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'I had completely buried my sexual trauma. But then I came off the pill.'

This post discusses sexual assault and may be triggering for some readers.

Georgia was just 11 years old when she got her first period. 

“I had this idea in my head that my older sister would get hers first and then I would follow her down this path of becoming a woman,” she told Mamamia, “but it didn’t happen that way and I didn’t tell anyone. I just felt so much shame around it.” 

It was also about the same time that she was first sexually assaulted.

“Afterwards, it was like I had survivor’s guilt,” Georgia said. “I wondered whether I had put myself in a position where I had sort of asked for that, or if I had given him the impression that it was something that I wanted to happen.” 

“Obviously, that is not true at all, but as a kid there was so much inherent guilt and shame around the things that happened to me, that I felt like I couldn’t tell anyone.” 

Watch: The mantra you need to get you through another day. Post continues after video.


Video via Mamamia.

It was soon after that Georgia developed an eating disorder, in an attempt to gain some control in her life.

“I just felt like my body got taken away from me,” she said. “I was forced into being a woman at a very young age and I refused to deal with any of it. So I thought, I am just going to put a lid on this box and then I am never going back into it again.”

And with that, the now 32-year-old closed a big door on that part of her life.

Three years later, Georgia was put on the contraceptive pill to treat her acne, and it became like a mask for the pain she’d been through.

“I was always someone who would hide their tampons and be too embarrassed to ever speak about their period,” she said. “I think because I felt so much shame around it and my body, being able to not experience any of that – by skipping my monthly bleed – felt really good to me. It felt really safe.” 

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But amid all of her past trauma, Georgia was dealing with the pressures of being a teenage girl.

“I didn’t have my first kiss until I was 16,” she said, “and before then everyone was like, why are you so afraid to kiss someone? Then I didn’t have sex until I was 21, and it was the same sort of thing with my friends.”

“I just felt very unsafe in my body, and unsafe around letting go and losing control. I didn’t want to open that door and go into it.”

Then, in her early 20s, Georgia was raped. 

“My friends and I had been out drinking when we want back to someone's house,” she said. "I fell asleep in a bed and woke up to someone having sex with me.” 

“I remember the next day trying to tell my friends, but it was a time of slut shaming and victim blaming and they were like, 'oh Georgia, you can’t say that you want to have sex and then actually say that you don’t want to'.”

“I told them that wasn’t what happened at all, but it was very much a case of feeling like I had done something wrong. Again, I was taking the guilt and blame for something that wasn’t ever mine to take the guilt or blame for.”

To Georgia, it was another thing for her to put in that box and put the lid back on. 

But then she decided to come off the pill, and everything changed.

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“I was about 28 when I decided to stop taking my hormonal contraception,” she told Mamamia. “It had sort of been on my mind for a while, but each time I tried to come off it my skin would get really bad. But this time, I stuck with it, and soon understood what it was actually like to have a regular cycle.” 

“I didn’t realise until afterwards, but there were so many things that I had been missing out on because of the pill. While I was taking it, I had very baseline emotional experiences. There we no real lows, but no real highs either. It was just a very consistent feeling over and over again, which makes sense because my hormones were being kept at a stagnant level. I also had no sex drive, found it hard to relate to other women, and just never felt good enough.”

“When it all came back to me, everyone was like, oh that’s just a regular cycle. But I felt like there was more to it.”

In trying to come to terms with what she’d been missing, Georgia went through a deep grieving process for those lost years, whilst she began to track and reconnect with her menstrual cycle. 

“It wasn’t just a case of understanding my cycle, but understanding the emotions that came up with it,” she said. “After coming off the pill, I was able to hold my emotion a lot more, and not run away from myself when I got sad or when grief came up.” 

“I finally learnt to love my bleed – which had been a hugely shameful part of myself – and in doing that I was able to re-love my body and parts of myself that I had spent so long feeling ashamed about.”

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By this time, Georgia’s eyes had been opened to the world of menstruality and she became passionate about a career as a menstrual cycle awareness coach. When the former teacher was forced to stop work during COVID last year, she used the opportunity to complete a life coaching certificate, as well as a Master certificate in Neuro-Linguistic Programming. 

But while she felt pretty good on the outside, inside Georgia was still struggling with her secrets.

“I always knew that a big part of my issues and challenges was to do with not having ever told anyone about the things that had happened to me,” Georgia said. “Whenever anything went wrong in my life, like if a relationship ended or if there was a fight, it would snowball me back to that place where I would be like, of course that happened, because I was holding onto this deep shame. For me it was like, not an excuse, but I got to be a real victim to myself.”

