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In this conversation, Kate and Alisa discuss some of the things that they have found to be important for supporting a bestie through their healing. Sometimes, when we confide in friends that something bad happened, it may sound really confusing and unclear.

For many years, I didn’t say, “I was sexually abused as a kid”, because I was very confused about what I had experienced; I just had a strong gut feeling that something icky happened to my body. I know when I communicated to you about my trauma, I definitely wasn’t ready to call it ‘abuse.’ Instead, I told you about trauma symptoms, like having nightmares and panic attacks, and that I didn’t feel safe near my perpetrator.

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Alisa and Kate have been best friends for 11 years.

Since meeting the first day of college, they have supported each other through it all, including Alisa healing from sexual abuse.

Because we know that trauma affects the brain in some unexpected ways, I was not scared to hear that you were having creepy nightmares or that memories about the abuse were coming up.

I know that I cannot prevent those dark and scary places from happening, but I can stand beside you until it passes.

By talking about the things that make us feel shame, we begin to take away their power over us.

I try to be someone with whom you can share the load.Alisa: You’ve always supported me in the decisions I’ve made about my relationship to my perpetrator.Was it difficult for you to respect my choices, especially if there were times you thought it would be better for me to do something else?Still, after all these years, something may trigger my trauma and I’ll turn to you to hear those same exact words.They are simple yet extraordinarily powerful and necessary throughout the long healing journey.We are not taught how to respond when someone we love discloses an experience that was traumatic for them.

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