Ever since I started talking about my experience with sexual violence, I had what felt like herds of people over the years come to me with their own stories of what happened to them. And they always asked – how did you start healing? What resources did you use? where can i find more people like us? Truth be told, I didn’t have a good answer for them. Which is why I wanted to create Dear July. I found the most poignant stories that I resonated with were personal stories and letters to attackers that survivors wouldn’t dream of sending, like the Brock Turner letter in 2016. I saw the power in actually sharing these stories with others not only in hopes of reaching someone but in also understanding what happened to us. These letters understood that sometimes self-destruction is a necessary part of the process so you can get to a point where you know the only way to go from there is up. Because of these stories that were shared, t Dear July started actually getting some traction as an idea. These letters said everything I needed and wanted to say – it got me thinking, how many other people are out there, wishing that they could say something to their abuser or their attacker or what have you? What would you want them to know? What would you want yourself to know and understand about what happened? And what would you need to know before you felt like you could really start healing once & for all? Hopefully, this is a place where some of your questions can start being answered for yourself.
Words are powerful stuff. They can hurt, wound, and even destroy. But they can also help, restore, and build. I wanted to create Dear July as a starting point for people going through sexual violence and starting the healing process. I want it to have real stories from real people, showcasing the nuances and intricacies of sexual violence.
All this is all great and powerful, but you’re probably still wondering What’s your why? Why is it important to create a community to lift up sexual violence survivors and to let them know what they went through is real? Because I want them to start healing, their way. And healing only starts when you realize that why yes, what happened was in fact real and does not in any way diminish your shine.
My why for creating this is to show that this kind of violence is heartbreaking, gut wrenching, and incredibly destructive. But it doesn’t always have to feel that way. And it starts with admitting it, whether on paper or out loud, happened to you. But you won’t let it define you. And hopefully this why can help you find yours as well.