May Survivor Spotlight: Nurse Appreciation

Sexual assault survivor Jannina portrait Jannina Londono has always felt called to the medical field. Helping others comes naturally to her, she says, possibly because of trauma she experienced as a child and young adult. Going to school to become a nurse just felt right.

When she was nine years old, Jannina’s half-brother began sexually abusing her. At the time, she was confused, frightened and did not understand that what her trusted older brother was doing was wrong. Then at the age of 18, Jannina was raped by an acquaintance. These two experiences with assault have given her an enormous amount of empathy for others: “Having gone through this helps me relate to others going through the same thing, and I can offer support, attention and care that most cannot and often will not take the time to provide.”

Jannina believes that more education about sexual abuse is key to increasing awareness and preventing sexual violence from occurring. As a nursing student, she will soon be in a position to talk to people about things they might not otherwise share. “Silence surrounds these circumstances, and a perpetual taboo is created,” she says. “Many do not see the striking number of people who have been victims of sexual abuse. As I work and meet people, I can relate to them emotionally on a level others cannot. Having a nurse who has been through what you have been through can make a world of difference.”

Jannina found that meditation, as well as breathing and muscle relaxation exercises, has helped her overcome negative feelings and begin her journey toward healing. She also recommends seeking support from a trained professional, such as a therapist. “Moments of communication [with my therapist] were vital to my healing and are extremely helpful in releasing pent up feelings.”

As she recovered, Jannina knew that she wanted to advocate for herself and others—and as a nurse, this will be part of her daily life. “What I went through was absolutely horrifying, and yet, I have found ways to move onward, to find hope and to pick myself up despite the brokenness.”

Learn more about Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE nurses), who support and care for survivors.

If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual violence, it’s not your fault. You are not alone. Help is available 24/7 through the National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-HOPE and online.rainn.org, y en español: rainn.org/es.

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