A word from our Founder: The effects of #SAAM

Sexual Assault Awareness Month is not easy for survivors. We are constantly bombarded with facts and statistics about the very crime we experienced. I am, however, grateful that such a month exists for public attention. Nevertheless, for me these constant messages about sexual assault act as a trigger.

My rape anniversary from the assault I experienced my sophomore year in college is on May 3. Around this time every year since then, I feel my life start to crumble. And every year, I wonder why this is the case. Then it all hits me again. My rape, I remember.

I have learned that in times such as this, I have to keep moving forward. That is what we do as survivors. Because moving forward is all we have sometimes. When an experience robs you of control over your body and mind, you are left with nothing and must rebuild anew.

Survivor’s Best Friend was and continues to be my way of rebuilding. I think about my past assaults every day--being sexually abused by my father and being raped as a female in college. I reclaim these memories by transforming my pain into motivation to help others with the same love Biscuit shows me. Biscuit was there when I needed him most. I don’t want any survivor to have to go through this alone. With Survivor’s Best Friend, now they don’t have to.

To survivor allies, extend extra kindness and empathy to the survivors in your life. This is a hard month for them. Recently, a colleague told me that my rape anniversary was “an excuse” for my ability to only communicate via email these past few weeks. This biting insensitive comment made me wonder, is the anniversary simply an excuse—a crutch to escape my responsibilities?

The truth is that it is not. PTSD is real, and it is debilitating. I have cried everyday these past few weeks leading up to the anniversary, and I suffer from constant flashbacks. I wish people would validate PTSD in survivors as they do with members of the military.

Stay strong fellow Survivor Warriors, and remember to take it one day at a time. Your healing will take many twists and unexpected turns in the days, months, and years following the assault. Your experience is unique to you; don’t let anyone dictate your healing process. I have found that in difficult times, it helps to concentrate on small and simple acts of daily self care. Give yourself the love and attention your body, mind, and soul deserve. No one can take that from you.

Sophie Capshaw-Mack