When a person, male or female, has been abused sexually they may well, and quite rightly, claim the label of ‘victim of sexual abuse’. The abuse happened and it happened to them, therefore, they are the victim of it.
But once the initiating event or events are over, there comes a time to remove the ‘victim’ label and affix a new label, one that is truer to what is going on in their life now, rather that what has happened to them in the past.
These are not easy things to think on, sexual abuse and the trauma of it are not easy things to have lived through, there is no denying that. But living a life of a victim, always and forever, that is not a good life to live.
Being a survivor, that is a possible new label to think on, and explore. I have been a victim of sexual abuse, I can certainly admit to that. And for a while, as a younger person, I certainly acted in ways that could be ascribed to the actions of a victim of sexual abuse, even though I had not admitted to anyone else, the abuse I had suffered.
But I was fortunate, my life continued going on, my initial abuser was no longer in the same position in my life, and I was able to escape from any possible further abuse, even though there was no declaration of what had been done to me. There were a few further incidents, when I was in my teenage years, that would probably be classified and sexual assault, but again they were not declared to others.
My life kept on going, as I moved on from young adult, to girlfriend, and further to who I am now. I have written about these events, using poetry to explore what life had been for me regarding the abuse, and eventually publishing a poetry collection, an uplifting moment for sure. I was definitely WAS but am NOT now a victim of sexual assault anymore. I am a survivor from sexual assault, and could even, these days, wear the label of a thriver.
Sexual assault was done to me, it was not my fault, I know this and am able to blame the correct persons, the abusers, as the ones who were at fault. And even though none of these people have suffered from what happened, I still feel vindicated, merely because I am the one who survived, and am now blooming in my middle age, with a great life filled with love and understanding from those who know me, and the few who know more details of my ‘victimhood’.
I live a good life, with involvement in many things in my community. I feel competent and capable, and I am doing things to help other people, and so helping myself too. If I had held to a label of ‘victim’ my life would be far lesser than it is now, nearly fifty years on from my initial abuse. I have lived through it, and gained much strength through my increasing understanding of what life should be, can be, and indeed is, for me.
Holding to the ‘victim’ label is never going to give anyone their best life, it will hold them back in a variety of ways. If you can find ways to look at your life, and see that you are in fact at least a survivor, if not a thriver, then I congratulate you and welcome you to the possibility of a good life, a far better one than you may have as a ‘victim’.
I’m not pointing any finger of blame at those who still feel like they are victims from what has happened to them. I don’t know the circumstances of what happened to you, and realise that only you know how you feel. I simply say to you, that I feel your pain, and hope you can find a way to stop being that victim, and begin to move toward being a survivor.
Counselling can help, talking with those who understand can help too. Realising the truth of what happened, and properly laying the blame at the the abuser, and not yourself can help. I certainly found creative writing, especially writing poetry about my thoughts, and what happened helped me to reach the truth of it all. I encourage all, to use creative writing, whenever troubled times hit you. It helps to sort things out, and you can better reach a better place in your thought process, and in your life …
If these words feel troubling, please seek help, https://www.1800respect.org.au/help-and-support/telephone-and-online-counselling