A Letter To The Abused
Not too long ago, a few individuals shared their story with me, a story of lost innocence. One man shared his story of that of being sexually molested as a child. Another was a woman who was raped, the other woman who was a victim of sexual abuse as a child. They all have inspired me by sharing their story, coming forward with the truth, and speaking so honestly. Their strength, endurance, perseverance, and courage are commendable.
I will not pretend to know what itâ€™s like to be a woman who was raped; but I can relate to having innocence ripped away from me and my body invaded by a predator. A survivor like me, who was molested by a pedophile from ages four to seven, will have different side effects and issues than a teenager who is raped, or an adult who is raped, or a person who is a victim of incest. There are different effects on us depending on the nature of the sexual abuse, but there are also similar effects that all sex abuse victims share, and we all know the same courage.
After my transformation and healing, I wanted to become a voice for the voiceless and a voice for empowerment. So I wrote my book, When Jonathan Cried For Me, and started coaching people on how to overcome trauma and triumph over tragedy. My book is not about sexual abuse, but I used that topic and my story as a platform for transformation.
If anyone out there feels hopeless, or they donâ€™t know how they will overcome trauma; please email me (link at the bottom of this blog), and I will send you my eBook as a gift.
To my brothers and sisters who were a victim of sex abuse, I share this letter.
My fellow survivors,
Iâ€™m truly sorry.
Iâ€™m sorry someone put their hands on you as a child, Iâ€™m sorry someone forced themselves on you, Iâ€™m sorry that the people who were supposed to protect and love you tried to break you. Iâ€™m sorry if anyone could have helped by intervening, yet chose not to. Iâ€™m proud of your strength and endurance; you are strong and amazing, and you are not in this alone.
Do not give up hope!
Six years ago I had a shotgun in my mouth, and now Iâ€™m the COO of Vera Wear, a columnist for this wonderful publication, an entertainer, manager of models, a coach, professional speaker, and the list goes on.
Do I share this information bragging? Yes I do!
I take pride in the fact that my blue print in life, like you, was to fail, to become a monster, to be hurt and broken, and angry and bitter. But here I am, still standing! Happy, whole, healed, and complete. I am living proof that you can achieve anything, when you truly want to, regardless of the odds being stacked against you; I represent you.
Pathetically, in the U.S., one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before they reach the age of eighteen. One out of six women have been the victim of an attempted rape or completed rape.
Being a part of this statistic can feel humiliating, embarrassing, and make us feel weak and powerless; this is wrong. Being a part of that statistic is a badge of strength, determination, resiliency, and empowerment. We were supposed to be knocked down, hung out to dry, and left behind; weâ€™re supposed to be the freaks in life, the nobodies, the angered, and the powerless. But we have strength and courage within us that no one possibly could realize they have, unless they have walked in our shoes.
We know what itâ€™s like to have to dig deep within us, and rise above the water trying to cover our heads. We know what itâ€™s like to find the strength to heal the cracks in our armor, to put ourselves back together again. But weâ€™re not the same; we are stronger, smarter, wiser, and more loving and accepting because of it.
We can heal and transcend through the past, transform to greatness, but Iâ€™m sure you all relate to the residual effects from abuse that may never go away, and thatâ€™s ok. We will never know what normal is, besides a setting on a dryer. Weâ€™re a bit weird, and a little crazy, odd and eccentric. But, weâ€™re not broken, weâ€™re not hiding from my past, and we can love who we are.Â I embrace my crazy personality quirks now, with pride, rather than hide from them in shame. Maybe weâ€™re different, different is beautiful.
We define our past; our past does not define us.
To the raped, to the molested, to the sixteen year old rape victim of Steubenville High School, to the strong young women and brave man who recently inspired me, to all the victims of abuse and rape; we will not be left behind, we will not be hung out to dry, we will heal, we will transcend, we will triumph, and we will achieve greatness! They may have hurt us, but they will not break us.
Featured Image Credit: Carter Lee