When a sexual trauma survivor still feels like a victim

As I stirred my tea this morning I realized the rippling dreadful and defeating sensation I’ve been feeling lately.


I am participating in a daylong event that includes a trauma survivor workshop. I haven’t felt like a survivor that much lately although I teach yoga to survivors of sexual trauma and I give presentations and trainings.


I feel like a victim.


I feel that “frozen in my shoes-can’t do anything about it-no one will believe me” victim feeling.


The #MeToo movement has become a rally cry and champion call for so many. It’s been a galvanizing force for a new generation of women who are claiming their voices, their bodies and their stories. I’ve been a part of this rally cry, or maybe more of a bird chirp.


In all honesty I’ve felt like time passed me. My abuse, molestation, rape happened in the 70s and early 80s. There was no public acknowledgement only secrecy and shame. There was no day in court. There was no confrontation.

I grew up silenced and shamed.

That’s where my reality and today collide and rip the survivor title and return it to victim. Today a nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court is being challenged by a woman who says she is a survivor of attempted rape by the nominee in 1982. It’s the day after an icon of my era, Bill Cosby, of Fat Albert, stand-up comedy and yes, The Cosby Show fame, was sentenced to prison for sexual assault.


I’ve been white knuckling through weeks of a non-stop barrage of discrediting and shaming of the victims of these men. The decades of women trying to be heard and acknowledged in the Cosby case. The shameless shaming of a college professor who dared try to raise her chirp into a challenge in the Brett Kavanaugh case.


I feel the lump in the throat. The kick in the gut. The stomping into the ground….. That these women have endured just to be heard, seen, acknowledged and BELIEVED!

Belinda @1983

I never got to confront my molester-abuser-rapist. I avoided, hid from, feared and trembled at the mention of his name until he died. He walked free in the world and lost nothing much for all that he stole from me. Even when the abuse ended and he was forced to leave our home he got to insert himself with visits and phone calls because he was a part of our family. My victimizer got to continue to victimize me and relished in his power.


I do not feel strong. I feel defeated as we enter today’s Supreme Court hearings. I want to conjure as much strength as I can for Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. Her story of that year, four years before I graduated high school, conjures memories of denying anything sexual about my being and being reviled by my cohorts who were dipping into dalliances like a playground. Her story reminds me how much fear I lived in and how that culture BRED PREDATORS.


I arrive this morning stirring a cup of tea looking at a timeline of:

  • cultural denial of women and their suffering;
  • cultural bullying of survivors to mind their place which is submissive and even subhuman;
  • and cultural rewarding of sexual predators and the circle of defense the old guard will ALWAYS do to protect their power and privilege.


I know I am not a victim. I know the journey I have taken through healing and claiming my story shows the strength of my survivorhood. I know the work I do with yoga and teens and children matters to help them connect to their truth and their voice.

Belinda @1979

But I also know there are thousands if not hundreds of thousands of VICTIMS who are taking the mockery of a hearing and the too-little-too-late imprisonment of Cosby as affirmation that times have not changed. That their voices will be silenced ultimately if the fish is big enough.


The dread I feel is knowing that next-door neighbors, family members, movie stars, musicians and television icons are one thing. But the true privileged power predators are holding the line and scoffing at anyone aiming #metoo at them. They pay it away, disregard or say it doesn’t apply to them, they justify and deny and they win. And that makes me feel powerless and thus a victim again.

This too shall pass. But I believe that as a survivor who is still on a path of healing I must be able to acknowledge and lean into the ripples that rock me. I must be able to confront my pain and my fear and not just mask it in a false superhero cape of “Super Survivor.” I’ve got to cry and scream and cradle myself when I need it and then I can get back up and stand even stronger.

I love what #MeToo has helped me learn and heal within myself. Now we must collectively and effectively harness a #FuckYou to confront the power elite predators and make them extinct.

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