By Eunice Tossy

I always imagined how my mom would react to me telling her I was being sexually assaulted in our own home. To the extent that when I did, her response was good, but it wasn’t what I had expected.

She was mad the first night, but later on she handled the situation with a lot of civility. There’s nothing civil with what was done to me, she didn’t need to respond that way.

I was not satisfied. I struggled with that without knowing what I struggled with. Talking to a therapist last year helped me see that some feelings that I had towards my mom were rooted from her response, I felt let down. I was let down. She was only doing the best she could. With the knowledge she had, the best she could, could also mean how affected she was by patriarchy. This was affecting her image, so yes, she did the best she could.

In an age where everyone is sharing their #metoo stories, their #mosquetoo stories and all these other survivor stories, it can seem like if you choose not to come forward you are failing yourself, or other women. But we always forget how hard it is to come out, how a lot is stack against us coming out, how when we do come out our image to others might change. People choose to see us differently. People don’t acknowledge how bringing everything to light is painful. Memories that we have tried so hard to leave behind.

Coming out is hard.

Sometimes there’s a lot more going on that you might feel like coming out might change the dynamics. Sometimes fear, sometimes family, sometimes relationships, sometimes work, sometimes religion, sometimes some other very important things. And sometimes you don’t feel safe to.

I also think sharing your story is a personal decision, even though there might be nothing holding you back from doing so. You are a survivor whether you share your story or not. What happened to you is real, whether you share it openly or you can’t, or you choose not to.

It’s your story, your trauma. Your story is your power, you decide when to use it.