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Sexual Assault Awareness Month 2021

Welcome to this limited series to help bring conversations around sexual abuse and assault into the open.

Together, we can end the shame, stigma, and isolation for Survivors.

I welcome your thoughts, experiences, and anything else you'd like to share. Comment below.

Welcome and introduction to this series + a call to action

Episode 1 - Getting personal ~ I still wonder at times, "how'd I get here?". I share my first journal entry right after beginning my healing process

Episode 2 - It's time to stand in our truth... our power and eradicate the shame and myths of being a Survivor

Episode 3 - Day of action for all (allies and survivors) supporters of Survivors... We (you) are not alone.

Episode 4 - Dismantling the myth of broken beyond repair

Episode 5 - How religious beliefs and values can lead to deeply held shame

Episode 6 - What male survivors wish we knew ~ breaking the myths & creating space *(Trigger Warning - graphic content)

Episode 7 - Things to consider as an ally and supporter of sexual trauma survivors ~ what survivors wish you knew

Episode 8 - What I wish I had known ~ personal reflections and the difference it may have made

Bonus reading of the poem The Mask I Wear - A poem expressing the deep desire to be witnessed while being terribly afraid of being seen.

I discovered this poem at the beginning of my healing journey. I read it aloud to members of the support group I attended with a quivering voice and shaking hands. As I recorded this reading I reflected on the difference between now and then. No more quivering voice or shaking hands. 😉 I wish I had known then that one day that would be possible.

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12 comments on “Sexual Assault Awareness Month 2021”

  1. How deeply touching it is to hear of how your healing journey began. Mine started on the 22nd June 1993.Wow! even sharing that, to admit how long this road has been for me is an acknowledgement in itself. What I remember from that first appointment is how I almost didn't go. I was deeply depressed and had no idea what to say at that first appointment. I remember being asked about my father and I said I didn't really know him, it felt like the strangest thing to say and it was. My memories of abuse then were somatic and I didn't understand what they were. The emotional and visual flashbacks began then and I remember in my deep, deep despair wondering if I had made a mistake.All these years later I'm grateful that I did attend that first appointment as who I am today bears no resemblance on who I was then. I too thought that therapy was about changing who I was as oppose to growing, discovering and developing into who I am. I too now know that I'm enough, I always have been in the eyes of so many, I just didn't know this for myself.I'm so glad that I know this now. It's never, ever too late to heal and to grow into all that one can be.
    Thank you for your courage, your bravery and your strength because without your healing journey you'd never been such a powerful, supportive and amazing part of mine!
    Thank you for all that you do for all that walk this journey,I'm proud to walk with you as we say not our shame!

    1. Oh, Barbara. This nearly brought tears to my eyes. <3 🙂 Thank you for sharing your experience and your kind words. I, too, am grateful for this journey together.

  2. #Not Our Shame 💜
    I remember my first therapy session. I was terrified & full of fear. I can’t believe I kept going. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Dear Peggy❤️
    You👈🏽 have changed my life👈🏽for the better, soo much bettter👈🏽🦋 and now do I try to pass it to others...in need without hope❤️/gordana from sweden🕊

    1. I am honored to have played a part in your journey. 🙂 <3 Every time we share a piece of ourselves, it helps shift our understanding and collective consciousness. Each of us has a powerful role in this shift. Thanks for listening and sharing.

  4. I am maybe still quite new to healing, but I have been reading over my first journal. It took me eleven months to finally send an email to Peggy. It took several more months before beginning our sessions (because I could not find the courage to ask her to help me.)
    I only vaguely remember that first session. I was so scared I could not hear or take in most of what was said, and I have no memories of anything I shared. I do remember being so shocked that I was met with warmth, patience and kindness. But I remember thinking that would change once she really knew me.
    It hasn’t changed; even though I have tried to push Peggy away at times or been so very tempted to run away. Peggy has patience and understanding in bucket loads!
    I still have a long way to travel; I still carry a lot of shame and negative feelings about myself. I still struggle with the fact that I can’t “fix” everything in 5 minutes and be done! But, there are moments now when I can dare to trust, moments where I can risk asking for support, and even moments when I can believe that, that support and care are real, even if I don’t believe I deserve it. There are moments of strength and even of laughter. I can show tears now and share things that I never thought I would, and the sky doesn’t fall in (even if for now I am only able to share with Peggy).
    The journey is not easy. But neither was life before I took on this climb towards the summit. The difference is, now I have a safe hand to hold. I can be vulnerable and met with dignity and compassion. There are chinks of light that I did not believe would ever be for me. There have even been good days.
    Thank you Peggy, for sharing your story, for speaking up amidst injustice and for gently guiding and caring. You often say to me “you are not alone”. I think that has made the biggest difference. As you also say ‘Together we heal”! In gratitude and love, Isabella ❤️

    1. There is so much in your story many survivors will be able to see themselves in... lessening the shame and fear about the experience and process. Thank you for sharing your experience, process, and very kind words. <3 🙂

  5. Thank you so much for this series, Peggy. Episode 8 and your reading of ‘The Mask I Wear’ had me in tears. There’s just so much in these that resonate with me. The fear of being seen but being desperate for connection, feeling afraid that deep down, I’m nothing, and believing that when people really see me, they’ll think less of me. This fear has been completely overwhelming for most of my life, as well as feeling ashamed for the ways I’ve coped with the pain. I didn’t realise until I began healing that these behaviours were not because I’m screwed up, but were a result of my experiences and that it made sense to want to be numb. All of this is just so important for survivors to understand. I’m still learning that I’m loveable - it’s very hard to trust this. Thank you again for this very moving series.

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to listen and share your thoughts and experience. I'm glad you were able to feel a connection to what I shared and the poem. It has never been about you... or me, or our lovability. ❤️

  6. Thanks Peggy. I listened with interest to your podcast on male survivors. Very informative and to the point. Because my abuser is long passed away, I have struggled with the “what’s the need to address this now” syndrome. Some helpful Counseling precipitated by experienced-triggering moments over the past years, have made my healing process an important part of my life as I age. You may, anecdotally, know of my desire to write a book that will include my reality of abuse. Figuring it will “ruffle” some feathers (I suppose). I’m finding that, for me, healing can be cyclical, perhaps intentionally so (?). There have been long periods of time where I felt good about my state of mind/life/family etc...and other periods that bring me to self-reflection, wonderment, and perpetual questions of how influential or impacting has the abuse been in my life...to make me who I am today. Was it at all positive? A silly question! But was it all negative? As a counselor yourself, you might suggest whether it’s either...or needs to be either food or bad. My curious nature allows me to ponder like that. Other personalities may better compartmentalize...and contain or treat the subject totally differently than I. My age says I’m “wiser” in life, but this subject and my experience with abuse makes me feel like a “forever-novice”. I’m now rambling...sorry. Thanks. A friend forever.

    1. Thanks so much for listening and taking the time to share your thoughts and experience. All that you described is the natural cycle of healing. I don't believe there is anything about the impact of abuse or process of healing that "should" be a specific way. I appreciate you sharing your voice as a male survivor. ❤️

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Courageous Journeys® and Survivor Whisperer® are registered Trademarks - Copyright 2021
All the information I share on this site is for informational and educational purposes only. Your participation on the site does not constitute a therapeutic relationship. If you are struggling and need immediate support, please contact RAINN @ https://rainn.org/ or call your local emergency services.
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