How would you respond?

Tomorrow I’m being interviewed with another survivor on a radio show/podcast. The first part of the interview the host would like us to tell our story and how we recovered. The women who I’m being interviewed with is a powerful advocate who brings awareness to sexual assault and trafficking. She speaks to first responders, and police officers coaching them on how to talk with someone who has just been sexually assaulted. I’m going to be talking about surviving trauma and living with PTSD. We both get to promote our books, which is always a bonus!

When I tell my story, I don’t go into detail, I don’t want to trigger myself or anyone else who may be listening to me speak. I have done enough talks to be able to read the audience and have learned what to say and not say. In a nutshell, I tell people I survived unimaginable abuse for the first 20 years of my life, with continued threats to stay silent. I worked hard to repress my past until a family tragedy jarred my memories and I couldn’t keep them under lock and key any longer. Despite living with PTSD, I’ve worked hard the past eight years to learn the truth of my past. I’m determined to help destigmatize mental illness, particularly PTSD, by speaking and writing openly about living with this disorder.

The second part of the segment, we will be interviewed by a local high student. This is the main reason I said yes to the interview. How cool is it to be interviewed by teenagers? She is going to ask the following 3 questions:

  • What should you do if you’re being abused?
  • What should you do if you know of a friend who is being abused?
  • What could people have done to better help you?

I’m so grateful for how interactive the blogging community is when it comes to comments. I would love to know how you would answer these questions. Any of the questions? Parents, what would you like your children to know? Younger people, what would you have liked or want to know? Survivors, how would you answer any of these questions?

Your input is greatly appreciated!


53 thoughts on “How would you respond?

  1. This field was intentionally left blank

    Wow, what an amazing opportunity 😊

    Thank you for writing this post. The subject of abuse is such an important one ❤️

    How would I respond to the questions you posted (which are wonderful, by the way!)

    To all 3, I would say that the most important thing is to talk about it. To not be ashamed; to know that it’s not your fault. To tell your story. To tell someone, anyone (whom you can trust not to use it against you).

    Tell a teacher/professor, a friend, a friend’s parent, a neighbor, a school counselor. Or tell a coworker (for those in that age group).

    The most important thing is not to stay silent. And to remember that you’re not alone; a lot of horrific scenes go on behind closed doors, in every community, in every walk of life. Abuse is not the fault of the victim; it’s all on the abuser.

    Thank you so much for what you’re doing 😊❤️

    Best of luck!!
    ~The Silent Wave Blog writer

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: My Picks Of The Week 2017 – #5 | A Momma's View

  3. Too late for the interview, unfortunately, but I’m sure there will be more, so I’ll leave my thoughts below about the first two. Only YOU can answer the third. I will also be eager to hear how you DID respond.
    I would suggest that they “practice” telling by calling an anonymous help line – ANY of them will have trained listeners to advise them where best to call – or can find out for them.

    Call several times if they keep getting those “why didn’t I say . . .?” or “how come I put it that way?” ruminations. They would also get a bit more comfortable with having another person respond to what they say, and may hear some advice that will help them further.

    The main message must be repeated: I believe you; you don”t deserve this – you didn’t cause it; the perpetrator is NOT a loving person and needs, at best, help and at worst, incarceration; you are NOT bound to protect them, and you MUST speak to someone who can help get you away from further harm.

    Even if they do nothing, those words will stick and will help them feel entitled to heal when they are ready.
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Congratulations on your interview. Speaking your truth allows others to find healing. Trust yourself and speak from a place of love. Thank you for bravely coming forward with your story to make it easier for others.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank You Katerina, that’s great insight. I love how you’ve talked about both sides of not being ready to disclose, and the destruction is causes to keep it locked up. We will all keep healing together on this journey. xx

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Well done Alexis, it’s great that part of your journey has given you insights to reach others. Reflecting on some of my past experiences, I would remind people who have suffered and who are ready to disclose this to trusted others: That even if they love you, their response may be unhelpful, because they are not psychologically or mentally equipped to hear you or process what you have gone through. This can be a huge setback, as it can invariably involve being rejected or regarded as “other” or somehow “broken irreperably.” On the other hand, keeping this private is terribly destructive, although it can provide a context for some of the things a person has done up to that point in theirlives. There are many, many people who do understand, who will help you, who will accept you and care deeply for you. Some of these may at first fail you, when confronted with the fact that they allowed you to come to harm somehow, or because of their issues. Don’t give up on yourself, even when all the world seems too hard. You will find your voice, among others who understand.
    Katerina X

