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GUILT

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PROSAF — Surviving Sexual Abuse In The Caribbean By Souyenne Dathorne

GUILT is a very strong emotion. It is one of the primary emotions a survivor struggles with. It is also one of the longest standing emotions that a survivor/victim struggles with. Survivors continuously feel guilty for allowing themselves to be sexually abused knowing on some level that they allowed nothing, that they had no control over what was done. Survivors feel extreme guilt after the assault has occurred, they question what they could have done differently to prevent the attack, they feel quilt for how they are coping after the fact. Survivors feel guilty for setting boundaries, they feel guilty for speaking out, and they feel guilty for how those in their immediate family/friends are affected. As survivors of sexual assault, guilt and shame follow us around for as long as we let it. It takes time to understand that we have nothing to feel guilty for, that we should be putting ourselves first, that we should be setting the boundaries we need to ensure that our journey to healing is filled only with support and care. As survivors, guilt is one of the hardest but most important feelings to shed. Know that you are not guilty of any crime, that you were victimized and that anyone blaming you is not healthy for your journey to healing.

Your abusers made you feel guilty; he/she made you feel culpable in the act of sexual assault. Many of us wrestle with deciding how much of the blame should be placed on our shoulders. I can tell you that none of the blame is yours to bear. I have said this and will keep repeating it; sexual assault is about control and power. As a society we need to understand that victims and survivors of sexual assault should not be re-victimized by our ignorant remarks, their clothing, their intoxication level, their behaviour, etc had nothing to do with the violent act that was committed against them. As a society we have to stop being so willing to give an abuser the benefit of the doubt at the expense of the survivor. We question when people finally come forward what took them so long, it was YOUR REMARKS and YOUR ACTIONS. IT WAS A SURVIVOR KNOWING THAT COMING FORWARD THEY WOULD BE BLAMED AND SCRUTINIZED WHEN THEY WERE THE ONE’S ATTACKED.

We should be fighting to understand why this continues to happen and figuring out what we can to do help survivors, we should be fighting to get more done and to ensure perpetrators are brought to justice. We should be standing with the survivors. There is strength in numbers. As Survivors we need to come together, share our stories, and start moving towards ensuring that we get a centre, counsellors, programmes all dedicated to dealing with sexual assault.

Survivors of sexual assault need a supportive environment to begin the healing process. They need to believe and feel that they are part of a culture that doesn’t support individuals who commit sexual crimes. We have to be the difference we want to see in our country. We have to be willing to start to make change. We, at PROSAF, have acknowledged that violence against women is a problem in St. Lucia and the wider Caribbean. We are here to begin the metamorphosis that is desperately needed. We are always here to listen and if you are not ready to come forward but need a listening ear, feel free to contact us. Remember that Sexual assault is something that happens to people, it does not define them, it is something that was done to them. Survivors, Victims, Thrivers remember you are a strong, beautiful, intelligent woman/child/man who has suffered a trauma through no fault of your own. You are not guilty of any crime, something was done to you against your will Sexual Assault is something that happened to you, it does not define you. You are worthy of love and happiness. Always remember that you are not alone, that you have nothing to be ashamed of. We are taking the baby steps necessary to make it better for all. KNOW YOU HAVE A SAFE SPACE IN PROSAF. If you are interested in finding out more information about sexual violence and what you can do as part of this community, please feel free to contact us at:

Yours Sincerely,
SouyenneDathorne, Velika Lawrence
Email: ssaitco@hotmail.com – thepowerofone_v@hotmail.com
Facebook: SURVIVING SEXUAL ABUSE IN THE CARIBBEAN: https://www.facebook.com/pages/PROSAF-Surviving-Sexual-Abuse-in-the-Caribbean/165341356853908

Webpage: http://www.prosaf.org (under construction)

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