Day 30: #BlogLikeCrazy – Speak Up
It wouldn’t be me if I didn’t go out with a bang…
BUT, before we get into today’s final #BlogLikeCrazy post, I would like to take one last time to THANK YOU so much for your support!
Your reads, likes, comments, and encouragement have truly helped #BlogLikeCrazy be the success that it is, and I could not have done it without you!
So, THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!! I truly am so appreciative, and I look forward to what’s next for the blog and #KeyInspires as a whole.
I hope you will continue to be along for the ride because it does not end here, with #BlogLikeCrazy.
As I continue to write, I hope you will continue to read, and I pray my words continue to speak to your soul.
Today’s topic has given me a bit of anxiety. Nervousness if you will…
It is an untold story of a very personal and traumatic experience.
It is not a story I am sharing for sympathy. It is also not a story I’m sharing for apologies.
It is a story I am sharing for awareness and safety.
Not just for women but for those who have ever experienced anything like this before.
I briefly touched on this over the last couple days, but today, it is even more important.
Women, especially Black Women, are beyond the shadow of doubt the most unprotected species on this Earth.
We experience trauma, we tuck away the trauma, and we suffer in silence because we’ve been taught to be strong and to hide what others may perceive as weaknesses.
Many put on a mean girl front and shut people out. Others act out. And others continue with life as usual.
In the recent months, I’ve had unexpected conversations with very close friends of mine about being drugged, sexual assault, and rape, all while in college or between the ages of 18 to 25 (guesstimate).
The common denominator between us all was that the acts of trauma were never shared nor reported.
Hints the title, Speak Up.
Speak Up is not meant to be interpreted in an aggressive or negative light because your story is your own to share OR NOT share as you see fit.
The title, “Speak Up”, personally resonated with me because I felt the time was now to do so.
As I think back over my thirty-three years of life, I remember being in middle school and the guys thinking it was funny to walk around and lift the skirts or dresses of girls in the grade while in between classes or on our scheduled breaks.
Now that I am an adult, in my big age, I realize how, not only embarrassing, and uncomfortable that was to witness and experience, but it was also extremely violating.
I never told my mom because at that age, it “seemed” like a harmless prank, but really as I process that experience, I think I was afraid.
The strength it takes to report someone violating you in any way, big or small, is difficult.
Especially at a tender age.
Statistically speaking, every 68 seconds, someone is sexually assaulted.
On average, there are 463,634 victims (age 12 and older) of rape and sexual assault EACH YEAR in the United States.
Younger people are at the highest risk of sexual violence with the bulk of sexual assaults (54%) occurring between the ages of 18-34.
1 in 5 women in the United States experience completed OR attempted rape during their lifetime.
ONE IN FIVE.
1 in 3 women experience completed or attempted rape for the FIRST time between the ages of 11 and 17.
ONE IN THREE.
I’ll let that sink in…
Fast-forward to college, I feel we’ve all heard the warnings of being careful going on and off campus, being careful while you’re out, and to always keep an eye on your drink.
But, as we take heed of those warnings, you, and I both know that sometimes things happen, that are outside of our control.
I can recall several times being at a party in large crowds of people and being groped by the common passer byer.
It’s violating but, in a crowd, in the darkness, what can you really do? It sucks to say out loud but things like that happen, unfortunately, on a regular basis.
My friend’s and I have reacted a time or two but of course no one will ever admit to making a quick grab.
I remember being a sophomore in college, and a friend of mine and I left campus to go to a house party.
We were familiar with the crowd, so our safety wasn’t a thing of question.
After the party, we decided to stick around since we had been in heavy FRIENDLY communication with the hosts.
The two guys were good friends and seemed to be cool people so again, our safety wasn’t a thing of question.
Never, did I imagine that I would walk away from that night, raped.
It took a very, very long time for me to come to grips with the fact that that happened to me.
I remember walking out the next morning, my friend was on the couch and as we left, she said, “Girl, insert name, tried to rape me.”
My heart sank because I didn’t have it in me to share that the guy, whom I thought was harmless, was successful in raping me.
As a matter of fact, I blamed me.
The only thing I could say to her audibly was, “Girl, why didn’t you text me. We could have left.”
But on the inside, I was paralyzed and numb.
As she was talking, I could only visualize my attempt to fight the act of my pants being taken off.
I remembered giving up because that’s all 108 pound me could do. I fought and fought, but I knew couldn’t win.
I remembered Martin playing in the background while I just laid there, stuck.
I remembered him climbing from on top of me, roughly five minutes or so later, and falling asleep as if nothing happened, as if it was a casual consensual event.
I laid there in disbelief with no clue what to do next.
I didn’t sleep, I just laid.
He said nothing.
He rolled over as if he had done nothing wrong. I questioned if what I thought I had experienced was true.
I was in shock. I laid there. Now, fully dressed, uncomfortable, but stuck.
I walked away feeling guilty. I walked away feeling shame. I walked away blaming myself.
I didn’t know who to tell, so I told no one. I felt like no one would believe me.
So, I tucked away the experience and never, until today, spoke of it again.
Had it not been for two very recent conversations on sexual assault and rape, I can guarantee that this would still be hidden in the deepest part of my memory.
But having those conversations triggered me in a way that forced me out of hiding.
Even as I type this blog, I hear the words, “Come out of hiding, your safe here with me”.
Eyes filled with tears, but it’s just the reassurance I need to finish this one out.
It’s truly devastating that when it comes to rape, sexual assault, and sexual violence, having a safe place to disclose what happen to you, is rare.
It’s even more devastating to think about the amount of people who violate someone yet go right along with life as usual.
It’s devastating to know that most unwanted sexual contact, rapes, sexual assaults, and sexual violence goes unreported.
Although my act has gone unreported and happened over ten years ago, I will end #BlogLikeCrazy coming out of hiding.
This trauma can no longer hold me captive.
I am not guilty of doing anything wrong. I am not ashamed. I am not at fault.
What happened to me does not change that I am who I am, and I am called to be a light.
My light will not be dimmed, and my trauma will not hold me captive.
If you are a victim of rape, sexual assault, or sexual violence, my prayers are with you.
May you find peace in processing what you’ve experienced. I pray that a safe place is your portion.
It is my prayer that you know and understand that you ARE NOT at fault, and you are NOT to blame.
You are still called to be a light and I pray you light shines bright for all to see.
Until Next Time, #KeyInspires.