Surviving Survival

(This is dedicated to the brave women who are Survivors of multiple forms of male violence.

It especially dedicated to Gertrude, whose beautiful and powerful use of language give me the title for this post.

This post is written to help me and other women feel less alone in our personal journeys.)


Often when surviving male violence, it is assumed that everything is ok now. I wish that was true.

It is not – for in many ways surviving survival can be the hardest journey of all.

It is hard to have feelings coming from all angles. Feelings come, and I have no idea what they are or what to do with them.

What are feelings.

I never had such things when I was raped. I never know I could feel that.

I never had such things when I continually rejected. What the point of feelings then, it made no difference.

I never such things when my body was a living piece of porn.

No, I thought I had murdered all feelings.

Now, when I thought I was well. When I thought I was finally getting some peace.

Feelings invade me.

I cannot stop the pain in my stomach grieving my past.

I cannot stop the restless anger that fuels this blog.

I feel in my heart. I feel as I try to sleep. I feel as I cannot stop the memory.

I don’t like feelings.

But when I feel I know I am coming back into life.

It is a life that so many times I have no idea why I have.

I have no idea why I survived. But here I am.

As a Survivor, I know my words matter.

My abusers wanted me to disappear into madness or death.

I refused to do either.

I do not know how I kept my sanity.

Maybe it was my soul being stubborn. When man pressed their hate into me. When they abused my body so much that I lost it. When their words destroyed my hope.

My soul refused to allow it in.

Men hated that I never the whole of myself away. They would rip, tear, rape, poke, bite and force in objects.

But they could never reach me. Someway so deep a small essence of me was safe.

That essence preserved the truth. It remembered.

It was the part that forced me to survive. It is the part that has no choice but to use my writing to say this how it was.

My essence save me. But more it kept me sane.

When I choose to speak out, I know I will hit a wall of anger.

Anger that I am alive, not dead as my abusers had hope.

I know this each time, I hear –

“If it was so bad, how come you are not dead.”

As if I would have a calm and logical answer to that statement.

I have felt the anger that I did not commit suicide.

I felt that when I was 17, and I failed suicide, and my mother laughed saying –

“You’re so stupid, you can’t even kill yourself.”

I felt it when as a runaway, I tried to cut my wrists with a broken milk bottle. Only to be pick by the police, who laughed as well, pointing out it was never sharp enough. Taking back to where I was running from.

I could not die, when I took a large overdose of paracetamol. I was just unconscious for a couple of days. And wrecked my liver.

God, I tried so hard to die. But I survived.

Now, I am alive, I will speak out.

Being alive is inconvenient. Being alive will slowly uncover the truth.

And I and many other Survivors will speak our truths.

This angered abusers and their protectors.

They assumed we would be silenced.

Abusers assumed their actions will be unspeakable. That if spoken will not be believed, for it seemed beyond what humans can do.

That is why so many abusers are so calm. For they believed they have got away with mental, physical and sexual torture. They have no worries.

How can they, when abusers have no conscience.

But when Survivors speak out. When Survivor’s word are believed and heard. Then abusers get scared.

Then abusers defend themselves by attacking.

A Survivor who survived enough to speak out is a major threat to the normal everyday male violence.

When a Survivor speaks out she is saying –

“Enough is enough. No more excuses”.

No excuses for having sex with children.

No excuses for viewing porn.

No excuses for paying for sex.

No excuses for using sexual experiments ignoring the women’s or girl’s wishes.

No excuses for thinking some women enjoy sadistic sex.

No excuses for saying some women are better off dead.

Each time a man is violent to any girl or woman, there is no more excuses.

Now that put terror into abusers.

They can no longer hide behind feeble excuses.

“I was abused so I know no different.

I was drunk, high on drugs or depressed.

It is because I love you, you are special.

You know you like it.”

These are lies.

As are –

“Women like you like rough sex.

I could kill you, no-one will give a damn.

It only me that can understand you.”

Violent men will use word to destroy.

But Survivors survive, and they can learn to turn those words around. Use the hate of those words, to show how male violence is planned. How the words are used to brainwash women and girls to blame themselves.

It is mental torture, nothing more and nothing less.

This post is very rambling.

But that is because I am in a angry place.

I will end that I so proud of my sister-Survivors.

We did not disappear. We are here, struggling with survival.

I hold each of you in my heart.

I do believe that our voices can and will drown out the hate of male violence.

2 responses to “Surviving Survival

  1. hi rebecca,
    just to let you know you’re not the only one who at 17 was “too stupid” to be able to kill themselves! i ate a bar of soap (?) don’t know whta I thought that would do, and always carried around a bottle of sleeping pills as security so if it ever got any worse I could quickly go! It did get worse, but it’s incredible the will to survive, and not just survive – to live! I’m so glad you’ve got that will too because despite all the ugliness of this world, it’s still beautiful, it’s just where you look, and now we’re older and more able to be in control we can choose our lives more (if not the memories). I do so love your brave soul! xx


  2. Dearest Rebecca,

    Thank you for the dedication.

    This piece has so much in it. I did not find it rambling as it felt like it tracked the wild, difficult and winding, twisting road of healing, survival. There is a wisdom that suggests that survivors of sexual abuse work to discover our own rhythm in order to counter the abusers’ rhythm which we internalized through their abuse against us.
    By doing this we externalize what they forced into us and make room for our Self to emerge. It is, in my experience, very important to trust that there is an inner order that can (and usually does) look disorderly (crazy) to the outside world, sometimes even to ourselves. The will to survive and heal and work to end sexual violence against women and girls.

    You wrote, “As a survivor, I know my words matter.” This is so true. Your words, your struggles your irrepressible love for what you love are a gift to your sister survivors and the world.
    Deep thanks my friend,


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