“Yet, because it wasn’t something that affected my everyday life, it only added to me thinking that I could just continue on and never have to share what happened to me.” 

"But when I didn’t stop crying for a week, I knew there was something bigger fighting to come up.”

Three days later, Georgia’s business coach said, “I feel like there is something more to the story here” and the truth was finally set free.   

“When it got to the point where my business coach said, it’s ok you can tell me, I felt like it was now or never. I could either go through this door, which I have always wanted to do but never felt like I was ever going to be able to do it, or I could stay in the same place.”

“I was like, you know what, f**k it. I am going in. I am getting on the damn train. And releasing that shame was the biggest freedom I have ever felt in my life.”

After talking about her past for the first time, Georgia said she was faced with a mix of emotions from absolute sheer relief that she was able to finally speak about it out loud, to guilt that she was making a fuss about something that others had experienced much worse. 

“I also developed a huge new fear of how to even begin to share it with my family,” she said. “It had all compounded over so many years that I wasn't sure how to even open that lid, or what was going to come flying out after all of this time.” 

“But I had such a desire for it just to be out and witnessed to fully release it.”

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By opening up to her business coach, Georgia says she opened herself up to a new world within her business, relationships and even her connection with herself.  

“I know my journey is never an end destination,” Georgia said. “As more things come up, I’m like, alright here we go again. It sort of feels like clearing work. You clear one past trauma, shame or memory that comes up, and practice a lot of forgiveness and compassion, and that makes way for something deeper to come through that you can only access after clearing the previous layer.” 

“For me, it’s more about smashing through all of that shame, and it’s brought me to a base level where I can now explore how I connect to all of these things, and what pleasure means to me – not from a place of shame, but from a place of empowerment.”

Each day now, Georgia checks in with where she is at and how she is feeling, and works through monthly rituals to help her connect with her menstrual cycle. 

“I think it is very important to recognise that your period blood is not dirty," she said. “For so long the narrative and what we get told about our period – even the use of the words ‘sanitary’ or ‘feminine hygiene’ products – gives you this idea that blood is wrong and something that needs to be hidden and not spoken about.”

“So when I have my bleed now, I will collect it using a menstrual cup and then use the blood to paint with on my body before taking a cleansing bath, as a way of letting go of the past month from a place of restoration.”

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Image: Instagram @thepuss.ycoach.

“I also do a lot of practice of speaking out loud. Because for so long I refused to say anything using my own voice, I still find it really difficult to tell anyone when I am upset. It feels like someone is physically holding their hands around my throat and being like, don’t you say anything. So I do quite a lot of work just sitting by myself in front of a mirror and having a conversation, to practice feeling safe using my own voice. This makes it easier to have the authority to say what I need to say when I need to say it, and speak my truth in every other way of my life.”

When it comes to her new career, Georgia says her mission is to guide women as they unravel and restore themselves to their fullest and greatest expression to live a life turned all the way on. 

“The menstrual cycle is a map home to ourselves and a guiding anchor to understanding and restoring our inner selves,” Georgia told Mamamia. “It is a daily experience of an emotional, energetic, physical and spiritual connection that provides us with the learning we need to restore our authority, leadership and self-resourcing.”

“While the core foundational work I do is cycle related – so helping women to be able to recognise how they’re feeling and how that connects to their cycle – a lot of the work we do is often based around releasing shame and connecting to past identities.”  

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“Many of the women that I see have also experienced their own sexual trauma and shame around their sexuality, so we work on identifying emotional activations and triggers. By looking at parts of themselves that need to be brought back to the surface, I am able to help them cultivate compassion and forgiveness. Whilst helping them to let go creates space to recognise that there is a different possibility for a thought, action or behaviour.”

It’s been almost a year since Georgia first shared her story of sexual assault as a child and rape in her early 20s, and she says she can’t believe how much has changed in her life since then.

“I decided that I would stop being a victim to my own experiences and make a new reality for myself,” she said. “That’s why I am super passionate about showing women that there is an incredible life out there after experiencing deep shame of body and sexuality.” 

“We don’t have to sit on the sidelines for the rest of our lives. And on the other side of restoring ourselves, lies the freedom we’ve been searching for!” 

You can follow Georgia on Instagram here

If you think you may be experiencing depression or another mental health problem, please contact your general practitioner. If you're based in Australia, 24-hour support is available through Lifeline on 13 11 14 or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.

Feature Image: Instagram @thepuss.ycoach. 

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