Nine days ago I sat down with the Director of our local Sexual Assault Center for an official interview.
Three days ago I got a job offer from her.
On that same phone call, I accepted. There was no contemplation, no second thoughts, no doubt in my mind that this is exactly what I’m meant to do. Helping women who have been assaulted and/or exploited is exactly why I’m here. …Well, that and writing of course.
This has created a shift in my life that I have literally been waiting years for. I could not be more excited for grateful for this. Of course, changing jobs is always a bit stressful. My current employer supports me in the change and that definitely lessens some stress, but I still feel the flutter of anxiety when I think about getting settled in to my new work space and getting to know my new co-workers.
It’s a bittersweet thing — to know that this is my purpose. Because I hate that there is a need for it. I hate knowing that women are being assaulted and abused simply because our patriarchal culture essentially says it is okay to do so. I don’t like being able to truly know the pain, confusion, and shame they’re going through. But I do. But I believe that I had to go through that trauma to come out on this other side, ready to bare arms in the fight against patriarchy.
I am well aware that very few victims of sexual violence get the help and information they need, or guidance on their healing journey. And even if they do, the amount of survivors that then truly embrace that title and experience in a way to harness and transform the pain into passion and drive is even fewer. Not everyone is a writer, or speaker, or able to translate empathy to direct services.
But I did.
My advocate quite literally saved me. I would not be who I am without her. Not only did I have to endure the violence, but I had to make it through the healing journey as well. Which, I felt, was sometimes more difficult.
I’ve been told, after speaking engagements or groups, that I serve as a beacon of hope and inspiration. I do not take that lightly. I am truly honored and touched to serve them in such a way. I understand the imperative need for a glimmer of hope when everything else around you seems to be falling apart into utter chaos.
This is what I’m meant to do, and I intend to do it for the rest of my life. #IWasBorn to be a sexual assault victim’s advocate.