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  • Writer's pictureFlavia Totoli

New Series: Child Abuse Survivor Memories of my past life

This is the first post of a series, where I'll show the process of painting my self-portraits and the reflections about the path that brought me here.

This series is my way of dealing with my past.

Putting into words happened to me was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

People tell us to leave the past in the past, but that does not come with a step by step manual on how to achieve it. Nobody explains that in order to leave the past in the past we need to understand, come to terms and if necessary mourn what happened.

It wasn’t easy to look at it and see it’s impacts in my life, how it shaped my behavior and influenced my decisions. Specially because I wasn’t aware of how much my way of thinking, acting and feeling had being affected. I spent a long time thinking I was the only person in the world to have the reactions I did and that I was broke somehow. Maybe I was crazy because I couldn’t forget, maybe I was mad because I couldn’t get pass it. Or maybe I was just damaged beyond repair.

After a few months living in Barcelona I decided to go back to therapy. I was separated for a year and a half and I thought it was the moment to pause and look at how I got where I was and how I wanted to continue living. Start treating the abuse seemed like the natural place to start. I was lucky enough to find the right people, who listened, understood and helped me during this process. I met other victims, listened to other stories and I started to put into words my emotions, anger and fears. Step by step I created a map of my story and the truth is that looking at it was incredible painful. I had no idea of how profound my trauma was and how much it was engrained in me.

Being a victim of sexual violence is something that every woman in some level has experienced in life. It’s impossible to be different, since we live in such a sexist society. We all have been through some sort of situation that made us fear for our physical and/or mental integrity. This series is my way of dealing with my past trauma, but it’s also a portray of many women’s stories.

Women who have been silenced, subjugated, threatened and violated.

Women who had to learn how to live with fear, shame and guilt.

Unfortunately this pain is not only mine

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