Author's Note: This post is not an endorsement for Bill O'Reilly. His infamous quote just really exemplifies my feelings w.r.t. how I live life now: off the cuff, impassioned, but way less angrily.
To be clear, the comparison is meant to be humorous.
Point is--I've been mentally planning the Who, What, When, Why, and How of this blog, One Survivor Story, for so long that I got lost in the perfection of it all. We all know that feeling: getting lost in the details and wanting to do a project The Right Way. Except, The Right Way doesn't exist for survivors. There is no roadmap for us--no benchmarks to measure our performance against.
So, I'm finally saying "fuck it" to all the what ifs and buts and taking the plunge. I'm DOING IT LIVE.
For my first post, I'm knocking out the basics.
What is One Survivor Story?
It's exactly as the name suggests. As a survivor of both domestic violence and the NYC criminal justice system (first as victim, then as perp), it's a place to tell my story. It's not representative of all survivor stories either; it's just one story--my story. I want to make that clear, because every survivor has their own story, and no two are the same. But beyond that, I truly don't know what this blog will become. Only time will tell.
I'd also like One Survivor Story to be a place where I can prevent others from making the same mistakes I made. When I say this, I primarily mean legal blunders--mistakes made within the criminal justice system.
Said mistakes don't have to imply guilt; it may be something as simple as "I should've retained a criminal defense lawyer at Time X rather than at Time X+1." Perhaps this blog may also act as a basic roadmap for navigating the criminal justice system as a victim. But, I definitely plan to talk about flubs I made and bright red flags I missed while in an abusive relationship.
TLDR of my survivor story: I reported my ex-boyfriend to NYPD, after he physically assaulted me. After getting arrested, ex filed false police report against me in retaliation. NYPD then aggressively came after me on false felony charges. I turned myself in and was arrested; charges against me dropped. Criminal case against my ex / abuser ensued. Circa 8 wild months of 2018.
Who is One Survivor Story for?
I pondered this question, and came up with this list:
Survivors of assaults, primarily, but it would be cool if survivors of other kinds of trauma could relate as well.
Allies. Because support is so important, even from a scientific standpoint.
People with PTSD. Roll call!
People seeking to understand. This could be a lot of different types of people (e.g. someone whose friend just lost someone and wants to help).
People looking for a good ol' true, Bad Cop story. One thing I've learned through telling parts of my story on Quora is people love a juicy Bad Cop story, but don't give a fuck about Good Cop stories. This is just a generalization, but below are 2 examples. Of course it could be the Quora algorithms, but let's assume true internet democracy for the moment.
Bad Cop Story (121+ Upvotes): I wrote about having the same detective who worked on my case as an assault victim turn on me and come after me on felony charges. He threatened to issue a search warrant and embarrass me by arresting me at work. The post attracted lots of attention.
People who think survivors are liars and attention whores. I mean, the dream would be to change someone's mind on this, but I know it's unlikely.
Why Am I Doing This?
My initial purpose for creating this blog was for it to be a place where I could brain dump my broken record thoughts. Those with PTSD will understand the constant vigilance and replaying of thoughts / events that I'm describing. What results is a weird mix of invigorated exhaustion, and writing is a soothing outlet for the tired energy. However, other reasons include:
To help others.
To pay it forward.
To not feel like I'm constantly screaming into a void in my head.
Quora feedback. I began writing on Quora merely as a coping mechanism. When my stories started to garner unexpected attention, I realized I might have experiences worth sharing.
To feel ALIVE. One of the prevailing symptoms of PTSD is feeling emotionally numb, which is something I deal with. When I write, I feel alive.
To leave a legacy behind. Prior to 2018, I never felt my life warranted a legacy of any sort. Objectively, I was successful (All-American college tennis player, Google employee, etc.), but I never felt I had anything important to say or leave behind. It could be the trauma, it could be personal growth, it could be escaping an abusive relationship, but all I know is today I do feel a need to leave a piece of my experiences behind.
So, my friends (and enemies?), I hope you'll stay tuned. I've got a lot to share 🙂...