Tag Archives: sexual assault

Before I die

Yet again I would like to begin this post by apologizing for the insanely long period between my last post and this one. I have been experiencing some slight issues with WordPress during my login and then this past weekend our house decided it wanted to attempt burning to the ground. We were very fortunate, I was home with my kids and I was able to get everyone out quickly and notify the fire department. They arrived swiftly and put the fire out. Hopefully I can get on a much better and more consistent writing schedule! Thank you very much for your patience.

 

Today I want to talk about something that wrenches my gut. I heard a song on the radio today driving back to the hotel from my eye appointment. I don’t usually listen to this type of music or this band, but the song “If I die young” by The band perry came on. At first I thought: Yeah okay, whatever. But I kept listening out of laziness. It got to the part where the lyrics say: “Funny when you’re dead how people start listenin”. Dude…I broke down in tears. I mean, I was full on sobbing. I would be a billionaire if I had a dollar for everytime someone told me to shut my mouth or stop crying because they had no interest in what I needed to convey. Especially when I was attempting to tell someone I needed help and didn’t want to die by my own hand. I would be drowning in money if I had a dollar for everytime I told someone I had a plan to not be around tomorrow and my voice fell on deaf ears.

 

I know I am not alone in this. I am not alone at all. I know many families who have lost someone from suicide said afterwards they wished they had listened. Sometimes they weren’t even aware that person was in such misery. It is a very tragic thing, speaking but not being heard…or believing that you don’t even have the right to speak. It is heartbreaking how many people could have been saved if someone listened. I want to be heard and listened to before I die, and I want that for you too.

 

Don’t ever stop opening your mouth. Talk! Tell your story till you’re blue in the face. Don’t shut up. Don’t whisper. Don’t suffer in silence. If you’re strong enough in your recovery that you can…put your name on your story! Don’t hide! If someone doesn’t want to hear what you have to say that is their damn problem, not yours! Don’t censor yourself to make others happy…because then you never will. In this world you truly have to be your own advocate. I wish I could say more people unconditionally want to be there for others and help them, but unfortunately you won’t always have someone like that. It can be very hard and scary for a while, realizing that you have a right to speak up and exercising that right…but I promise you that once you start doing it, it gets much easier. It even begins to feel very good.

 

Another misconception that was planted into my head at an early age was that if I spoke my mind, needs or wants I was being selfish. If I advocated for myself I was a self-absorbed bitch. Well I am here to wipe that lie out of your head! That is one of the biggest pieces of bullshit I have ever heard of in my life. Every human being deserves to voice their beliefs and especially their needs and wants. YOU have every right to voice these things. Realizing this will set you free my friends.

 

I want to share with all of you a recent experience of mine that pertains to this very topic. I have been in the process of prosecuting one of my most brutal and devastating abusers. It is still not over but I am hanging in there. It makes me a little nervous sometimes that this person knows I have opened my mouth about what he did to me, but even more so it makes me feel stronger. I have finally taken some control back and he can’t hurt me anymore. I hope that he can’t hurt anyone ever again and I also hope that this is an example to many people how you can and can’t treat another human being. Even more so I hope that it gives other survivors that extra push they need to report. I know it is scary. I know you will have a million and one worries and concerns about reporting and prosecuting…but I promise you in most cases it will only help you grow, become stronger and take control back. No matter what please remember that you are not alone. I feel I can repeat that sentence ten times a day, every day for the rest of my life and not get sick of hearing it. Every time those words come out of my mouth or from my fingers on the keyboard I feel a deep sense of relief and happiness overwhelm me. I know how powerful that sentence is. You are not alone.

 

No matter what…never shut your mouth. Keep telling your story. Keep conveying what you need and want. There are people who want to help. You don’t have to die for people to listen.

 

A little quote that helps me everytime I read it: “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should’ve behaved better.” ~ Anne Lamott.

Advertisements

You will not steal my future and a special shout out to victim-blamers

**Before I write this post I just want to remind all of my readers that the content can be highly triggering, especially if you’ve been a victim of SA in the past, please be sure you are grounded before you read. I don’t want anything written to hurt, only to heal**

As survivors of trauma and multiple trauma we often live in fear, even when we do everything we can to break free of it. For the most part, I don’t live in fear anymore, however, that doesn’t mean that I am no longer hyper vigilant, stressed out, anxious and still very often brought to my knees by a panic attack. Yes I have been making great strides, but even yesterday I had a full blown panic attack in a Meijer supermarket and had to rush home. I still make sure that I have something in hand while in parking lots or walking up to my door in case someone were to attack me. I still suffer from vivid and horrific nightmares that have me drenched in sweat when I wake. I still have days where it is very difficult to shake the fear that it’s not over. Despite all of that, I am happy, I am hopeful and I am now pursuing justice.

