Christina Patterson Wood is a dance instructor and directs one of the studio outreach programs that work one on one with at-risk youth. She also does admin support for Lousiville, Kentucky ministry that helps incarcerated men transition out of prison and back into society. Christina has the heart to use the arts to help at-risk youth around the world. Christina is a long-time friend of mine whom I just reconnected with after she shared her story about sexual assault that happened in a past relationship. We talk about how she, and many women, suppress their sexual assault experiences for years until something happens that triggers the memories, and they are faced with confusion, denial, and ultimately the truth of what happened to them.
Christina was in denial of the fact she was sexually assaulted by her ex-fiance 20 years ago. In her mind, sexual assault only happened by strangers in an aggressive way and not in relationships, not by someone you are in a relationship with. This misconception in her mind suppressed her mind kept her questioning what really happened. In the dance industry, there are many women coming out years later and joining the #MeToo movement by talking about their instructors who abused them as students, children, and young adults.
Years later she was triggered. Seeing her well her husband treats her made her realize how badly she was treated in the past. She realized what happened to her years ago, and came out with her story publicly because she wants people to know that they deserve to be loved, not treated unwell.
On this episode:
- Christina shares her experience of realizing she was sexually assaulted
- How she told her husband, and he showered her in love, care, and support
- Why do many women keep quiet about their sexual assault
- Why many women question if what happened was sexual assault
- The Me Too Movement and how prominent it is in the dance community
- Why Christina stayed quiet for so long, and her fear that if she told her story people would minimize it.
- Her work in the at-risk youth community
- How she helps her ministry support men transition out of prison and back into the community
- You deserve to be loved, not treated unwell
- How telling your story can help others tell theirs
- Finding a purpose in your pain to help others
- Why we say getting into a new relationship can help you heal from a past relationship
- “The painful things we experience have a purpose, so changing the question of what was the purpose of that happening to me, to how do I find purpose through it changes the perspective a lot.”
- “You deserved to be loved, you deserve to be loved well, and in the way that God loves you”
- “He was my fiance, he said he loved me, this is not the context of how sexual assault happens”