Don't Be Silenced: We Heal by Being Mindful and Honest
"It doesn't matter. You put yourself in that position."
As a blogger and a writer, every piece of writing I share is purposeful. There is always a reason as to why I share what I share. I aim to be attentive about the feelings and actions I'm seeking to influence. Typically, I don't share my purpose for my posts until the end, but this is different:
Be extremely careful what comes out of your mouth. Hurt people hurt people. Lack of Mindfulness amid hurt shows your heart, your thoughts, and the character you have.
You all know that I'm a survivor of sexual abuse. If you didn't, please read The Pain That Became My Superpower.
I was 13 when my mother shared with me the story of why my memory (age 6 and younger) had been and continues to be inaccessible to me. She sat me down for one of the most powerful conversation I've ever had with her. I explained to her that I had issues being physically touched by people sometimes. That my peers and I didn't understand why I was so sensitive to this and it confuses me cause I couldn't explain it.
I came home that day and told her, "mom, I don't know what's wrong with me. I freak out when people try to touch me. I don't know why. When I try to remember, I realize that I can't recall anything before 6. What is wrong with me." Looking back, I can't begin to understand how painful it was for my mother to hear all that was coming out of her daughter's mouth. And I sure as heck wasn't anticipating the truth she was about to share with me.
My mother explained to me that when I was younger, while in my native country, she found out that a neighbor of ours had taken me to his home (I was always a trusting child, and who would've thought it would be someone I knew that would violate my boundaries🤷🏾♀️). This neighbor did somethings to me, and when I had gotten home afterwards, my mom knew that something was off with me. She took me to the hospital right away only for the doctor to explain to her that I had been sexually violated. Of course, a mother will do anything to protect her child, so my mom asked for an investigation. Fortunately, our neighbor was discovered, and the consequences of his actions were handed to him. Due to the level of trauma that I experienced, my memory didn't only shut off what happened that day. I cannot remember anything from my childhood before age 6.
Unfortunately, knowing the truth about what happened to me at a young age without my consent empowered me to not only be an advocate against all types of abuse but to understand the importance of how we treat one another when it comes to these situations.
It's weird to say this, but I am fortunate that God blocked this memory because the impact the truth has made is beyond what I can share. The English dictionary doesn't have the proper words to convey the sadness, hurt, fear, and frustration this truth brought. I know I will continue to go through the healing process when it comes to the issue of sexual abuse.
As transparent as I am, whenever I get into a relationship, I make it a priority to share this part of my life with whoever my partner is. I always want my partner to know that if there are moments when I don't want to be touched, and begin to show how uncomfortable I am in disagreements by physically distancing myself, it's because I want my boundaries to be respected; when I sense danger, sense a predictor or a harmful situation, in disagreements I clam up and refuse to be touched. You really can't just share with your partner this information without giving them the background story so I make sure to do that no matter how terrified I am about exposing this side of my story.
However, I've come to learn, when it comes to sexual abuse, some who have been blessed to not have this occur to them may come off as if they're on board to fight it with the survivor, only when it's convenient for them. I learned this in the most painful way I know-how.
It had been months since I had gone out and I had been stressed with life that my friends could sense it on me. So my girls invited me out one night to go out into the city. Though I wanted to back out and used money as one of my reason, they insisted on taking care of the monetary issue, so we decided, sure, why not? I'm going to be with my friends which means I'll be safe and need to enjoy myself a bit since I'm in my 20s.
While we were at a bar (I know, the Christian girl just said bar, hide your pitchforks people) an acquaintance of one of my girls showed up. We were all sitting at the bar talking and this acquaintance plopped himself in the seat next to me. As the conversation kept going, he began asking me questions about my faith. Halfway through explaining my faith and goals, he planted a big one on me.
Your girl was ticked off! Remember how I said that I freak out when someone touches me without my consent? Well, I did. I immediately pushed back and explained to him how revolting it was to do that without my permission and to a woman in a relationship nevertheless. Of course, my friends stepped in and took care of the rest of the issue. When I got home, I was so confused, hurt, and exhausted. I went straight to bed.
The funny thing about alcohol and memories is that if you don't remember it at one point, once the alcohol clears up, you will. The next morning, when I woke up, I recalled what happened and immediately called my partner at that time. My thoughts were, "oh gosh, I have to let him know. I don't want him to find out from anyone aside from me. He'll be upset, though I believe that he loves me, so I know I can trust him to understand how hurt I am. He’s my boyfriend, he cares about me. He would want to know that his girlfriend was going through this. He knows how I feel about physical boundaries."
Child...he was not having it. Not only did he yell at me on the phone as I was explaining the situation to him, but that first quote at the beginning of this post was precisely word for word what he said to me. Of course there were more words that he shared that I will not share here because it’s too hurtful.
After he hung up the phone, I thought that maybe his reaction was because it was too soon and he had just heard this, so of course he'd upset. I thought, you know what he’s hurt too because he’s not physically here and this is happening to his girlfriend. Y'all, I started making up excuses for the actions of this male as he verbally judged me for being honest. I was rationalizing irrational behavior and allowing how much I care for this person to dictate what had happened to me. I even began sending motivational quotes to him to let him know that I loved him and apologizing for what initially wasn’t my guilt to carry. Nah bruh. This was psychological and emotional abuse with a whole lot of manipulation.
Weeks went by with no response from him despite how many times I reaching out. Until he called me towards thanksgiving yet again tell me, "I don't care. You're at fault. You put yourself in that position. You need to prove yourself to me."
