This past weekend I was granted the opportunity to visit the White House to work with the Task Force Against Campus Sexual Assault. It was an incredible opportunity. One that totally shook up my world. I found out the week before that I was invited and spent two days fundraising in hopes that I would make it. A few days later I was leaving San Diego on my way to the nation's capitol.
The support that I recieved was overwhelming. It was so moving seeing people in my community believe in me enough to want to help me make a difference. This was the first time in my life that I felt like I was being held up by my community. It's hard to explain exactly what it felt like when I try to boil it down. Over the years I've always felt ashamed of what happened to me. I felt like it was a burden to my family, my friends, and my community to address the issue of sexual violence that is so prevalent in our communities. I talked about it because I felt like it was my responsibility but that didn't come without nights of second guessing myself or wondering if I was doing the right thing. However, last week I didn't feel that shame. I was so empowered by family, friends, and strangers who believed in my enough to help me get to the White House. I finally felt like I had a group of team members in my corner cheering me on!
So if you were one of those people who donated to the cause, who sent me inspiring messages, or who simply 'liked' or 'shared' the page I just want to say thank you. I believe the first person a survivor tells about his/experience is the most important because the other person's response could silence the survivor or empower the survivor to speak out. I also believe that continued support from the people the survivor shares his/her story with is important because it's allows the survivor a safe space to continue moving forward in whichever way s/he feels is most appropriate.
Thank you for not silencing me. Thank you for your encouragement. Thank you for being on my team. Your support allows me to continue focusing on my dream which is to generate a consent culture so that less and less people are faced with coping through this horrible act of violence. I know we can make a difference and the best way to do that is by making a difference together.