TW: Sexual Assault
There are moments in life that shape us.
There are moments in life that forever change how we see the world around us.
These moments are the source of artist’s painful muses, the source of scholars’ need for answers, and the source of the human question; who am I and how will I choose to be tomorrow?
I have had many of these moments in my life. Before 7 months ago, when asked for a defining moment; I would have mentioned my grandfather who passed away from Alzheimer’s. I would have focused on my little sister’s fight for her life that she won and continues to win to this day. I would have spoken of theatre; the art that drew me to the human mind and the human condition as none has before.
These moments still hold great weight to my life. They changed me. They challenged me. They grew me. Then I had my first flashback.
Seven months ago, I finally uncovered the moment that has been shaping all of my moments for a lifetime.
It shaped my childhood.
It shaped my early adult years.
It shapes my healing today.
It has been my invisible chisel throughout this lifetime.
However, now I hold the chisel.
And I am ready for good to come from my moment.
I was sexually assaulted when I was 3 years old. I was not privy to this information in my conscious mind until seven months ago. I don’t believe I need to say much beyond that first sentence. It was a devastating, harmful, and evil thing done to a young child who did not have the power to say no. That is my moment.
And this is me taking it back.
1 in 3 girls will be molested before the age of 18.**
In a room of 100 women; odds are, that over 33 of them were assaulted before they were 18.
1 in 3.
Every 68 seconds, someone in America is sexually assaulted. *
Every 9 minutes, that someone is a child.
It is sobering numbers to look at in the face. However, look it in the face we must.
Healing a deep wound is a tricky medical procedures. It requires patience, attentive care, felt pain, and endless hours of you and others tending to the healing flesh.
A deep wound of trauma requires the exact same amount of time, care, and energy. Yet we live in a society that chooses to turn a blind eye to our victims and their masses.
Society does not grant trauma the gravity it deserves as a survivor rebuilds their life.
Sexual trauma, at any age, can and does lead to an expansive range of symptoms: Anxiety, Depression, PTSD, CPTSD, Insomnia, Substance misuse, Chronic pain, and the list goes on and on and on.
For me, my symptoms in childhood presented as intense anxiety and going above and beyond in the fawn response to keep others happy; to keep me safe. Other symptoms include large memory gaps throughout most of my childhood. More memories than just my assault slipped into unconsciousness as I lived in a body and mind hell-bent on protecting me in this world.
As an adult, my repressed trauma manifested as chronic back pain, shame towards sexuality, panic attacks, and depressive episodes. I was diagnosed with GAD and Episodic Depression when I was 24. It was not until 27 that the symptoms gave way to the root issue; and the root issue led to a continuing walk with PTSD.
Here is the thing though...
(And please know it has taken a HELL of a journey to get here. )
I no longer fear my moment.
I look it and my symptoms in the face with determination and careful gentleness.
My healing has included research; and my research has yielded a fire within me that refuses to dim. There are one in three of me’s walking around in this country; different stories, but they too hold this generational pain.
One in three women have fought with their self-worth.
One in three women have potentially gone on to abusive adult relationships because these mimic the trauma they received in childhood.
One in three women struggle with self-loathing.
One in three women potentially have lasting physical issues even within a loving, sexual relationship.
One in three women.
Fortunately, I am one of those women and a lifetime of staying quiet has primed me to do two things:
1) I will help others as they heal. It takes a village to heal and I will be in anyone's village who wants me.
2) I will make some noise. I will speak up for the women who cannot. I will learn, I will listen, and I will spend the rest of my days making noise until people learn to listen. Making noise until people hear.
Twenty-four years ago, a choice was taken from me. My body kept the score and weathered 24 years of repressed trauma. Now, I am taking choices back for myself.
I did not choose what happened to me; but I can choose what I do with my story. And I choose to use my story to heal. Heal myself, heal others, and heal this world.
Moments in our lives may define our timelines. However, they do not define us.
My name is Kasey Eileen.
I am a cat mom.
I am an artist.
I am a grad student studying Psychology.
I am an introvert.
I am a force.
I am an actor.
I am a creator.
I am a sexual assault survivor.
Assault is part of my story. Assault is not my definition.
To the moment in 1997....
I will take it from here.