Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault
Today has been exhausting.
I spent most of my day watching the Kavanaugh hearing and I found it extremely triggering. As a sexual assault survivor, I was aware that watching this event could cause me some distress but I felt it necessary to stand in solidarity with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. I have yet to conclude whether that was the right decision or not.
I am writing this through a migraine. Hearing her testimony and seeing the prosecutor, who was hired by Republicans, treat Dr. Ford like she was the one on trial felt excruciating. I was suddenly reminded why it took me so long to speak up about my sexual assault. When I spoke up it was to my mother and it was definitely terrifying but I cannot begin to imagine what it was like for Dr. Ford, who had to relive this situation on a worldwide platform.
I believe her.
I believe her account of the events. I believe that she can’t remember all of the details. I even believe that she may get some details incorrect.
My truth involves multiple sexual assaults by multiple men in my life. My story is not an easy one but I’ve powered through to the best of my ability. I don’t remember all of the details to the things that happened to me and sometimes, on a beautiful sunny day when everything feels right; a memory hits me like a ton of bricks. It can be anything from a moment, to a conversation, to a scent; I’m never ready for it but it unfortunately happens often. Trauma is not a thing you can wrap up in a concise definition and perfectly apply it to everyone. Trauma is broken and different for everyone, it sinks into your skin and pretends to be part of your body until it randomly reminds you of how awkward it is to walk around with it.
If you ask the people that know me, they would say that I’m hilarious and always have a smile on my face. Most of them have no idea of the things I carry with me from my past. Most of the way I pick at my cuticles when anxiety gets the best of me. Most of them don’t notice the change in my face when something triggers a traumatic memory. This is not their fault. I have become an expert at hiding my broken pieces. I have practiced my best smile and self-deprecating humor has become my go-to so the hiding of the dark secrets comes very easy to me. However, today was not an easy day.
I’m struggling to figure out what was more difficult; was it having memories of my assault come back to me throughout the day? Was it seeing Dr. Ford’s pain come through when she recounted the events? Was it being reminded that Republicans will never care about women or our well-being? Today has been exhausting.
Today I was reminded of how many times men have tried to break me. Today I was sent back to the moments when I felt the most humiliated. Today was excruciating and yet I somehow found my sense of gratitude.
Yes, I am grateful.
I am grateful that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford found her strength today. I am grateful for the way she powered through the anxiety. I am grateful that she has given us a living, breathing example of what bravery looks like. I can’t imagine what these past few weeks have been like for her and her family but I hope (and surprisingly pray) that it pays off in the end (I am holding on to hope, though hope so badly wants to let go of my hand).
So tonight I go to bed, with the hope that the nightmares stay away and a prayer that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford finds the peace in knowing that she changed so many people for the better today.