Guest blog post written by Katie Wilson

Before the #MeToo movement, being a survivor of childhood sexual abuse was something I carried with me for years. It was what I called a “known secret,” meaning members of my family knew it happened but chose to look the other way. This caused a lot of pain throughout the years. But it was still something I was never vocal about because I felt I had to protect the family secret and not let anyone be hurt by what had happened to me.

Through the years the pain built up, and the weight became too much to carry. So, I sought out therapy to help me work past it. While I was slowly making some progress, the #MeToo movement started. I saw so many girls that I knew and went to school with coming out about their own abuse. They talked about how they were tired of the stigma around abuse and would no longer be held captive by the shame and guilt that came with it.

They spoke out!

I was so surprised, and I felt hope and a sense of community. I knew I wasn’t alone in this but hearing the conviction and the power in others’ stories, I felt that it was finally my time to let go of the fear of being judged and ridiculed. I wanted to instill those feelings of power in others the way they were instilled in me.

I posted my story.

I thought I was going to stop breathing. My head was spinning, and I felt sick. I couldn’t believe what I had done. Was my family going to be upset? Would I lose people in my life that I loved? What would I do if someone in my family called me and was angry? How would I respond if someone didn’t believe me?

Well, in all honesty, there were some negative results. I did get phone calls. People in my family were upset with me. I did lose relationships with people I loved, and I may never get them back. But I would not change a thing. I realized that even though it was painful, letting go of those relationships was what I needed most. I have never felt more free. I can now see that those relationships were not healthy or serving a purpose in my life. They were stopping me from creating relationships with those that do want the best for me, who love me, and want to see me happy and successful.

Because of my past, I never thought I could find peace about who I am now. After I came out with my story, it was like I had a mess of puzzle pieces in my head that I was finally able to put back together. Individuals reached out to me and thanked me for doing what I did. Through reading my story and seeing the courage I, and many others, displayed in our posts, these people expressed that they were inspired to have a voice and show that courage as well.

There’s nothing else that I would rather come out of sharing my story than giving courage to the people who need it, despite how difficult it may have been for me to say. After all, isn’t that one of the points of going through hardships? So we can help the next person in line that may need the extra support to let go of the pain that is holding them back?

I was hurt as a child and went through things that a child should never have to go through, but I am a survivor. I am a fighter. And I will always be a supporter.