May We Dance on their Graves

 

This is the site of a veteran, recovered as well as any of us do, with a lot of hard work, from childhood sexual assault. It started as a way to process the impending death of an abuser, and my battle to reclaim my body, and ended up as a place to share the tools of healing I’ve earned with other survivors. It holds information about meaning making, rites of passage, how to talk about complex PTSD, and how to self advocate for medical care that works for survivors.

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My top resources are the worksheet for survivors to give to doctors when getting a pap test, a description of life with complex PTSD that non-survivors actually understand, info on abuse and sexual orientation, ‘false’ memories, forgiveness/acceptance and practical information for partners and allies of survivors. I also have quite a bit of information on healing long term effects of injuries during sexual assault. I’m working on organizing this information in a useful way and should have that done shortly.

Survivor Healing

There is a tradition in my culture of teaching girls to dance a sword dance over two crossed swords. When I was a child I learned to dance this dance. However, I did not learn the ritual meaning of the dance until adulthood. The tradition goes that if you dance this dance on the day before a battle, you must not touch or move the swords with your feet as you dance, or you will be wounded or die in battle. As well, this dance serves as a way to leave your defeated enemy and his or her spirit on the battlefield – by dancing this dance with your sword and that of your enemy, you bind him to earth and prevent his ghost from seeking vengeance.

Since I will likely not be present at the death of my abuser, I plan to do this sword dance at his grave site.  I am doing it to banish him from my life, to ritually deny him the ancestor worship practised in my Pagan faith, and to celebrate my victory over him in outliving him. I am also celebrating my power and achievement in healing from what he did. Like the hero of a fairy tale, I have struck out on my own away from my abusive family, had adventures, undertaken sacred heroic tasks, gone into the monster’s lair and symbolically stolen the golden harp or silver sword that is the reward for bravery and perseverence. It is only fitting I honour a hero’s journey with a heros dance of exhaltation.

We can dance our battle dance to demonstrate the proper attitude to have toward child abusers and survivors, and the proper way to support survivors, by celebrating our courage, not with pity or condescension. We are all warriors and may we all live to dance on their graves.

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