I have many abusers and for a long time this made me very ashamed. It also made me feel that there was something terribly wrong with me and that I must have deserved each and every trauma. This is wrong. It is never the victim’s fault that they were hurt. I don’t care what anyone says, it doesn’t matter what the person was wearing, what time it was, where they were…none of that matters. Someone decided to do something horrible, to take something from me that they had no business taking. Just because a bakery puts their pastries and cakes in the window of their shop doesn’t mean someone has a right to smash in the window and take what they see. It may sound like a stupid analogy, but there are many people around the world who believe if a woman or man dresses provocatively they deserve to be sexually assaulted. Maybe this simple analogy will get to their simple minds. The victim did not ask to be hurt, the perpetrator is the one at fault and should be harshly punished.

I was first sexually assaulted at four years old. My childhood was ripped from me before I even had a chance to have one. Many years and details of my past are gone because they were traumatic and another one of my personalities took the abuse for me so that we, as a whole, could survive. My past was Hell and was robbed from me. I want to take a moment to again, point out to the victim-blamers out there that victims did not volunteer for their abuse, they did not ask for it, they did not invite it. In no way did the four year old little girl I was ask or deserve the horrific things that happened to me. As a young adult, the many times I was touched, kissed, groped, raped, sodomized and beaten in no way did I volunteer or ask for it. I am so angry, no, rageful when I hear people say that a victim asked for it because of what they were wearing or where they were or the infamous “why didn’t you just leave”? You cannot understand until you have been there.

My present is very complicated. Monetarily I struggle, I struggle with my appeal to the Veterans Administration for an increase in the disability for PTSD. I am anxious every day, some days I cope with it using meditation, playing with my children, deep breathing, writing and art. Other days it is impossible for me to find relief without medication. I am currently pursuing justice pertaining to four of my abusers. This has been a giant trigger and it has been responsible for my sudden increase in fear of leaving the house. In the past few years I have made great progress in getting myself out of the house, but currently I am usually choosing to stay indoors where I feel safe. I will get back to where I was, but for now I need to be gentle and patient with myself. This is a very difficult and scary time, but it is not the end. My present is also exciting. Despite the anxiety and stress of money, job, school stuff, I have two wonderful children I love more than anything and I get the privilege of taking care of them, loving them and watching them grow. I also know that with hard work I will be successful with my art.

My future…all I can say is, it is mine. No one else’s. I have lived in the dark, in the deepest pits of Hell one could experience due to fear. It is time that I get out and live a fear-free, healthy, happy life. I think it’s about damn time my abusers are the ones who have to live in fear. I will no longer stay quiet. I am taking responsibility of my present and future.

Whatever horrible things happened to you in your past, they were not your fault and they are not your fault now. You are not responsible for your past, the people who harmed you and failed to protect you…that is on them. You were a victim. But now in your present, looking forward to your future…please know that those are your responsibility. This is the key to making the transformation from victim to survivor. Take control of your life now, heal, stand up for yourself and refuse to let anyone else run your life any longer. Have an addiction due to the horrors of your past? Tell addiction to go fuck itself and allow yourself treatment (I apologize to anyone offended by my foul language at times, sometimes I feel strong language has its place). I have a particularly strong loathing for addiction. Please love and respect yourself enough to take your life back and live it! I promise you…life as a survivor is MUCH better than life as a victim.

Just as a reminder, RAINN is an amazing organization who is there for you 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. You can reach them at: http://www.rainn.org/ or call them at: 1-800-656-4673. Everything is confidential.

Please seriously consider prosecuting your abusers. I know this is a tall order I am asking of you…I know it’s terrifying. I am in it actively right this very moment as I type these words. But please know that it will set you free, and it will ensure those sick people will never harm you or another person ever again. You are not alone in this fight! Even if you don’t have family or friends to support you, please know that I care and I will support you.

As always, I am proud of you, I congratulate you on another day, and I love you. Every day we are one step closer to where we want to be. Let’s do this together.

Your battle-buddy, Dandi.Image

The night I ended my life.

Please know that all of my blog posts are potentially triggering, and please know that this post is highly triggering before you continue on. I want to talk to you about my numerous suicide attempts, and more importantly, the night that I was successful.

I was still active duty in the Marine Corps at the time, living in Pensacola, Florida. I had been raped by a Sergeant in my class and was having a very hard time picking up the pieces and moving on. Every day it was a battle to eat, get out of bed, do what was expected of me and even breathe. I hated myself, felt dirty and unworthy of living and was fearful. I was afraid to talk to anyone about what had happened to me. I feared no one would believe me or would think I was a disgusting whore. I did my best to act like nothing was wrong with me, but after a while I didn’t even have the energy for that. My addiction to self-harm was strong, I had quickly moved from scissors to straight razors and felt the need to cut myself even when we were “sleeves up”. Sleeves up meant that every Marine was ordered to roll their sleeves up, which obviously meant everyone could see what I had been doing to myself. Cutting because a nervous compulsion, a drug, a necessity to keep living. A lot of people started finding out that I was a “cutter” really fast. I’m sure some people thought I was doing it for attention because we were sleeves up, but the truth was I felt I needed to do it to keep going so intensely that I didn’t give a fuck anyone who knew.

