Loving yourself more everyday begins and ends with: HONESTY.
We've heard it before, the saying "the truth will set you free" but from what are you being freed from?
Sexual assault affects the individual more than just in the Moment it happens. We the survivors, are left to pick up the pieces when our world shattered into a million pieces.
But which ones do we pick up? What part of the puzzle do we choose to stick back together? The truth is, there is no perfect way to heal, and we don't promise to have all the Anwsers to everyone's situation.
We don't want to generalize sexual assault either and treat it like another statistic. We know that every person who fulfills a statistic comes with a story. Every survivor deserves to reclaim their story. Which is why we are here.
HOW do YOU reclaim a past you wish you could forget?
Step 1. Honesty
If you've ever been in a physical accident before and had the scars to prove it you'll know what we mean.
If you're walking around with crutches and people ask how it happened, you can come with a quick response "oh, I had a skiing accident, or I had knee surgery."
Emotional trauma, though less obvious, carries a similar weight. People can't detect WHY someone is the way they are, and straight out ask "why don't you trust people, or why are certain settings uncomfortable for you?"
But you can, and how we choose to share or not share is entirely up to you. But the story you tell yourself is what's most important.
Having been a survivor myself, i choose to share my story with others because I know how redundant and strenuous it was for me to reclaim the story told me by society and our culture.
I chose to call myself a survivor and no longer a victim like the police report indicated.
I chose to tell myself AND accept, that this experience was NOT my fault, even after the hundreds of scenarios I thought could have helped avoid being assaulted ran through my mind.
I chose to be HONEST with how I felt in the process of moving forward. If I felt anger I accepted it. If I felt sad, or upset, bitter, misunderstood, I accepted it. I learned to acknowledge every ray of emotion and told myself "it was okay" to feel.
I chose to be honest with others and let people know my boundaries. I couldn't expect people to see and understand my emotional crutches.
I chose to be honest with myself that what I went through was real, was hurtful, and most importantly NOT my end-all story.
It was a painful moment, physically and emotionally, but it was a moment. And I had a lot of other moments I could choose to project that pain or become better or stronger because of it.
I didn't want my entire life to reflect a moment that I didn't have control over. So I decided, I got to choose, I had the control and authority to give myself permission to be honest not only about my pain, but my healing and growth.
With love and solidarity,
this week's contributer: written by Devin Marie
Healing takes many forms. Acknowledgement of your truth while not sitting in it (your pain, your anger, your hurt) is essential in walking in an honest uphill journey towards self-love. We weren't always this "brave", but we at Herstory are learning with you all, in hopes of encouraging others who are also over-coming post-trauma.
We pray you know that finding your self-love has more to do with rediscovering it. Even if they're only broken pieces...💔-->❤️
I hated her. I hated how weak she had become.
I didn't want to spend any more time making excuses for who she was now that it happened.
The parts of her that were exchanged for someone else's fantasy.
Why her, why me?
You know, her voice ACTUALLY use to MEAN something?!
The same voice.... smothered in pillows to silence screams of "NO......& STOP"
Was she not loud enough, did her cry not pierce through the heart of the one she trusted?
Was she not strong enough to push him away?
What was left wasn't much.
She made home in brokeness and became territorial of anyone who tried to enter---
a squatter Of her own temple
"If HE broke-in so could they," she thought.
She built walls from remanents Of disappointments and let-downs
building her own broken fantasy she was sure repunzul would have been jealous
But she...she stayed sleeping and waiting for the kiss of redemption
Someone Who could wake her from the tiresome quarrels of self-loathing, nightmares became an extension of her truest reality.
She would have traded it all if she could
But this was her truth.
And truth be told, she learned to embrace the weeds that forced themselves through cracks of her foundation
Eventually they'll begin to grow
Eventually she'll begin to know--that her broken foundation of self-love was an opportunity of little escaping miraculous to bloom
Vacant as she was, the right things made a new home in her abandoned fortress
Lost and found
Love and sound
Filling her up again in the truest of ways.
Leaving just enough room for her miracle to grow
Enough room for the light to finally shine through
Enough she thought...she was enough.
She'll learn to trust again, no one can rob the heart of its keeper, broken and battered but still here
STILL here. 🌱
Healing notes from one survivor to another
You're broken home is enough. You are enough.
Healing begins when you acknowledge that.
#itshealingtime #stillhere #survivors #endrapeculture #blogger #writer #writersofig
Crying now doesn't make you less of a survivor. Healing takes many forms in different stages of your human existence Be patient with yourself.
Six years ago on October 4th my life shifted. It was a shift that introduced itself as immense pain, brokenness, and self-pity.
How could I let this happen? How could I have trusted? How could I have been so naive. I was 18, and a new freshman in college eager to take on this new chapter of my life. But nothing could have prepared me for the emotional changes I'd have to adapt to from that night.
