We are important too!

When I saw this months cover of Time Magazine’s “Person of the year” – The Silence BreakersThe Voices That Launched a Movement” it not only struck an angry nerve for me, but it made me sad and frustrated!

For YEARS people have been speaking out about sexual assault, sexual abuse, child sexual abuse, rape and so on! I am not talking about just celebrities; I am talking about your everyday mom, wife, daughter, sister, father, husband, son, and brother.

People have been speaking out more and more about sexual assault, sexual abuse, and even rape! I believe it needs to be heard louder, and it’s not given the proper attention it deserves.

What made me upset about the “Time Magazine” article was this quote:

While the concept of #MeToo was started in 2006 by activist Tarana Burke, its use became part of the national conversation in October after celebrities on social media used it to share their own sexual abuse stories in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal

It only became a worldwide conversation when “celebrities” stood up and spoke? What about the millions of people who write books, write blogs, spread awareness around their own stories? Why did it take the voices of well-known, high paid, wealthy celebrities for the #METOO movement to be seen and recognized as much as it has this year?

Are the voices of everyday people not credible enough for this movement to be seen for what it truly stands for; only when celebrities began standing up to it?

YES, Time Magazine did include a great spread of photos around the everyday people who have also come forward – but that was not brought to the forefront, or noticed until popular celebrities began voicing their truth, and telling their stories of the sexual assaults they endured.

Lets be honest, had the celebrities not spoken out as they did – we “sadly” wouldn’t be having this conversation right now – because to society and the media, the every day people are not as interesting, and it doesn’t pay and that is the sad truth in all of this.

It makes me angry, and it makes me sad that we are not hearing the voices and the stories of your average everyday people who dare to speak, and have the courage to be seen.

The “METOO movement” which began in 2006 sadly wasn’t heard-of as loudly until recently when popular celebrities took their stories to social media! I struggle with society and the media not paying attention to it until it brings in revenue or its high standards of the celebrities to make it stand out and worthy enough to pay attention to. it saddens me!

I am however hopeful that the movement is pressing to the everyday people to speak more – I am in awe anytime anyone speaks their truth, but I will stand by this belief – this DID NOT start with the celebrities who stood up this year and took a stand – it started WAY before that, it just sadly went un-noticed!

When I saw the magazine cover, the first thing I thought of was “this isn’t new” “this isn’t new news” – look between the lines and you will see that stories have been told – voices have been spoken – people have been courageously talking about it for YEARS by thousands of people – sadly the media and society chooses to highlight it when it benefits them!

I hate that something so important as the “metoo movement” or the stories written by others stood stagnant until the popular media heard it through celebrities!

Whether it’s a story told against the popular Harvey Weinstein, or the actor Kevin Spacey, or the average man/woman living next door to you, it’s a story worth telling and hearing! No one “story” or “pain felt” should be treated any differently whether you are a celebrity or not.

Thousands of courageous bloggers and writers out there have been telling their story for YEARS; using their voice to bring awareness to a topic that is so shielded by society out of fear of talking about it.

I myself have been writing for years on my blog; writing about the story of my past, and the healing journey I have taken in therapy from my past around the child sexual abuse I endured from the age of 5 until I was 11, and then raped at 13 by a “friend” of the family.

I work hard in my journey, and I write about it in hopes it gives others the courage to stand and tell their story! I love connecting with others and truly have a heart for those who find that courage within.

I am not saying that Time Magazine didn’t focus on the everyday people, and I am absolutely not saying that the voices of these celebrities are not important – because EVERYONE’S VOICE MATTERS!

What I am upset about is that we live in a society that money and fame speak louder than your everyday person whose voice is just as important – but unfortunately not as noticed.

EVERYONE and ANYONE who has courageously spoken their story deserves to be seen as “person of the year” – and I will say, if this highlights the movement, even more, that’s GREAT, but lets stop giving all the credit to the celebrities – because I truly believe it started with those who hide behind the fear – those who are NOT seen in the limelight.

We need to bring awareness to all woman and men who have a story to be told! Let’s give credit to this movement to ALL who speak and use their voice to the truths around sexual assault, sexual abuse, and rape.

You matter, and your voice matters! Stand tall against a society that chooses to focus on what will sell the story – because, in the end, no amount of money can equal up to the courage it takes to speak your truth.

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the courage to ask

I wasn’t sure if I was going to write about this or not. However, I have always said, “this blog is about healing, and it’s about truth; It’s about my journey going forward”.

Every entry I post is one step closer to my true self. Everyday I try and remind myself that every truth spoken, is another foothold to the next. So with that being said –

I faced a difficult question that has been pressing me for a very very long time. A question that I have been utterly afraid to ask and talk about; and know the answer to.

