I am a medical student, yes. I am also a survivor of sexual violence. The recent surge of articles surrounding Emma Sulkowickz prompted me to reflect on this latter identity. I know I will always carry the mark of my trauma with me -- and I am learning how I will better empathize with patients because of it.
Almost 18 months ago while studying nursing in London, Claire Foran was sexually assaulted. In the months that followed she struggled to confide in those close to her. Realizing that she needed to be surrounded by those she loved, she returned home only to come to the harsh realization that the trauma she experienced was not going to evaporate.
Cancer survivors often tell us there are many debilitating emotions that accompany a cancer diagnosis such as, depression, anxiety and fear of occurrence. By advocating for themselves, survivors feel more empowered to live their best life. Cancer becomes their 'wake-up' call and it's not unusual to see a cancer survivor who has changed the direction of their lives by improving relationships, volunteering, embarking on a new career or pursuing their dreams.