My heart has been very heavy this year as I witnessed person after person reveal a side of themselves that not only baffled me but made me lose respect for them.
It’s hard sometimes to hold onto faith in humanity. Perhaps, I need to stop putting my faith in humanity and keep it in love. I certainly cannot control the actions of others, and I can’t help but feel the sting when hurtful words come towards me, but I can control the way I react to them.
Today, a woman I follow on Facebook posted about how much it hurts her heart when she takes her twins out, and people say things like, “Twins! I can barely handle one baby; how do you handle two?” She realized people don’t typically have malicious intent behind such comments, but the fact is that those comments do sting.
Do people not empathize? How would you feel if you were in her shoes? Wouldn’t you love those babies more than anything? Sure, parenting is hard. Sure, having more than one child presents challenges. Do you think she doesn’t know that?
Try saying something encouraging instead of pointing out the obvious challenges this mother faces daily. Maybe something along the lines of “Look at your beautiful twins! You’re doing an amazing job, Mama!”
I recently posted a statement about how I have accepted the fact that I will never be a mother and even made peace with it, but that doesn’t mean that those feelings of grief don’t still sting occasionally; particularly, during Christmas.
When the “Have you thought about adoption?” comments started flooding in, I instantly regretted the post.
I wanted to be a mother for many years. Do you really think I haven’t considered every possible option?
Think before you speak!
Content Warning: Rape.
There is one comment that’s been troubling me. It was a comment made by a man to a woman of sexual abuse.
The commenter asked the woman to consider her rapists’ feelings and how he now lives in fear of the police coming to arrest him.
Ummm… That’s a consequence of the rapists’ actions. If one doesn’t want to live in fear of getting arrested, one shouldn’t do anything that warrants an arrest.
I have difficulty empathizing with someone who purposefully hurt an innocent being.
Do you know what fear that woman has to live with from now on? A fear she didn’t do anything to deserve but was forced upon her?
She will now live in fear of walking to her car in a dark parking lot.
She will live in fear every time a shadow moves behind her.
She will feel the need to sleep next to something that could be used as a weapon whenever she’s by herself.
And these are just a few of the many things, and I’m sure there are things I can’t even think of because every experience is different, but do you know how I can empathize with this woman?
I can empathize with this woman because it happened to me.
People often ask victims of sexual abuse why we didn’t report it.
I can only speak for myself, so let me tell you why I didn’t report…
I was raped by the man I dated before I met my husband. We were broken-up at the time, but I allowed him to talk me into taking a walk in the woods with him after he showed up at a mutual friend’s cabin for a camping weekend. The friend assured me he wouldn’t be there, but that was the first lie of the night.
My ex became aggressive when I went to leave and pulled me into an RV. There were at least eight people in the RV sitting around drinking. My ex pulled me into a small space where a cot was placed against the wall, out of sight from the others but within earshot.
He forced me down, held me by my throat, and took something that didn’t belong to him because he felt entitled to it.
No one came to my rescue, despite my cries for help…
I tried to fight him off of me, but it was hard to fight and focus on trying to breathe simultaneously.
He collapsed on top of me. I don’t know what drug he was on, but whatever it was knocked him out, and I was grateful.
Rage coursed through me at that moment, and it gave me a strength I didn’t realize I had. I knocked my ex off me and onto the floor.
He was out cold. He remained unconscious.
I grabbed my keys off the nightstand and held my car key between my pointer and middle fingers. I seriously thought about stabbing him in the jugular.
Instead, I stood up and kicked him in the ribs, ran out, and told all of the people sitting on the other side of the wall that I hoped they rotted in hell and walked back to my car in the rain.
It all sounds so anticlimactic now that I’ve typed it out.
When I arrived home, I ran for the shower. I wanted to get the stench of my ex off me. I remember falling to my knees and screaming, and then sobbing, and repeating those actions until my throat couldn’t force another scream, and my ducts ran out of tears.
I pulled myself up off the shower floor and scrubbed my skin so furiously that it started to bleed, and then I vomited.
After I managed to clean myself and the shower up, I called my best friend at the time, C. She had been through this before, and I needed to know what to expect.
I asked her what would happen if I went to the police. She told me that they would make me strip off my clothes, and I would be poked and prodded, and asked the same questions multiple times by multiple people, and forced to relive the moment over and over.
I remember this part very vividly. C grabbed my hands, looked me in the eye, and said, “And there’s no guarantee he’ll ever get convicted for it.”
Can you blame me for not reporting?
Can you blame anyone for not reporting?
A few months later, I started working as a dental assistant, where I reconnected with a friend I met in the seventh grade, my soul sister, Amanda.
I was in the sterilization room cleaning instruments with her when I confessed what had happened, and my boss overhead me.
Later that day, he pulled me aside and confessed to his eavesdropping.
Then, he had the nerve to ask me what I was wearing the night it happened.
I became so furious. I remember glaring at my boss and asking, “Oh, what, because it clearly can’t be the guy’s fault, right? Men can’t control themselves, and It’s up to women to not turn them on?”
Of course, he started stammering and trying to explain that’s not what he meant.
I informed him that it wouldn’t have mattered if I had been completely naked if I didn’t give him consent to touch me, he had no right to touch me. End of story; however, I was wearing sweatpants and a hoodie, if he must know.
This is one reason why so many victims of sexual abuse don’t say anything or find the courage to say anything for many years.
It is my sincere hope that this breaks through to someone and causes them to start thinking before they spew the first thought that comes to mind.
I hope it reaches someone who needs to read it. That’s always my hope when sharing deeply personal posts.
It makes me vulnerable, but I am learning that if I can use my pain to help others, I want to do that.
The most significant healing from all of this came from finally forgiving myself.
Yes, you read that correctly. I am sure I am not the only person who had blamed themself when a traumatic experience happened to them.
I held onto anger for years because I felt like I deserved it. I hated myself for taking that walk with my ex. For ignoring all those red flags screaming at me to run.
The trauma still haunts my nightmares from time to time, and perhaps it always will, but I no longer blame myself for it.
It is my biggest hope that someone will realize they are not to blame for what happened to them. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done. Nobody has the right to anyone’s body without their consent.
Another lesson I learned was that just because this happened to me does not make me unworthy of love, which goes for everyone else who has experienced trauma.
So, as we enter 2022, please, for the love of Formica, just be kind!
If you can’t form a supportive or comforting thought, simply don’t say anything.
It really is that simple.
Happy New Year!
Love and life lessons,