1) You didn’t ask for it. No matter how some individuals view sexual assault, your clothing, behaviour, previous sexual experience, the situation you were in, or if alcohol was involved – doesn’t excuse the choice the sexual offender made.
2) You are worthy of safe, loving, positive relationships. Being a victim of a sexual crime can feel like something shatters inside you, and it’s important to have people in your lives who are willing to help you put the pieces back together.
3) Self-Care. Self-Care. Self-Care. Do things that make you feel calm, relaxed, safe and happy. It is essential to take time for yourself, because you deserve to love you. Making yourself a priority in your own life does not make you selfish, it makes you self-aware.
4) Don’t think about the “What if’s”. Although difficult to understand, it is important for your heart and your healing journey to spend your time focusing on what you can control. Since you cannot change the past, how will you choose to let your past effect your present, and your future?
5) Be your own hero. If you catch yourself thinking “why me”, don’t feel guilty about that. You are human. You have feelings, and your feelings are valid. Just always remember to love yourself. Be kind to you. Cheer yourself on! Next time you say something negative about yourself, acknowledge it, say something you love about yourself, and move on. An arrow must be pulled backwards in order to shoot forward. So don’t dwell on setbacks, because they will only make you stronger.
Jessica Lanigan is a Wear Your Label Community Champion and founder of Project Roar, raising awareness about child sexual abuse and empowering victims to find their roar.