**Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner**

This week was one of the most emotional weeks I have encountered in a long time. I received a scholarship from Turning Point Macomb to attend the SANE training course this past week to be able to respond to sexual assault victims when they need help and go to crime scenes to collect evidence and learned to testify as an expert witness for the trials that will be taken to the court level. This was something I have always wanted to do. A SANE nurse is a registered nurse specifically trained to provide comprehensive medical care to the sexual assault victim and has demonstrated competency in the medical forensic exam and is able to testify as an expert witness. This is a path I have been wanting to take since I started nursing school. This was a rough week to face because we went through cases and scenarios and saw pictures and watched videos that brought me back to a place in my childhood that I don’t like to go back to. As I have been writing my book the last few months I have been revealing some details on events in my past that nobody has ever heard before. It has been a cathartic process for me to go through to put the details out there for the public to read someday. The purpose in writing and the purpose in becoming a SANE nurse is to help others that are going through the same situations that I went through. I want to show people that there is hope at the end of the tunnel. People will be shocked when they read the chapter in my book about what I faced as a child but in the same light it will show that It did not affect me to the point where I cant function. In mental illness and psychology you are only considered ill if you cant function. I have been able to function through it all and I became a professional and now I have a career. I want to be able to inspire hope to others in my situation. I want to raise awareness about sexual abuse and let people know both sides of the spectrum.  If you are being hurt in any way you can let it be a secret and face it each time in silence and nobody will know your pain, or you can speak up and remove yourself from the situation. If you do not press charges against the people who hurt you, their behavior will not change once you are out of their life. That person will move on to the next victim and it will continue to go on because you did not speak out. You being harmed is not your fault, nobody has the right to hurt you. You can run around naked and that gives nobody the right to touch you. The part that is your fault is the lack of speaking out against a perpetrator and allowing them free reign to hurt others.  That is something i live with daily. The statute of limitations has passed for me to press charges against anybody in my past, and it would bring up a lot of family conflict that I cant deal with anyways. looking back I could have prevented the harm that happened to my other family members that went through what I did behind me. I didn’t speak up, I was ashamed, blamed myself and allowed those things to happen. The one thing I can say is the guilt of not speaking up hurts more than the initial abuse at this point. Speak up. Respect yourself. Protect the innocent. Become aware! 

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