Survivors. It's such a general term.
We use it for anyone who has been through sexual abuse. But not everyone who has been through sexual abuse is the same. There are different types of abuse. And that leads to various effects. And all these people who have been abused turn out differently.
There are the Forever Victims. They may speak up about their abuse. They may not. However, it is always about them. Their message is always the same. I have been hurt. I have been betrayed. You owe me now. You all owe me. Everything is about my pain and suffering, never about empowerment and moving forward. They pull out the victim card whenever they get the chance.
Then there are the Survivors. The ones who have been hurt and acknowledge that. But then they decide they want to heal. They want to have a good life, turn the pain into power. So this is what they talk about, how awful the abuse was and how it transformed them, changed their lives. It's a powerful and important message, one we all need to hear.
And then some Survivors become Advocates. They dedicate their lives to helping others become Survivors. They speak up about their abuse because they know how important it is for others to hear how devastating and how common it is. It is these Advocates who are changing the face of sexual abuse, today and tomorrow. They empower other Survivors just by being, just their mere existence inspires others. Because they make it about everyone else's suffering. Not their own. That was just the process they had to endure to save others.
But let's not be mistaken and assume that it is the ones who have endured the worst abuse and with the least support who become Forever Victims. Interestingly enough, it is usually the ones who have been hurt the most who sympathize the most. They have been hurt and beaten and stepped on, over and over, so they understand how much it hurts. They want to make you feel better and not go through what they did.
"Above all be the heroine of your own life, not the victim."