Uniting to End Violence Against People with Disabilities is a national Coalition comprised of activists with disabilities as well as disability rights and anti-violence advocates. The work of this Coalition is funded by the NoVo Foundation and led through a partnership between the Vera Institute of Justice and the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV).
The Coalition embraces the theme of 2019 Sexual Assault Awareness Month, I Ask, and wants to ensure that people with disabilities are emphasized and centered during this year’s observance. As such, Coalition members will be contributing with blogs and podcasts during this month, and the rest of the year, to cover a variety of topics affecting their lives. We are also reposting some of their writings here as well.
Kecia Weller, a member of the Coalition, authored a blog detailing healing strategies that helped her overcome the trauma she experienced from a sexual assault. Kecia describes the many barriers she faced when attempting to access safety and justice. We invite the reader to reflect on this information and look for the places and people that could have helped with Kecia’s healing journey.
What is shared below is very personal to Kecia and may not work for everyone, as healing processes are unique and connected to many individual and societal experiences.
Healing Strategies to Overcome Trauma
By Kecia Weller
After suffering a painful sexual assault by a man I knew, the police told me the rape was a “He said, she said” incident. I then reported the rape to my Case Coordinator who failed to report the incident to Adult Protective Services.
I felt isolated and filled with shame. I began to think the rape was my fault.
After a couple of years, one of my service providers helped me get into a program where I started to learn about ways to emotionally and spiritually care for myself.
Here are a few. Some of them might be familiar to you.
- Mindfulness: Focus on the present/live in the moment
- Being assertive with your needs while keeping a relationship healthy and positive
- Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC), which combines the skills of mindfulness and self-compassion to enhance emotional wellbeing
- Metta Prayer – meditation designed to intentionalize good wishes and a sense of benevolence for one’s self and others
- Coping Ahead – preparing for the worst while hoping for the best when you think you’ll be entering into a triggering situation
I’ve been using these techniques since 2012, during a stay at an in-patient unit, trying to deal with my trauma.
The combination of these skills has turned me into a healthy, empowered woman who uses the tools to help others heal from sexual abuse experienced in their lives. Helping others is an important part of my own healing.
I’ve linked to important information within the text of the blog and suggest visiting these following sites for additional support.
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy book that I was given at my DBT Center: DBT Skills Training: Handouts and Worksheets
- Mindfulness Self-Compassion, Essays on Buddhist Mindfulness Practice
- Metta Prayer Instructions
We invite you to submit your strategies for dismantling ableism and supporting the healing of survivors with disabilities. What works for you?
Kecia Weller is an accomplished disability rights and a sexual assault awareness and prevention advocate. She has worked in the field for more than 20 years. Her current advocacy work is with the California State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) and the UCLA Tarjan Center. She was on the State Council on Developmental Disabilities, where she worked with colleagues to create the popular PSA: Abuse of People with Disabilities: A Silent Epidemic at https://youtu.be/yhLsATwO0o4. Most recently, Ms. Weller was featured in the national training guide, Talk About Sexual Violence, www.talkaboutsexualviolence.org.
Kecia is fond of mentoring other people with disabilities to be outstanding leaders in the civil rights movements for disabilities.