“You have to be taught to be second class. You’re not born that way.” — Lena Horne
Sexual abuse is nothing new, it is just discussed more now because of the #metoo campaign. As with most things, when celebrities are involved with something, it seems to become less taboo to discuss.
I am not saying this is a bad thing; I am all for the conversation happening however it must. As a survivor of domestic violence, sexual abuse, and rape, I understand why it is so difficult to bring out into the light.
For me, what this campaign has brought to light, beyond the obvious, is the fact that those of us who have lived with these types of things are the same, in many respects. It doesn’t matter where you come from or where you are in life today, bad things happen to people from all walks of life.
It’s one thing to think this, but to have it shown to you, is a completely different thing. It’s “proof” so to speak, that you aren’t alone, you weren’t singularly targeted, there are other voices out there telling a similar story.
When you grow up enduring abuse, or experience it at an older age, it makes you feel “less than”. Whether it’s because of words spoken to you by your abuser, or because of thoughts in your own mind because of the abuse, you felt like a second-class citizen. You question your own worth, you question what you could have done differently in order for these horrific things not to have happened to you, and sometimes, convince yourself that it’s your fault.
Survivors of abuse feeling that they can use their voice and speak out against their abusers is important for several reasons.
It brings out into the open the things in the dark that no one wants to talk about, but should. But it also allows others, who may not be in a position to speak their truth yet, to know that there is hope. To feel that they are not alone. And hopefully, help give them the strength to one day walk away from the situation they may still be enduring, or at least find help to rise up against the internal voice that makes them feel less.
For me, it gave me the nudge I needed to tell my story to the world. I have always written, whether in journal form, poetry, or otherwise, but I never had the courage to put much of it out into the world. Any time that I had, I was laughed at, ridiculed, once again made feel less than.
I put my story out into the world, not just for myself, but for others, in the hope that it would reach someone who needed that hope I had often needed in the past, when I could not see a way out. To let anyone who read it know that no matter how much you struggle, there is always light to be found.