I was tutoring a member of the college football's team which I was attending. We befriended each other on campus and chose to study outside of school on the Sunday before classes started back up for the week.
My trust in a individual was shattered when I was drugged, and left in his bedroom, door securely closed from his roommates coming in. He forced himself on me after telling him I wasn't feeling well. After never consenting My Will to share any form of intimacy with him. I lost the ability of my limbs, and my voice for what felt like hours...
the details of my story are more explicit than the general statement: " I was taken advantage of." " He had sex with me, and I could not vocalize that I didn't want to because I was physically incapable of doing so" I can try to water down this story to make it less hurtful to ears who've never experienced the loss of yourself while still being alive.
But if I'm not honest of my pain, I cannot invite healing for myself, let alone anyone else still hiding behind denial, self-hate, or victimization if I cannot be transparent.
October 4th shifted my outlook on not only others but what's worse myself. I internalized that pain for years thinking I was the one who was responsible. After all, it IS MY BODY, and I was its guide up to the point of my assault.
Then again, it was HIS BODY, that had equally as much responsibility in NOT guiding us there.
I shed a couple tears this past 4th. I shed them for the young woman who may secretly think she should have or could have done something to avoid another person's willingness to take advantage of a situation that should be consensual NOT individual.
I shed a couple of tears for the individual still covering themselves with layers of clothing like layers of defense to make themselves appear unattractive to another potential attacker
I shed a couple of tears for him/her/they who believes their story was a lot more watered down on paper like the police report they were brave enough to open to.
I shed a couple of tears for the person who feels less after someone took more than they should that day, night, that moment that altered their perception of self.
I shed them for you, I shed them for me.
Not because he still has control of me, but because like rivers in a stream full of barriers of mounded rocks and branches... I too must learn to move through the initial impact pain has on every drop of my being.
We too must move through, not avoiding, all embracing, into waterfalls of hope, of healing, of life.
Let the tears flow to your healing. 🙏🏽 we are survivors, & our stories matter.
With love and solidarity,
Written by cofounder: Devin Marie
God made me stronger through it and I can testify that there is hope so he allowed it to be. And now, my life has purpose. I am now who he never imagined I would be. I am like the Phoenix that rose from the ashes to become even stronger. This is my life, I have a story, and I was made to share it. 💕
A powerful testimony from another powerful & brave sister. This is (HER) story.
I watched as they lowered him to the ground. He would soon be 6 feet under and he would never hurt anyone again. And though that was he case, that thought never crossed my mind at that moment. All I could think about was how selfish he was; he left my family hurting. He hurt my family when he was alive so it was no surprise that he would too after his death, and so I blamed him. I blamed him for all the commotion he caused by getting hit by that car. I blamed him for the taste of vulnerability he left in the mouths of those that loved him. I blamed him for the sleepless nights of his kids, my sister and my mother. It's as if he was determined to make everyone pay the consequences of his death. And though this was my mindset at the time, I never once stopped to hurt and mourn him. Truth be told, I was kind of relieved that he was gone now. But it was hard to grasp the full weight of the feeling as it was drowned in a sea of mixed emotions.
I don't remember when it started or how, but vaguely in the back of my head, I think I remember the first time it occurred. I was maybe four or maybe even three; my mom must have dropped me off at my sister's house so she would watch me while mom worked. With my father not contributing financially, my mom had to become the breadwinner of our small family. I remember being in the room with my sister's husband (he was perhaps 17 or 18 years old at the time). He was laying on his back and had me on his stomach. I must have grazed him the wrong way, because the next thing I can remember is the molestation. It only happened once -that I can remember - but it was the gateway of the years that marked me forever.
It must have been at the age of 15 that it became a daily torture. I didn't know how to get away from him and end it. The fear of him telling my family was always a lingering thought. What if they think it was my fault? I thought. What if my family disowns me and my mom stops loving me because she is so ashamed? It had gone on far too long for me to end it now and I didn't think anyone would believe my version of the story. He always made sure to act like a loving brother to me. He always "bought" me anything I wanted, while in reality I had to "earn" it. While everyone saw that I was his spoiled sister, I knew the tears that came with each item bough for me. It affected my self-esteem drastically, I'd like to say that my self-esteem was low when in reality it was virtually non existent. These were my high school years, the ones where I was supposed to love life and have inexplicable mood swings. Instead, I was being sexually assaulted on a daily basis and crying every single time it happened. Movies and TV
taught me that these were the years when I was supposed to be learning to kiss boys and have innocent boyfriends but I was learning to kiss him!!! I hated him for it. I hated him for ruining this experience for me and then making it seem like he cared about me.
