Why Now? Braving the Storm to Share Your Story of Sexual Violence

Not too long ago, via social media, we’ve been flooded with reviews of sexual violence (assault, rape, abuse, harassment). We’ve additionally seen the unimaginable energy and braveness demonstrated by those that share their story. These people, women and men, have uncovered their non-public lives to offer us an concept of what they skilled or are at the moment experiencing, and plenty of ask the query, “why now?” The reply to this query is kind of private and primarily based on particular person experiences which may be tough for others to know.

The choice to share an expertise of sexual violence can go away the person feeling extraordinarily weak and uncovered. In response to the Rape, Abuse & Incest Nationwide Community (RAINN), after a person experiences sexual violence, they might really feel confused and uncertain about how you can react. The person could also be bodily and emotionally damage and restoration seems totally different for every particular person. There are a number of components to contemplate:

  • Does the particular person have help system?
  • How outdated was the particular person when the incident occurred?
  • What sources can be found to the particular person?
  • The place did the incident occur?
  • What have been the circumstances across the incident?
  • Who assaulted the particular person? Was it one particular person or extra?
  • Has the particular person skilled any type of sexual violence previous to this incident?

Going again to the query of “why now?” I need to talk about this from three views: survivor, others, therapists.


Every survivor’s story is exclusive. Every survivor’s expertise and resolution to share could also be influenced by the questions posited earlier on this article. One necessary factor to recollect is that the survivor shares when she/he consider it’s protected to take action. Survivors expertise disgrace, guilt, confusion, misery, bodily penalties, and presumably isolation after sexual violence. Subsequently, this sense of security shouldn’t be simply quantified and is decided by quite a lot of components.

Possibly the survivor lastly discovered that one one who is keen to hear and supply non-judgmental help. It’s potential that the survivor lastly discovered the braveness to talk out as a result of they need their story to assist empower another person. The survivor could have lastly come to like and settle for themselves and really feel robust sufficient to speak about it.


While you ask, “why now?” contemplate what that basically means to the survivor who hears the query. This query can have each useful and unhelpful penalties. It’s useful if you’re compassionate, real, non-judgmental, and empathetic. Your curiosity could also be higher acquired by saying “inform me what inspired you to share your story?” In different phrases, it issues what you say and the way you say it once you enquire concerning the survivor’s resolution. It’s by no means useful to make comparisons or to make feedback corresponding to, “that occurred so way back and also you solely now resolve to share?” or “you have to have appreciated it that’s why you didn’t speak earlier than,” or “do you count on to get cash out of this?”


The atmosphere that you just set when asking shoppers about their expertise performs a big position in how they reply. You will need to create a protected house and never power the person to share their story — this isn’t your position. Your position is to be supportive, non-judgmental, open, empathetic, and honest to your shopper. It’s momentous when your shopper decides to open up about their expertise. When you could also be interested in why they determined to share their story (particularly if the incident occurred a number of years or months in the past), it’s essential that you just help and empower the shopper within the second. You additionally need to interact in developmentally applicable therapeutic interventions to assist your shopper additional heal.

People who courageous the storm to share their story, whether or not they accomplish that just a few hours/days/weeks/months/or years after the incident, ought to be honored for his or her energy, braveness, and vulnerability. For survivors: proceed to interact in emotional self-care at the same time as you share your story. Listed below are some concepts for emotional self-care that you are able to do by yourself, or a therapist, pal, household, or beloved one could counsel:

  • Journaling: writing your ideas and emotions down may help to launch the emotional burden and will convey emotions of reduction or peace. You journal will be accomplished as a story, footage, drawings, a collage, or poetry.
  • Meditation/Prayer: connecting along with your increased energy or meditating may help to manage respiration, maintain you grounded, encourage emotions of peace, cut back nervousness, and enhance self-image. The necessary factor is that you just do what works for you.
  • Yoga: many people discover yoga to be calming and will also be a strategy to regulate respiration and feelings.
  • Leisure actions: proceed to interact within the actions that you just take pleasure in; strolling, being open air, crafting, studying, hanging out with associates, or group courses.
  • Assist teams: keep linked with teams that assist to help and encourage you. These teams will be in your group or place of worship. This will also be group corresponding to Alcoholics Nameless (for many who are involved about substance use).

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