This week we are closing our series of "The Men Who Hear Our Healing." This past month as mentioned before, has taught us a greater need to expand on this topic and we we will surely do so in the very near future!
This week I wanted to touch on HOW the men in our lives were encouraged to hear and support in the conversation about the women in their lives with a painful past.
Speaking for myself, getting close to anyone of the opposite sex was incredibly challenging and literally frightening for me. I was dealing with too much, and was left jaded from my experiences with abuse, toxic relationships that were a direct result from my experiences with sexual assault.
First and foremost, I had to deal with me... after much trial and error I realized that my healing would not met by man alone, my closure, was not going to be experienced without CHRIST. The route I took was everything I needed and more in terms of accepting, dealing, and HEALING from a past I continued to run from and ignore.
For years I made attempts to be in committed relationships with men to prove to myself I can TRUST again, I could LOVE again, and feel safe once again.
But my definition of love was allll the way wrong. If It didn't involve chaos, manipulation, abuse(emotional or physical), lack of commitment, jealously, etc. than in my eyes, it wasn't real.
My definition was formulated soon after I experienced the act of hate(rape) merge with God's creation of physical love through means of (intimacy) between man and woman. This blended into a lethal concoction I digested daily to the point I believed "this was as good as it got."
What I was really saying through my actions was "this as much as I loved myself."
Had I learned to begin redefining LOVE with ME...I wouldn't have entertained relationships with others with an unhealed version of myself.
"Had I started with me..."will be new series coming soon... and THIS is ultimately HOW I learned to love, (how I'm still learning), and how the KINGS in my life could hear me for who I am not simply all I've been through. This ushered in change and allowed the men in my life I hold close and dear to see themselves as a compliment to my healing not the root of it. --DevinMarie
Till next week, we are EXCITED to share, to learn to grow with you all!
Stay tuned, and thank you for rolling with us🙏🏽❤️👑
We are close to wrapping up our series of "The Men Who Hear Our Healing." This past month has taught us a greater need to expand upon this topic, and hopefully find ways we can invite the male perspective into our blog. The topic of rape, sexual assault, and abuse Transcends gender. We are sensitive to this fact, though we at Herstory share a female perspective from our experiences of assault. That being said, we do encourage our male audience to continue to be patient with us as we learn to bridge the conversation and help each other be allies in a world that has pinned us against one another.
It was on my spirit to discuss "raising our Sons" and although I personally don't have a son, let alone a child yet, I do know Cristal has incredible insight seeing that she is mother to one. I will also be reflecting on my relationship with my younger brother and how I opened up the conversation of my experience to him.
My brother was the first sibling I had told about being raped. He and I have always shared a close bond and knew that before I could muster up the courage to speak to my older siblings, I'd break the ice with him first.
He was only 14 or so when I told him. But neither of us were naive in conversations of the birds and bees...he was interested in dating and I made it a point to be open with him to hopefully plant some seeds of the female perspective. We unraveled the topics of consent, of listening to the woman's voice whether that be mom's, mine, or a friend's.
He has always been the type to listen, he's really really good at that..and I can't thank him enough in terms of respecting my. Very vocal pro-feminist, Jesus-loving banter...
I don't know if the multiple conversations made a difference, but at least he knows he can be an ally to a friend if (God forbid) that experience comes up in conversation. Perhaps if anything, he can be just as sensitive to the red flags I ignored, or at the very least, not be a bystander, and actively protect, and voice the necessity to be assertive of one right to their one body...
I thought having a little girl would be hard only because of the experience I had endured with being a rape survivor. Thoughts of how over-protective I would be constantly raced my mind, but now that I have a son...and the thoughts have not dissipated.
I can make a plan or a power point on how I will teach my son the importance of respect and the meaning of no means no and yes means yes, and repeat the process often, but as mentioned on Deuteronomy 11:19 "We must teach them day and night at every opportunity possible and by example."
I believe the only true way my son will understand the importance of respect is by the example of his own father. The only way he will know how to treat a girl is by seeing the way his father treats me and by me being an example of respect in the way I treat his father as well. But in my household, we can only do that through God's love and Gods guidance. Although it's easier said than done, I must trust God and know he makes no mistakes.
And there is certainly no mistake that we are still learning as we go...the journey thus far has taught Cristal and myself that we will have to uplift women as much as we are in order to usher in the conversation for men to feel safe and included in a space we hope can be used to educate, to uplift, and to call into question the intricacies that lie within rape culture.
Till next time & With Endless LOVE,
We're back! Cristal and I are really blessed to have the relationships we have with the great men in our lives...but let's be real...it hasn't always been a walk in the park. Relationships of any kind take WORK. And the relationships we've had with men has drastically changed because our negative experiences with the opposite sex. We've lived a jaded life; not trusting, not believing that good men existed, or simply having a lack of connection with men closest to us, including our very own fathers.
