing from abuse, time was a factor. This is often the case for victims of sexual assault whose circumstances are far more severe than mine. It simply takes time to process the events, absolve yourself of misplaced guilt and a sense of complicity and face the facts of the events. By that time, it feels too late to do anything constructive. My emotional abuse recovery involved writing a memoir. Speaking out can be therapeutic.
Visit the Huffington Post for a look at why survivors of sexual assault sometimes wait decades to speak up and how doing so is a life changing event. Click on the image below to listen to survivors and RAINN (Rape and Incest National Network) discuss the issue.
To learn more about RAINN click on the image below.