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.
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.
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!