Break the Silence
I’ve been thinking a lot about breaking the silence and helping others own their past. But what I’ve found is no one wants to…. We have created this taboo feel around talking about trauma. Even though so many women have broken their silence on so many levels, we still don’t see much on overcoming trauma… We openly discuss breastfeeding, miscarriages, postpartum depression, and other topics like that…. But you don’t see as many women speaking out about Rape, Abuse, Mental Health, and Recovery… Those topics are still more taboo. But why? What makes everyone so uncomfortable? In a world where sex is shoved in our faces at a very young age, we sure shy away from the horrors of sex. I am approaching the time where I feel it’s important to talk to our oldest about sex, and with that, No means No, and how NOT to be afraid to speak up… I don’t want her to ever experience sexual pressures or an assault…. But the likely hood that she will experience unwanted advances or an attempted forceful interaction in her lifetime is high. We work on self-defense and soon we will bring up the hard topics… Now some may say “She’s only 8! Don’t bring it up yet!” But there are 8-year-olds who are already having sex. 8-year old who has gone through puberty, having sex…. Even if they haven’t gone through puberty… They are babies having sex….
I would rather talk about it early, than too late. But when is too early? That’s up to you.. When I was in an abusive relationship at 15, I didn’t know everything I should have…. I was not taught about pressures and abuse... It wasn’t talked about. We had the maturation program that warned us once you started your period you could get pregnant. But you don’t talk about all the aspects of safe sex… Use a condom, sure… But there is no talk on sexual violence, no means no, when someone is pressuring you and your right to your body…. None of that. I thought I was in the wrong, I thought proving I loved him through sex was what I had to do because he told me it was and if I didn’t I would swiftly be persuaded with a reminder of what happened if I didn’t show him… Mind you, he was also a 15-year-old… Where did we learn this behavior? When was the opportunity missed to teach him, that's not love, it's abuse? When was I taught I owed him nothing…. That my emotional love was enough and if he wouldn’t accept that he wasn’t worth my love and affection? It wasn’t. I was taught sex before marriage is wrong. If you have sex you could get pregnant. Having unprotected sex could lead to STDs…. That was the gist of what we were taught. Religiously- I was going to Hell. I believe in a merciful and forgiving God, but it was not an excuse…. My love and desire for this kid were stronger than my belief in Hell-Fire.
Many think hiding your past from your kids is the best way… Teach them right from wrong, don’t
share your own missteps. I think that’s bull. Learning from your parents' mistakes by knowing they made some makes more sense to me… Don’t have boyfriends at a young age, date a lot of boys- but don’t have sex or kiss them all. Make sure you really mean something to someone before you allow them admittance to your inner heart. When you say no, or when you ask someone to stop whether in those exact words or not- they better stop…. If they don’t apply the self-defense you were taught and report them. Immediately. Don’t keep secrets from your parents… No matter what you do, we will love you… We want what’s best for you and we will not judge you. If you choose to have sex, tell us. We want to keep you safe. We need to know how to proceed and how to help you emotionally, physically, and spiritually. These are just a few of the feelings I have that I didn’t know I had from my parents. I have very loving parents who did support me and help me when they knew... But I didn't know it was unconditional.... Rape doesn’t have to be violent to be rape. That’s another thing I didn’t know…
My point is, it’s uncomfortable to talk about, so we don’t…. But then you have girls like me who assume they are to blame and at fault for things that were done to them… So they keep it to themselves. It festers, their self-worth diminishes, depression, anger, and anxiety step in… They take over. Personalities change. Their life is altered. People don’t believe them when they finally let it out. Even when women report it immediately, they are accused. They are shamed. Well, you know what… shame on those who treat survivors that way! Shame on those who assume regret over victimhood. Our first reaction should be belief… Obviously, proof is needed in the justice system for a conviction and there are unfortunately women who falsely accuse… But our first reaction should be belief and support. Remember that not all rapes are violent. A woman doesn’t need to be a virgin for it to be rape. There are all sorts of abuse and types of rape…
Date rape- I used to believe you had to be drugged for this to be a thing. My rape is considered a date rape…
Violent rape- A person beaten and forcefully held down.
Emotional abuse- someone who is emotionally abused will often allow her abuser to sexually placate themselves even if she doesn’t want to…
Spousal Rape- If you don’t want to have sex and your spouse pressures you- you don’t have to. Just because you are married does not give them the right to expect or receive sexual favors from you. YOU CAN SAY NO!
Emotional Abuse- Someone who tears you down constantly is emotionally abusing you. Friend, Family, or lover…. It does not matter. If you feel worthless around someone and they make you feel that way by saying awful things to you- that’s abuse.
Physical Abuse- Well this is a no-brainer, but obviously a charming abuser can sure make you feel like you deserve it. No one has the right to hurt you physically or emotionally. Decent people don’t beat people.
I feel like I’m getting off-topic here. The point is the taboo needs to become a natural form of conversation…. I truly believe you would have fewer victims and more survivors if we talked about these taboo topics. More young women would avoid toxic and unhealthy relationships if we taught them openly and often about these hard topics. Even if you think your kiddo knows- it may be worth a conversation every once in a while to check-in. Break the silence, don’t be afraid. TALK OPENLY about sex, unwanted advances, and forceful actions. How to avoid them, how to get out of them, how to report them, how to react, or how to proceed if you freeze. We have to catch up to the world we live in…. How many women do you know who are survivors? How many women do you know who posted #metoo? Here are a few statistics for you before we end this post…..
The Majority of sexual assault victims are under 30
15% age 12-17
54% age 18-34
28% age 35-64
3% age 65+
The Average Number of Sexual Assaults/year against women is over 300k
1 out of every 6 American women has been a victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime (14.8% completed, 2.8% attempted)
Look at those statistics… Do you or your daughter fit in any of those ages? If you were assaulted yourself, were you in that age range? Three Hundred THOUSAND women are sexually assaulted a year…. That’s just the assaults that get reported… What about those who never disclose? 1 out of every 6 women has been raped or nearly raped. How many women are in your family? Sisters, Aunts, Cousins, nieces, daughters, mothers, grandmothers…. Divide that by 6…. Statistically, that’s how many in your family would be assaulted in their life…. How about work? How many women in your workplace may be survivors? How about your church group? In your daughter's class, in her grade, in her school? Now I won’t say talking about it will guarantee exclusion from becoming a statistic…. Even the most prepared and aware women can become survivors… but the ability to avoid, deescalate or recover will be greater. Isn’t that worth a hard conversation? Why? Because mama, YOU (and your loved ones) are worth it! Together we can rise from the traumas in our past or help someone else rise from theirs. Break the silence.