Summer of 2015. I had hit my lowest. I thought I was nothing more than an empty, crushed Polar Pop on the side of the road. I was alone. My mind was feeding off of everything he was telling me.
“None if it is as bad as you make it sound.”
“I don’t think it happened the way you think it did.”
“I don’t see how this is bad or wrong.”
His lies were becoming truths to me. All of these things he said boiled down to YOU'RE MAKING THIS UP. Which, if you think about it, means I have some sort of psychological problem. Who makes up that their youth minister/counselor sexually abused them? My head wasn’t right. And I was alone. I had no one to confide in, and even if I did, where would I start? This had been going on for over 5 years. It’s hard to tell a story that has been building up for 5 years when you don’t even know if you believe your own story anymore.
One day I was with my one of two friends. I started hinting at how I didn’t think “things were right” but I also made sure to note that “I’m probably just crazy and I don’t know what is even true anymore.” She was disturbed to say the least and she suggested I go to counselling once school started again.
I counted down the days for school to start just so I could get in to see a counsellor. And when I finally saw one, I told them about how crazy I was and I said I needed some medication because I thought I had some type of psychological disorder. I told her I might die because I don’t trust myself and I think about killing myself everyday. I make plans everyday. I scream at myself when I’m alone. I don’t know what’s wrong with me but I need help.
She handed me a paper that said “The Cycle of Abuse.” I looked at her and just thought how the fuck is this supposed to help me not be crazy? It took weeks for me to see that I had been sexually abused. And it took years for me to believe it was not my fault.
I could not have gotten through this without people. I slowly would tell person-by-person what had happened to me. The reactions ranged from laughter (yeah) to sobbing. But each person I told and confided in made me feel like I had grown another inch. I wasn’t as tiny and insignificant as I thought I was. I wasn’t alone in my own tiny, sad and destructive world. I was becoming part of a community.
This community of family and friends and classmates pulled me out of my depression. They brought me back to who I was and ultimately saved me. They were patient and supportive and I literally owe them my life. When I told them what happened, none of them said “you’re making this up.” Even though I didn’t quite believe myself, they believed me. And this is what I want JDA to be for other people. I would have never survived had it not been for having a community around me, and I know not everyone is fortunate enough to have that. I want to give others the opportunity to be a part of a community that will help them succeed and survive abuse. Whether you want to talk about what happened or just move along, you need people around you that will be there to listen and support whatever path you take.