A year ago I found myself in the eye of a hurricane where time seemed to stand still and feverishly swirl around me. In that eye, the stillness was stifling. Unable to breathe, I'd met with my district attorney for final trial preparation, and was left to anxiously await the moments when that stillness of the final two days before trial would pass over me and I'd be caught amid the torrential storm of stress and emotion. The anticipation of the trial, my testimony and utter lack of control ate away at me bit by bit.
But that's the thing about time. As I sit here one year later, it feels like those 365 days have passed in a blink, but that the whole ordeal has been a part of my story for an eternity. The span of a year has given me a bit of breathing room to notice the beauty of how the Lord is already starting to weave this test into my testimony. God is a true poet. Coming up this week, one year to the day (almost to the minute) of when I took to the witness stand with butterflies threatening to erupt from my stomach, I'll be meeting with a group of advocates from non-profits and our police force for the formation of a new group looking to change our collective response to sexual assault. A group looking to emphasize victim-centered approaches to this horrific crime, as the backlog of sexual assault kits are tested and new victims emerge every day. For me, it's beauty from ashes. What was meant for my destruction is being reworked for good - and that is a miracle.
I've written a bit about my experience, the aftermath and how I've moved forward but as this anniversary of my trial week is here, I feel ready to write about that process. I'd thought that I knew what the experience would be like from my extensive watching of Law and Order and work in news, but I could not have truly known what I would encounter. Sharing this story isn't one I'm doing for sympathy, but for catharsis and to help people understand. I plan to write more to come out of the shadows that so often enshroud survivors leaving them with a tremendous sense of loneliness and into the light. While I've come to learn that light doesn't remove the loneliness entirely, it does create space for community, interaction and grace. I don't plan to reveal the gritty details of my assault itself. Because for the time being, I don't believe such a post would be fruitful. But trial, and the process to the present is another ballgame. I didn't know what to expect, maybe someone reading this will get a sense of what they can expect and they'll find the strength to stand in the light, too. Maybe someone who knows or loves a survivor will understand in some small way how they can stand in support.
By standing firmly in the light and revealing more about my story, it's my sincere hope that others will feel empowered to share their own stories, because I don't want this to be about just me. It's about all of us, about giving others courage to face their attackers and to know that while no two experiences are the same, there is a great cloud of witnesses in this community of survivors. If you've got questions about anything I've written in the past, or will write in the days ahead, please reach out. If you've got my number, text me or call me. If you want to talk through my story, or yours, let's grab coffee. Leave a comment, or email me. I'd love to hear from you.