The wind and leaves

The wind and the leaves remind me of the fall. Both make me think of cooler weather, hot chocolate and comfy sweaters. Its heart warming.

For one woman the wind and the leaves mean something else, something dark and unspeakable.  A moment that changed everything… A moment of humiliation and desperation.

“The wind and leaves remind me of when it happened,” she told one of advocates when she called during our sexual assault phone bank. The wind and the leaves remind her of when she was raped.

It was hard not to notice the leaves moving and feel the wind blow as we walked out of the station that night. It was ironic.

How could something so beautiful and calming remind her of something so horrible? I can only imagine how this woman feels on nights like tonight. The memory of that horrible moment can be triggered by something so simple as the wind and leaves. It is truly heart breaking.

Rape is such a horrible crime. It breaks you down, hurts and numbs.

That night many had the courage to pick up the phone and for the first time talk about what was done to them. They were able to speak up and say, “This happened to me… I was raped.”

Those nights are magical but really shake you to the core. They are magical because something amazing happens when that person decides to talk and share their story… they feel connected and are able to process some of what happened. You are shaken to the core because you realize the evil human beings are capable of. It makes you want to do everything in your power to protect the person on the other end. It makes you want to reach over the phone, hold them and tell them everything will be okay. It makes you feel like your problems are insignificant in comparison to the suffering others are feeling. Those are the nights I love the work we do even more do but also hate that it has to be done.

Sexual Violence is something that can be prevented. It is not a hereditary disease that we can get from our mothers or fathers. Sexual violence it’s a crime of choice, someone decides to do it. Someone decides to hurt and cause pain to another by choice. We shouldn’t have to tell men not to rape women. Its really not rocket science. NO is NO.

Survivors never cease to amaze me, their strength and courage is truly remarkable. I’m humbled and deeply touched when they share their stories with me. These are the stories that keep me connected to the cause. These are the lives that touch my life. This is why I want change. I believe change is possible and we can all be a part of it.

My last thought is for the survivor, her wind and leaves… “May your wind be more powerful than any bitter moment in your past. May you one day be able to feel and smell the freshness of the leaves outside and may they be reminders of new life, hope and joy”


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