#MeTOO

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This post may be triggering for those who have experienced sexual trauma.

This hashtag has been all over the internet recently.  While it can be good as a tool to bring light to the millions of women who have survived sexual assault, sexual abuse, rape, unwanted sexual advances, it can also be a trigger for so many.  Women everywhere you an old, rich and poor, famous and not so famous are hashtagging #metoo, while at the same reliving some of the most disheartening and traumatic experience one can every endure.

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As a survivor, this hashtag reminded me of what I have overcome but it also reminded me of the pain and struggle I had to endure to get from a place of overwhelm to overcome.  Here is a little of my personal story:

There is no secret in my family that I was molested as a child.  This person was allowed to go free and has never been prosecuted to this date.  It has been brought to light that there are other victims, many, he is a serial child molester.  He is a monster.  Unfortunately, the statute of limitations has run out for me to press charges or do anything about the situation other than tell my story and be as open and as honest about what happened to me.

After years of being ashamed about the situation, in college I finally found the courage to speak up because other friends shared their experiences.  I was in the comfort of other who had their #metoo moments.  After years of being angry and upset at my family for not protecting me, I learned how to no longer allow myself to be a victim of my circumstances.  Circumstances that I did not ask for and circumstances that I did not deserve.

What I share today is that there are signs, parents.  From my own experience and from my studies in the field of psychology, there are signs.  Parents, pay attention to who you bring around your children.  Trust their instincts and not just your own.  Look for the innocence to be lost, you can see it in their eyes.  When their happiness is replaced with heaviness pay attention, ask questions, observe.  Be prepared to protect your child period.  enough said.  Keep an open relationship with your child and have frequent dialogue with that child.  Talk to them and not AT them, there is a difference.

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For my fellow survivors, it is not and never was your fault.  It was not how your dressed, your behavior, your attitude your nothing.  It had nothing to do with you.  It never does. The reality is that there are a lot of sick bastard in this world and more often than not, due to our silence or the silence of those around us, they stay protected.  How many of these people are still roaming around, preying on women with low or no self esteem, or those women who are working hard, and who feel that their children are with a trusted partner, neighbor or friend?  We need to be more intentional about calling them out and naming the disease so that it can be eliminated and not allowed to happen to anyone else.

The whole #metoo thing, I am not sure exactly how I feel about it.  I know it is hard for some women to see that hashtag and know what it means, what it really means.  I also know that for other women it is a form of victory.  It is a way to take the power back and to know that there are countless others that share their pain.  More importantly, it is a signal that there is so much more work to be done.  Work on personal levels, collective levels, legal levels and definitely religious levels.  However you may feel about the topic, not that the pain is real, but also know that you can be free of the pain, emotional heaviness and blame that the movement may bring up.  For those who may be going through it now, hopefully something or someone gives you the courage to speak up and get out of the situation, whether it is at home, at work, at school, wherever.  I pray that we all continue to work and take out power back.  Now that is a better hashtag #takeourpowerback!

Be Blessed!  Be Fabulous! Be Fearless!

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Safety for Single Women

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In light of all of the things happening in our world today, I felt the need to share some tips for Single women in regard to being and remaining safe in this society.  I am a fan of the cable channel Investigation Discovery.  You can sit and watch shows on this channel all day long. A recent day of viewing shows on Investigation Discovery that chronicle the lives of women who have been victims led me to share a few tips I have learned about being safe as a single woman.

First of all, always let someone know where you are.  There should be someone in your life whether it be parent, friend or other loved one who you check in with every day.  That can be a simple, short phone call or texts that lets them know that you are doing well and not in any danger.  This is also true when it comes to dating, especially internet dating.  Let someone know where you are going and who you are meeting.  Provide as many details as possible, such as the other persons contact information, license plate numbers and make and model of cars.  In the case that you need to be found details will make the difference.  Another tip is to have a check in time.  This can be done in all instances.  Set a time with a reliable person and check in.  Excuse yourself to make the call and let them know that you are ok.

Know who you are meeting.  Spend as much time as YOU are comfortable with getting to know the other person.  Google them.  If they provide an address, google that.  In this day where many people meet in virtual surroundings, it is important that you do your due diligence because you ultimately never know who you may be meeting.  Ask questions that help you get to know the person, where did they go to school, where did they grow up?  You can also share as you are comfortable and know that you too may be googled.

When going on or meeting, be mindful of your surroundings.  Know where you are going and know how to get back home.  Never go anywhere that makes you uncomfortable.  Pick a location that is mutually agreed upon.  This may include studying the map or knowing specific landmarks.  Whatever the case getting lost in this age of technology should never be an issue.  Make sure you enable the GPS on your phone, you may never know when you may need to be located.  Learn to read a map and to use the navigational systems in your car (if you drive).

Trust your instincts.  Normally, if something does not feel right, there is a reason you feel that way.  If you are not feeling something or someone for that matter trust your gut.  Many issues could be prevented if people would only trust their instincts.  Technology is your friend.  Google is a wealth of information and a single girls best friend.  Google allows you to search for people, places and things.  Do your home work and make informed decisions.  Keep mental track of what you discover (you never know what may be useful later).

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Always, always be careful.  These are just a few tips that I am offering which may refer mostly to dating, but which can also overlap into other areas of your life.  There are so many more tips (which will be shared later).  This is just to get you started and to allow you to make informed decisions as you go about enjoying you life and your dating experiences.  Feel free to share some of your own tips or how some of these tips may have helped you.