*Trigger warning of Sexual Assault*
If this article brings anything up for you and you need support immediately, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14, or RESPECT on 1800 737 732.
Passion is an innate human experience. It is what drives us and centres us. When we think of passion, we often associate it with a strong and intense feeling of enthusiasm towards a particular activity, idea or person. But for me, I associate passion with a sense of dedication, persistence, and motivation towards sexual violence prevention.
In the month of April 2023, it is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, whereby the theme is “Drawing Connections: Prevention Demands Equity.” As I prioritise sexual assault awareness all year round, this year I will be drawing my connection between pain and passion, and how my experience became a forceful power in my advocacy.
Transforming my pain into passion was not a simple journey. I had to be patient, self- compassionate, and I had to understand that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. I did not try to forget or ignore my experience. In fact, I embraced the suffering as a catalyst for personal growth, development, and control of my life. But not everyone can be as gentle with themselves and that is okay. Sexual violence is a traumatic and deeply personal experience that can cause immense pain and suffering for the survivor. Turning this pain into passion is a difficult process that requires acknowledging and accepting the trauma, working through the emotions and experiences, and finding ways to channel the pain into power. But they need to be ready. This transformation might not be for them, whether that be now – or ever. Nevertheless, they will be able to reconcile with themselves and recognise that they did not cause their experience, and they are not responsible for what happened. Once they reconcile with this, they may want to take a similar path to that of mine.
Here is my path:
- Support: Although it may feel like it, you are not alone in your recovery. Seek support from trusted friends, family members or health professionals. Talking about your experience with someone who understands and cares about you can help alleviate the pain and give you a sense of comfort and validation.
- Self-care: Taking care of yourself is crucial in the healing process. Engage in activities that make you feel like YOU, and bring you happiness.
- Education: Learning about your experience, its effects and the resources available to you can help you feel empowered and more in control of your future.
- Community: Being part of a community of survivors who share similar experiences can be a source of strength and support. You can join a support group, attend events
- or meetings, or volunteer for organisations that support survivors of sexual assault. My experience brought me my community.
- Action: I found healing by turning my pain into passion, through action. I founded a project that advocates for policy changes, fundraises for support survivors and educates local institutions how to better accommodate survivors.
You are not defined by what was done. Hold your head high and know your worth. You are a warrior, a fighter, and a force. When the darkness comes, remember this truth; You are a survivor, and your light will never be subdued. Your pain will become your passion.