Breaking through the stigma of sexual trauma and getting on the road to recovery is not an easy feat. You’ll likely be faced with many blocks along the way: feeling shame that it happened, being afraid to speak out, and, unfortunately, people not believing your story. My friend and guest, Alison Forsyth, has experienced past sexual trauma and assault. She’s done the hard work and now sits and connects with others going through their own journey.
Alison was first sexually assaulted when she was 15, then again at 17, before she was raped at 18 while traveling through Argentina. Alison didn’t come to accept these traumas until someone pointed out to her how wrong these situations actually were. She’s learned to live above her traumas and uses them to help connect with other people stuck in the cycle of sexual exploitation. She’s currently working as an outreach support worker with Scarlet Road, a non-profit organization that offers hope to those who have been sexually exploited.
We talk about how someone even starts working with people who have been sexually exploited and why you need to have endurance and patience in this role. We also look at how important it is to give someone space to work through their trauma. It’s about having the courage to ask those hard questions and meet people where they are while avoiding the desire to simply just comfort or find an answer for them.
Do you know anyone who has been sexually exploited? Do you know how to balance being supportive and giving space? How do you speak to your children about consent and feelings of appeasement? Let us know in the comments on the episode page!
In This Episode:
- Why you need endurance and certain life experiences to even want to work in sexual exploitation outreach
- Where the system is failing in sexual education and how it can be challenged
- Why it’s important to name your sexual assault
- How to teach our children about consent and feelings of appease
- Why it’s important to give space to let someone work through issues on their own and come to their own realizations and conclusions
- Why women hold onto sexual assault for an unnecessarily long amount of time
“The power is in having people who have experienced sexual exploitation and that are comfortable sharing their story create spaces for those with similar stories to feel comfortable coming forward.” (18:55)
“As parents, are we having these conversations with our kids, are we having them enough, and are we being really transparent?” (38:53)
“It starts on a really small level of learning to respect someone’s boundaries and how to communicate about that and, on the flip side of that, if you’re the one saying no or establishing the boundaries. It’s also teaching your kids that one, it’s okay to say no and two, not to apologize for saying no.” (43:20)
Find Scarlet Road Online
If you liked this episode, you should probably check out these past episodes: