The media has had me floored. And almost silent. But that’s the opposite of the point of all this here so I felt like I had to say something. It’s not because of the debate of who did what. But what is actually coming out as lies instead of truth.
That beyond this one story, survivors… “should be, could be, would be” a certain way. It’s seeping into everyday conversations, everyday survivor stories, and so many are being hurt in the process.
God made us courageous warriors with voices that can be used to speak Truth.
This has been SO much more than about her story to so many of us.
This is more than politics (although so much of it has been politics, I know).
It’s about survivors everywhere. Our stories.
And how this has ripped our wounds open as fast as it has been ripped from the headlines.
It is so much more than that.
I will not post my opinion on the details of her story or his. Because honestly I don’t have one and I’m so beyond myself about the reaction around the world. I say reaction because a response would require compassion and although I’ve seen that too, I’ve seen the opposite just as much if not more.
But what I will say is that as a survivor of sexual violence. I am appalled.
This has crossed an absolute line.
The victim blaming is unbelievable.
I know the media is a place where things get twisted and you need to be careful about what you read and who you read it from.
But this is real people, saying these things on posts that are supposed to be supportive and encouraging to survivors as they bare the weight of a secret that has now turned into the weight of a story they should be able to feel safe enough to tell.
But with the way the world has responded, it has perpetuated silence all over again for so many.
This is why I stand up and Speak. And I will regardless.
My vulnerability is worth someone else finding their voice and potentially freedom and healing from it.
I am not someone who watches the news and my tendency is usually not to engage is big debates such as this and to only spread positivity light and love.
But it has been so much more to me than that this time around. I’ve felt the weight of it all relentlessly. There’s a lot of inaccuracy in the media, I am Aware, And I can usually find safety and peace in that and completely separate myself…..
But this. This has been absolutely horrifying to watch unfold.
And I’ve actually protected and separated myself from a lot of it but what I’ve seen is enough. Enough for me to see what is being said, beyond whatever is actually at stake.
We must love others as we love ourselves and this has been the complete and utter opposite of what I’ve seen for the most part.
Although I do see a glimmer of hope and change which I will talk about later on in this post. I see a lot of disheartening posts and I’ve heard a lot of disheartening things.
Safe Places and People in this context have gone out the window.
Survivors are being triggered left and right and people who we thought we could trust fall away with their words. Their words that sting… I don’t believe you. (Especially if you aren’t the “perfect victim” as they say. With all kinds of evidence) It’s no different.
But there are so many safe places and people out there, so please, survivors, don’t let all of this be your example.
Sift through the weeds and find someone who will rise with you, who will believe you, who will listen to you with compassion in their listening ears, deep care in their heart and their words, and safety in their hug or the holding of your hand every step of the way.
I am one of them, and I know so many in my circle and our circle who would say the same.
I’d rather be wrong and pick up the pieces of that than be wrong on the other side of not believing.
Let me tell you this.
1) I was sexually abused at ages 9-10
2) Sexually assaulted at 12.
3) And sexually harassed /assaulted at 23.
And I’ll tell you this…
Did I report # 1 right away and was there physics evidence or a star witness?
NO, someone told for me about a month later. Then I found my own voice thankfully and went through a grueling 2 year court process for little justice (but Justice nonetheless) and I am glad I walked through that, gave my impact statement and found my voice over and over again as a result.
Did I report # 2 right away?
No, never did. I thought about it, but it had been close to 14 years and I feared I wouldn’t be believed.
Did I report # 3 right away?
No, never will. Because he was drunk anyways and didn’t remember when a family member of mine confronted him. And there’s No evidence but my voice, my words, my truth.
Not many know the depths of these Parts Of My Story. I didn’t report Sexual Abuse in childhood that happened around ages 9/10 repressed until I was 23 or an assault/sexual harassment by a much older man known To My Family at 24. My fear was Not Being Believed because of what I was seeing in the media and all around me about survivors not being believed even with memories remembered at the time, or breaking their silence not too long after and even in delayed reporting where it makes sense to not report because of the fear and shame we feel at one time or another or many other factors. There was no evidence. It happened without a trace. Also 11 years prior I went through a court trial for a Sexual Assault when I was 12 and testified at 14 (took 2 years and 5 postponements by the defense to get to that day) It was an exhausting & long process without much justice, but Justice nonetheless and healing in some ways, I just didn’t think I could do it again, especially with the scrutiny I knew in my heart I would face.
Regardless, it doesn’t make my experiences any less factual.
Although I’ve done a ton of healing work and have seen deeper healing and ultimate freedom as the days of my own Journey go by… This is still very real for me and so many others. And in light of this with my own experience; I have felt heavy in a way that I have never felt and find it hard to explain to those even in my most inner circle (“Circle Of Inspiration” -Hush By Nicole Braddock Bromley).
14 years later now, I work in the field as an advocate for survivors every single day. I am certain all of this has been a heavy weight as well for many courageous ones and their families who have walked through my office door. I’ll never know, but what I do know is that our first reaction makes a significant impact on a survivors healing journey. Survivors are watching. Will you be worthy of their courage to say those words? To sit with them. To hear them say, #metoo .
Regardless of the vote or the media or any of what’s happening and will happen…. as we don’t have much control over that.
What we do have control over how we respond to those closest to us, and those that may cross our paths at any point.
What I do also know for sure is that as a survivor and as survivors all around me would surely agree with, we ALL need safe places to go and people to walk with us.
Will YOU be one?
And as a woman of Faith, I know the Truth says we need to bare each other’s burdens and pray for each-other while we fearlessly walk through the trenches of these issues hand and hand; For Good. For Justice and Mercy. We are not the Judge. But we can love each other through it.
I’m not saying you have to engage is this debate. It would actually probably be better if many out there didn’t. Because our opinion doesn’t define what actually happened or is happening.
But what I’m challenging you with and asking from you is.. WILL YOU, through your actions, your words and your social media…
~> Support Survivors, Believe Them, Encourage Their Voices, Walk Alongside Them On Their Journey’s (No Matter the details, The when, The Who, The How, The Timeline etc) and most importantly…. Will YOU open your eyes, and listen compassionately before casting judgement or opinion? We are not the judge anyways.
Through the darkness of all this, I have seen the light.
-I’ve seen survivors taking courageous steps and raising their voices, some telling their stories or reporting for the very first time.
-Some people without their own story are educating themselves on Trauma and the impact on the Brain and Body and how each journey although with a common thread can be so very different and we all can hold onto or release the weight of the shame and fear this crime instills in various ways on various timelines.
-Some people are just listening compassionately, not saying anything.. and that actually says so much to survivors. That our voices matter and we are heard without someone trying to fix it, or comment about it. Just listen. It can be so healing.
-There’s so much more good that can come, if we shift away from the dark and into the light and the truth. Our own truth.
And for any survivor out there who is feeling more silenced than free in all this; I see you. We are your voice too.
The truth is, everyone’s got a story, everyone’s got pain, and everyone has value.
Let’s act, love, write and speak like it.
Like that’s the actual truth.
We need you.
With Grace, Upon Grace.
For all of us.
We need to know, we are not alone.
I’m with you.
I validate you.
I believe you.
I support you.
You will never walk alone,
This road is not meant to be walked alone.
We are here.
Pain to Purpose.
Shame to Shine.
Worthless to Worthy.
Scars to Stories.
Regret to Redemption.
Fear to Freedom.
Survive to Thrive.
We are SO much more than what is ripped from the headlines.