April 14, 2017
Written by Dawn Helmrich, Data and Outcomes Manager at United Way & Founder of Denim Day Milwaukee
I am a survivor of rape.
It’s not an easy thing to say out loud or even on paper, but it is a reality in my life.
Over the years, I have become more and more involved in doing advocacy work in the area of sexual assault. Telling my story and talking about victim blaming, statistics, and myths about sexual harm, abuse, assault, and rape can be very, very hard work. And, while I have become accustomed to speaking to the media and to large crowds of people about these topics, the toll it takes on me never goes away. Even in writing this short piece I feel my face getting flushed and my heart speeding up.
That, among many other reasons, is why self-care is so important and why I try to make it a priority in my life. On April 1 of this year, the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault hosted their annual Survivors and Allies Day of Healing. This is a time for survivors and their support people to come together and take time to focus on the healing process.