Good morning survivors, supporters, Queens and Kings!
It's a new month, and you know what that means; a brand NEW series! 😬🙌🏽💗
HERSTORY will be unfolding and unraveling with you on our own experiences of "coming-out" to our families on our experiences of sexual assault.
Dealing with abuse, and sexual assault like rape can leave one feeling completely isolated from people around you, ESPECIALLY from the people closest to you.
We understand that everyone's healing evolves differently, and as you will read, Cristal and myself share different stories on our journey towards speaking out.
We will also encourage individuals who are still walking this journey on their own, or perhaps those who have never told anyone before of their history or experience with sexual abuse; that you must do what brings YOU peace. We believe that speaking out has personally helped ourselves and others, but are in no way pressuring the process one must take on their own individual journey towards being truly FREE, from the emotional bondages of abuse.
OUR hope is to simply shed light in this dark area. To encourage those who are questioning whether it is possible...we are living proof that IT IS...and you can do so while maintaining your peace and feeling of safety.
So, for the month of March; let's "Speak Out, and Stand Up."
THIS week's topic is personal to us, and our experiences of "Speaking out, and ultimately why we did."
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves for the rights of all who are destitute.
Sometimes telling your story to a complete stranger is easier then telling someone you love.
I plotted plans on how to tell my immediate family about being raped many times, but they all failed; it was almost as if I would be overcome with amnesia when I would tried to say something.
Fear played a big part of my silence and as mentioned before, fear that my family would back track from their own walks with God since they where new in Christ.
But as I prayed for strength to tell my family I felt God say "it's now or never" I mean how can I speak before people and share my story but yet live in fear that my family would find out?
There is never a right time and I remember speaking to my family on New Years Eve 2013 out of all days in the year...but I couldn't pick a better date, as I heard God say "New year, new beginning start fresh with a clear mind and a free spirit".
As my parents and brothers came together they imagined I was going to say I was pregnant again or something exciting but I replied, "no its nothing like that."
I began to shake, and sweat. A million nerves ran over my body and my mind was racing on how I can change my story to something good, but I knew it was than or never.
As I began to tell my story I could see pain wash over my family and tears develop in my parents and brothers' eyes. I will never forget how painful it was to see them hurt; more painful the my first birthing experience, yes more painful than birth.
At first, the room fell to complete silence. And with every tear they fought back, the wave of questions followed.
Who did it?
Why didn't you say something?
Where does this person live? What's his name?
To even my father saying; "that's why I never like to let you go to concerts and your vegas trips, but you wouldn't listen."
To my mother saying "well what happened, happened; And we just need to learn to move foward and leave it in the past"
but as I prayed in my mind all I can say was "look I'm telling you because God has called me to use my story to give Him glory to speak out and not be silent. The reality is this happens everyday and everyday someone is told to keep silent when we need to have a voice and speak our story that someone else may feel safe and healed."
Since my family has not spoke about it, but they know about Herstory, yes it's a hard subject to talk about....maybe because my parents feel like they failed in protecting me.
My only response would be:
"I say you did an amazing job and God was with me."
My brothers might feel as if they didn't protect their only sister, but again,
"I say God has been with me even in that hardest struggles-- I call myself blessed, blessed to live and share my story in hopes that it may safe someone else.
Speaking out is not the easiest thing to do, but I promise, your soul will become light weight and ultimately free.
Find a reason whether it's to help someone else, setting your self free, over coming fear, etc.
My reason is my daughter who I'm teaching to make her voice count and be strong to stand for what she believes in and to never let someone keep her silent.
Speaking out for me happened over time.
The first person who knew of my experience and had to share in my tormenting silence was my gracious mother.
It was a cold, over-cast morning, the day after I was raped by a fellow student Who befriended me the first week into my freshman year. I was dropped off in front of my college's campus, went to class, and sat in the front row. Didn't even hear my name called for roll.
Moments passed and I felt the whole room closing in on me, I couldn't stop getting the flashing images out of my head, I stormed out, and paced the hallway till I could figure out what my next move was.
"Did this really happen...maybe I'm over exaggerating..." but my insides spoke back to me almost saying "you don't belong to us anymore"
I called the one person who I knew loved...(but could she love me
"Yes, what up?"
"...can you pick me from school, I can't. I can't be here."
My body was done covering up my pain, and I exploded into tears and blurred out;
"I was raped...Chris raped me..last night."
the sound of disappointment, pain, and anger lingered on her lips.
I don't think she was angry at me, but like Cristal reiterated, there is a commonality between most of my family's response of
Feeling ultimately helpless in that type of situation.
I will share more of that day later this month. But I would just like to say, my mom, is a rockstar, and has held my hand through every step...
6 years later, I opened up to my family about my experience of rape on as I say "God's
The sexual assault happened during my college experience I knew God said "you need to leave this chapter behind in order to fully graduate from my pain." It was always a struggle dealing with the PTSD and on-going harassment while pursuing my college degree; and it was important that while everyone celebrated with me on this major accomplishment, they knew what it took
For me to get there.
I fought back many, many "opportunities" to let my father, and four brothers, grandmother, and Godmother know.
But I fasted, I prayed, I cried, I turned to God on EACH occasion and leaned on Him for support when I was weak.
"I'm done crying over me...how do you expect me to pacify their feeing of all this now, too?"
God made a way every single time.
I approached each person differently, in an intimate, quiet space; and for most of my siblings, over the phone, which honestly was harder than in person.
They couldn't see how strong I was saying it, they just heard the worst possible experience they could have ever imagined for their sister, daughter, granddaughter...and were left to process it all.
Even as the words escapes my mouth, I was praying in my mind, "Lord, you got anything else for me, does it REALLY have to be the full truth?!"
I didn't go into every detail, because they didn't need to know. It was enough for them (I thought) to know they weren't physically there. It was enough for them to know, they couldn't do anything about it, and that I dealt with this on my own for 6 years, while literally fighting to convince myself to stay in school.
I told them; that I'm in a good place. That if it wasn't for GOD leading me, healing me, and being my strength through this I wouldn't have made it some days, let alone, my graduation day.
But I said, "even though you didn't know what I was going through, you helped me. Just knowing you were there whenever I was ready to face my reality....your LOVE carried me through some of my darkest storms."
No matter what storms you face, silence was the loneliest time for me... We are grateful to have had the support system we did, and still have since our experiences of sexual assault. We realize this is not everyone's reality. Not everyone has a safe space or person to "come out to" because it could tear the family apart, it's a religious or cultural taboo...the list goes on...
Knowing this we just want to open up THIS space and say, you are NOT ALONE. And whatever bondages you come
With CAN and are set free in the name of Jesus Christ. You don't have to carry your burdens alone.
We pray that Herstory can be that place in transitioning, and healing.
So live honestly, and freely...we are here EVERY step of the way!
Till next week, and always with lots of love,
Cristal Lowe and Devin Marie 💗
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