I felt as if I was in this perpetual time warp of Hell. I wasn’t being given any tasks to do that made me feel like a Marine anymore and yet I wasn’t being discharged. It was limbo, which only made my feelings of fear and worthlessness grow and fester like a deep, open wound. The details of this suicide attempt in particular are pretty muddy in some areas because now it is apparent to me that one of my alters, Kristina had been the one to try to take our life. Some time before this suicide attempt I had been hospitalized at West Florida hospital’s Pavillion which was a psychiatric ward. During that particular stay my psychiatrist had tried me on an atypical antipsychotic drug to diminish the voices in my head. Needless to say the drug did me no good and had my blood pressure down to 60/30. If anyone reading this doesn’t know, a blood pressure that low is extremely dangerous. I was very ill and was confined to my bed until the doctor decided to take me off of the drug. I was furious that it took the doctors more than an hour to decide to discontinue the medication, in my mind they should have been in some sort of trouble for that.

At some point during the later part of the day I had switched and become Kristina. I did not know that I had Dissociative identity disorder back then, all I knew what that I heard voices and occasionally saw things that other people claimed to not be able to see. This was dangerous only because I had an alter (Kristina) who did not want the body/host (me) to be alive anymore. Because I was not aware of her, I was unable to stop her attempts at ending our life. None of my alters or myself are stupid, and contrary to what our abusers tried to beat into our head over the years. Kristina knew that this medication was deadly to us and she had found we still had a completely full bottle of it in our barracks room. During the time Kristina was in control, she downed the entire bottle. Sometime after this occurred I came to in the emergency room at the naval hospital. All I remember is that my heart was racing faster than I had ever felt it before, I was extremely dizzy, disoriented, sick to my stomach and absolutely terrified. I remember suddenly feeling it was becoming very difficult to breathe, and when I did breathe I could feel air wasn’t doing me much good.

My vision became more and more blurry and dim. This is when I realized that I was dying. I kept thinking to myself, My God, I did it…I’m going to die and I won’t be able to say goodbye to my Mom. I realized that I wanted to call my mom to tell her I was sorry, I loved her and goodbye but I couldn’t find the strength to ask anyone to call her for me. Then I remember not breathing and everything going black.

I’m still not sure how much time had passed after that, but when I came to I was in the ICU and a nurse had been sitting beside my bed holding my hand. The first thing I felt when I woke up was the warmth of her skin on mine. I clung to it as if I was terrified letting go of her would allow me to slip back into the darkness. She was so happy when I woke up and took care of me. Yet again, I am not sure how long I stayed in the ICU, I have very little memory of it other than the nurse and being hooked up to an IV, a heart monitor, blood pressure and pulse oximetry. I don’t remember what else. After my time in the ICU I spent anywhere from a week to a week and a half (still not entirely sure) in the hospital. The entire time I was not allowed to get out of bed because every time I stood up my heart rate would skyrocket. They had special socks on my legs that would inflate every fifteen minutes to prevent blood clots from forming and that damn heart monitor stayed on the me the whole time. After a good chunk of my time there a nurse would periodically help me to walk around the unit to get me used to walking again.

The repercussions of my overdose were immediately apparent to me. I still don’t know exactly what I did because my medical records are still not with me, but I did damage to my heart. To this day I still have issues with my heart rate and heart rhythm. I’ve always had frequent PVC’s (premature ventricular contractions) of my heart, but now they are worse, more frequent and a few times they have caused me to faint. I wish that I could have stopped Kristina from the overdose, but it’s in the past now.

I am telling this for two reasons. One, it’s part of my journey and therefore must be told in order for me to heal, but two, it’s important that people hurting have some insight to a suicide attempt that actually worked. I am very lucky to be alive…I shouldn’t be here, but I am. I may have been very deeply depressed back then and yes, there were many days where all I could think about was how much I wanted to die. But the moment that I realized I was dying I was scared absolutely shitless. The feeling of the life seeping out of my body with each sad attempted to draw air into my lungs was terrifying and painful. I am very thankful that the medical staff there saved my life and that I am alive today.

Please, if you are hurting (or know someone who is) don’t ignore that pain, and don’t believe the lies your pain tells you. You do deserve to be here, your loved ones will NOT be better off without you (they will actually suffer intensely for the rest of their lives over your death), and yes your pain may stop…but you’ll be dead, so what the fuck is the point? And for those of you who say suicide is selfish and condemn people who sadly do it…please realize that people who commit suicide are not able to think logically, their pain has them in such a sad, delusional state they truly believe they are being selfless…not selfish. The definition of selfish is as follows: A person, action or motive lacking the consideration of others. Like I mentioned before, most people who commit suicide truly and honestly believe that their loved ones are hurt over them being alive and killing themselves will remove a burden from their loved ones. It’s very sad that this happens, but it does.

Like I always say, be gentle with yourself and be gentle with others (especially those who are hurting). If you’re contemplating suicide, please…I beseech you to read this and to trust me. It is estimated that 1 out of 25 people who attempt suicide actually succeed, and most of the survivors will tell you that they were sure they wanted to die until they realized they were about to succeed. I can say that I am one of those people. Please live, please fight, I promise you, if you want your life back (happiness, no more pain, etc) you CAN have it! It will be hard at times, it will hurt at times, but it will pass and you will be free.

Please

Please

Please

Live.

Know that you are loved. And if you believe no one else does, know that I do. I love you.

Dandi