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great insight, Don. Thank You. You’re right about people getting angry when someone asks or try’s to intervene. Both kids and adults typically respond in that defensiveness. I just got off the phone with the host, now Im really excited for this afternoon!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Tough questions. I know people who have obviously been abused that cover for their abuser or play it off as some behavioral anomaly. It’s a sticky situation and you have to be prepared to have that victim very angry at you if you intervene.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Thank you Daisy. This is great feedback and wonderful insight. I think foe sure Im going to address the shame, confusion and the desire to stay silent their friends may be feeling if they are in an abusive situation.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. First of you are such an empowering lady x.
    I think people woh have been abused need to know that they have a voice and they can and must use it. Abusers are not right and say things that are untrue to keep their victims/surivivors quiet. They didn’t ask to be abused -no matter how much they feel it is their fault. Abuse comes in many forms. I think it would be helpful to explain what a person is like who doesn’t abuse. Outline what a healthy ,non tocxic person would act and be like. xxx good luck

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I’m sure you will be/were brilliant. You already have the answers. Speak from your heart. I blog about raising kids with PTSD from traumatic backgrounds. I’m learning to be a better, more understanding adoptive mom by reading your blog. If you have one thing? It is the power of your words.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. So glad you are doing this program. I believe the second question would be the most difficult since it is often age-driven. Younger people have that code of silence, not to “tell” anyone even if the friend is being hurt. I hope you will share your possibly newly-learned insights after the program!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Parents and adults who sense abuse need to act, many times we put it down as growing pains but there’s something deeper that they can’t tell us. so do a little kind digging. My friend told me she had acted up when she was being abused so that her parents would take notice and stop sending her to the babysitter but they were too busy.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. These are things that I taught my daughters:

    -What should you do if you’re being abused?
    Your body and mind are yours, no-one elses. If you feel invaded, tell anyone who will listen until they listen and act in your best interests. Trust your gutt.
    -What should you do if you know of a friend who is being abused?
    As above.
    – What could people have done to better help you?
    Listen and then ACT in My best interest. It’s not about them, its about Me.

    Good luck and thank you for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  15. Mary

    I was just at an informational meeting Saturday, on sex trafficking in the United States. The scariest part was the statistics. The average age of sex trafficked people are between the age of 10-14. These kids are not only vulnerable at that age, but also not educated. They think people walking to their car in the dark, or not pay attention while texting on their phones when someone can abduct them. Unfortunately, its the people that they know & trust that can lure them into this. I feel we need to educate these children in elementary-high schools. Knowledge is a powerful tool!

    Liked by 3 people

  16. Yeah, I read your book. I know if anyone could relate to this issue, it’s definitely you, A. And you are correct, it is the norm, but the evidence standard needs to be lowered and States need to formulate their cases in a way that allows for the absolute absence of evidence. Witnesses who report are not only credible witnesses, but they would be compelling on the stand. I think in the past, there has been an avoidance of false reporting, but I believe that teens and children who report are doing so honestly. It is important that we believe them and too often they are not believed because the perpetrators are skillful at discrediting the younger, less savvy victim.

    It’s an insidious circle.

    Wishing you well today!

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Thank You so much for your response. I love these answers. They love that they are simply put, which is the best way to answer. I’m looking forward to reading that blog post when you write it. Ugh…I’m so sorry that you’re perpetrators weren’t prosecuted. I think that’s unfortunately the norm. One of the things I struggle with is that feeling of no justice, ever, for my perpetrators. Maybe some day that will change for others. No, someday that WILL change for others. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  18. question 1, question 2: report.

    question 3: I plan on writing about this at length in my blog, but I believe these cases should automatically be prosecuted, based on the victim’s word. My case was never prosecuted because of lack of evidence. I strongly believe that if I’d been allowed to go to trial, a jury would’ve convicted his ass.

    Good luck, love. Your work is appreciated and needed! I’m glad to know you. 💙

    Liked by 2 people

  19. TheOriginalPhoenix

    I’m so glad you’re fighting the stigmas around mental illness too. Soon enough, there’ll be enough people like us and that’s when the change will happen. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  20. It’s a wonderful thing what you do for society. I am not a parent yet. But I would like to know how would we educate our children in a right way at the right age. It would be nice if you could post your answers and opinions after interview as well.

    Liked by 2 people

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