It took me a long time to come to terms with what happened to me in Ecuador. I always felt so strong and independent. I didn’t want to scare my mom, so she never let me travel again. I felt like he stole away my strength and love for myself. I blamed myself for getting into that situation and for not fighting my way out of it. I first told a close friend what happened a year later. It was the first time I even acknowledged that it did happen. I started to be self-destructive, dating guys that I knew were only using me for sex because I thought that was all my body was worth. I didn’t tell my mom until two years later. I really buried this in the back of my mind, until it oozed its way like poison through everything I did.
Finally, a friend of mine called me out on being so desperate to find a man and having very low self-esteem. It was my best friend, and she was able to see through everything I was doing and asked me why I was so desperate to meet someone and not thinking I was good enough to find someone. I dug deep inside and realized it was this trauma that was affecting my actions. I decided to reach out to SARC (sexual assault resource center) for counseling, but they had a 10 month waiting list. I called around to counselors, but they all charged too much and wouldn’t take my insurance. I hit a wall and gave up.
Then, I decided to travel again, but this time with my sister. We ran into a tough situation working in the outback of Australia for some abusive employers. I went through an emotional rollercoaster on this trip and finally realized how much all of this was affecting me. The last month of our trip, we lived on a Buddhist Monastery in Thailand. It was there that I found some perspective on my life. I meditated every day and became very introspective and told myself it wasn’t my fault. I confessed my issues to the complete strangers living there. I started the journey towards self-healing and forgiveness.
I returned home inspired to write about my journey within myself. I published my story in my book for the world to read about what I went through as a woman on my journey to overcoming trauma. This inspired me to seek further help. I finally started seeing a counselor as well as taking self-defense class and kick boxing. I felt more empowered and I was also able to grieve and let this experience turn into my own source for strength. Meditation helped me work through a lot of my internal issues. My therapist was extremely helpful in pushing me to open up about what happened, but also to grieve and accept that it wasn’t my fault.
Now, it has been 6 years since the incident and after a long road of self-healing, I feel very accomplished and happy. I have met the love of my life and we are getting married in July. We plan to travel to South America and Central America for 6- 9 months together.