I recently saw this farewell sign in Antigua while traveling to the Caribbean. On this island, banner signs are hung to communicate the funeral notice of beloved members of a church and denote the sunrise (birth) and sunset (death) of the person.
It reminded me that after my sexual assault, I felt like I had experienced a “death” of sorts. I grieved that I no longer felt safe in the world. I was sad that my free spirit had been stripped from my soul.
I wanted the old Jenny Lynn back, but despite my desire to be happy again, I was stuck and had PTSD, depression, and anxiety for 20 years.
In 2010, facing severe anxiety that crippled me in a different way that scared me, I sought help from a psychologist and psychiatrist to regain my footing. This required work, diligence and a willingness to rip the bandaid off finally and explore the old wounds, but it proved to be effective and allowed me to start healing.
If you believe you will never recover from your sexual assault or rape, you are wrong. There is help and hope. Read my book, “Room 939” and it’s proof that you can live abundantly again.
Today, on November 28, 2022, on the 32nd anniversary of my sexual assault, I celebrate another sunrise and happiness in my life.
Two months ago, The White House rolled out “It’s on Us,” a sexual assault prevention and awareness program aimed at changing campus culture regarding rape and sexual assault. “It’s On Us” aims to fundamentally shift the way we think about sexual assault, by inspiring everyone to see it as their responsibility to do something, big or small, to prevent it. The campaign reflects the belief that sexual assault isn’t just an issue involving a crime committed by a perpetrator against a victim, but one in which all collegiates also have a role to play.
The commitment rests on creating an environment – be it a fraternity house, dorm room, a party, a bar or club, or the greater college campus – where sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported. This effort will augment student-led efforts already underway across the United States, and will focus particularly on motivating college men to get involved.
This month, I had the opportunity to speak about “It’s On Us” to several hundred students at Troy University. I based my speech on the notion that I believe Generation Z, unlike any generation before them, can help combat sexual assault on campuses. I believe Generation Z can be agents of change because they have a sense of social justice, philanthropy and maturity –caused from growing up during one of the most severe economic recessions in history. A great example of this is when students at Columbia University carried a mattress around on behalf of a girl in protest that her alleged rapist was not expelled.
With Generation Z’s unique qualities, coupled with a program that promotes being an active bystander, our chances are great to make the needed changes on campuses to keep young women safe.
If you know of a college or university that needs to hear my message, I will be happy to speak!