trigger warning: allusions to sexual abuse.
“do you know what it’s like?” she asks.
i pause. i have to.
there are so many things i want to say
to the girl
no, the client, in front of me
who is tired and alone
just looking for someone to understand.
i want to say i know how it feels
to wonder if you could have done something
anything differently —
i don’t want this.
but i said those words didn’t i?
it’s all so hazy.
i want to take her hand in mine
and tell her everything
how it happened to me
over. and over. and over.
because how could i know what was happening?
‘don’t you love me’ loops in my head
day after day.
i want to pull her into my arms
and say i know it all to0 well
the disgust with yourself
and that it’s funny to feel like the filthy one
when you never chose
to play in the dirt.
one in four
one in four
one in four, the books all say.
but there are two of us in this room.
i want to scream
yes i know!!!!!
but it’s not about me.
so i say,
“i’m very sorry this happened to you, i’m here to listen.”
this was a very emotional and personal thing for me to write. but so important to get off my chest. i work at an emergency shelter for
victims survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. i often have to do intakes (paper work and program orientation) for clients coming from the hospital after a sexual assault. i often get asked if i know how it feels in one way or another and this always makes me freeze for a moment. i know what they want — they want someone who can relate to what they’re going through. and i can in some way or another.
my abuser was my significant other for almost 4 years. i didn’t even know i was being constantly assaulted until a specific therapy session and it was like a bomb went off. he had me broken down into feeling like nothing. i felt so low i had no sex drive. the thought of it made me want to throw up. but he would push it almost every night, not taking his hands off me when i asked. not stopping when i said no. making me feel guilty for not wanting it. trying to dangle the relationship over my head. it’s all so sickening looking back on it.
anyway, i guess i’m putting this out there because i needed an outlet. but also for anyone who is a survivor like the clients i work with every day. a survivor like me. i hate that anyone who experiences trauma like this feels alone. it kills me that i can’t do more for the clients i speak with besides listen and validate their feelings. but my job is to give them a safe place to stay. a safe place to talk. it should never be about me, and that i understand.