As a result, I was always busy hiding this truth so no one would ever know I was being asked to pull my panties to the side by my sister's husband in exchange for money, fast food meal or just a ride to the movies with my friends. He would use any means necessary to manipulate me or the situations so I had no way of escaping his filthy hands. And in the end, all I could do was pray. I prayed that I wouldn't get pregnant, I prayed that God would touch his heart so he would see the harm he was causing me. Many times I settled on praying for my period to arrive early or for it to last longer just so I would not have to get in his car and drive to a dark alley with him. A few times I wondered if anyone had ever cried as much as I did but I always tried to think that I was blessed because it could be worse. I wondered if I could confide in a friend just to get it off my chest but i was afraid of betrayal. If anyone ever found out, I would just die. I could not fathom the idea of my mom thinking I was fooling around with my sister's husband. I wondered if she would every think that I, a 15 year old, wanted a relationship with a 27 year old. The reality was that my mom would never wonder that, she comes from a world in which older men and under aged girls getting married is not as far-fetched And so it was settled, I had to continue keeping it a secret. No one was to know, at least for another 5 or 6 years.
One day, as we sat there in the van, in a dark alley; I must have been 20 years old at the time, making him 32. I was in the same place in life. He still owned me and I was still captive of his mind games because I didn't know how to get out of this without hurting my family. My sister would think I was betraying her, trying to steal her husband. My mom would be ashamed and my brother would be angry. Yet I knew, the older I got, the more difficult it would be to escape this.
One time in class, our teacher talked about manipulation and control, the kind that is not seen, but is felt. As an example, she told us about elephants, they have great strengths and can easily free themselves from the chains used on their ankles and necks. The trick is, these elephants are showed at a young age that no matter what they do, they can't be freed and can never go beyond the perimeter the chain will allow. As a result, these elephants grow up KNOWING they will never trying to defy what they know and eventually, as the chains are removed, they will not go beyond the mentally marked perimeter. As I sat there, I realized I was bonded to believe I cannot end this, but I had to try. I was willing to lose it all - my life, my family, my friends - and it felt like I would. But I held onto Psalms 27:10 When my father and my mother forsake me, Then the Lord will take care of me. I had decided to gamble and defy what I KNEW. I refused to be a captive for even one more second and so I blurted the words out. I tried to hide my fear. I tried so hard to keep my body from shaking and show how small and insignificant I actually felt. And as my voice was breaking I spoke uttered - I am not doing this anymore. He shot a death driven stare at me -this anymore.
-you owe me too much! he yelled. I have paid way too many things for you and spent too much money on you. This cannot end like this. You have years worth of debt to repay me! I can't remember if I cried, but I must have because I remember telling him about how much of my life he had already stolen. He refused to believe what I was speaking in front of him. I think I told him that I hated him and that he had no idea how many times I thought about taking my life because that felt like the only end to this. -Don't say that- he said. It's as if somewhere in his mind, he hoped I would just love him and forget how this actually started. For a brief moment, I thought he would beat me, but he controlled himself. Perhaps it was his own fear invading his mind, how would he be able to justify beating me? All I know is that it took all the strength and courage to break lose of his abuse but I was finally free. No one ever found out and I never told my family. As the time passed, I realized that I always had the ball in my court, it was always my decision to make because he had no power. Had I ever spoken out, he would be behind bars and he knew it, so that's the reason he always made me fear everything. That's why he made sure I believed he had control. He knew I would never try to hurt my family by speaking out. I understood so many things as years progressed.
It took years for me to recover from the mental and sexual abuse. I had to work hard to sum up any love for myself, building my self-esteem back up with what seemed to be microscopic pieces. And years later, with tears in my eyes, one by one, I told my friends about the life they never knew I lived. I recounted my story to those that needed to hear it, healing them as well as myself. Then one day, there were less tears.
So as the last bit of dirt was poured onto his grave, I resented him for hurting my family now. But I knew I did not hate him. I had stopped hating him a few years back. And though he didn't exactly have my respect, I had overcome him. He was now just a person who lived in the same house as I did. I was untouchable to him and he knew it. And as he lay there lifeless in his coffin, -I knew- he would never harm anyone else. I prayed that he had the opportunity to repent and be forgiven by God and that he rest peacefully in God's presence the moment his soul left his body. It's been about 10 years since I escaped his grasp, and now close to two years since he passed. My family never had to find out and I can say I am a better person because of what I went through and survived.
I know now, why I had to go through what I did and if I had the power to change that part of my life, I wouldn't. This is what has made me who I am. It is because of this life event that I have learned to have compassion for others. It is because of those dark years that I am able to hurt for others and encourage them. God made me stronger through it and I can testify that there is hope so he allowed it to be. And now, my life has purpose. I am now who he never imagined I would be. I am like the Phoenix that rose from the ashes to become even stronger. This is my life, I have a story, and I was made to share it. 💗
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.