So this week, we wanted to dedicate our post to the men who have most definitely been patient in "hearing our healing," with letter from Herstory's founders and our dads...
💗💗💗 #deardad 💗💗💗
From Devin Marie:
I guess for starters let me just say, this is one of the most difficult letters I've had to write.
Consider it the words in between spaces from the letters I never sent. This is an ode to every unfinished conversation we never had. This is not the substitute, but I pray it will suffice for every exchange of words that was interrupted in tears or raised voices conveyed in person because I allowed an experience to build an unwalkable bridge between our relationship.
I am not putting all the blame on myself. I am, however taking the responsibility as a woman in owning my part in our "us". I looked to you like the King of the house. And every time you were gone for business I figured you were just doing what all kings do, tending to the world's demand of your presence while mom, our Queen, made sure the home was kept, and me and my siblings were loved.
And I loved you so much. I love you still. I loved you deeply in every absence of you not being there; and when you were, I cherished the scent of your after shave cologne ever more. You left the greatest impression on me. I took that with me wherever I went; but the sweet and spiced aroma faded as it was masked with smokin- mirrors of hyper-masculinity's entitled reflection.
I know they we're not you; and you were not them. But I could never bridge the connection between the man you are, and the men they failed to be. When I was left in a room, assaulted, and alone...while a group of college football players ignored my attempts to leave the bedroom of the man who took advantage of me and never once intervened---
I didn't know they couldn't be you. And I had to forgive you for not being them when I needed someone like you most.
But Dad, I thank you for being patient. You never asked to understand, to take away the pain, but you always asked if I needed anything. Even though patriarchy would imply me needing a man to only provide financially...I read in between the lines. I always responded "no, I'm okay, thanks though!" But I received you asking as the Anwser to my need of emotional solitude amidst the chaos I endured in my life.
I love you for being the best you you could be for me before I was introduced to falsified versions of masculinity. And showing me in your own way, that if I needed anything, I had always had, and will have the power, to say yes. So I said yes to love, and no to pushing you and any other wholesome person that mirrored a reflection of a father I know has never failed; My Lord above, my reigning savior, and rescuer, the renewer of my mind, and the way to seeing you in greater strength than I had before.
So to the man I have grown to admire and love all over again, and in a more genuine appreciative way, I love you Daddy. Happy Father's Day. And every day you step up and SHOW UP; You being there in the capacity you knew how is recognized and appreciated in the utmost of ways I never knew before. "Thank you".
your princess 👑✨💗
Although Father's Day comes once a year our fathers should be celebrated all year.
I know when I broke my news you felt as if an arrow struck your heart the tears and question soon became guilt and self question, "Was I not a good father? Did I not protect you?" But in fact you have been the best father who protected me to the fullest..
What happen was not in your control yet you did the best thing a father could have ever done, pray to God for His protection over me. Yes, I was hurt; but God still showed up and protected me so that one day I can share my story and say how great of a father you have been, to always ask God to protect me when you can't be there to stand in the gap and to always cover me.
I thank you for being the over-protective father who rather see me mad than hearing I was out acting a fool. I thank God that he entrusted you to raise me and show me His ways and not our own. Although I can write a whole novel of my childhood memories it all comes to these simple words: thank you for being the father you have been to me and for always showing me love and kindness for always showing up and protecting me and for being the best grandfather my children could ever dream of having...
Happy Friday Readers!!
We we are happy to continue this week with our JUNE SERIES: "The Men Who Hear Our Healing."
This week, we are taking an account of our relationships with the men in our lives who shared a pivotal role in our healing, & more specifically, how our experiences with sexual assault influenced our sentiments about our relationship with our fathers.
Here are our stories:
The thought of telling my father I was raped was incredibly intense. I swore to my self I would never tell him; afraid that I would be looked at with shame or that maybe just maybe he would not believe me.
Growing up my father was always strict with me even if I asked to go over my neighbor's home 3 houses down...his answer was Almost always a very stern "NO". I never experienced childhood sleep overs, or had the freedom to really hangout without adult supervision. I mean I understand now that I'm a parent, the urge of protecting your kids and that it's perhaps better to be safe than sorry.
So to tell a father who was over protective that I was raped, felt like A complete impossibility. This would literally crush him. Almost as if I were to be telling him he was not a good father which was far from truth-- he has been the best father ever even though I was feeling some kind away then...like maybe my silence was better dealt alone then in hurting someone else. I rationalized in my own mind that hurting alone was better than hurting my father with my truth.
Our society has conditioned us to internalize this idea that men are to be the protectors in our lives. They are to provide and protect at all times. If men deviate in any way they are seen as poor male-figures or worse, lacking in their masculinity. But would if they couldn't? What if the man in your life wasn't there? What if he was the one who caused more harm then good? What if he failed to meet the unrealistic expectations that society has placed on his already fragile shoulders?---Shoulders that already carry the weight of the world without allowing the natural release of blood sweat and God-forbid TEARS when the weight gets to be too heavy?
My father was the absolute last, and i mean LAST person I wanted to tell of my experience. Until one day. When I was forced to look into his eyes stunned and disappointed he unintentionally found a paper I wrote for a writing class about my experience. Nothing could hide my first hand experience masqueraded as a third person account of a rape survivor, if the description wasn't already heart-wrenching enough, my dad could at the very least see the truth in my eyes after asking "is this true?"...
I muttered the word "yes".
And the truth though frightening was freeing. I couldn't help who hurt me, but it terrified me to know I could hurt someone else with my pain.
There is no perfect way to respond...but thank you Dad for being patient as I settled in my truth long enough to overcome it. There is much more I wish I could have said to pacify feelings of confusion, resentment, anger and sadness...to which I hope you receive the letter that follows. For now,
We thank you for hearing our healing as a slow process, ushered by the peace in your presence in our lives.
Until next week....
🙌🏽🙌🏽👑🙌🏽We have finally made it into June...pause...👀😳 we are officially half-way through 2017!! Cristal and I are in an exciting season of growth, from new families to strengthening relationships, and more importantly praying on the new things God has placed on our hearts!
And as we continue to grow together we wanted to continue to bring you all content that is inspiring us and moving us to reflect more, and educate ourselves not only around topics about rape culture and sexual assault, but examine the inter-weavings of these experiences from survivors to those connected to them as well.
Some of those individuals include the men in our lives who have helped shape our experiences of healing. This month we are discussing "The Men who Hear our Healing." This week we will begin with how our Healing began with our Heavenly Father; whom without we would not be where we are today.
From Devin Marie:
I think Cristal and I can both attest to the fact that healing; I mean REAL healing comes from the healer himself, Jesus Christ. Because of my experiences with sexual abuse, I've battled mentally and emotionally with my relationships with men.
I had difficulty trusting strangers let alone members within my own family who were male as well.. I unfortunately contributed my pain with the entire male gender, and displaced my negative sentiments about men even on the ones I loved.
It was important that Cristal and I took this time to speak on the necessity of giving God full access to our hearts before we shared our healing with the men in our lives who were for us, and not against us.
Speaking for myself, I can take full responsibility now and say that in my past, I loved prematurely. Meaning, I tried to love with the broken pieces I had left from my experiences of sexual assault. These broken pieces ended up cutting people with sharp words of defense and stabbed those I could only partially love with daggers of a painful past. For that I apologize. However, I will not
Apologize for the timing of my growth.
I have determined that You truly cannot heal to appease someone else's time frame. I so wanted to be seen as someone's wife,
It was not until my Heavenly Father took possession of my entire heart, was able to see value in it, and in turn, love others based on the excess I had left over; that which was over-flowing love that wasn't tainted in unsettled or unpacked baggage I had yet to unpack.
It wasn't until I dealt with my pain with my Heavenly Father was I able to openly and confidently speak to my earthly father, my four brothers, romantic relationships, and friends, on the trauma, but More importantly, my new found Healing.
How did God introduce healing in my life? In many ways and phases, and honestly I'm still discovering them now.
For starters though, my healing began with forgiveness; forgiveness of the man who assaulted me, the men who blamed me, the men who mocked and ridiculed me, the men who couldn't protect or provide for me the way society society taught and conditioned them to do so; but more importantly I learned to forgive myself. My healing was finally for me!
My healing was no longer motivated in order to prove to someone I was worthy to be with, nor was it to prove to someone I was not crazy, or overly emotional, too sensitive or passionate about human injustice. My healing was finally meant for ME when I acknowledged the power of redirecting my pain into purpose; even though at the time I never imagined me writing or speaking openly in a public forum like Herstory.
Looking back, my healing was only made possible when seeing the example of Jesus Christ die on a cross making the ultimate sacrifice that doesn't make sense to the carnal mind; to see a man not make excuses for staying downC but get back up from what could have and SHOULD have been His end.
I couldn't let rape or the mental attacks after that be my end. And there in those brief moments I found glimpses of relief, of recovery and release...so to more growth and gratitude to the man who showed me the glory in the embrace of a better me..."thank you Jesus."🙌🏽🙏🏽👑
Cristal Lowe and Devin Marie
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.