When you have been victimized (I know-gross), it's hard to know how to be a survivor, so here are my thoughts on how to SURVIVE:
1. PRAY. Didn't see that one coming, did ya? You don't have to pray to God-you are probably pissed at Him. Find something/someone else to pray to if that's what you need. That's the first step...talking. It doesn't matter if you are talking to God, Mother Nature, your dead daughter (in my case). To pray is to address a solemn request, invoke, call on, implore, appeal to , entreat, beg, petition. Prayer allows you to get your thoughts together. Prayer will not change the facts, raise the dead, or heal your black eye, but prayer will ground you. Now you are praying...you are talking and it's just you and whoever, so...
2. SCREAM. Yeah, scream. Ugly cry. Because you need to get all the hurt out. It isn't helping you or anyone around you to let the hurt fester. When I let too much hurt and anger build up inside me, my body starts to physically hurt. Do yourself a favor and let it out. Go in your closet and stuff a pillow in your mouth, or if you are like me...lay in your back yard and scream at the sky. (Thank you neighbors for not calling the cops. Also, why didn't you call the cops?)
3. FIND A SUPPORT PERSON/GROUP. After you have prayed and screamed by yourself, you are going to need someone to pray and scream with. You can't/shouldn't do this alone. And guess what ladies, your BFF saw you stuff your bra in middle school, she's probably seen you do many embarrassing things...she will ugly cry with you. For you SURVIVORS who aren't comfortable grieving with friends, a good counselor will let you roll around on their office floor and not judge you.
4. If you need it...SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION. In our society, mental illness is frowned upon, kind of like farting at the dinner table. "Umm, please excuse yourself for that mental breakdown/flatulence. It's not welcome in polite company." Yeah, fuck that. If you need anti-depressants or anti-anxiety meds to get you on the road to recovery, go get them. You are looking at the big picture-your SURVIVAL, not someone's opinion. (With that being said, please don't fart at the dinner table-it's just rude.)
5. FORTIFY YOURSELF. Now that you have prayed, screamed, got bitches to have your back, and meds...exercise, eat right, get plenty of sleep. (This is kind of a joke because I do none of these things, but when I'm laying in bed not sleeping, I plan meals, exercise programs and sleep schedules. At least my mind in moving in the right direction.)
6. EXPECT THE WORST. Wait, what? You thought these were all going to be positive bullet points? If you are a SURVIVOR going through a court case, do not expect closure any time soon. Our justice system was designed to make sure defendants get a fair trial. Expect many delays. Especially if your...I don't know what to call them...abusers, killers, assholes...are out on bail. Their lawyers will ask for any continuance that can. You will be forced to wait. They will get another month out of jail. This is another instance where they hold all the cards, making you feel even more like a victim. But it's okay. Let them have their time in the sun, because you are the SURVIVOR. At the end of the day, year, etc, they are still going to be the ones who are guilty.
7. INFORM YOURSELF. Ask questions. Hopefully, if you are a victim of a crime, you are assigned an awesome victim advocate like I was. This person will guide you through the court proceedings. Lean on him/her. Knowledge is power. As a victim, you will feel like you have no control; knowing what is going to happen during court, understanding what the lawyers and judge are saying, gives you a handle on the wheel. You are still not in control, but at least you know what is going on.
8. PRAY SOME MORE. Pray not for you, pray for them. Pray they will be honest in testimony (they won't, but pray for it anyway). Pray for more strength, yeah you already asked for that, but you are probably flagging. Like the grief cycle, the victim cycle repeats itself.
9. BE ANGRY. I can't believe I haven't mentioned this one yet. Tell yourself it's okay to be angry. Say this out loud..."I am fucking angry and I have a right to be." Wallow in that anger for a minute (anger has no place in your healing, but it is your right), then put your anger away.
10. FORGIVE. This is the hardest part for me to write. I am still struggling with this, so I looked to a guide that has much more knowledge than I can ever hope to impart... Matthew 18:22 says in regards to forgiveness, "I tell you not just seven times, but 77 times." Fuck around, Jesus! That's a lot of times I have to forgive a motherfucker. As we all know, I don't always live WWJD? To me, forgiveness is not an action. It's an emotion. As a SURVIVOR, you have to forgive. One day you have to hear their name and not have any reaction. That's what forgiveness means to me anyway. You may have a different perspective...if so implement your own idea of forgiveness.
Finally, the most important thing...
BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. Why shouldn't you? You are one badass SURVIVOR.