It’s not an easy thing to write the words in this post. Although I am confident in the potential that is has to support healing for myself and others, culture has dictated otherwise. Modern culture has masked the trauma of sexual abuse and trauma as a non disclosure for most people, especially women. While those in religious groups have been acknowledged and admonished for speaking there truths, the road for Black women survivors of Sexual trauma remains non existent. Even with the #Metoo movement of recent years, many black women young and old still do not share this pain outwardly, because of Culture and lot because of shame.
Growing up in a Caribbean family, we never talked about Sexual Abuse, Trauma or molestation. So the behavior that was shown to me by those who violated my trust was confusing and somewhat normalized because I didn’t know that it was ok to let others know what was happening to me. I can reflect back on it all now as a Fully grown adult woman and exhale all of its wickedness and violence as the most impactful experiences of my life. They (yes, I was violated more than once as a child , into adulthood and even as a young woman) would shape the way that I navigated all of my relationships for many years until I became burdened by the guilt of not healing this pain. During this time I still did my best to show up and be all that others needed me to be, but I still neglected the broken pieces of myself. When I began the process of unraveling all that had happened, I was pulled in so many directions that I gave up more than once. The pain was too heavy. The burden was too much. I even felt that because of this, I was unloved by many family members.friends and lovers. I thought they knew my secret and blamed me for the hurt that I had suffered. As the years went on, I isolated myself from living the life I felt I deserved but didn’t know how to get it. When I truly became committed to living a Healthy Life, it opened the door to acknowledge and receive the healing that I am giving to myself still to this day. The Pain of Sexual Trauma can cripple you from living your purpose. It can mask itself through the poor choices you make from a place of self doubt, insecurity and not forgiving yourself. My story of Sexual Trauma is not new but it has disappointed me due to its pervasive frequency. But if I am to be a sort of strength for others, I have to reclaim the voice that was lost in the silence of this pain.
History has a way of repeating itself
Even though I’ve done a great job of fixing my own acknowledging my trauma, I still didn’t see that there was so much more work to do to prevent anything that happened to me from happening to those people in my life that I love deeply. In a relationship past I became vulnerable to someone and opened up my life and insecurities to this person letting them know of my past hurts and they use this to weaponize my pain and use it against me and hurt my daughter. I became enraged but still with a polite quietness of not ruffling any feathers so that I wouldn’t draw any attention to my family or to theirs. I supported my daughter through the process stood by her side and whatever decision she made in her healing. When she decided that she wanted to let this quietly go away, I felt a sigh of relief that I didn’t have to relive my own trauma through her experience. I also felt a great deal of shame. I wanted to support her. I wanted to be her advocate. I wanted to let her know that she was heard and that she would never be silenced by what she experienced . but I felt like I let her down. Through therapy and continued communication, I am rebuilding the bond that I hold with my daughter to ensure that I am worthy of her light and remind her to advocate for herself unconditionally.
Becoming better not bitter
Not speaking up for myself for so many years was the worst thing that I did to myself and when I did begin to speak up and stand up for myself after so many years of holding back, I felt that I was judged and ridiculed by the very people that I turned to for their help in my healing. I always say that this created the spirit of bitterness in me and a reluctance of sharing myself with others. I felt that they would not be able to acknowledge my experience. I can look back on this now and confidently say that it wasn’t theirs to acknowledge because I am the one who lived through it. It was for me to express to them my deep wounding and never allow that to happen again and also choosing to forgive them for not acknowledging my pain.
Forgive yourself and others
Forgiveness has become a regular thing and everything that I do more so for myself than others because I didn’t realize the true value and importance of it in my life experience. I speak about it on every platform that I express my feelings and thoughts and I share it with people to remind them the power that forgiveness truly has. It is a lighthouse in changing our lives for the better. Forgiveness showed me that those experiences no longer have power over me or how I choose to live my life or show up for myself and others. Forgiveness reminds me that there is always an opportunity to start a new in any situation and it also empowers me to never look back on the doors that I have closed.
Honor your healing boundaries
Boundaries is still a new thing that we as human beings, and specifically in my experience as a Black Woman is still learning and navigating to find out what works best. So knowing what boundaries means in your life and in your healing experience is vital to acknowledging when you require the space to do just that, heal. You have to acknowledge that healing is necessary in your life to be able to set the boundaries that support this part of your journey.
Let love in
Learning to love after a traumatic sexual experience is no easy task in the life of many but it is so worthwhile and so doable with consistency, persistence, patience and practice. It does not come easy to allow someone into a space that is most vulnerable to your own insecurities as well as those that they bring to you. When you are able to look at yourself with love and acceptance unconditionally, regardless of what you’ve been through others will naturally gravitate to you in the same spirit, in the same essence allowing you to let love in. This will show up Beyond your intimate relationships. It will show up in the things that you do. All that you are passionate about pursuing. It will show up in all that you aspire to create in your life for yourself and others. Just allow it to flow through you and it will come to you.
Healing from sexual trauma can mean being vulnerable enough to show up for yourself. To do the work that you must to be happy, fully, unconditionally regardless of what has happened to you. You make the choice to forgive, to move forward and to thrive in spite of everything that you have left behind. May this testimony be of encouragement and strength and power to anyone who is has experienced any form of trauma in their lives. You too can make it through.