Its 8:00pm and she is watching her favorite novela when suddenly a number appears on the screen urging her to call. It feels as if the reporter on the other side of the screen is talking to her, a survivor of sexual violence. Her heart stops and before she can think dials and someone answers.
“I don’t know why I’m calling.” She says
The advocate on the other end says, “Its okay, I know it’s something hard to talk about but I’m hear to listen.”
She begins to cry and apologizes over and over again for not understanding her own tears. “Its okay to cry,” the advocate says.
She continues to cry and gets a few words in between sobs… “I was only 6… I didn’t know why he did that to me. I tried to tell my grandmother but she asked me to stay quiet. That was her son and she didn’t want him to go to jail.” She pauses and cries once more… “I tried to tell someone and it didn’t work… it didn’t stop. I’m now 24 and I never told anyone else about it until tonight.”
When did it stop? Asks the advocate
She says, “ 4 years ago.”
My heart then drops and I can feel her pain through the phone. A piercing pain every time she tried to explain how she felt when it happened… how she feels now.
In the last two weeks the Houston area women’s center staff has taken more than 200 calls from sexual assault survivors during 2 phone banks. That’s only in 2 days. Most of those cases have never been reported to the police but this horrific crime is so real and so constant.
We tend to stress over so many things every day. We stress about the weather being too cold, too hot or too rainy, our coffee not being done right, not having anything to wear or not being able to check our face book every hour. Yes, all very stressful!
The reality is that all these ‘stressful situations’ will never come close to what some are going through. Our realities may never be filled with suffering or the same pain someone is feeling as you read this. Someone at this very moment cries and wishes things were different. Someone out there begs for a better day. Someone out there begs for no more days.
It is heart wrenching to hear the stories that came through those phones. It is impossible to imagine what that person is feeling as they share their story. It is impossible to truly understand all the emotions… impossible unless it has happened to you.
Survivors are powerful beings that carry so much courage and strength. I want them to know they exist in a universe filled with possibilities and hope. I want them to know their life doesn’t end because of that moment. I want them believe in healing. I want them to know they ground me when they share their stories. I want them know I’m deeply touched when I hear their voices and see their faces. I want them to know that happiness can exist within them, not just pain and suffering.
I want to them to know they are strong, courageous and amazingly powerful beings.
I want her to know she inspires me.