Sexual Trauma, Healing, And Empowering With Love

Kaity Gould

August 10, 2019

I’ve met Kaity a couple of months ago at a workshop on social movements. We only exchanged a couple of stories but she struck me as an incredibly compassionate human. Kaity told me how she recently quit her nursing job and is looking to go full time with Empower The Powerful, a programme that provides support and care for people who have experienced sexual trauma. I feel very honoured to share Kaity’s story and the light that she brings into this world.

To start off, could you please share with us what Empower the Powerful is and its main mission?

Empower the Powerful is on a mission to break the silence around the silent global epidemic that is, sexual violence. Before the age of 16, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men will experience sexual adversity. We aid survivors in reclaiming their power, releasing the shame that does not belong to them and igniting their light to chase their wildest dreams.

What you are doing for others is incredible, how did you transition from being a nurse to starting this programme and what was the journey like?

This has been the most transformational journey I have ever embarked on. From the start to this present moment, I have accessed parts of me that I never knew existed and have grown more than I would have ever expected. I have connected with resilience, patience, compassion, forgiveness, courage, confidence, honesty and love within me like never before.

Whilst experiencing sexual trauma as a seven year old girl, a fire of passion was ignited within me to make a difference in those who had also experienced sexual adversity, I remember that I wanted to work in the field of serving others since that age. However, due to not having the cognitive capacity to understand what I was experiencing at the time that I found safety in silence. It wasn’t until I left school 11 years later that I naively thought I could live out this passion of helping people as a registered nurse.

Throughout my degree I quickly learnt that I was more aligned with a more holistic approach to health, looking at the person as a whole and getting to the root of the problem. Therefore, I began piecing together different healing modalities and found profound expansion, healing and presence in the practice of breath-work, less than one year after my first workshop I had trained to become a facilitator myself. Thus, in September 2018 I left my job as a nurse and took on running Empower the Powerful full time, offering breath-work workshops and sharing an empowerment programme I created - Survivor to Thriver.

Running my own mental wellness business has been a journey in itself, testing at times, but incredibly rewarding. Meeting extraordinary people while doing this work has been the most humbling experience I have ever had. I believe I hold a great privilege to use my voice, speak up and share my story without being met with some of the repercussions others around the world may experience, therefore, I step into the fear and unknown to help those around me.

Kaity Gould at the studio preparing for her breath-work programme

Has your vision changed and what do you see it being in the future?

No, my vision has not changed, however, it has been an incredible experience to see my dreams, visions and desires to manifest into the tangible and physical reality that surrounds me.

The founding intentions of creating safe spaces for people who have embarked on the healing journey, both online and in physical spaces such as workshops & classes is a part of the vision for Empower the Powerful. I am to create safe spaces all around the world and bring awareness to this type of adversity as it impacts every corner of our different continents.

The journey to healing is an incredibly tough one for an individual but I imagine when it comes to caring for others, it adds a whole another layer of complexity and emotional turmoil. What support or people have you found that helped you?  

I have found learning different self-care tools to be a key pillar to my healing journey. I wouldn’t be able to apply the amount of passion, motivation and energy into this space and work if I didn’t put the same energy back into myself.

The very first time I ever sat down with a therapist she asked me how I look after myself... There was a silence as I came to the realisation that this was something I had never done before. I was equipped on how to look out for others, sharing compassion and kindness, but sadly this was something I had never done for myself. This was the start to the self-love and self-care aspect to my journey.

I soon started discovering ways to send myself gratitude and appreciation through different tools. Journaling, spending time grounding in nature, using essential oils, learning how to anchor myself in the present moment, art therapy using water colours and spending quality time with family and friends have all played a part of helping myself stay healthy whilst doing this work.

What are some of the challenges you have experienced starting and running your own programme / business?

The biggest challenge has always been stepping into the fear. It’s one thing to know what you dream of and desire, but stepping into the fear of the unknown had me nurturing, growing, and developing a stronger connection to my centre, my heart. Thus, enabling me to call on the trust and courage within me, as well as the faith and belief that everything will work out exactly as it is supposed to.

Starting my own business has taken a lot of sacrifices, giving up my home and car to go all in financially could be looked at as a challenge, but I believe it has just been a part of the process to open new doors and opportunities so myself and Empower the Powerful can thrive in a new way, in turn, establishing a new life and way of living.

Kaity Gould in the field smiling

For people who have had personal experiences of struggle with something, it takes a lot of courage to transform into something that inspires and helps others. How did that process happen with you? What do you think needs to happen for the light to shine through? And what would you recommend someone in that situation?

Communication. I’m not saying that it is easy, this journey comes with difficult, uncomfortable and courageous conversations but every time we reach out to communicate with those around us we strengthen our support system.

A problem shared is a problem halved. A wise lady once told me that my spirit would never fly free until I shared this secret and breaking the silence has been the greatest gift I have ever given myself.

Are you learning/pondering about anything right now that you would like to share?

I am currently studying to become a Neuro-Linguistic Programming Practitioner. This practice is based on the theory that our experiences, both positive and negative are processed by our subconscious mind, which then determine our beliefs, thoughts, self-talk and behaviours. Thus, I have been pondering on different ways we can access our subconscious mind to release limiting beliefs and the conditioning and programming encoded from adverse experiences such as sexual trauma.

In this whole journey, the hardest step can often be the first step. Where do you recommend we start in the journey to reclaim our power & connect with our inner strength?

I believe that acknowledgement is often the hardest and first step. There is often so much shame attached to sexual adversity that it is difficult to imagine and admit that it is something you have been through. I think it is because there is an amount of trust that is broken with yourself which makes acknowledgement so difficult. However, we can not intervene in a problem we can not see.

Kaity’s beautiful studio for breath-work - mats arranged in the circle around a bunch of wonderful flowers

And finally, whose story would you want to read about on here?

I would love to read a story on Chloe Swarbrick - love her. As well as someone from Mosaic, an organisation in Wellington that helps male survivors of sexual abuse.

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