When you first begin dealing with sexual violence, it is like you’ve been handed a huge boulder you must carry. The boulder is heavy, and it hurts to carry. You always feel burdened by it. It’s always scratching you and hurting your hands and shoulders. Even when you’re doing other things, that boulder is always on your mind; you can’t just leave it at home. You’re always thinking about it.
But, gradually, as you carry that boulder around, it erodes and becomes smaller. It becomes easier to carry, less burdensome. It’s still painful and frustrating, but you can focus on other things too. The boulder keeps getting smaller and smaller, as time passes, you work through therapy, talk to other survivors, and tell your story.
Eventually the huge boulder is no bigger than a pebble. It will never go away, but at this size, you can put it your pocket. Every once in awhile you feel it, but the pain is manageable. It’s still part of you, but it doesn’t define you. You can take it out when you need to, to look at it and remember, but you can also keep it hidden from view. You’ve taken a huge, rocky boulder and turned into a small, smooth stone. You have reclaimed your life.
-Shannon L. (From Sexual Violence & Grief)