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Finding My Voice

I just finished watching the film on Netflix and felt compelled to share my story. I have shared pieces of my story with close supporters but never in a public forum. I a a trauma therapist. I have been helping others overcome their trauma for many years yet for me I feel sharing my story is something that I can’t do. As a therapist in training I was told that if I didn’t “get over” my past traumas I could never be helpful to others. So I avoided doing any kind of clinical work and focused my helping career in program development. And spent many countless hours in therapy myself because from a young age I knew that what happened to me as a child and in my late teens had to be useful for something. I knew that I didn’t Want to live my life as a victim.

So what is my story? From the ages of 6-10 I was molested by my biological father. My parents were divorced and my father was an addict so I only saw him in sporadic visitations. I didn’t even really understand what was happening to me while it was happening. It wasn’t until years later at the age of 15 that a therapist I was seeing began the process of helping me sort out my thoughts, feelings, flashbacks and memories. I will never forget her and I am eternally grateful for her help even though at that time it was extremely painful. Then when I was 18 I was raped by my boyfriend. I was a virgin and I was not ready to have sex. We were at his friends house and we were making out and he was pressuring me verbally and I gave in. Then as we were taking off clothes I changed my mind and said I really wasn’t ready. He ignored me. He held me down and the next thing I remember was the searing pain as he pushed himself inside me. I didn’t cry out. I didn’t object. I froze. And I debated in my mind if what happened was sexual assault since he was my boyfriend. After consulting with more experienced female friends I told myself that sex is painful and I was obligated because he was my boyfriend. I stayed in that relationship for about 8 months always with pressured or coerced sex it some kind of guilt trip. That was how my first time was. I wish I could have a rewind button to make that first time consensual and with someone who respected me and my body.

These experiences have impacted me in so many ways over so many years. Today I work as an educator and advocate on a college campus. I live each day at my job trying to be the person for survivors that I would have wanted to go to. I know that I have helped others with my counseling skills and now with my work on a campus. But I feel that by me keeping silent s out my own story I am somehow still stuck in the shame that I fight everyday to help others to shed. I am not shamed though. What happened was NOT my fault. I want to speak up and speak out without fear of what others might think of me. So this is my first step. Thank you for providing this space for survivors.


  • Alissa Ackerman
  • Brave Miss World


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