To many, those two words don’t carry much weight. We hear them and ascribe the normal meanings to them. Trust defined as being able to place confidence in or rely on someone, a belief in someone or something. Abandonment the relinquishing, withdrawal, discarding, disowning of someone or something. These two words may not conjure up any images or feelings for the typical individual. For survivors/victims of sexual violence; these words do the opposite; they bring back painful memories, emotions and thoughts.
For many survivors they remember the trust they had in the individual who violated them. They remember relying on that individual, believing in them and at times confiding in them only to have them take advantage of them. Survivors of sexual violence very often find it difficult trusting people in the future. Many question how they can ever trust again, why should they after being hurt repeatedly. Many question their judgement; “I wasn’t able to see how the other individual was going to hurt me, how can I trust myself to let anyone else get close, what happens if I fail to see how this new individual is planning on hurting me to….” I know it isn’t easy, because you second guess yourself, your second guess your decisions, you judge yourself harder than you did before. It is understandable given what you have been through. But, closing yourself off isn’t a viable option. You can take your time in beginning to open up and trust again. Take it one step at a time, not everyone is out to hurt you. Set your boundaries, set your pace. We all need someone to be there during the tough times. As survivors we have many tough times. Having someone you can talk to and trust makes all the difference.
Abandonment issues run deep with survivors. For many they were either abandoned prior to the sexual assault leaving room for the abuse to occur or they were abandoned directly after. Many survivors aren’t supported when the choice is made to break their silence. Many are faced with rejection from those closest to them, many are forced into silence to ensure their hurt and pain doesn’t shame the family. Sadly, something I was told and later learned and accepted was that we can’t do anything to change how those around us reacted to what we shared with them. The feelings of abandonment follow us for some time, it is something that dissipates only when you work on it. Remember that family isn’t only those who share your bloodline or last name. You get to decide who you want as your family, those that will stand by you, hold your hand, cry with you and share in your joyous moments. Choose your family, find those who will be there for you. You deserve it.
The lack of Abandonment and Trust follow survivors into adulthood and their adult relationship’s as many aren’t able to seek the help/ support needed. In order for a survivor to be given a chance at a more healthy life there needs to be more aid and support. The issues that arise from being abandoned and having one’s trust broken need to be addressed. The issues that arise out of one having suffered sexual violence are lasting, they follow a survivor from the moment the act is committed until it is addressed. Facing the issues and acknowledging how one has been affected after being sexually assaulted is the 1st step. The road to recovery is not without more pain but the end result is worth it. Let us begin the healing process.
We would like to continue to serve as the safe place where you can seek support and validation throughout your healing process. We understand that this is a big step that not everyone is ready to take. We completely understand. Don’t be hard on yourself, when you are ready we will be here. For those of you who are ready, please feel free to call, text or email us. We at PROSAF are always here to listen and support you. Feel free to contact us via the information below. 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.
Souyenne Dathorne, Velika Lawrence