For the final week of Sexual Abuse Awareness Month I am very excited to share these images of model and fellow Survivor, Megan Kimberling. Huge thank you to Megan who is courageously open to sharing more details of her experience here with us...
1. What happened, Megan? How was your sexuality and soul violated?
So what happened to me was that I had a stalker. It was a man I had never had a full conversation with, I'd never dated him, he was in no part of my life other than we shared a property line; he was my next door neighbor.
I caught him crawling through my second floor bedroom window at 3am one night. I called the cops and we all thought it was attempted burglary. The next day, the same man showed up at my door "to hang" and I called the cops. Two days after that, he was caught throwing rocks at my window to get my attention, and the cops were called a third time. At this point, it became a stalking case and he was taken in under an arrest warrant linking him to drugs.
All of this happened in July of 2014. In November 2014, I was alerted that my apartment had been broken into and I discovered my computer had been stolen. Thank you, Apple, for installing apps like Find iPhone and connecting them to Macs. Because of the tracking app, we located my computer to his residence. The cops were notified again after they left, and the burglary unit brought in more units with search warrants. The family was under investigation for drugs and gang activity. There were 14 cop cars, a Captain, a few motorcycles in the back alley, and even a couple K-9 units.
He was apprehended and sent to jail. I learned how to get a restraining order. He took a plead deal of 2 years the same day I was asked to appear in court to testify.
2. What were the ramifications of this experience for you? How does it effect your daily life?
It's been an interesting 2 years for me, however. I was diagnosed with a mild case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in March of 2015. I have been on and now off of anxiety medication. And I've been seeing a trauma therapist for a year now. I still have triggers but I'm much better than I was.
For example, recently I was headed out of my apartment to work and I heard a metal ladder outside. The same sound was the sound I listened for outside my bedroom to know if I should call the cops or not.
I made it to my car before my anxiety took over.
3. How does it effect your sexual relationship with yourself, and others?
It's been difficult dating with PTSD because any anxiety over trust is amplified. Explaining to someone how your world was violated by a stranger is not an easy conversation to have. I have become more aware of my own. I have spent a lot of time alone in the last 2 years, trying to understand what is happening with my mind and body. I believe I have become closer with my spirit than I was previously. I'm learning to trust myself again.
4. What have been some of the most healing experiences for you, so others may learn how they can heal?
Talking. Talking truly helps. It can be with other survivors, or to family members, or close friends, or therapists. Vocalizing what happened to you helped me work through some of the issues I was having. Reminding myself that being a victim is ok, and that is what happened to me. But being a victim doesn't define me. I survived my experience and I was lucky enough to catch my PTSD before it festered into something I couldn't handle.
5. What would/do you want to say/do to the person that violated you....what message do you want to send to his spirit?
I'm not at a point where I could comfortably be in the same physical space as him yet. However, I hope he realizes the negative impact his actions can have on others. He was deeply troubled with a drug problem and I hope he has gotten clean while being incarcerated. I hope he never commits these crimes again, to anyone else.
6. Have you reached a place of forgiveness yet....for him, for a world that creates people like him?
Forgiveness is a very difficult concept for me, even prior to this experience. I haven't truly forgiven him yet, but I also know that his atmosphere of drug abuse contributed to his actions.
7. What is your next big healing goal?
Forgiveness. I need to be at a place where I can speak about my events without still feeling violated. I'm not sure how long that will be but I'm hoping soon.
8. What do you want to say to others just starting or continuing on their healing journey as this special month ends?
I want to tell others that you're not alone. If you've experienced any kind of sexual assault or abuse, you are not alone. There are so many men and women who have gone through similar experiences, and who can help you get to where you need to be. Don't be afraid to talk to a mental health professional. Their job is to help your mind heal any trauma it has experienced.
Thank you again for sharing, Megan. You are an inspiration to me and I am honored to have worked with you. I hope our time together has provided healing challenges and beauty you can treasure...
For more shoot stories...
Sexual Abuse Awareness Month ends this week but is always a topic close to my heart....if you are a Survivor or Thriver wanting to further the depths of your healing journey, I welcome you all year round. Much love to you all and looking forward to returning to this very fine work after the birth and care of my 3rd baby. Till then, stay in love with you!!!