Moving Stories

A New Zealand journalists blogs:

I am a journalist and for the past week or so my work-related world has revolved around the so-called Roast Busters case.

I am also a survivor of sexual assault. …

I’ve learned, over my years as a journalist, to hold the horrible things at arm’s length, to let myself feel the pain of them but not to let them affect the other parts of my life. I love my job, and to me it’s largely worth that effort. But the ugly jolt of alleged sex crimes as shocking as these ones, a case that dominates the discourse of an entire country for days on end, sends concentric ripples into the rest of my life as well.

By the second day of the Roast Busters story, my jaw hurt from clenching it. As each new detail came out and was discussed around me in the office, I got a weird, floating feeling in my arms and legs that I know from experience to be adrenalin. After a few bursts of it I was exhausted, but I lay in bed later – one in the morning, two, three – unable to sleep. My eyes were gritty and I picked at the skin on my fingers until, by the third day, my hands looked worse than they had in years. I started feeling too sick to my stomach to eat.

I thought about posting something on Facebook, but there are members of my family who don’t know I was sexually assaulted. I’m Facebook friends with colleagues who are expecting me to cover the Roast Busters case and don’t know I was assaulted. Newsrooms are tough places and people expect that journalists will behave like tough people. I’ve no doubt that I’m Facebook friends with survivors I don’t know about, who are just as nervous about being outed as I am in this situation. I’m seeing a guy who doesn’t know yet about this thing in my past, and probably doesn’t need to find out in a pained, wounded social media rant. So I stayed silent.

I this this whole sage has probably been painful for many victims of and sexual assault. The entire blog post is very raw but real.

Over at I am someone, a number of victims tell their stories. I won’t even try to quote from their stories but it is hard to read a 14 year old girl writing about the friend’s father who assaulted her when she was nine. But reading their stories is not in the same universe as telling them.

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