Sexual Trauma Expert Calls On Victims & Survivors To Come Forward

In the wake of events surrounding Jeffrey Donaldson’s resignation, a wave of emotions will undoubtedly be triggered across our community. 

“As an expert in sexual trauma, I want to first speak directly to any survivor of sexual trauma. Your voice matters, and it’s never too late to seek justice and healing in whatever way that feels right for you to find your way forward” said Hannah McKimm of Hannah McKimm Coaching.

Hannah McKimm, 36, is a Belfast-based trauma-informed therapeutic coach. As a survivor of sexual trauma, she leverages her personal journey and professional expertise to advocate for survivors’ empowerment

Reflecting on her work as a trauma-informed therapeutic coach, Hannah explained: “In my work, it is incredibly moving and powerful to see survivors come forward and seek support to find a way through the impact of their experiences. 

“I see the worst in humanity in hearing how people have been treated but also the best in people to see how they can find the strength and resilience to build a path of growth beyond this trauma. It also reminds me of the strength that lies in speaking our truth.”

For many survivors, especially when the perpetrator is in a position of authority, the dynamics of power and control can be a significant obstacle in their journey to speaking out. Fear of not being believed, retaliation, and the overwhelming sense of isolation can add to the feelings of shame and turmoil they will already be experiencing. However, breaking that silence can be a significant step towards reclaiming your life following sexual trauma. 

Brené Brown brilliantly captures the essence of why breaking the silence is so crucial: “If you put shame in a petri dish, it needs three ingredients to grow exponentially: secrecy, silence, and judgement. If you put the same amount of shame in the petri dish and douse it with empathy, it can’t survive.” 

This highlights the transformative power of empathy and the importance of creating safe spaces where survivors can speak their truth without fear of judgement.

Hannah emphasises: “For survivors, speaking out is more than a call for justice; it’s an act of reclaiming your power and shows others that they are not alone in their struggles. 

“This is one of the reasons why I spoke up in 2021 about my own experiences, after which one survivor told me, “You have now given me hope that I can do this too”.”

For survivors considering this step:

  • Know that your safety and well-being come first
  • Find someone you trust and most importantly feel safe with, whether that’s a friend, family member, or professional, this can be your first step towards healing.
  • Know that people may not react how you would like but that your truth is valid and you deserve to be heard.

Hannah added: “This is one of the main reasons why I have created my therapeutic coaching group ‘Growth Beyond Trauma’ to provide a space where survivors can share their stories, find understanding, and begin the journey of healing in a way that feels authentic and meaningful to them. It is about more than just surviving, it highlights how growth and thriving are available and possible for everyone.

“Whether you get support through ‘Growth Beyond Trauma’ or another support avenue, of which there are many in Northern Ireland, reaching out is a courageous first step toward a life beyond the impacts of trauma.

“In the coming days, weeks or months, if someone discloses any sort of sexual trauma to you, please listen to them without judgement and most importantly let them know you believe them and that there is support out there.”

Let’s build a community where every survivor knows they are not alone, their story matters, and healing is within reach. 

For more information or to connect with Hannah go to linktr.ee/hannah.mckimm 

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