Starting the Journey of Healing from Sexual Assault through Writing

By Elena Sánchez|

Elena Sánchez is an eighteen-year-old senior at River Falls High School in River Falls, Wisconsin. She is an artist, writer, survivor, and an enthusiast of all things involving music. Through her writing, Elena is finally finding her true voice and sharing her story.

I wrote this poem during my transition from silence to finally speaking out about the sexual assault I experienced as a child. I kept my assault hidden from my entire family for twelve years, until July of 2017.

This poem exemplifies the whirlwind of emotions, loneliness, and suffering I experienced all the while keeping silent. I reached a point in my life where I began to question why I continued to silence myself instead of speaking out…I see now that it was because I was still that scared little girl. I have finally broken through the walls I enclosed myself in many years ago, and I am no longer scared, ashamed, or controlled by the dark memories that haunted me from the shadows of my mind. I believe that writing is the artistic equivalent of bleeding—for me, it was time I let myself be truly honest, and bleed.

This is my story of transitioning from that scared little girl, to a woman finally confronting her past, and embarking on the slow journey of healing.  I hope this serves as an outcry to those who are afraid to speak out. You do not need to hide any longer, and you are not alone.  

Sitting Down and Bleeding…For the First Time

The veil of suppression has been lifted.

Years of silence now lay in shards of glass on the ground,

Yet I still lie awake with memories of your eyes following me

From the shadows.


My proclivity to run from the past

Has been hanged.

Every experience, emotion, memory,

Come flooding in all at once.


I now welcome these waves.

I allow them to seep into my

Cracks and holes born from

Years of breakage.


I am my experiences.

I am strong.

I am transcendent.

I am a survivor.

If you or someone you know needs assistance, counseling, or referrals to local advocacy centers, please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or click here to chat with an advocate online. You are not alone.


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