‘You should have avoided the situation. Others have it MUCH worse.’: Sexual assault survivor says ‘trauma is not a competition’

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“April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month!

For many years, I didn’t consider myself a sexual assault survivor. I largely blamed myself for what happened, and lived in a state of shame and low self-confidence.

I told myself, ‘Other people have it so much worse.’

I told myself, ‘Nobody will believe you if you share your stories.’

I told myself, ‘You should have been smarter and avoided those situations.’

Finally, slowly, I’ve started giving myself the same love, compassion, and grace I’ve always given others. I realized all of those negative thoughts I shared above have equally strong counter-arguments:

  • Trauma is not a competition. Your experience and story is valid and worthy of being heard. Comparing yourself to someone else only hurts you.
  • The people who are deserving of being in your life, both in person and on social media, will believe you without hesitation. They will support and uplift you. The people who don’t are not worthy of a place in your life.
  • It’s not up to you to stop someone from committing sexual assault. It is never your fault. It is always completely on them.

It’s felt so freeing to start talking about this topic more on social media! It’s not always easy, but it helps me so much to share my experiences and hopefully raise awareness and help others in the process.”

Courtesy of Shelly Ray Crossland

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Shelly Ray Crossland. You can follow their journey on Instagram. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more stories like this:

‘You’re going to do exactly what I tell you.’ He grabbed my throat. The devil was staring me in the face. Fear washed over my body.’: Young woman survives sexual assault in woods, ‘I refuse to hide. I need others to know they aren’t alone’

‘This is $150 of underwear. My team and I are no longer willing to let our survivors go home without a bra, or decent pair of underwear.’: Sexual assault nurse examiner shares act of kindness for rape survivors

‘One drink, I had one drink. After that, I remember nothing. My virginity was taken before I was ready.’: Woman’s powerful story overcoming boyfriend’s sexual assault

‘I was an intern, he was the manager. He had a wife and kids. He knew what he did was wrong, but he got away with it. Then, the unthinkable happened.’: Woman survives sexual assault twice, ‘If you are a survivor, I believe you’

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