Most rape victims personally know their rapist
I left Boston because when I was 21 someone I knew sexually assaulted, me. The humiliation and the shame kept me silent for years, as well as, drove me away from the city. At the time I told everyone I was moving to Los Angeles in order to pursue a career in the entertainment industry, but that was a lie, the reality was that I was desperately looking for a place to heal. At the time I didn't understand that my experiences with life and all its pains did not define who I was, I didn't have the knowledge that I have now in regards as to who I truly I am. Thus out of fear I did what I knew how to do best: I ran. My thought process was as followed "Well maybe if I leave this place with everything and anyone that reminded me of my assault maybe I will forget and move on". It was very naive and immature of me to believe that my spiritual pain could be eradicated with a physical change.
In the contrary moving to Los Angeles forced me to confront my demons. I didn't have a choice, I didn't know anyone in this city, I didn't have the luxury that I had in Boston of occupying my time with useless distractions. Although I attempted to keep my mind occupied by working two or three jobs at once, reality would always hit once the shift was over and I was left with me, myself and my thoughts. However, my loneliness had its benefit, it made me realize that the only person who could make me feel worthy of being happy again or cause me to lose my pain and my shame in order to move on was me. I started to realize I was my only escape out of this. My healing started with me acknowledging my powers, that is although I should always listen to what I'm feeling, I had the power to choose how I wanted it to affect me.
Self-love became a priority thus in order, to channel my emotions and cleansed my mind I picked up writing again ( a hobby that I enjoyed so much as a kid but lost the passion for it when I realized I was dyslectic and started to believe I would never be able to write without any mistakes like everyone else, I still make grammatical mistakes lots of them but honestly I don't care anymore lol). I wrote every day, about self-love, about life and about myself. It became very important to me to pay attention to the origin of my feelings and their intention, what gifts were they bringing me? What did they want me to be aware of, and why?
Moreover, poetry saved me – literally, while my shame silenced me for years, poetry became my weapon, my voice. With poetry, I could transform my painful experiences into beautiful stories while at the same time shined a light on issues that we seldom talk about like assault or abortion or anything that allows a woman to feel unappreciated, unvalued and helpless. I could do all the above without having to explain to anyone why and where my inspirations came from. Initially, I wrote and performed to heal myself. I however, started to realize the impact that exposing these feelings had on both men and women. It offered a different perceptive on the subjects being discussed, that was sensible enough to allow anyone to relate to it, it evoked compassion and gave a voice to other females who were suffering in silence. Till this day I am still in awe when a man comes up to me after a performance and says thank you.
I am no longer ashamed, no longer humiliated. I can't say that I am over my assault, that would be arrogant of me because wounds leave scars as a reminder to practice self-care and self-love constantly so that the wound won't happen again. Thus, there will always be a dark place in my mind dedicated to reminding me of my assault. However, the question is, whether I choose to let it affect me, or not? and my answer will always be: I refuse to let anyone have that much power over my life. I now try to spend most of my days advocating for the peace of the mind, body and soul. I do this by researching and exposing different ways used by people to obtained self-love, or by organizing my sisters healing workshops which provide a safe space for women of color all over the globe to heal.
The reality is we all have demons, they may not express themselves in the same way but nevertheless, they are present waiting for us to gather the courage and confront them. I can't tell you what your demons will ask of you, I can't tell you how long it will take for you to defeat them, hell, I can't even guarantee you that my method will help you in your fight, but what I can promise you is whatever or whoever these demons are, they are worth confronting, if this is the price that you will have to pay in order to gain your peace back, then it is worth it. You deserve that much.