A message from cofounder Devin Marie:
As we near the end of our "Free from Fear" series, I am again learning more than ever about my personal journey post-rape.
I have to admit, as much as I feel solidarity amongst the women and men that have come forward about their experiences of sexual abuse and harassment in the media, I also share sentiments of triggers from my past. (Thinking to myself..."great, there goes fear again🙄).
I didn't want to admit it to myself. I didn't want to feel like that scared girl anymore. I wanted to know I was healed and keep it pushin'.
Ater all, I have EVERY reason to feel blessed, and grateful for all God has given me in my life. I have come so far from the girl who stood outside of classroom doors afraid to enter a large lecture hall of students who heard rumors I "sleep around for popularity." I've come a long way from hours in therapy sitting across the room from someone who guided me to the conclusion that I may not find the justice I FELT I deserved; so I had to create my own. I've come a long way from panic attacks and night terrors, from anger raging so deep--my insides warmed to the likeness of hell. I lived in that reality and I've come a long way from it.
Seven years.... it's been seven years this month since that night; seven--said to be the year of completion according to scripture.
And my...has this year shown many facets of my being...it has forced me to step out on faith even more. To understand that seven years of completion means more realization of myself and a deeer relationship with God.
I didn't realize that it's actually OKAY to still feel even after this much time has past. It's okay to allow yourself permission to unravel again if you must in order to inhale and exhale freely without anxiety trapping your lungs. It's okay to fall and find embrace as your knees touch solid ground because you're not kneeling in submission of the pain, but submission to your purpose. I fell this month--to tears, and isolation, to not wanting to engage with people, to not wanting to face work, or even the joys I found in modeling, I was simply depleted. And I couldn't fathom as to why, or what was "wrong with me."
Ironically, I dispersed my internal angst onto the presence of those who do care and love me. I have been made more aware that no matter how many year that pass, I am in need of savior even more so than ever before.
In admitting that "completion" doesn't equate to perfection, but God who IS perfect in an imperfect situation...I can be free of the fear that I will stay in that dark place. I'm free from feeling like breaking down is the end. When in fact, it's the position for me to break THROUGH.
So Queen...King...give yourself permission to unpack the baggage of past pains, and free yourself from the idea that "completion is perfection". Because being truly whole is recognizing when you're not all the time. And just like that moment; when pain interrupted your life, it doesn't last forever. Keep healing... even when the work is already done in you. LIVE it as much as you've prayed for it. 🙌🏽🙏🏽💗 #itsfreedomtime --love & solidarity always
In recent events we can see the domino effect of testimonies sparking up concerns and conversations about the on trend hashtag #METOO imparting solidarity amongst survivors of sexual assault and harassment. Some have countered this movement asking "what about all those who don't come forward? Are they any less brave in comparison to those who have? Are we adding more pressure to a delicate subject not everyone is "ready" to share, and are isolating more victims by edifying the self-proclaimed sexual assault survivors?"
For Cristal and myself, we spent years in silence, it took years to even attempt to accept the emotional, mental and physical processes post rape...and we aren't hear saying there is "perfect time" either. It's YOUR journey, your life, and on your time.
So...Where did we begin, and how did we heal??...
Post rape requires a lot of unpacking, unraveling...for me, push through mountains of fear was something I felt I battled alone. I spent hours, days, months, and years pretending to be happy. Pretending to be someone I wasn't; the girl I used to be before sexual assault.
She was confident, bubbily, outgoing, and fearless. I didn't know where she went after that night...but it's taken years to regain a new image of that young fearless woman in the body I look at now in the mirrr.
It was so hard to look at my own reflection without a thinking of that night, without thinking how much I hated my self for what happened as if I made the choice, (knowing now I was a victim) but then I felt and took on all the fault for it.
I internalized questions like "how can I ever be a wife and mother when I can no longer be myself?" "How can I look at someone and say I love them when I didn't love my self?"
It it was during this unraveling and unpacking and having the worst reflections of myself and my life, I found Jesus😍---a person, being, place, wave of the spirit where I never felt so loved.
the following scripture guided me through my healing and new beginning:
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light✨
I might had been broken, living in the motions like the walking dead with nothing to look foward to; parading around with a beautiful smile on the out side yet death in the inside with no desire to live.
--But when I found the love of God when I truly gave my all to Him and surrendered my pain, my experiences, my life....he striped me of the darkeness, the heavy weight, and showered me with life and light again. It has not been an easy journey at all, but it sure has been worth every step I had to take to be here today to share my story.
It is our mission to help you share yours. If not to us, I'd not here, to yourself. But when you share your story don't leave out the fact that you're blameless. You did not deserve what happened to you. You are not a victim, Queen or King...YOU are a survivor.
If you leave this page; leave knowing you are not alone in this struggle of escaping pain and walking in your purpose. You were meant for more than suffering and self-blame, and countless questions as to why the system, your friend, your relative, your better-judgement failed you. You are more than this experience but ignoring it...is just as worse as it happening and no justice being served. Denying your pain is worse than its inflection on your innocent flesh. FACE yourself in all that you are, your truths both beautiful and jarring to the heart. We hear you, we are proud of you. We love you.
It's been only a few days, but already Hollywood is buzzing...only this time, about a little less glitz and glam.
Recent allegations of top industry mogul Harvey Weinstein abusing his power and compromising the relationships of men and women in the industry are surfacing and have shocked countless individuals. The reality that these survivors of assault and harassment are experiencing is something Cristal and myself know a little too well.
Before coming out about us surviving rape; we too were vulnerable, fearful, confused, and ashamed of our truth.
As we follow these stories, we pay our respects and solidarity to those who have spoken up, and the individuals still seeking support to speak up. Moments like these are not uncommon and in some cases occurs right under our noses.
How can we become more sensitive to these issues? LISTEN.
A survivor coming forward is one of the most terrifying experiences. I remember sitting in my bed sobbing before I got on the phone to tell my other brother I was raped my freshman year of college, or explaining to my parents or school's administration as I sought protection while completing my education. Mustering up the courage to exress to family, an employer, a friend, or the authorities of your story takes a lot for anyone to do.
So whether you yourself are a survivor or know someone who is, or if you are simply curious and stumbled on our page...we ask that you hear us & the ones still coming forward out.
Listen to the cries that are too many. Listen to the stories that are a little too uncomfortable to hear. Listen to the man or woman who is needing a listening ear not a mouthful of questions or judgment. Listen. Listen...because despite of the drastically small percentages of people who come forward and falsely accuse someone in comparison to proven assault cases...these stories matter.
They matter because there are countless and I mean countless numbers of cases that go unheard of; let alone brought to trial.
I was able to gain enough strength and courage to speak about my story solely because there was a safe place where I felt I could.
If we as a culture can have open conversations about lust, sex, and promiscuity through the context of mass media, we must also be able to listen and observe uncomfortable accounts of abuse through these acts. If we can't simply listen to these stories, then we have to asses why that it is; more importantly learn how we can provided safer spaces for those who want to to be free to speak, and free to do so without fear.
With love and solidarity,
Devin Marie with Herstory
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