A Survivor’s Story

Photo credit above via Roshonda – B Creative

By Amy Temple

As most of you know I have learning disabilities.

I’ve had to deal with all kinds of discrimination and rejections for most of my life.

However, what I’m about to confess is something that I hadn’t openly talked about to many people.

In junior high, I encountered a lot of bullying and harassment. Every day I was verbally and occasionally physically harassed. I’d get called all sorts of derogatory names, mocking my learning disabilities. There were trippings, pushes, and verbal threats.

Photo credit: Bullying hurts via Canva

I was so frightened to go to school. I would huddle up against the wall in between classes clutching my bookbag tightly. I would often go homesick.

The school administration really tried hard to get the abuse under control but it was a big school so there was only so much they could do.

After two years my parents finally moved away to another town.

I attended high school in a nice and quiet country town. What a relief it was to see friendly people and not be afraid I was going to be assaulted.

However, I dealt with a male student who asked me out frequently for over a year! He wouldn’t take no for an answer. I found all those familiar feelings of fear returning. I finally got a teacher to get him to back off.

I found myself dealing with some serious trauma issues. I dealt with anxiety, fear, and insecurity.

I wanted to be approved of so badly! I wanted to be free from all of my negative feelings. During my senior year, I thought maybe if I had the attention of a popular guy… all my mental problems would be over.

So, I mustered up the courage and asked one of them out.

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In the end, instead of it being lovers bliss. It ended up being a practical joke that the guy and his friend played on me. I felt like such a fool. Let me tell you that didn’t help my low self-esteem at all!

As I previously mentioned I dealt with discrimination and rejection in the workforce, too. No one would hire me because of my learning disabilities. A brilliant job opportunity fell through because co-workers lied about me.

Photo credit: Workplace harassment via Bing

When I was volunteering at a local retirement home, a male resident assaulted me by groping and attempting to kiss me.

With all of the trauma, I experienced I was a mess!

I spent years reading self-help books…it was much cheaper than therapy!

I could not understand why I was being treated like I was.

  • Why was I bullied?
  • Why was I harassed?
  • Why was I assaulted?
  • What is so wrong with me that nobody would hire me?
  • Why would someone lie about me so I wouldn’t be hired at was to be my only decent chance for a job?

I found it hard to trust. I pretty much kept to myself only spending time with my family.

I had imaginings of a bigger and better life but all of what I went through kept me away from pursuing it. I spent 30 years trying to improve my life, to overcome all that happened to me.

I thought plenty of times I had been healed but recently it all came to a nasty head. All the emotions that I been feeling came out one night and I cried! I vented to God for most of the night.

As the song states “Have a little talk with Jesus, Makes it Right!” and it sure did, I hadn’t felt that clear and at peace in a very long time!

I understand I may never forget what happened to me but I can honestly say I am starting to find ways to begin the bigger and better life I have been seeking.

I have come to understand I have to take life one day at a time. I have to keep pressing forward and not look back.

To my fellow survivors…

What happened to us was not our fault! We must continue on living and not give the abusers any more power.

You are just as worthy as anyone else, hence the song from Gloria Gaynor!

I WILL SURVIVE! I DID SURVIVE & SO WILL YOU!!

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