Survivor Story: Suzanne Alden

Suzanne Alden Survivor Story
“My name is Suzanne Alden, and I am a survivor of child sexual abuse by a family member. The trauma and shame from these experiences was so deep and so complete that I no longer wanted to live, struggled to love myself, and battled with connection. Through over a decade of support and love from family and friends, I finally arrived at a place of healing and I no longer needed “highs” and denial to mask the pain from the abuse. 
For those who are coming to this website feeling fear, depression, trauma, hopelessness, and shame, I say with 100% confidence that there is hope, that all of us have the capacity to work through the trauma we have experienced and to begin to live a joyful and full life. Healing is possible if we find the courage within to do what we need to do to seek and find it.
If you are a survivor and you are struggling, you are not alone! None of us is alone. We are all part of a web of survivors who share the same feelings, the same shame, and the same possibilities for a life of happiness and inner peace. Working through our rape and sexual abuse experience requires personal courage and support from others. When we begin to open up and share our experiences, we validate what we have gone through and assert to the world that “we matter”.
I have learned many things from my experiences as a sexual abuse survivor. I will share with you what I have learned, to encourage you never to give up on your path to healing, to never give up on yourself.
I have learned that I matter. My feelings, my needs, my trauma – it is important and deeply personal to me. When you realize that you matter and deserve the best, you surround yourself with people who truly value you for who you are. 
I have learned that people will pretend not to see experiences that make them feel uncomfortable. When survivors find the courage to speak up and say “no more”, people will listen and respond.
I have learned survivors must be believed. In my experience, no matter how hard someone tried to push it under the rug or deny it, the abuse was real and its effects lasting. The pervasive rape culture in which we live minimizes the deep wounds of sexual abuse. “Can’t you just get over it? Put it behind you?” is said too much. As survivors, we can respond and tell the truth of our pain.
I have learned that others who have been sexually assaulted deserve my support and validation. America’s rape culture shames survivors for what they never caused. It is up to survivors and those who love us to be conduits for acceptance and healing.
And finally, I have learned that my trauma has been a gift. This gift has taught me to put myself and my healing first. It is affording me the opportunity to be a catalyst for change and support other survivors. 
Because you have found your way to this website – and the end of this article – you are well on your way to your own personal healing. One step at a time, we all can heal and be healed.

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