I really couldn’t find the words to start this article. In fact, I sat looking at the blank page overnight trying to figure out the point I would get across. How I would present myself and my topic to others in an understanding manner. Also, in a way that wouldn’t be offensive to others. I told myself, it’s time to be honest with others and with myself. I chose to speak on sexual assault. While Rape and child molestation falls into those categories but of course the spectrum of sexual assault is widespread between men and women. The “newest” epidemic is sex-trafficking of minors against their will.
I was sexually molested as a child by two individuals that I felt should have been protecting me. And I am a survivor of a rape as an adult. It took me a very long time to understand what happened and to rationalize my thoughts. I blamed myself when my adult incident occurred and had to speak to someone that I trusted to clarify if that is what happened to me. And the answer was/is YES! I did feel victimized because this person was a friend and someone I spoke to and hung out with on a regular basis. The betrayal I felt was unimaginable but I felt that if I told no one would believe me or even care for that matter. Sadly, I am not the only woman who has endured such traumas. I had the opportunity to sit down and speak with a brave woman who was kind enough to share her story with me.! I’ll Call her “Brave Queen”
I asked her a few questions about her experience and how she could overcome what she has gone through. With the hopes that telling her story along with my own we would be able to encourage women to speak up and speak out. It is a very common thing to hide such incidents or feel shameful of what’s happened to you. I experienced that with certain family members. Stating that I was “lying and looking for attention.” But the one person I needed (my mother) was there and to me that’s the only thing I focused on.
Here’s her story:
Q1: What was the age your sexual assault began?
Brave Queen: “I was seven years old.”
Q2. How long did it last or was it an isolated incident?
Brave Queen: “The sexual assault from this person (older male cousin) lasted until I was 9.”
Q3. Someone close to your family or a stranger?
Brave Queen: “Cousin, half-brother, father in law, husband and sexual assault from a patient at work. YES, your husband can rape you”
Q4. Did you tell anyone (explain their reaction)?
Brave Queen: “I first told my older half-brother (3 years older than me) but he shortly thereafter began doing the same thing to me. (Which lasted until I was 14.) But, when I was 9 I told my grandmother what happened. She then told my cousins mom, and she and a neighbor questioned me over and over. For hours on end through the night only letting me sleep 20 mins at a time before starting again. In the end she beat me, told me I was lying, and told me my father was very disappointed in me. That he would die if he ever had to talk about it again. My dad was a single parent to my sister and I so instead of explaining my side to him I stayed silent. Wasn’t until I was 27 that I had the strength to talk to him about it just to find out my aunt lies and never told him a thing. It made my dad break down that the people he trusted to watch us while he worked and provided were hiding secrets and lying in his name. I told my husband about his father raping me because he gave me a car for my birthday and “somebody had to pay for that”. He didn’t believe me. Then my husband would crush prescription sleeping pills in my food and drink and rape me in my sleep for the thrill of it.”
Q5. Have you been a victim of a sexual assault/rape as an adult?
Brave Queen: “Yes”
Q6: Did you report it?
Brave Queen: “The 3rd time it happened as an adult at age 33. The first 2 times was one at 22 my father in law and the second at 25 from my husband. I didn’t report those because when you tell the wrong person as a child and nothing happens you think it’s easier if you keep your mouth shut.”
Q7: How has this made you feel over time?
“I used to feel like I’d never be anything other than a victim; due to being victimized over and over. Wore that shit like a scarlet letter. I learned to cut myself where no one could see. I would drink EVERY TIME I had sex. After the birth of my youngest; I was introduced to pain pills and became addicted to them for years. I had a DESPERATE need to be NUMB. No matter what I did I always felt like something was wrong with me or something was missing and I was cursed to live like that forever. I wanted to kill myself so many times over the years and no one ever knew.”
Q8: Do you feel you are over any of this?
“ABSOLUTELY!! All of it!”
Q9: How did you go about moving forward?
“At age 28 I received news that my half-brother was going to be released from jail (violation of probation- Sex offender- UNRELATED TO ME) and I began to have panic attacks. I was unable to sleep so I wrote him a letter. I sent it to his FB inbox and told him basically that what he did still affects me in my adult life daily and I refused to continue to carry the weight of what he did and that I forgave him.”
Q11: how has this affected your day to day living?
Brave Queen: “Honestly, I used to think it was cliche bullshit to hear “oh forgiveness is for you not them,” but on some real shit all of that lifted off me in a way I’ll never be able to explain when I decided I was DONE with being a victim.”
Q12: Were you ever threatened or your family members threatened?
Brave Queen: “My dad was threatened. My younger sister and myself as well. The threat on my sister was if I told she would be sexually assaulted too.”
Q13. Do you consider yourself a victim or a survivor?
Brave Queen: “I am a MuthaF’N SURVIVOR!!!!! The thing is, these events were designed to take my light from this world. And if I let it; so many other people who I could’ve helped would’ve been gone as well. I refuse for anything outside of shining my light and spreading awareness; rob the universe of the love and light inside of me.”
Q14: What advice would you give to someone in your shoes for speaking out and bringing awareness to this epidemic?
Brave Queen: “Don’t be afraid of “telling” on someone when you tell your story. Fuck whoever doesn’t like it. Because guess what, you weren’t exactly begging for the shit to happen to you either. If someone stabs you in private you bleed in PUBLIC. It’s the only way to shed light on these things. In order for it not to keep happening. You are not alone! Don’t be afraid to get help from a professional. And the best advice I can give is to heal and be free. Spread love and light. Be the person you needed when no one was there. And if nobody else loves you I do and I don’t even know you!”
This is only two of so many stories. According to RAINN:
- 321,500 on average are sexually assaulted or raped
- 60,000 are children
- And someone is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds.
With these numbers just imagine how many people are being victimized on a day to day basis and no one even knows. Somehow and some way we need to ensure we are creating avenues for women and children to feel safe with telling their truths and helping them overcome. Something that we may think is innocent in nature may be inappropriate and need to be reported. We can’t allow the shameful thoughts or feelings to get in the way of what’s right because we don’t know how our stories can be beneficial to someone else. I try and use my platform for those who need a helping hand, a listening ear and overall courage to speak their truth. Anyone in need of help can contact me via email at WrittenByVontress@gmail.com!
1-800-656- HOPE ( RAINN 24/Hr hotline ) There is also a live chat available for those who choose not to speak on the phone.
And do not hesitate to contact local authorities in your area !
Be sure to follow up with survivors of the #MeToo Movement