My name is Kayla, and when I was 12, I was sexually assaulted by someone I trusted. When I processed what happened, and told my family, I didn’t know what to expect. I was scared, hurt, and sad that someone I loved could hurt me like this. Many family members believed me and supported me through the whole process. Others thought that I was confused or making things up for attention. This led to lost contact with many members of my family, some of which I still love dearly.
In the beginning, I didn’t know what I needed to cope. I didn’t understand that support changes the way you heal and can be a monumental help when coming forward. Hearing the words “I believe you” would have given me the courage to stand up against those who said I was lying. Instead, I heard phrases like “Are you sure that’s what happened?” and “Maybe you just took his actions out of context!” These phrases made me question myself, and as time went on, they are what made it hardest for me to feel like I could ever be normal again.