Trust in Yourself
After a sexual assault, it’s not uncommon for an abuser to try and discourage you from talking about the experience. It’s a tactic meant to silence you and make you question what happened. It can keep you locked in an abusive setting, but also makes sure that you don’t feel comfortable speaking out or finding help following the assault.
You might hear phrases like:
“It’s your word against mine”
“No one will believe you”
“If you tell anyone, I’ll …”
Standing up to someone who has sexually assaulted you can be very difficult, especially if you’re being intimidated by threatening language. But there are steps you can take that may help reassure you of your recollection of the experience and keep track of any harassment you endure after the assault.
- Document any inappropriate behaviour in writing. Keep things your abuser may send, like photographs, text messages or emails, and store them in a safe place. If you can print them out, make several hard copies.
- Talk to someone you trust, such as a counsellor or friend. If you feel comfortable, share with them the things your abuser is sending you, too.
- Try to remain confident in the fact that you know what happened. It will not be easy, particularly if you’re being shamed or made to be kept silent, but it’s important to know that just because someone doesn’t want you to believe it, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.
These can all help put your story into context and may assist you down the line if you choose to pursue a legal case against your abuser. Give yourself the opportunity to feel better by believing in your own memories. You deserve to trust in yourself.