Be Strong and Courageous

One topic that isn’t always easy and yet so important to talk about is sexual assault.

I’ve talked about my experience in another blog. I was only twelve years old when i was abused. I didn’t say anything because nobody would believe me. That’s what happens most of the time, or the victim thinks that’s what’ll happen.

I’ve heard so many stories from people I’ve met, and most of them didn’t report it or even told anyone. When I asked why, it was because they were ashamed or afraid. They thought no one would believe them or would blame them instead. This is what society has made us feel. Insecure. We can’t even trust the people that are supposed to protect us. Sometimes people just prefer to look the other way because the reality is inconvenient to them.

Some of the saddest stories I often heard were those of teenage girls I knew from school. They had been molested or sexually abused by a family member. It’s so infuriating to think that these girls lived day by day with the fear of it happening again. I know because I felt it for so long and my perpetrator wasn’t even family. It makes you anxious, paranoid, angry, sad, and powerless. The trauma caused by sexual abuse takes away your sense of security, you can’t trust anyone. You begin to hate yourself because you think it was your fault. You hate boys, thinking they are all the same, yet you still date many of them to find the love that was taken away from you. You want to fill the void in your heart with anything or anyone.

Many survivors of sexual assault start using drugs, drinking alcohol, and engage in risky behaviors. It’s like you’re on self-destruct because you hate yourself so much, but you don’t have the courage to end your life so you hurt your mind and body to ease the pain of living. We all know that it’s not just girls, boys are abused too. I just haven’t heard as many incidents as I’ve heard from women.

This is why moms are so overprotective. I speak for myself. I am always terrified for my kids. I always told my kids to tell me anything they thought was inappropriate, but sometimes kids are scared. Sometimes these people threaten kids and they prefer to stay quiet. I didn’t trust many people with my children because I knew way too much of what could happen. I still worry now that they’re older. I tell my daughter to be cautious of her drinks and always be alert.

This doesn’t happen to children only, it happens to older women too. I put myself in many risky situations because I would drink to pass out. I would use drugs that impaired my thinking. I woke up next to guys I never met before. I couldn’t remember anything, but I don’t blame them though. Some men don’t understand or ignore the fact that having sex with women who are under the influence of any substance is rape! Like it or not. But women don’t report these things. Why? Because we’re blamed for it. Yes, it’s our fault because we put ourselves in those situations. Not the guys’ fault for taking an unconscious woman and having sex without consent. See how that is?

We have to teach our boys to respect girls. No is no! Society instead teaches girls to be safe. To cover-up, to never walk alone at night or to be careful with their drinks when they go to clubs or parties. Why should women live in constant panic? Why aren’t we teaching our boys to keep their hands and other body parts to themselves?

Rape is a horrible act of straight evil. Nothing justifies any type of violation to another human being.

Now that I have the courage to speak about these things, many might think that I’m seeking attention, or that I’m still angry at those who hurt me. But it’s the complete opposite. See, when you start forgiving you begin to heal. It’s a process. It doesn’t happen just because you want to or when you want it to happen. But once you start healing, you try to understand why things happened the way they did. After that you know you can talk about it without feeling sick to your stomach or an urge to cry. The pain starts fading away and you hold no anger or sadness in your heart.

I keep hearing people say that I am a strong woman because of everything that happened to me, but it isn’t like that. I am strong because I overcame what broke me. I wasn’t strong then. These experiences broke me to pieces and I self-medicated for a long time. It took a lot of pain to appreciate my life and understand my value. Only by overcoming adversity did I learn to be strong.

Don’t be afraid to speak up. You are only powerless when you don’t!

Love Pao.

β€œWhosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day”

-Alma 36:3

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”

-Mathew 11:29

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