Ashley Jagroo on Healing After Sexual Violence
STORIES OF RESILIENCE PODCAST
“Our capacity to be resilient is the foundation for a good life”
~ Ashley Jagroo
FIND ASHLEY ON HER WEBSITE TO FOLLOW HER POWERFUL JOURNEY:
As women, if we don’t not take the time to heal from our traumas and adversities, we can unknowingly disconnect. We can place a divider between ourselves and other people, between ourselves and opportunities, if we allow ourselves to believe that we are not worthy of love and belonging.
I knew when I met Ashley that she had a story that magnified this experience.
Ashley told her story in a powerfully moving talk, at my STORIES OF RESILIENCE + CHALLENGE IN WOKE WOMEN | TRINIDAD & TOBAGO event.
I was blown away. By her grace and her strength. By her heart wrenching account of feeling unworthy of love and of being deeply afraid to share her experience of being a survivor of sexual violence, with her closest family and friends.
And, was in complete awe - of her continual movement toward acceptance and self-empowerment.
She speaks openly, in the STORIES OF RESILIENCE PODCAST, about her desire to experience love and intimacy again, and about her journey - of learning that she needed to develop a deep sense of SELF-LOVE, before opening herself up to trusting and loving again.
This podcast is an in-depth account of Ashley Jagroo’s mission to reclaim her life after her most sacred sense of trust was shattered.
After her initial experience of sexual violence, Ashley found her way to a mediation teacher, and rather than experiencing a safe healing space, she once again found a person who threatened her boundaries. As a woman who was beginning her journey of healing, he began speaking to her, closely, and bringing up questions about her sex life, and her relationships. She left that “healing space” - and found out, two weeks later, that he had abused at least two other women.
It was this knowledge, that propelled her to speak out. To keep going, with telling her story. Knowing that if she didn’t speak, other women were at risk, for experiencing the same trauma and violation she had experienced.
As she says,
~ “I didn’t just shut down in relationships. I shut down in every aspect of my life. It was too hard to be present and have a normal conversation. I felt like this thing was suffocating me. I turned down so many opportunities, because I couldn’t fathom having to deal with anything else, because I wasn’t addressing the trauma. Every single time I’ve shared my story, someone comes up to me, and says, ‘that exact same thing has happened to me too. Thank you for giving me permission to talk about it’ .” ~
This is a story of:
Learning to listen to our own inner voices, as our greatest guides.
Not giving up. Of remembering that the path of recovery from trauma is a journey, filled with ups and downs, but, that eventually, the LIGHT overtakes the DARK.
Honesty and truth. Of learning that post-traumatic-stress-disorder (PTSD) is real.
Advocating for ourselves, as a means of survival and strength.
Finding people to help. Therapists. Meditation Teachers. Friends. Family. Of letting go of people who don't feel safe or supportive.
We talk about HOW to respond to someone who has experienced sexual trauma, or trauma of any kind. How we can inadvertently take away from their stories, but trying to manage our own discomfort.
Instead of trying to give a positive anecdote, can we instead just say, “thank you for sharing with me. I don’t know how to respond, but, I am very sorry that you’ve been through this.”
For Ashley, the combination of meditation and therapy have been essential to healing.
As she says, “therapy provides a space to confront my demons & meditation provides a space to feel safe on the inside”.
She stands now, as both a leader and an advocate for women’s empowerment.
*** sexual violence trigger warning ***
“ A few years ago, I was raped in my home, by someone who I knew well, who I trusted, and loved. It has taken me years to come to terms with the devastation of being assaulted by someone I trusted. I couldn’t even bring myself to say the words, ‘I was raped.’
“I remember lying on my aunt’s old bed, crying into a damp pillow, begging God to please, please just let me die. My desperate cry for death was just an echo of one I made a few nights before on a different bed, my bed, when a man’s hand was around my neck as he forced himself into me; when he laughed as I cried while trying to fight him off me; when I eventually accepted that this was how I would die; and when I then plead for my death and prayed my family would find the strength to move on from it."
It seemed these nights of crying and begging stirred a long forgotten voice somewhere within me. It was a quiet voice which, when I begged for death on my aunt’s old bed, said to me, “Not yet.” When I said, “I don’t know how I could ever be happy again,” it said, “You don’t know what will make you happy.” And when I said, “I just don’t know what to do,” it said, “Sleep.”
After years of trying to forget these memories I was pulled back to them on a different bed with a different man. Although this man had my consent, and although he had my desire, when his hand touched my neck the rest of my body shut down. Looking back, I can see this wasn’t my first trigger, but it was the first one I couldn’t ignore. Neither, it seemed, could that quiet voice because later that night, back in my own bed, it whispered “You’re ready.”
“My new plea, my new prayer, is no longer for death but for life. Not just my life, but your life. I pray that you call upon a courage you might yet not be sure of, but which I promise you is there.”
Ashley wrote an account of her story for the “To The Girl on The Train” blog. Click HERE to keep on reading.
ASHLEY JAGROO IS A MEDITATION TEACHER AND WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT ADVOCATE + LEADER IN TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO.
For sexual assault, rape, and domestic violence support in Trinidad & Tobago:
RAPE CRISIS SOCIETY OF TRINIDAD & TOBAGO:
North office: Port of Spain - 24 Hour Hotline (868) 627-7273
South office: San Fernando - 24 Hour Hotline (868) 657-5355
THE SHELTER: SAFE HOUSE FOR VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE:
Thank you so much for listening. Please reach out, to share your stories of developing resilience after trauma.
Together We Rise.
xo Carla Beharry