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December 07, 2017 06:44 AM

Healing From Sharing Personal Story Of Sexual Assault

Sharing stories of sexual assault and harassment with #MeToo isn't easy.

Connor Stewart survived a rape at age 19. Six years later, she is speaking openly about why she posted her #MeToo story, how it made her feel, and her relationships with other women in her life.

"I used to say, 'Oh, it's never going to happen to me,'" Stewart said. "Well, it happened to me, and I'm just a regular person. And so, I want other women to know that they don't have to be ashamed, and they don't have to stay quiet about what's happened."

Stewart says sharing her story online during the #MeToo social media movement helps her recover.

"It's been a huge part of my healing to speak out about what's happened to me," Stewart said. "Because I know that daily there are women and girls of all ages that are raped and sexually assaulted and harassed."

She has thought about what other people might think.

"There's always in the back of my head, like, 'What are people thinking when I put this out there? What might they be saying?"' Stewart said. "But the same time, it's like, I don't care what they're saying, because if this is how I heal, and if this is what's going to help me stay strong for my little one, then I'm going to do whatever I need to do to do that."

Stewart says her strength comes from her mom. Talking about this leads to thoughts of her own daughter.

"Being a mother to a little girl in this day and age is absolutely frightening to me. It scares the crap out of me, and I just pray to God every day that I can guide her down the right path," Stewart said.

She highlights one message in particular.

"If someone wants to hug you and you don't want to hug them, you don't have to hug them," Stewart said.

Stewart says she's not backing down.

"You can't take my voice away," Stewart said. "My voice is my voice. You may have violated me in the way that you violated me, but you can't take away my voice, and I will be sure to let the world know what you've done to me."
 
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