“My heart had shattered and scattered in the wind, hoping no one would realize that I have ceased to exist in society.”  -Anonymous

Survivors of sexual assault face strong and unexpected changes, not because of natural events, but because a perpetrator felt entitled to cross the limits without their consent.

Many people who experience sexual assault blame themselves for what happened. They feel ashamed, guilty, and unsure if what happened was really an assault. This self-blame can stop them from telling anyone about what happened.

Some survivors think they somehow caused the assault because of how they acted or dressed. They might also feel like their experience isn’t “bad enough” to count as assault. This confusion and self-blame make it hard for them to ask for help or report the assault to the police.

There is a lot to understand and navigate regarding sexual assault, including the psychological, physiological, and legal components that truly impacts a survivor’s autonomy.  Survivors experience a detriment in their individual rights, especially those related to personal autonomy and intimacy.  Similarly with their collective rights, every so often, instead of encountering guidance and protection from the community, they must cope with uncertainty, distrust, and criticism.

It is important for survivors to know that they are in control of their present and future. The pace of the healing process is unique for each survivor and there is no right or wrong way to move forward.

Author

  • Andrea Chance

    My name is Andrea Chance, I am the Advocacy Program Director at Hays-Caldwell Woman Center. I love working with people and being able to raise awareness, educate and help people find options and resources available in our community. My background is in the Legal field, I was an Attorney at Law in Guatemala City, and practiced Family and Corporate Law for 10 years.