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No More Silence

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PROSAF — Surviving Sexual Abuse In The Caribbean By Souyenne Dathorne

SILENCE has been part of the lives of victims/survivors for far too long. They have been coached, intimidated and coerced into keeping secrets of crimes committed against you, against themselves. Their freedom of speech has been stripped from them; in a failed attempt to “protect” you, the “actual victims of the crime.”. The victim/survivor was sexually assaulted; raped, molested, dealt with attempted rape, fondled; in most cases by someone they knew and trusted; a friend, boyfriend, husband, coach, teacher, priest, doctor, lawyer, police-officer etc. The victim/survivor may have been taken against their will and left alone to suffer. They tried to share, hoping someone would see their pain, hoping someone would understand but instead they were told to forgive and forget. The victim/survivor was asked not to ruin the life of the individual who sexually assaulted them. They were asked to protect the family, to refrain from shaming the family. Effectively, the victim/survivor was told that they didn’t matter and what was done to them was in some-way their fault. Their feelings of shame, isolation and fear were intensified when they were left to stand-alone. These are the cards that many, most, if not all survivors are dealt. This of course affects victims/survivors tremendously. It often leaves them feeling that they are being judged and blamed for crimes they did nothing to create. Survivors/victims sense of self-wroth, self-esteem, trust and innocence is ripped from them. The scars that are created are painful, they may not be visible but that doesn’t mean that a survivor doesn’t have them, or isn’t aware of them. We are all very aware of every scar that developed as a result of the sexual assault we suffered.

To the victims/survivors reading this article, know this was/is not your fault. In no way did you cause someone to decide to sexually assault you. The end result doesn’t have to be what you were dealt; your life isn’t over. There is hope of finding peace, happiness and a fuller life. For long, many of us, survivors/victims of sexual violence, have accepted that our lives were going to be filled with constant triggers, pain, sadness and a solitary existence but it doesn’t have to be. I know that we live in a country where resources for survivors of sexual violence are limited, but there are options and you can always find help and support through us. There is a way forward, there is hope for a journey to recovery, to finding yourself again and being able to look in the mirror and smile at what you see. There is hope for finding a good man/woman who will understand what you’ve been through, who will support you and hold your hand through the tough times. There is time to stand and say I WILL NO LONGER BE SILENT, I WAS SEXUALLY ASSAULTED BUT I AM NOT ASHAMED BECAUSE I DID NOTHING WRONG. There is a chance to begin to heal the wounds. Please don’t give up. This is your story, yes the initial narration was not within your power to create but the rest is; you get to decide how your story ends. Sexual assault in any form is scary and leaves you with scars. Our scars don’t go away but they fade with time; the pain, anger, shame and isolation you feel now can be shed. Please I implore you to seek help. Reach out to us. We are trained to help you through your experiences with sexual assault. You don’t have to continue to protect anyone anymore. Take back your life and your voice. I am not saying that you will all be ready to do this now; it will take time but try working towards it.

We at PROSAF are always here to listen and support you. Feel free to contact us via the information below. If you are interested in becoming a sexual assault advocate please contact for further information. Remember you are not alone. You are strong & brave. You will get through your healing process but it takes time and patience. We are here to help and listen. Feel free to contact us if you ever need a place to offload or vent. We are available for group and individual counselling.

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