I remember at the sweet tender age of twelve waking up several nights with my mother's "live-in" boyfriend on top of me doing things that still haunt me to this day.
I remember the old white men who would drive around the corners of my hood three and four times hoping I would notice their fancy car and accept a ride home.
I remember the fear I felt being alone when the cable man came to fix our cable box while my mom was at work. I could literally feel his nasty "come-on" energy by the way he looked at me making suggestive remarks. I remember being even more fearful thinking he'd come back upset that I rejected his un-welcomed sexual advances. He had my address.
I remember in high school being sexually stalked by my best friend's married uncle whose home we spent several nights. I didn't know he was my stalker. I remember the shock I felt when I learned it was him! Unfortunately stalking laws did not exist at that time. Damn. I remember.
I remember matriculating through my career being raped by a colleague who abusively "pushed up" on me at a private event venue while I repeatedly said no, no, no! I remember returning to my office feeling dirty and violated, guilty and numb. Completely numb. I knew hours in a shower couldn’t wash away how I felt. I still remember.
As I lead a story telling movement to inspire women and girls to find their voice; stand in their truth and celebrate their wonder, I've learned I am not alone. As we create sacred space for women to find their voice, I keep finding mine. It is never too late right?
Many women have violent sexual crimes engraved in their heart. Tragic experiences that paint their journey and shape their love.
Some find their voice in sacred silence. A bold vow to maintain their dignity and privacy through their trauma and pain. A personal vow to heal in her own way by transcending the pain and taking back her power pursuing meaning, a message of hope and passion for their purpose.
There are women who courageously refuse to be silent. They go against the power of a sex driven culture that often accuses its victims and bolsters perpetrators. They speak truth to power whether anyone believes them or not. Recognizing, she just might crack the code of suffering silence; influences change in our culture that turns a blind eye all too often and inspires another woman to boldly come forward to rescue her soul and save many more souls from this unacceptable abuse and silent crimes.
Whether she finds her voice in silence or captures her community in a radical roar— it is her body, her life and most certainly her choice.
The scars never go away. The memories never cease. Survivors never forget. Every single time another bold and courageous woman, girl, sister, mother, daughter, aunty, grandma comes forward--- we remember.
I dedicate this blog to my daughter Ashle, my niece Lanika and all of my adopted daughters who know who they are. May you ALWAYS find your voice and stand in the power of your truth and power.
Today—- I remember.
Photo Credit: Eyemagination Imaging