The survivor of the St Mary's Bay attack has asked HELP to share her press statement through our site, as this statement was not released, as she had hoped for by the media, after the sentencing last week. Through releasing her statement, she hopes that through sharing that her thoughts and feelings about her experience accurately and in her own words, that this may help others.
I initially thought I would write something that would be positive, showing how I did not identify myself as a victim or a survivor but a "Champion", and with a good therapist, avoid PTSD and remain resilient.
Yes, what happened to me was horrible. Yet, I am wary that releasing a statement will be another 'catchy' headline that detracts from deeper societal issues. I emphasize that the real problem seems to be partner violence. I do not know if my experience of sexual assault and its aftermath and recovery can help those individuals and their communities.
However, I urge anybody who witnesses or experiences a sexual assault to not remain silent and suffer. I am grateful for the Auckland Police and for their intense effort to find the stranger who attacked me. Additionally, I am grateful that the bicyclist came along at the right time and heard me. In hard times, I am appreciative that Steven Pinker wrote these words to remind me of the good humanity can do as well as the way I choose to act for my well-being and others:
Humans are not innately good (just as they are not innately evil), but they come equipped with motives that can orient them away from violence and toward cooperation and altruism. Empathy (particularly in the sense of sympathetic concern) prompts us to feel the pain of others and to align their interests with our own. Self-control allows us to anticipate the consequences of acting on our impulses and to inhibit them accordingly. The moral sense sanctifies a set of norms and taboos that govern the interactions among people in a culture, sometimes in ways that decrease violence, though often (when the norms are tribal, authoritarian, or puritanical) in ways that increase it. And the faculty of reason allows us to extricate ourselves from our parochial vantage points, to reflect on the ways in which we live our lives, to deduce ways in which we could be better off, and to guide the application of the other better angels of our nature. (from The Better Angels of Our Nature)
Ruth Davy-Fundraising Manager, HELP Auckland