Sexual Violence Awareness Week: My story

Content Warning: This story mentions sexual violence, which could be triggering to some readers.

By Niak Pezeshkanahanian, MSc Psychological wellbeing and mental health NTU student.

Because of growing up in a society where the culture and laws that did not accept and respect human diversity, I have faced some issues as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. While I had challenges with my gender identity, sexual orientation, getting to know myself and confronting gender stereotypes, I experienced physical, sexual, and verbal violence. These experiences made me more anxious and I questioned myself more.

I was born and raised in a society where the survivors of sexual assault were blamed. I blamed myself for something that was not my fault, thinking about what could have happened if I had not been transgender. I had to bear all my feelings, thoughts and pain like having a broken finger without pain killers. There were not any specific support services.

I want to say that it does not matter what your sexual orientation or gender identity is; no one deserves such behaviour. We all deserve safety and happiness. I like to be the voice of people who have these experiences and do not have access to specific support. My story may not be one that thousands of people hear, but even if it helps one person think that someone understands their grief, it is worth it.

When I faced these traumas, I just needed to hear that from someone: “it is ok if you are not feeling good. I understand”. If you have access to support services, do not hesitate to contact them.

The change in attitudes towards sexual violence survivors results from the efforts of many people who have stood up to stigmas by narrating their experiences.

Every time I heard the same story or read the news, I found myself traumatised and hurt, but I keep going. Many times I started from scratch to gain control of my life. I am trying to survive, and I have had a lot of old wounds. But I believe “the wound is the place where the light enters you”, Rumi.

For more information on what Sexual Violence Support is available at NTU head to our Student Hub.

For help, advice and resources whilst studying at NTU, take a look at the following for sources of support.

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