The Well Magazine Spring 2013 - Page 18

ing that somehow I could disappear down the sewer like my tears and the water. I heard, “You lived through it.” When I first heard these words on the night of the most pain and fear I had experienced in my life, I thought God was mocking me, taunting me even. But as I stood in the middle of the street with cars swerving around me, it served as a reminder, a light, a guide, that although these events could have killed me, they didn’t. I lived through it. I was on the other side of the tragedy. The worst part had already occurred. So I laughed my way back home, where I found my mom sitting with her friends studying Experiencing God. Interesting, I thought. As they were reading how to experience God, I had just experienced him first hand. My failed suicide attempts were a major sign for me. I did not create myself and so I could not determine when my life was going to end. “You lived through it” became my mantra, my motto, and my platform to stand on as a reminder that so many people had died at the hands of their attackers, or even the weight of the tragedy had socially, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually killed so many others. But somehow I lived through it. And because I lived through it, I had to help others live through it. Being a sexual assault advocate was never something that was on my wish list or to do list, but neither was being a victim of such a crime. I remember so clearly my thoughts, my fears, my pain, so I knew that there must be others that were experiencing the same pain, and I did not want them to have to experience it at all and definitely not alone. Advocacy became my tool to help others to remove their masks. I wanted to help them to recognize their Mistakes, their Assumptions, their Scars, and the Knowledge of their true self. The fact that they were survivors of sexual assault will never change, but how they lived their lives afterwards could change. For years, I was terrified of men. I despised them, didn’t trust them. I vowed never to let another man get close to me again. I felt misunderstood by women, for the few that knew judged, misunderstood or just avoided me altogether. So I hid. I hid the realities of what happened to me and how it affected me. I did not want to live in this big world all alone. But I realized that by hiding it, I was hiding me. No, this tragedy did not define me, but it was a part of me, and it will forever be, but I had to remove the mask and look in the mirror and accept it. Then reflect it. 18 The Well Magazine/ Spring 2013 Reflect its reality to others. Sexual assault is the most underreported crime in the world. That meant, like me, thousands, even m