The following post shares the experience of Cory, a survivor who has called BARCC’s hotline, has come to BARCC for counseling, and serves as a Survivor Speakers Bureau volunteer. Content note: sexual violence.
Fifteen years ago, Cory was assaulted. Twice. Within seven months.
The aftermath left him feeling angry and isolated.
The first attack occurred after a night out with friends at a bar near campus. An evening probably much like many may have experienced as a college student. An acquaintance assaulted Cory after they left the bar together. Cory tried to find help on campus, but no services for sexual assault survivors were available.
The summer after the assault, Cory took an internship doing advocacy work around sexual violence. He rented a room from a religious leader named Bill. Cory felt comfortable and safe with him. Despite the guard Cory had up from his recent assault, the two developed a trusting friendship.
Until the day Bill touched Cory without his consent and exposed himself.
As you might expect, Cory was devastated. His trust was broken. Again.
This time, Cory pressed charges. He was concerned Bill would do this to someone else. Cory wanted to make sure there was a record in case it happened again.
The hearing left Cory feeling like he was the one on trial, not Bill. Cory felt alone. Helpless. Lost. For many years, Cory pushed away any thoughts of the assaults. Trudging through his days, just trying to keep it out of his mind.
Slowly, denial turned to anger. A typically jovial person, Cory struggled most with feeling angry. That’s when he found BARCC.
In 2009, seven years after bringing charges against Bill, Cory heard one of BARCC’s survivor speakers at a local event. There he learned about the hotline and made his first call for help. Which led him to our counseling services.
As a transgender man, Cory is grateful for the safe space BARCC created for him. Where the focus was on his trauma and not his gender identity.
“After my assaults I felt really isolated and unsupported,” said Cory. “Now that I have BARCC, I’m part of a large, supportive, and empowering community.”
Today, Cory serves as one of BARCC’s survivor speakers. Bringing his journey full circle. He shares his experiences with hundreds of people at events and trainings. It’s not always easy, but it’s always worth it. The Office for Victims of Crime has found that 1 in 2 transgender people are sexually abused or assaulted at some point in their lives.
“Hearing a survivor speaker at an event is how I found BARCC and my path to healing,” he said. “If I can do that for for even just one other person, then it’s worth putting myself out there and being vulnerable.”
Despite being a survivor who speaks publicly about his experiences, Cory still sometimes needs to call the hotline. The hotline is staffed 24-7 by volunteers who can assist survivors at all points in their healing, and can also assist family members, friends, and significant others of survivors.
Fifteen years after his first assault, Cory found his strength and his purpose.
BARCC offers free and confidential services to survivors of sexual violence and their loved ones. Learn more about our services or call our 24-hour hotline at 800-841-8371.