Why Our Stories Matter

Because you never know who will read it, and see themselves in it:

After suffering abuse by her national ski coach, Geneviève Simard read a book that changed her life.

Before her abuser ever set foot in a courtroom, when she felt alone, Simard read a book, Why I Didn’t Say Anything. It was by Sheldon Kennedy, a professional hockey player who spoke out as an adult about being abused by his coach when he was a teen in the minors.


This is one of those news stories that give us a clear example of someone who found their own voice by realizing that they are not alone and that others have been where she is. I’ve stood on my soapbox plenty of times around here saying this, but this also adds another example of how survivors can’t always tell their stories. I’ve talked a lot about people who are simply not ready for their stories to be public, but in this case, we had someone who just didn’t know she could tell her story, finding the strength to do it because someone else was willing to tell theirs.

No matter the reason why survivors are not telling their stories, they will not find their way to it if they don’t see examples. It’s on all of us to provide those, whether you have a platform as a former NHL player like Sheldon does, or if you’re just telling your story to a small audience of family and friends. It all matters, because, as I’ve also been on my soapbox plenty of times, it’s almost mathematically impossible that you don’t know any survivors of abuse.  

How about another example? Last night, I happened to have Tweetdeck open when I got a new follower notification. That person had also just tweeted that she was looking for other survivors to connect to because she was feeling very alone in her situation. When I saw that, I immediately thought “Nope, let’s show her she’s not alone”. I retweeted her message and asked the larger community to let her know that she was, in fact, not alone. Within a few minutes, there were a handful of responses, and information about Twitter chats for survivors that she might be interested in. The people on social media willing to be open and honest about their pasts provide an excellent way to disprove the notion that we are alone as survivors. We most certainly were not last night.

So please, even if you don’t want to share your story yet, you never know who you might help by spreading the word about others who do. Clearly, it helps to know that we are not alone.

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