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I didn’t tell anyone when I was sexually assaulted because of what he said to me straight after it happened. He said “Don’t scream rape”. I remember these words so vividly and they played out in my head for years.

I eventually started talking about it to a couple of people, and it was only when I saw him again and completely freaked out that I realised how much it affected me. Fortunately, when I saw him again, I was with a couple of people who I had told what happened, so when they saw me nearly collapse they realised what was wrong. From then on, I would very rarely talk about it, and it would only be with a very select few people, the people who were closest to me. Even then, it was a huge deal for me to talk about it and I would just say “I was raped”. There were no details. I would answer questions if they asked but that was it. I tried to keep myself ‘separate’ from what had happened.

I’ve also had a few past relationships which were not good. At the time I knew they weren’t right, but I didn’t know the extent of how bad they were while I was in the relationships. I now realise it was family violence, which unfortunately, too many people experience. Some of the things I experienced included: having an ex break into my parents’ house at 4am, my phone bill (back in the day) being stolen, being chased by my ex with a baseball bat, I got followed to Melbourne (when I lived in the country) when I was going away for a girls weekend, my boyfriend was jealous of my mum, I wasn’t allowed to have male friends, I was questioned why I needed female friends when I had a boyfriend, my phone company was called to see who I had been calling and he called them, and unfortunately the list goes on.

While I am not grateful for these experiences, I am grateful for what they taught me, and who I have become as a result of these incidents. I’m an extremely strong, independent person, I’m resilient, I’m empathetic, I want to help people, I’m knowledgeable, I’m compassionate and I’m still able to love with all my heart. I have also learnt a number of additional things about trauma that I thought I would share with you.

1. You don’t just ‘get over it’ and ‘time’ doesn’t heal it.

We’ve all hear the sayings “just get over it” and “time heals all wounds”. That’s how I tried to live my life.