That was when I realized a couple things. I responded by stated that I didn't need to prove myself to him, nor was I going to continue to ask him to forgive me after asking many times previously. I explained to him that when you love someone just as Scripture states, you forgive them regardless of the matter because forgiveness is the byproduct of unconditional love and having the Spirit of the Lord. That I didn’t understand why I was asking for forgiveness for something that happened to me without my consent. I reminded him that he had been out with me before and knows that this was not the first time a man has touched me inappropriately without my consent. I also reminded him that at that specific time when another man grabbed me, when he was around, in an inappropriate way, instead speaking up and stating how unacceptable it was, he not only refused to discuss it but told me to let it go. I expressed that I needed to learn to forgive myself for this happening to me and that I pray he would eventually learn to forgive me as well.
Of course, that relationship ended right at the beginning of the following month and without my acknowledgement or consent that it had until two months after the incident. Looking back, I'm grateful for the assumption that it was over because it allowed me to gain perspective and decernment through Jesus and therapy. This situation taught me so much like:
Sexual abuse isn't to be taken lightly. When someone shares a hurt of any kind to you, that's their way of conveying that this is a sensitive area for them. To share the story of what happened is how we, who have been taken advantage of, heal, and create space for growth. Respect that.
It's never alright to lay your hands on anyone just as it's not alright to kiss someone without their consent. Consent is not optional. Violation to do so is disrespectful and inexcusable.
You have no right to ever tell a woman or man that they are responsible for being violated. Just as rape isn't excusable because someone is wearing less material, sexual abuse of any kind is avoidable and unexcusable. It's as if you laid your hands on another person (knowing full well the pain you're inflicting) and then tell them that they are responsible for your abusive behavior (gaslighting and emotional abuse). When a person chooses to physically, emotionally, or psychologically take advantage of and harm another person without consent, that is abuse, violence, and assault. As we've taught children since kindergarten, we are all responsible for our actions, and that goes for what comes out of our mouths.
If someone trusts you enough to come to you after they have been violated in any way, and you either shut them down, tell them that they “put themselves in that position,” or act in any way that can be deemed as being complicit, you are just as responsible as the one who violated them. There's no grey area legally or in any other way, it's simple as that.
Non-consensual actions and words are deemed as abuse and harassment. To tell someone that they deserve these actions and words is revolting and unacceptable. No matter the character of a person or how you feel towards them, no person deserves hatred, abuse, or violence of any kind. This is a truth we must all understand when it comes to the things we say to one another and the way we treat each person. If you wouldn't want it done to you, your mother, father, sister, brother, or anyone you love or any person, don't ever do it to another person. Be careful about what you say and how you treat others. It's not them you're only hurting but God, who created them.
If you know someone who has experienced any form of abuse or harassment but have not experienced it yourself, be honest. Let people know that you cannot relate and that you will continue to support them in the best way you know how (if you don't want to be a part of it, be honest about that too). Lack of honesty is deal-breaker for relationships and will always come back in ways you didn't want them to. Those who have been taken advantage like myself are asking for awareness, respect, mindfulness, transparency, accountability, pure honesty and sensitivity to these matters.
We can always do better when it comes to how we treat one another. As we grow, we learn that being sensitive towards one another is how we create a world filled with love and peace. Don't allow yourself to be the reason why someone else hurts more in moments like this.
We love to point fingers at each other when we're upset, and frankly, it's taken me this long to share this truth and speaking up about these forms of emotional and psychologically abuse because I didn't want to hurt some people involved. I felt trapped in this truth for so long as a result of the fear of threats, character assassinations, what others would think of me, emails and phone calls filled with anger and bitterness, repeated online trolling, invasion of my personal accounts and information, and threats of sueing me for taking the proper legal action to pursue legal restraint and personal steps for myself through many legal actions and extensive investigations which included speaking the truth about all that had occured prior to this post with adequate documentation.
Silence in the wake of emotional, physical, and psychological abuse is detrimental to the growth and healing of all of us and darling, I value my healing. When there's abuse of any kind, speaking the truth, forgiving yourself and those involved, allowing yourself to heal with faith and professional assistance, and using your experience to make a positive change in the world are the best steps you could ever take.
Don't ever allow abuse and harrasment of any kind to hinder you from being the beautiful soul God has always envisioned.
Through therapy, prayer, time, self awareness, self-love, self discovery, and legal counsel and actions, I've learned that abuse of any kind (sexual, emotional, psychological, and all forms) are not for the abused to hold and claim responsibility but an exposure of aspects of the psyche of the one inflicting the abuse. It's a whole, ‘ it’s not me, it's you,’ situation.
If you have ever been taken advantage of physically, emotionally, or psychologically, I want you to know that I stand with you. I'm already sending you a hug spiritually. Though what may have happened to you and I aren't ideal for anyone, we are going to get better over time with healing. No person who's been taken advantage of is liable for the lack of control and respect another person decided to not give them. Don't allow the hurt to ever silence you because damage that hasn't been given the proper amount of attention results in catastrophic ways. God's going to use what could have been tragic to heal not only you but many people.
After learning about what happened to me when I was younger and experiencing the incidents from last year, I have poured more of my time and energy into advocacy for the organizations I share below. There's always a way for God to use your experiences to make our world better.
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Until next time..
According to RAINN:
The National Sexual Assault Hotline provides free, 24/7 support to survivors of sexual assault and their loved ones. Reach those who need this valuable service by sharing the hotline information on social media.
If you have been affected by sexual assault, you are not alone. @RAINN provides free, confidential support 24/7 at online.rainn.org.