Saturday night my sister and I had a long talk on the phone (like I mentioned in my last blog entry yesterday). She called me at 12:30am, and just wanted to talk. I don’t know if that was Gods work, or if it was meant to be or not, but for some reason it landed in place as being the right moment.

My walls are down, I am not protecting anymore, I have shed the shame, and I am more and more open for truth. I know and feel that things are so different for me in my healing.

Me knowing that and feeling like I am at a new level – I felt I was ready to ask my sister the question I have been wondering about for a long long time.

The question I asked her was – “Danielle, Were you ever sexually abused or physically abused like I was?, did they hurt you too?”

I sat there with my heart in my throat, my face was flushed, and my heart was pounding through my chest! She said “NO, I was never abused like you were, I was never sexually abused either”.

I had this big sigh of relief and a big breath and tears came to my eyes, but at the same time this anger came over me inside. I wasn’t angry with her, I was just angry and confused, and anger is not something I honor at all, so its confusing for me when I feel anger! So I will swallow it, no matter how I feel.

I have always said that my sister was never abused, and I always had this notion in the back of my mind that somewhere, somehow she was beaten like me; it couldn’t have just been me?! I think I tried to convince myself of that, but there was a part of me that had a feeling that she wasn’t. I just needed to hear the truth after all these years.

We talked more, and she started to open up about the things she saw happen to me. She witnessed a lot of the abuse done to me. The belts across the legs, the head being smashed into the counter 3 times, the nights where my father would drag me out of bed by my feet and getting the belt over and over and over. Danielle had seen a lot of things happen to me in that house, and I can’t imagine what that was like for her to hold.

I feel as if my sister and I broke the silence we had with each other about what happened in this family. I think the both of us were afraid to talk to each other about what we knew and what we were afraid to know. She was afraid to talk about what she saw, and I was afraid to ask her the question; I was afraid of the answer.

On my way to church Sunday morning, I was trying to keep in mind the text that my therapist sent me Sunday morning – “rest in the weakness”, “gathering strength to move forward”.

No matter how supported and connected I felt – out of nowhere I started SOBBING on my way to church. It hit me out of no where and the words that came out in the car  – “Why? Why was I the only one?” I dont understand why I was the only one!

I was crying so hard I couldn’t even see the road in front of me. My heart was broken, I was so sad that a little girl was beaten and sexually abused, but my sister was cared for.

You can imagine what was going through my head. I felt my heart was broken. I have never felt sadness like that before. It was a TRUE TRUE sadness of reality. 4 people in the house abused me, but my sister was unscathed?!!

During Mass I felt so horrible that I almost walked out. I couldn’t sit there and honor this – but I did, I sat with it and honred it and finished the mass, because if I had left, that would be like “them winning” all over again.

Everything that my sister and I talked about Saturday night was all hitting me at once. It was almost as if the Novocain wore off, and I was feeling everything! “The big question was finally asked”. “The truth is finally known”.

After church, I emailed my therapist and checked in like we do. I explained to him how I asked my sister that very hard question, and I was open about my feelings, told him how much it hurt!

I was told that this took a TON of courage to ask her. The fact that I asked her showed that I was ready to hear the answer. The fact that I asked the question showed that I am stronger, and that I was finally ready to hear the truth. I was ready to honor the feelings about that unknown truth. The best part? I stayed connected through this.

I sit here this morning and I realize it did take a lot of courage. It hurts like hell. But I know that it’s healing, and I know it’s growth, and I know that by asking her, I was opening up another wound to heal.

I don’t understand the question – why me?. I don’t understand why my sister was unscathed, and I was tormented and abused. I don’t understand why I have 42 scars on my body, and she has none. I don’t have the answers, but the only answer that I do have is – IT WAS NOT MY FAULT! The power that I do have is knowing that it was 4 people against one, and it was never my fault.

I love my sister so much, I love her so so much! I am so glad that she never had to endure what I did. I am so glad that she doesn’t suffer today in healing like I have to. I am so happy inside that her answer was “no”.

I cried a lot yesterday. I had tears through the day. I have tears right now writing this – and I will probably have tears about it until the sting goes away, but I am glad after all these years that I was finally ready to hear the truth.

I am ready to face the feelings I have inside about this; so this too can be another wound healed.

I may have been the only one in the house who was abused then, but today, I am the only one in the house who is healing and who is healthy!

(THE PHOTO ABOVE ON THE LEFT IS A PHOTO OF ME AND MY SISTER DANIELLE)

I was 9 and she was 4

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