Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Just Part of My Story

Yesterday morning, hubby called me on an issue he needed assistance with for a friend. It was dealing with a possible sexual assault of a teenager. He wasn't asking because I'm a woman. He was asking because of my knowledge due to professional and personal training.

I have received certifications in domestic violence and sexual assault crisis counseling. I have worked with the Placer County Domestic/Sexual Assault Response Team and have worked here in LB for the Sexual Assault Response Team.

Someone asked me the other day if it was hard to do this type of volunteer work. The domestic violence part was harder than the sexual assault. But then with domestic violence you tend to deal with the same people over and over again.

I've been doing volunteer work since I was 21. I started on the California Runaway Hotline and proceeded from there to other responsibilities. Part of being on the response teams means when you're on call and there's an assault reported you have to go to the hospital. My role was as an advocate and I worked on a team with a nurse that had received forensic training and a police officer. When I was trained in Placer County it was the first team put together so a lot of the training involved the advocates, law enforcement, and nurses all together and that was very interesting.

I'm what one would call a survivor of both domestic violence and sexual assault. When I was seventeen I was engaged to a very handsome boy who was unfortunately also very violent. I'm not going to go into a lot of details. Mostly because I've blacked a large portion of it out. As far as statistics go I'm in the minority. Most women that end up in the situation I was in grew up with violence. I did not. However, I was fearful of this man (he was two years older than I). I was fearful for my life and I really didn't think anyone would believe me. In all these things I am very much a statistic. I came very close to losing my life and I believe without a doubt that I would have eventually ended up the worse kind of statistic.

There's a lot to this story that I'm not going into. Partly because I'm not ready, partly because this isn't the right forum.

I don't feel like a victim. Do I live with repercussions? Definitely. I will for the rest of my life. The difference is I'm aware of how this has impacted me and I deal with it appropriately (well sometimes). I haven't had a panic attack in years, which is pretty awesome. I dealt with an eating disorder because of it (years ago) but I still have trust issues. I have anger issues. I have a bad temper. I know that if I had to I could defend myself to the bloody end. Because I have had to.

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