April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month
Hello, My name is Vanessa Coppes and I was sexually assaulted at the age of 5.
This is probably not the 30 second pitch you would expect from anyone. But let that fact sink in for just a little bit.
A recent study done here in the US shows that 1 in 5 women have been sexually assaulted at least once in their lifetime.
It’s been 35 years since it happened to me and what people still don’t realize is that when this happens to you, it completely cripples you. It changes you forever. What I learned through the years is that it did not define who I was or who I chose to become.
I have always said that my life is a testament to God’s grace. If it wasn’t for the little bit of Faith I had in my darkest moments, I would have never been able to see the glimmer of light that eventually pulled me through.
Owning our stories can be hard, but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it…Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light. Brené Brown
As a survivor and advocate, I have the responsibility to shed light on what it looks like to overcome this type of trauma. I never saw other women openly talk about something like this and it set me into a self-destructive path for way too long.
I drank heavily, every day. Drove carelessly. Contemplated and attempted suicide. Felt completely worthless.
You don’t know how it feels until it happens to you.
Sexual assault does not define you. But it’s up to you to make that choice. And I promise you, as hard as it is…it does get better.
Whenever I speak in public and where relevant, I share my story with the intention of showing anyone who is present and that may have gone through something similar, that you are not what happened to you.
You can survive the darkness and sharing your story can help you and others heal.
If you are local to Monmouth County:
Please check out Because She Is/Marilyn’s Place 732. 962. 3115
A place for trauma survivors run by trauma survivors offering free support groups, workshops and retreats in Middletown, NJ
Call 800.656.HOPE (4673) to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.
How does it work?
When you call 800.656.HOPE (4673), you’ll be routed to a local RAINN affiliate organization based on the first six digits of your phone number. Cell phone callers have the option to enter the zip code of their current location to more accurately locate the nearest sexual assault service provider.
You can also find many resources in my book, “5 Steps to Fabulous: Choices for Living Beautifully, Inside and Out!
I wrote it for you!