I still have my voice. We still have our voices. We still have our courage.
Not everyone is listening, not everyone is ready to face their own discomfort that comes along with BELIEVING SURVIVORS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT. Many in power prefer to cling to the old, dysfunctional ways. But they cannot take away our voices. We will not be silenced.
Today I use my voice to speak my truth. I was sexually assaulted at age five by my kindergarten friend's dad. I was assaulted again at age 15 by young man. And after these traumas, I felt like I would never be good enough, never feel safe, never feel whole inside. I believed I was bad, unworthy of happiness. Yet I learned to love myself, little by little. Through therapy and yoga and healing I learned that I am not inadequate and weak. I learned to turn my pain into a source of strength. I learned to trust myself, honor myself, and love myself above ALL outside voices.
And that includes the voices of people in power who choose to discount and disbelieve the experiences of my sisters and brothers who are survivors of sexual violence. In the long game, those voices of dysfunctional dismissal will be dissolved by our truth. We are joining hands. We are discovering our power. And we are raising our voices.
Even when it seems like no one is listening, our voices matter.
What way do you feel empowered to use your voice? By showing up at the polls on November 6th? By sharing your story with a trusted friend or a sexual assault hotline advocate? By writing in your journal? By setting boundaries for yourself and demanding respect?
For me, today, raising my voice means starting my blog, Sunlight for Survivors, and committing myself to writing a post every Tuesday for the next year. It means speaking my truth no matter what others may say.
I value your voice. I believe you. And I believe IN you. So let your voice shine, in whatever way is calling you today. And if you feel like that way involves, leaving a comment, I would be honored to hear your honest thoughts.