|Photo by Green House Photography|
If you have been a victim of sexual violence first and foremost what you must understand is that it was not your fault. You did not deserve what happened to you. The fault lies in your attacker and him alone and he will do it again to someone else. Below I have listed some steps to help on the path for healing that I hope can guide my amazon sisters to peace.
1. Tell someone: I know from personal experience that it is sometimes difficult to speak about a trauma in your life however, it is the first step in healing. You have to be honest with yourself about what happened and you have to come to the realization that it was not okay. You need support so please, confide in someone you know and trust.
2. Go to the authorities: This step may be the hardest. It's difficult being honest with yourself about the incident and even harder to go to the police and tell your story to a stranger. However a police record can be very beneficial. It serves as an official record that you can get a copy of and provide to convention organizers in the future. After you have filed a report, you can make the decision to press criminal charges.
3. Go to the doctor or emergency room: Particularly if a beating was involved, a medical record would further provide proof that you were attacked by the assailant.
4. Collect evidence: Photos of yourself displaying psychical bruises, cuts and other bodily harm, text messages, voice mails and emails admitting guilt and anything else that would be beneficial to your case.
5. Seek counseling: The trauma you have experienced will affect you not only psychically but emotionally and mentally. Your emotional and mental health are just as important as what your body has suffered through and just like your body, it requires treatment.
6. Don't be afraid to speak out and prepare for the backlash: The reason why this topic is circulating like wild fire within the community right now is because one brave woman spoke up. She publicly addressed her abusive relationship regarding her ex and soon after, countless women came forward with evidence and similar stories regarding the same man. Some of the stories related to him were much worse. Other stories surfaced of other abusers and rapists who masquerade as cosplayers. Although this brave woman received a lot of support she was also met with backlash and hate mail. This is something you have to prepare for. Be prepared to be a warrior and fight. Perhaps even enlist a friend to help filter out your email and comments.
Joyful Heart Foundations helps victims of sexual assault and domestic violence: