We can’t believe how quickly this month seemed to have flown by, and hear we are! We are incredibly grateful for those of you have reached out to send support and share your stories with us, “thank you” really isn’t enough...
As we conclude our “Stand Up and Speak Out” series, we hope you continue to encourage yourself through God’s word, and be around people with speak life and love into your life as you cultivate your own voice. To speak more on finding her voice is cofounder, Cristal Lowe.
We have been speaking a lot about of “speaking out” about personal traumas and experiences of sexual assault. Regardless if you’re a public figure or a college student concealing this ‘ugly truth’ is a heavy burden to bare. The fear of coming forward is a difficult sentiment to push through, and I wanted to share my journey in doing just that.
Of course there were thoughts of doubt. “Will they believe me?" or “Will my family look at me with shame etc.?” In addition, to the enemy entangling my mind with thoughts to keep me silent, there were others fear-led sentiments about me ultimately sharing my story, for example, .
I was fearful of my own story not being believed as well as my family’s response. As mentioned before, I feared my father’s set back in his faith, as he just started a new walk in Christ. I continuously battled internally with the fear of people’s reaction and judgements of me because of what I went through. Lastly, I feared the violence and anger that would ensue (the kind that could leave one behind bars) if my loving brothers ever found out who raped me.
As much as I feared these potential outcomes, I couldn’t live with the pain I had endured all these years in silence. When I told my story to my parents and brothers I remember one of my brothers first question was "Do you know where this guy is?" (Even if I had an idea on how to find out I wouldn’t have shared with the) instead, I replied, "It does not matter, what matters is that God is healing me and has seen me through.
As I spoke those words, I imagined how the situation might have been different had I told my story from a place of hurt and anger; and how happy I was knowing what God was doing despite my pain.
When asked now if I would change anything, I would say no. I don’t ever regret keeping silent for seven years and it does not matter what people said or thought about my silence. The point is that sometimes— healing takes time. Individuals going through a situation like mine have to take that time because there really isn’t “a right time” to talk about hurt, pain or loss. I personally got through a lot of silence with only Jesus; and pressed pass the fear of speaking out with Him too. I had to learn to forgive my rapist in order to not to put my love ones in a situation that I would later regret. More importantly, I had let God show me how to love myself through my storm in order to share my story and say in order to love out the testimony that ” GOD is still God.”
I truly had to let God be my rock so I could stand on a firm foundation and speak out about a truth that could have been buried with me. Yes, it was hard, I feared for my life every day because this awful truth. I had become my worst enemy and judge, ready to sentence myself to a shameful death and end things all together because the pain of living with my secret was too difficult to bare alone. BUT GOD! every single day I say “Thank you Jesus,” for His love and mercy who saw me through and restored my once broken soul.
We pray your soul continues to restore in the precious love of God, His love abounds every dark and deep pain you have ever faced, and is there to cleanse us from every disappointment and heartbreak. Giving our hearts to God was the first step to healing, and we haven’t looked back since!
Stay tuned for more testimonies and encouraging words from survivors like us, for brave souls like yours!
With love and Solidarity,
Cristal Lowe and DevinMarie💕
The room seemed a lot smaller then. My hands were sweating, shoulders and neck grew tense as the weight of that ugly truth hovered over my head... Making eye contact with them was nearly impossible not to mention uttering the words I had been avoiding for years. You know—the words that sound ugly no matter how I told the story.
“I just have to say it...straight to the point, and be done with it.” (I would say to myself). I practiced in front of my bedroom mirror, at times I would recite a made-up script of how to better say that “I was raped.”
Whether it was expressed to my parents, siblings, close friends or significant other....this was always the hardest part of myself I had to face with any of my existing relationships. It took seven years for me to tell my family, and the rest have only read of my experience through this blog.
After being rejected by the justice system (my case was dropped after I decided to press charges), ignored by my university, I couldn’t bare to face the same type of rejection and judgment from the ones closest to me. However, by God’s care and grace...I was one of the lucky ones. My family hurt with me, whether in person or in silence; but their hurt never exceeded to their judgment of me. Unfortunately, there are so many people who WANT to speak up, but because of circumstances, they cannot. I know women who have been harassed at work who have not told their employer because they fear they might lose their job. I know survivors who fear being rejected from their own families because the person who assaulted them is considered “a man of God, or it will break up the family.” The uglier truth behind surviving sexual assault and abuse are the potential societal repercussions for speaking up in first place.
When I decided to tell my immediate family about being raped my freshman year of college, I felt emotionally complacent. I was stuck in the decision of moving on with my life like nothing ever happened or disrupting the facade I had presented in front of them for years.
I made my decision because God told He was doing a NEW thing in me...He was taking me “out of my Egypt” and I couldn’t be enslaved by the shackles of my past or what my past told me about myself. I had to cross over...and I had to do so in the new season of my life God was now taking me into. It was a month prior to me graduating from college, when I knew I had to tell them. Deep down I needed them to know why this was more than me receiving my diploma. I hurt by myself for years, and I wanted to heal with them by my side. It was a moment I needed to receive in my most honest state, flaws, imperfections, and all!
I told each one of my four loving brothers one by one, I spoke to my grandmother, Godmother, and parents face to face. And once I did, a little bit of me came back. It didn’t erase the pain, it didn’t keep the man who raped me in jail, it didn’t take back the semesters of harassment I received from the football team or give me back the hours of therapy, tears or moments of self-hate. I wore my scars and I knew them by name. This time, I could show them to the ones I loved and let them know I was okay...I could show them that I did something despite my fear, and graduating in front of them was the greatest honor I could receive; the honor of graduating in front of the individuals who (whether they knew it or now) helped me get to that moment by loving me before, during and after my experience.
Love set me free to speak my truth. God loved me enough to survive the pain, and I loved myself enough to tell it; because for me, my story wasn’t just for me to know...and I knew in order to tell you all, whoever you may be, I had to face the ones who knew me best.
Having done so I will say that today, I am happier, I am set free, I no longer hide behind lies or torment myself for what I had no control over. I have my moments when my mind would rather fall victim. I too, experience those moments where I want to be completely isolated from the world. I am just grateful that God placed the right people in my life to respect the moments I do, and know when to pull me out.
Be patient in your process. Standing up and speaking out doesn’t have to look like my story or anyone else’s you hear in the headlines. Your truth is yours; and you can heal past it. We pray and hope you know you can always find space to share your story here, if you so choose. Regardless, know that we are here supporting you and inspired by who you are—a SURVIVOR.
With love and solidarity,
Hi Queens and Kings, we are back with a new blog series! With more and more testimonies being heard, the climate in our culture is shifting. The manner in which we know and discuss offenses like sexual assault and gendered violence within four communities is changing. We say this with positive undertones because the negative is being exposed. The ugly truths we have been victim-blamed to believe are better left unspoken; are now in our headlines. These truths can no longer be ignored; and it is our intent to bring our audience content that proves the prevelance of these human rights abuses deserve our attention. Click the link in our bio as we share the testimonies of our brave hero’s near and far, starting with cofounder, Cristal with her story.
Happy Thursday! And happy second week of June. With so many voices and testimonies of survivors booming unapologetically, we wanted to pay homage in this month’s blog series. It is a topic we have visited before; but it’s one that deserves more coverage. So without further ado, our Stand up and Speak Out series begins with a reflection on Cristal Lowe’s “Speaking Out story,” via a poem she wrote for a creative writing class. We encourage you to express your stories in a space that feels safe even if that is simply through pen and paper. 😉💕📝
Also, stay tuned for more announcements via our Instagram as we will be highlight other testimonials there as well! ;)
I was going to speak about it--
that thing that was hurting
how it happened and how I
Today I thought I would
speak, but the fear took
Tomorrow I will speak.
Everyday I said I would speak;
but all these thoughts running through
my mind won’t let me speak.
