In the US, 1 out of every 6 women and 1 out of 33 men would have experienced sexual assault at least once in their lifetime. Sexual violence is unfortunately pervasive in our society and domestic violence survivors are no exception.
For Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), DASH would like to highlight the story of Victoria*.
Victoria came to the U.S. with her longtime partner and two young children. Once they came to the U.S., her partner started becoming emotionally, physically, and sexually abusive. She fled her home with her two young children and began couch surfing with the friends and family she had in the U.S.
Victoria was able to connect with DASH and transitioned to her own apartment in the Empowerment Project.
With safe housing secured for her and her family, she quickly obtained a job with the support of her DASH Coach. Her work ethic and persistence enabled her to become more successful in the program. However, it was difficult for Victoria to switch from “surviving mode” to “thriving mode.” Her coach reminded her that it is okay to feel and experience these emotions and to not always have it all together. Addressing the emotions surrounding the abuse on her own terms is the first step towards healing from the trauma of the assault.
Victoria has been catapulted into a new career in the travel industry. She is excited and nervous to leave DASH. Victoria’s story of overcoming sexual abuse and rebuilding her life is a testament to her strength and resilience. She can now successfully provide for her family in a safe home.
DASH recognizes how hard it is to leave a sexually abusive relationship, especially if you have children. One of our coaches, Bruce, gives the following advice for survivors of sexual assault: “You didn’t make a bad choice in choosing yourself. Continue to choose you.”
To learn more about Sexual Assault Awareness Month, you can visit the National Sexual Violence Resource Center or RAINN. These websites offer data on sexual violence, national and local resources for survivors, and ways to get involved in activism.
*Name changed to protect privacy