An Empowered Survivor
To share my story I have to go back and revisit a night of terror that lives only now in my nightmares. It was a night that took away my choices and left me hopeless, as I powerlessly fell into the blinding terror of what happened that cold, dark night, changing everything..
I was fresh out of Law Enforcement training that taught me, unarmed defense tactics, laws of arrest, asp, pepper spray, tazer, along with every control hold and maneuver to defend myself against any threat. But the night of my attack all the training in the world could not save or protect me form the violence of date rape. It caught me unawares propelling me head on to the fight of my life. I was caught and trapped in a control hold by my rapist, which took away my ability to fight off and defend myself. I kept screaming “NO!!”, but no one heard me in the cold, dark, misty night, especially my attacker. He was lost somewhere in some unreachable place and the more I fought and screamed, the more violent he became. I stopped screaming and just waited for it to just stop, but it didn’t. All I could feel is pain, terror and loss of empowerment to stop this violent attack upon my body, mind, soul and spirit. A deep shadow of despair began to settle over me, binding me with terror as the hopelessness of being trapped forced me into that defining moment between living and dying. Through the tears and pain I felt myself dying inside over and over, as I realized that I may never see my children again.
I have always been one who never gave up, one who against all odds did what needed to be done to survive. I realized I was caught in a losing battle, where there are no winners or losers, there are only victims or survivors. It was at the lowest moment of my despair, when my mind and body started to shut down and go into to survivor mode. As I attempted to give up something pitched and screamed within me that I had to fight, and not give in. I realized in that moment that I would rather die fighting, than die giving up. As I determined to fight a hidden strength emerged through the horror and ignited within me, turning my inside from embers to a red, hot blazing flame that would not be put out! I screamed a “No!!” that broke through the mind of my attacker, shocking him as I wrestled and fought myself free. I ran into the blind darkness and into the dawning light of my freedom from the clutches of the enemy.
Living through the attack I found later wasn’t the hard part, it’s the living, healing and working through the heartache and pain, that’s the hard part. I had an amazing counselor, supportive family and friends, but what I needed was an outlet for the pain, anguish and grief. I was sinking into a deep depression. I needed to do something, and fast! I wasn’t being the mother, daughter, sister or friend that I wanted to be. No one liked or recognized the person I had become, most of all myself. I realized that every day I carried my attack like a yoke upon my back, as I slowly started losing the strength to keep going, always feeling like a victim.
I have always loved shooting and in an act of desperation I gathered together a couple hundred rounds and my two favorite .40 caliber pistols and headed to the range. Once I got there I put my eye and ear protection on, stapled up my target and got behind the line. I loaded my gun, yet I did not shoot.. I just stared down range lost in the turmoil of my minds raging thoughts of pain, anguish and loss of empowerment. I don’t know how long I stood there, but all at once the face of my attacker flashed
before me, I took a big breath in and released a shot, then another, reload then another. I bundled all of the horrible images of my attack, all of the pain, all the loss, all the rage, and released them all with each shot. I shot and shot until my hands were bleeding and raw. Every time I shot I got more and more free, as a welcoming peace and well-being flooded my soul, bringing me back, but better than ever before.
I took back my life that day and every day since. When I feel overwhelmed by life and need a release I go to the range. I take all the cares of the world and with each and every breath I release and shoot. The range has now become my release, my sanctuary amongst the chaos of this world.
My heart’s desire is to one day be able to teach other women to shoot who have been victims of violent crimes. Giving back into the sport that has saved me from myself, as I continue to heal by helping others to channel all their fears, grief, sorrow and rage, injustice and release it with each and every shot. Letting the bullets be named and then released like ashes in the wind, setting them free as it has done for me.
I encourage every woman to NEVER give up..NEVER give in. Always keep fighting!
~ Trauma has made me the woman I am today
~An empowered survivor
~Not a broken Victim