November 2013: Sharing this type of story leaves one feeling exposed and vulnerable. I share it, though, in the hopes that it helps other survivors out there, as well as serving to enliven our country’s political and military leaders to make historical reform to the current military judicial system.
I offer my sincerest thanks to each and every one of you who have supported me, encouraged me, comforted me along the way. Also, thank you to every man and woman who has shared their story with me privately both before and after this show. I pray for courage, light, love, and health in all of our lives.
*Note added November 2014: Unfortunately due to my website updates, all of the previous comments and interaction via social media attached to this blog have been lost. 🙁 I just want to point out, though, that I am so grateful for having received an outpouring of support this time last year. So why have I re-shared this post on FB today and added this note??? Because I’m “too busy” with grad school and business and life right now to advocate as actively as I’d like to. Because I don’t want us to forget that there are a lot of people – not just survivors of sexual violence – who are fighting day in and day out, in their different ways, for improvements in social justice. Because with the passing of the Marine Corps Birthday and Veterans Day last week, I am overcome with memories of my time in the military, friends lost, pieces of myself lost, and also what I gained and learned and how I grew. I am reminded of all the people who have helped me, who have utterly saved me, along the way. Lately, when I’ve spent time being still, memories from this week in NYC and DC a year ago, come flooding back. The memories are positive, yet also challenging in many ways. This advocacy walk is definitely one that constantly offers me the opportunity to dance with duality and find a place of peace between the light and dark. I have no idea what people think about these types of things – sharing your story publicly – but I can tell you what, it is damn hard most of the time. It is re-triggering. All the comments you receive aren’t positive (although, thank God, most have been). People judge. People fill in the blanks. Very few truly empathize. Yet I believe that those who are meant to be touched by it, in whatever way they are supposed to be, are. I believe that a re-writing of our stories can be accomplished. As we – survivors of anything – share our past stories, we get to narrate a new version for the future. I have been encouraged to tell my story and empowered by those who have gone before me. And I hope that I, too, can offer a piece of that same encouragement and empowerment to those yet to speak out, advocate, and work for positive change. As we speak, we bring a dark thing into the light; in the light, it can be seen; as it is seen, it can be changed; and as it changes, we change, and we heal.
Find Senator Gillibrand’s segment on the Katie Couric Show below