By now, if you have read any number of my posts, you have hopefully realized the importance that asking for help played in my efforts to get my case against Marco started. Want to know a secret? I felt uncomfortable asking for help. It was not a natural inclination for me as I had always been of the mindset that I could figure out most things on my own. Want to know another secret? That kind of mindset won’t get you very far.
Asking for help is a form of placing trust in people, and I understand that is terribly hard to feel comfortable with. But my rationale was this: “If I ask for help and they betray my trust, it speaks poorly of them and not of me. They will have betrayed a person in genuine need and that will come back around on them, not me.” I did and do believe that.
Sounds simple, right? I know, I know. It didn’t mean I was without fear or worry. But here’s the good news: I discovered that people WANT to help, they want to be asked for assistance if they can actually provide it, and they will most likely go above and beyond what you’d expect in order to deliver. That was my experience. And it was a humbling one. I am so grateful. I had colleagues help me with how to record details of the attack, with psychological support, with translations of documents, with making contacts in the government so I could gain insights, with guidance on how to negotiate attorney fees and, as I will write in the future, help with background checks on my attacker, assistance with personal protection when I flew back for the Public Prosecutor interview and help making sure I could tell my story to others.
If you have been assaulted and you are going through the early stages of deciding what to do and how (regarding pursuing criminal charges) I want you to consider practicing the following words: “I am hoping you can help me as I am currently dealing with a difficult situation. I trust you and would ask that if you cannot help me, that this stays confidential.” I promise those words will get easier and easier to say.
For me, I actually found that if I even suspected someone I knew had contacts, experience or insights that could possibly help me, I was asking him or her questions and for assistance. I really could not keep fear of an adverse reaction on their part from deterring me. I was on a mission and I didn’t mind being shameless. You shouldn’t either. What you will likely discover is that through asking people for help you create a team of supporters. And support is what you are going to need to get through this.