Need some encouraging words!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-24-2003
Need some encouraging words!
4
Mon, 03-31-2003 - 12:38pm
Hey everyone, I need some encouragement! My T has asked me to travel with her to our state capital and address the General Assembly about grants for victims of crimes. You see, my therapy is paid for by a grant from the District Attorneys Office to aid victims of violent crimes to get the help they need without the financial burden. Of course, sexual abuse falls under that definition. Anyway, I am really scared to do it, yet want to help keep the grants coming for people like myself. If this grant was not paying for my therapy, I could not afford to go. I know how important it is for people to get therapy to deal with feelings and thoughts about their specific crime. Now to tell you why I am so scared! I am afraid of the media presence at this thing, and am worried that people in my family will see me and hear what I have to say. I have not disclosed to any of my siblings what happened to me, and had been approaching this hesitantly in therapy. It terrifies me to even think about it. Not only did I have a sexually abusive father, but an alcoholic, physically abusive mother. My siblings and I learned well how to keep secrets, and I can't seem to let loose of the fear of telling those secrets. How will I be able to address a large group, comprised mostly of men, if I can't even tell my siblings? I think if there won't be any medial there while I am talking, I could say what I want to say, but if there is any media recording me, I will not be able to say anything. Any suggestions?

Tammie

Avatar for greenjeanz
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-24-2003
Mon, 03-31-2003 - 4:38pm
Wow, that's an exciting opportunity! I can understand your trepidation, though, and I would probably feel the same way if I were in your shoes. I mean, we've been trained not to tell our secrets, even though we know that the abuse was not our fault and that we have nothing to be ashamed of. Personally, I find that people who aren't blood relatives are much easier to talk to than members of my own family, so I don't find it surprising that you haven't told your siblings. Have you talked to your therapist about your concerns? I'm sure that he/she would understand if you don't feel that you're able to do this. Even though it might turn out to be an amazing and empowering experience, there's nothing wrong with keeping your own safety in mind. Will you be in any real physical danger if you reveal the secrets? And if your siblings do find out, how do think your relationship with them will change? Is it possible that they already know what you've been through, and that you might grow closer to them after disclosing? Your concerns are certainly valid, and I can't blame you one bit for being afraid. At the same time, I think it's great that your state offers these grants, and I'm sure your testimony would benefit others down the road. I have to admit, I'm actually kind of envious that you've been given a chance to speak out, because I'd like to challenge myself to seek out such an opportunity myself. Whatever you decide, I'm sure it will be the right decision for you. Keep us posted, if you want. I'm really intrigued by this grants program, and I'd like to find out more about it.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-24-2003
Mon, 03-31-2003 - 6:27pm
Greenjeanz, thanks for the response. In answer to some of your questions, my T is well informed of my feelings. We discussed this in great length today at my session. She tells me the same thing you did, that this will be an opportunity to feel empowered. To take back some of my control in my own healing. I agree, but the fear is so strong. I am so afraid of being judged by my siblings, and also not believed. My brother is a wonderful man, and he fills a lot of voids in my life, and I love him dearly. He lives 15 minutes from me, and I see him about 3 times a week. We have dinner together, his family and mine. I am just afraid that disclosure will mess all of that up! I can't get passed the thought that he will think I am "bad" and not love me anymore. I intellectually know that is not the case, but I don't "feel" it. I feel tainted and dirty. Again, I can rationalize it out and say that I am not, but I still feel it. I so want to do this but I am afraid that I won't be able to speak when I get there. I guess it will be easier because my T will be there with me. I also worry about "freaking out" when I am there, or after. There will be other people with us, and I don't want to have a panic attack in front of them. AHHHH, the more I think about it the more reasons I come up with not to do it. I really really want to do it, but don't know if I can get passed the fear. I am meeting with my T again on Friday, and she is supposed to find out about the media presence and all the particulars. She really wasn't well informed when she asked me today. This is supposed to happen on the 8th, that is next tuesday!! YIKES!! (taking a deep breath and breathing slowly!!) I keep telling myself, I CAN DO THIS, I CAN DO THIS. Maybe by next week, I will believe myself, LOL. Thanks again for the thoughts!

Tammie

Avatar for sunshineydays
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Mon, 03-31-2003 - 8:52pm
I completely agree...number one is you...if you aren't ready for this, then it's completely in your best interest to say no thanks. There have to be others that can do it, too. There will come a time in the future, if this is not the right time, to do this type of thing. I do agree that talking to strangers can be easier than people we know. I also agree that it could be a very empowering experience for you. I also think that you should talk to your T more about how you are feeling, if you haven't already. I'm sure that's really no help at all, eh? :) Take care...good luck, stacy
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Mon, 03-31-2003 - 9:30pm
Hi...I was wondering if perhaps there wouldn't be some way to ask if the media could keep your identity confidential? Maybe they could refrain from taking pictures (or, if they must, have your image in silhouette and change your voice)? Journalists wouldn't have to give your name...could call you 'Jane Doe' maybe.

Another thought I had...would it be possible to write letters stating your position to the members of the General Assembly?

I understand your hesitancy and concerns here. If you don't mind my saying, I am envious that you have this potential opportunity! I would dearly love to have such a platform to air my story; to stand up tall, strong, and proud as the survivor that I am. I'd wear my survival like an arm band and be more than happy to speak up loud for all of us.

Isabella