When I started this blog my main goal was to speak on issues that I am passionate about with the intention of helping as many people as I can. I truly believe that is my purpose in life. For the past few weeks my stomach has been in knots, and anger I have not felt in a while has resurfaced. This uneasy feeling brought me back to a place that I don’t like very much.
Brock Turner, Derrick Rose and Nate Parker all have the same things in common; A young woman who is the alleged victim of a sexual assault, and men trying to prove their innocence. One was found guilty, One was acquitted and the other is fighting for his freedom. What is alarming to me is the narrative that comes with sexual assault cases. Somehow the victim is always at fault in the public eye. What was she wearing? Was she drunk? How many sexual partners? Did she say no? I spent hours on social media reading the responses each time the stories were trending. People made jokes, some questioned the women’s motive while others alluded to her part in her own rape. I am infuriated. I am infuriated by the fact that with each new case it becomes more evident that society finds assaults on dogs more heinous than the assault on women. I felt helpless. These new cases made me reexamine my role in society.
I have been somewhat of a recluse by design, but for years the people closest to me have been privy to some information that in many ways changed my life. Beginning at the age of seven years old, I was molested by an individual who I trusted with my innocence. It happened multiple times. Then at nine years old I was again molested by an older family member. Again, it happened multiple times. Somewhere in my undeveloped mind I accepted this to be the norm. I continued to live my life. I hid from my parents the hell I was living in, but with each day that passed I sank deeper into a place of darkness. I tried alcohol before my breasts were fully developed. I smoked, ran away from home (to my best friend’s house), dated the community drug dealer and searched for anything that could fill that hole. I didn’t understand what had happened. I carried with me the smell of the castile soap and sweat mixture from my first molester, and the sweat and camphor mix from my second molester. Every time I got to a place where I felt good, I would get a whiff that felt so real that I would cower in fear. I was living in my own personal hell.
With each year that passed my assault became even more embedded in my being. My relationship with men was affected. My relationship with my mother faltered and I created a safe zone that would protect me from people. I did not allow people to get close. I would tell men I don’t want relationships because I feared the closeness and the level of trust that would be needed to make any relationship work. The truth is I had to be in control or I would’ve lost my sanity.
In 2007, while driving from a student government conference with the guy I was dating at the time I suddenly blurted out the words “I was molested”. He immediately pulled off the road, held my hand and just listened. For the first time I cried. That moment of emotions led to my awakening. In that moment I made a decision to face the demon which was haunting me for so many years. I wanted to actually enjoy sex, I wanted to be a little less harsh, I wanted to build meaningful friendships and most importantly I wanted to be able to look at myself in the mirror and be ok with what I saw. All of these things required trust and the realization that what happened was not the norm.
I spent years working on building trust. I spent years solidifying the concept of self love. I also came to the conclusion that I needed to forgive my molesters. I will never lose the anger but I will forgive them for my sanity. After all, they have carried on with their lives. They now have daughters. They are FINE. The forgiveness was for me. I needed to find a way to rebuild what was taken from me at such a young age. I shared my story with people in my circle and with each conversation, I realized that all the women around me were also molested. Many have not recovered from the trauma associated with sexual assault. It is a lifelong task to maintain the recovery. I still struggle. I still remember the smells. I still remember the look of complete dominance on their faces.
I still belong to a society that think grey areas exist when prosecuting and defining sexual assault. How does one determine how much time a rapist/molester should serve? How much time is the victim’s body worth? Women are not just there to be had. The commentary associated with the recent spate of cases indicates that we need to rethink the way women are viewed. The fact that the vagina is seen as this pleasure box that is meant for men, and is only being temporarily held by a woman until a man makes his move is troubling. The fact that a man is not sure if a girl “wanted it” and still proceeded to penetrate the ‘pleasure box’ should also be a cause for concern. Years have past. I forgave them and myself. I am no longer a pre-teen. I am a mother to a daughter who I have to mold and protect. Walking in my truth and not allowing the past to dictate the quality of life I will have in the future has brought me to this place…a place of complete clarity. This is why I am telling my story. I hope that sharing this story will help a few by influencing some sort of dialogue. I hope that sharing my story will help you reconcile the hurt you feel when the next woman comes forward.
Thanks for reading guys.