Robert Uttaro is currently in his 12th year as a rape crisis counselor and community educator. Inspired by his undergraduate studies in Criminal Justice, he continues to embrace a life-long commitment to activism and advocacy for survivors of sexual violence. Serving as a counselor, Uttaro supports rape survivors and their significant others through myriad emotional, spiritual, and legal issues. He also facilitates workshops that unpack the realities of sexual violence, and offers strategies for support and prevention with a focus on healing. Uttaro has been featured in magazine publications across the country and on international radio broadcasts; in fact, his book inspired a current radio series by the same name, “To the Survivors” in Akure, Nigeria. Through the grace of God, Uttaro’s work and To The Survivors continues to impact peoples’ minds and hearts globally.
So inspired by Mr. Uttaro’s work, we had to request a LIVE interview. For those of us who follow along our healing journey, you know that we have spoken to many survivors of child abuse and sexual assault. For us, this conversation was personal. Those who missed the live interview, it is available on our YOUTUBE channel and we put together a few takeaways from our conversation for our readers:
1.) It’s very tough for children in generally because the majority of them are abused by a family member. Pay close attention to their behaviors and instead of scolding them for bad behavior, first ask if something is the cause of this. Are they acting out in school? How is their behavior?
2.) There is no time table for assault and rape. Sometimes it can take a person even 10 years to even utter the words “I was abused.” This can effect people into their forties. It is traumatizing. But there is hope for healing.
3.) Sexual assault can and usually does have long-term repercussions. Drug use. Eating Disorders. Relationship issues. Anxiety. Depression. Fear. OCD. And more. If you notice you’re struggling in your long-term life, it may be time for healing and self-reflection.
4.) Sexual assault doesn’t have to permanently control you. There can be healing and success afterward. But first we must put the work in to heal.
5.) Be good to people. Be kind to people. Make people feel comfortable to come out and admit traumas and assault because it is then that their healing can begin once they say the words.