Today like any other day when I thought I would speak,
Seven years later... I finally spoke.
I spoke my hurt , I cried my pain
Seven years later...I finally told my love
ones that seven years ago I was raped.
I finally spoke to set my self free.
Our lasting message to those of you who may be struggling on whether or not you should speak out and to whom...
Please know, that speaking out about sexual assault is entirely your choice. Our intent behind this serious is to simply encourage those who have survived or are perhaps going through the healing process right now, that you are not alone in that internalized battle. More importantly, it can be done, on your time, on your terms! Our voices matter; collectively, we are even more powerful knowing we share in a similar strength. When you feel safe, and you don’t have to question whether you are brave...facing the day Can be hard enough, just know that you are the bravest of them All! So whether you have told 1,000 souls, or one...or if you’ve never spoken up before about what happened to you, we at Herstory, celebrate you equally. We welcome you to share your story anonymously whenever you are ready, just know we are here through it all!
The month of June is a very special one for both Cristal and myself. We wanted to cover not only a new series at Herstory, but also share a special message with all of our visitors!
Around this time, two years ago, the Herstory blog was launched; also making today our 100th blog post!
It’s shocking even as I figure out the right words to convey my gratitude for this journey. Herstory was created with the intent of assisting survivors of sexual assault and abuse while also educating our communities on the prevalence of gendered violence. This intention has gracefully transitioned into a service healing initiative founded by two survivors who once met on the premise business in the fashion industry. Although, we understand solutions revolving the prevalence of rape culture require a change in legal/political backing; we also believe that communities need a space to better understand its affect on the women and men who survive these traumatic experiences.
There are many milestones we still have left to make to fulfill this vision. We know we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the healing of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the direction of the Holy Spirit
connecting us with the countless survivors we have encountered since starting this blog.
Back in November 2017, cofounder DevinMarie was honored as Central Coast’s Philanthropist of the Year for her contributions to Herstory, and this week we wanted to share the open letter she read upon accepting that award.
Hello. Thank you National Philanthropy Committee for honoring me with this humbling award.
I'm here today to offer my sincerest gratitude to the countless people without whom this experience wouldn't have been possible. "I'd like to thank my alma mater, Santa Catalina School, for the nomination, for the opportunity I had to receive an inspiring education, and for the invitation to be with you all today. With me today is my mother, Olivia, as well as cofounder of Herstory and my best friend Cristal, two women to whom I am truly indebted for graciously guiding me to bravely live out my life as a survivor of sexual assault.
As grateful as I am, I cannot help but feel such recognition is a bit premature considering all that we aspire to do over the next two years to fully launch HerStory. I cannot help but feel the need to do more, especially at this pivotal point in time, when echoes of survivors grow louder each day in the media, through currently trending #metoo hashtags, and all around us.
I cannot help but feel for the countless other stories that have yet to be told of survivors, not only in Hollywood but from our work spaces, within academia, and other areas deemed progressive by society. It is evident that the door has been opened: sadly but bravely. As much as I appreciate this award and as grateful as I am for it, the greatest reward I’ve ever been given is discovering my purpose, which I've found through Jesus Christ; perhaps the greatest philanthropist I know! One who saw a need, and met it without hesitation, even at the expense of his own life.
I would like to leave you with this last thought, inspired by Luke 12:48 which simply states:
“To whom much has been given, much will be required."
For years I asked God "why was I given this burden to bear?” But through faith, love, and through the voice of a brave young woman who shared her story of survival with me 7 years ago, I found my answer.
I have NOW realized what is required of us all is simply genuine and intentional action when we see a need that needs to be met, and I have every intention to continue to pursue that need one story at a time. Thank you.
Our greatest prayer is that one person is changed and encouraged to heal from wounds we know run deep. To those who have suffered in silence and have watched the one’s they love suffer in their unexplainable pain—this space has and always will be for you!
We love you and support you in your journey—thank you for supporting us in ours!
With Love and Solidarity💕,
DevinMarie and Cristal Lowe
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.