Monday, April 23rd, 2012
Blogs | Sociology of Sheena
Tracie ~ Writer & Seeker of Joy
This month is Child Abuse Prevention Month as well as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. I reached out to a few of my close virtual friends and asked if they would mind sharing some of their experiences, stories and opinions regarding these topics. Todayâ€™s feature is on the powerful and awesome Tracie!
SLY: Who are you?
Tracie: My name is Tracie Nall, I am a…Writer. Reader. Survivor. Seeker of joy. Christian. Wife. Mother. Advocate. I take pictures of things that are yellow.
SLY: What is your story?
Tracie: [Watch below.]
SLY: Does Sexual Assault Awareness month and Childhood Sexual Abuse Prevention Month hold anysignificant meaning to you? If so, why?
Tracie: I have been speaking out publicly about my story in real life and online for nine years.Â Recently I was speaking with a family member who said, “Aren’t you kind of done with that now? Ready to move on and stop speaking and writing about it?” The next day I read a news article where a judge gave a rapist probation instead of the state minimum of nine years in prison. Later that week I got an email from someone sharing a piece of her story with me, because she needed to tell someone but wasn’t sure how her family would react. I was reminded again why I continue to do this, why I will do this for the rest of my life – there are still people out there who need to be educated, and there are still people out there who want to share their own stories but aren’t in a place where they are safe or ready to do it. There are still people who are being abused and assaulted every day. This is why we have the need for a time each year to really focus on spreading education, resources, and awareness.
SLY: Do you think abusers, rapist, molesters, pedophiles and the likes can be reformed, healed orchanged?
Tracie: The statistics are pretty clear that reform or change is rare for these offenders. I wouldn’t close the door completely and say that it is neverÂ possible, but I also would not trust someone who had abused, or raped, or molested in the past to be near my child – no matter how much that person claims to have changed or how much counseling/therapy they have completed. I can not know what is in someone’s heart or mind, so if they have committed one of these crimes in the past, it is not a risk I am willing to take.
SLY: What do you want others to understand about those who have been victimized?
Tracie: Healing is a journey. It doesn’t happen all at once, or within a certain time frame. Triggers, body memories, and flashbacks can hit years after the assault. Putting pressure on someone, or saying things like, “it was so long ago, you need to get over it now,” doesn’t help.
SLY: Whats been the most difficult thing to deal with as it relates to what youâ€™ve experienced?
Tracie: It is hard to pick one thing as an answer, because there are so many things that are all entwined, but the most difficult things for me are the unknown things:
1. The holes in my memories. People say that it is a blessing when some of the memories are blocked out (I understand that thinking because the memories that I do have are not things I enjoy remembering) but for me the not knowing is worse. Knowing that there were other people in the room on several occasions, but not being able to remember their faces to know who they are is torture.
2. Its difficult for me to even fully understand the ways that I have been changed as a person – I can spend hours torturing myself with the thoughts andÂ wonderingsÂ of who I would have been and how my life would be different if my uncle hadn’t violated my body for five years, and if my father’s family hadn’t been such experts at manipulation and lies and cover ups.
SLY: How have you dealt with your own personal rage at the traumatic things that have happened to
Tracie: When I first got to the point where I admitted the sexual abuse to myself, I was very angry that my abuser was dead and I couldn’t confront him. I spent some time at theÂ cemetery yelling, and screaming, and kicking his headstone – but I didn’t find much healing in that.
The most healthy thing I have done with my rage is write – writing letters, writing in my journal, writing on my blog. Writing has helped me to explore my feelings in a safe place and work through them.
SLY: What was an unexpected thing that aided in your growth and healing?
Tracie: Motherhood. After my daughter was born, I realized I had to get serious about healing, because she deserved to have a mom who was whole. I found courage when I realized this little person was depending on me, and I did so many things for myself because of her that I don’t think I would have done otherwise.
SLY: What encouraging words do you have to offer for anyone who has ever been abused or assault?
Tracie: You are valuable,Â andÂ your entire life does not have to be defined by the abuse or assault. Be patient with yourself and your body.Â Healing is hard work, but it is possible.
SLY: Whatâ€™s your favorite quote?
Tracie: Picking favorites is hard, but the quote that has been really speaking to me recently is from Brennan Manning, “That which is denied can not be healed.”
TRACIE!!!! Thank you so much for sharing your story here. I really appreciate it. I love your favorite quote. I so resonate the missing memories.Â And I definitely get what you mean by healing being a journey. Thank you for taking the time to share such encouraging, honest and raw words. Please come back some time!!!!
To find out more about Tracie, visit her blog http://www.fromtracie.com. You can also find her on twitter is @fromtracie.If you would like to share your story or anything at all, please feel free to contact me at sheenalashay [at] gmail [dot] com. Have a great day!
This month is Sexual Assault Awareness month. Every day I’ll be writing all types of posts regarding this issue and my personal experiences.
I create videos as a way to share my story. You can watch three related ones by clicking the titles below.
If you are a victim of abuse and assault and you would like to seek help or report your crime, please find all kinds of resources at RAINN. If you would like to share your story with me privately, be featured this month either publicly or anonymously or you just need an encouraging word, please shoot me an email at SheenaLaShay [at] Gmail [dot] com.
I write my heart out. You can read some of my musings by clicking the titles below.