Stories of Resilience: Jas Rawlinson


It sounds cliche, but remember that this too shall pass. Healing is not an overnight journey but you can go on to rediscover purpose and joy.”

I had just survived almost a decade of family violence, the suicide of my dad, and then shortly afterward, a sexual assault.

Curled up beneath my covers, I listen as the sounds of the day slowly begin to filter into my unconsciousness…sounds I have long forgotten. The bellowing of cows as they call for their calves. The soft rumble of a tractor as it makes its way up the hill. I lie here, staring softly at the stringy spider webs hanging serenely from the rafters above.

Though it’s not so much the sounds outside that surprise me, as it is those I don’t hear.

No shouting. 

No threatening footsteps coming towards my door.

No crunching gravel, spinning underneath angry tires as he pulls into the backyard.

It has been two years since the mental and verbal abuse finally stopped and 27 months since freedom finally came. And yet, in the end, it wasn’t really freedom. Because the violence only ended when my dad took his own life. At that moment, the freedom he thought he had given us, manifested a whole new world of trauma and pain.

It’s why I lie here now. Numb to the core, yet feeling so heavy that I can barely pull myself out of bed. For more minutes than I can recall I remain in this state of vacancy, staring at the rafters above my head. The energy of their rich yellow and blue hues was lost within my bleakness. I focus on the silvery webs hanging loosely in the stale air, willing them to close in and bury me forever. 

This is how I felt after a decade of family violence, the suicide of my dad, and then a sexual assault from someone I considered a close friend. It was this last trauma, especially, that felt the hardest. There was a sense of shame and guilt that I’d never experienced; endless questions of where to point the blame (‘Why did I let this happen? Could I have stopped it? Why did I go there that night – everyone tried to warn me. Am I to blame?). At the same time, in a strange sense, it was the rock bottom moment that I think I needed. 

My ‘wake up’ call was to take control of my life, to stop putting myself in dangerous situations, and start creating boundaries – even if I didn’t yet feel I was worthy of love and respect in a relationship. I had to make a choice: continue down the path I had walked for two years, or dig my way – inch by inch – toward something better? I chose the latter.

I did the only thing I could: to take it one day at a time. I focused on journaling about what I wanted out of life, cutting ties with toxic people, and spending time with friends who had proved to me that I could trust them.

Are you ready to share your story of RESILIENCE? You can do that HERE.