I shouldn't have to preface this post with #metoo but the warrior inside me says "by whatever means necessary."
We know that 1 in 3 women are victims of sexual assault:
We know it... And yet so many of us still can't hear it, accept it, process it. We simply can't, because the sheer weight of the truth threatens the fabric of our very existence. We know, in a deep part of ourselves, that our entire being would have to be shattered and built anew as we, the victims, have been. And the reality is, that if given the choice between seeing and knowing in my cells the bitter truth of this world, or avoiding it all together, I might choose the same.
But I didn't have that choice.... It was taken from me... At five years old... Add to that the shame that was handed to me on a golden platter, and being born a loud-mouthed, dynamic, fiercely intelligent black girl in a world that wants me to be poor, quiet, and subservient... I never stood an effing chance...
Today, as I reflect on this mornings proceedings, I am so bitterly sad as I remember all the times in my life that those closest to me have failed to hold the space as I shared my experience with sexual abuse. They heard me, but they couldn't or didn't hold me, rescue me, protect me, validate me the way I needed them to. They simply couldn't. They couldn't wade into the pain with me because they didn't have any tools, acquired through years and years of survival, to wade back out. So, even worse, than denying that these things do happen, they remained passive.
Let me tell you, far worse than your enemy, is your loved one who sits idly by and watches you burn. It is a death two times over.
And so we stop telling our story. We stop reporting it. We even stop believing and trusting our own version of the truth because we've been trained like a dog to sit, heel, and play dead.
Ask me if being a victim of sexual abuse defines me and I will tell you 'no', but it did, in ways that I only recently fully understood. It also makes me tired. Tired like living while black and female can make you tired. It's just extra work. Extra work I didn't sign-up for, but still have to shoulder. And shoulder it I do, and damn if I don't make it my own and make it look good.
Because one day I accepted that if the world couldn't hold my pain, couldn't validate it, wasn't going to rescue me, then I was going to have to be my own hero. I was going to have to recuse myself from my own emotional abyss and then build a new world for my children. A world that was strong enough to hold the light and the darkness. A world that was strong enough to wade into the pain and the shame trusting that it will not be consumed by it.
Every time we speak out, you are seeing another hero who has put upon their armor, taken up their sword, and proclaimed to the masses
YOU WILL SEE ME. YOU WILL HEAR ME. I AM ALIVE.
I see you,