Tag: sexual violence

5 Things To Do and 7 Things Not to Do When Someone Tells you They Were Sexually Assaulted

Just like there is not a perfect way for survivor of sexual violence to heal, there’s not an perfect way to understand why sexual violence happens. It’s not cut and dry nor is it “rocket science” and this sort of thinking needs to end, because the real victim is suvivor, not the perpetrator nor the social context that everyone believes that it is the woman’s responsibility to not get raped.

In the article by Jack Fischl of the online site Mic titled, ” 5 Things To Do and 7 Things Not To Do When Someone Tells You They Were Sexually Assaulted”, actually lists what those things. I will elaborate on each one.

7 Things NOT To Do

  1. Do NOT criticize the survivor’s actions leading up to or during the assault and do NOT suggest other ways what they could have handled the situation. Example:

       -“Why didn’t you push him off?

-“Why didn’t you scream for help?”

   Doing so is unproductive and will only result in the survivor blaming themselves.

2. Do NOT compare rape stories. Example

“Well at least you weren’t gang-raped like that girl in India.”

Unfortunately, victims of sexual assault can also make the same mistake of doing this too:

Victim 1: I was date-raped

Victim 2: Well at least you weren’t raped by someone you trusted.

3. If you are family of a survivor, do NOT tell the survivor that they should “get over their rape and move on with their life.

Yes the incident may have have an impact on their behavior, however this does not condone such comments like, “Why can’t you go back to the way things were?” or “Just get over it.”  Unlike physical injuries, emotions ones may take much longer to heal.

4. If you are family of a survivor, do NOT blame the victim for not being more supportive of the family.

Keep in mind this will affect you, the rest of your family and your loved one who underwent the incident, but above all that be sure to focus on your love one’s needs.

5. Do NOT sympathize with the rapist by saying anything like:

“He was too drunk to know what he was doing.”

“Boys will be boys.”

“Well, she though she consented.”

6. Do NOT ever prescribe to the idea that “Sometimes, girls just don’t know what they want or  that “A man knows what’s best:

To some men they think no means yes.

7. Do NOT ever use any of the following phrases, ever:

Well maybe if she didn’t wear that a skimpy outfit she wouldn’t have been raped.”

Maybe if she didn’t drink so much she wouldn’t have been date raped.”

Maybe if she hadn’t trusted her boyfriend for so long she wouldn’t have blind-sided and had no idea what was happening to her.

Maybe if she was smarter she wouldn’t be raped.

5 Things TO Do

So then what is the more appropriate approach to support? Fischl suggests that 5 things that can be done.

  1. Empathize. Say for example: I’m sorry that happened to you.
  2. Offer to be there. For example say, “If You ever need to vent, talk, or just cry, you can call me. I’m so sorry.”
  3. Offer to listen. By allowing the survivor to talk about what they went through, you are allowing them to heal, which is healthier.
  4. As a survivor, if you don’t know what to do, don’t know what to think, that’s normal. Be patient and good to yourself. You will get better.
  5. Remember that is isn’t your problem to solve. You’re there to support the victim, and that’s it.  Keep in mind that if a survivor of sexual assault comes to you don’t expect it’s something to be solved nor something you can apply your own logic to (men with all their good intentions can be notorious of this).

There’s not an easy to help a survivor of sexual assault, but doing those 5 simple things can be a good start. You may be like, “Those simple 5 things? That’s it?” That’s it. I tell my family and friends that all the time. It helps me heal, knowing they’re just there for me. And as for the 7 things about what NOT to do? It’s as simple as well…NOT doing them.

More Readings

How A Victim Blaming System Excuses Rape

“If You’re A Good Guy, You Can’t Possibly A Rapist”

People Often Defend An Alleged Rapist’s Character. Here’s Why You Should Doubt them.

Rape-splaining: 10 Examples of Victim Blaming

Charmed: Switches and Stones (AKA: Medusa’s Revenge, AKA: The Bystander Effect)

 

Image result for medusa
Source: Vice

 

The Sad Untold Story of Medusa

I’m sure you’ve heard about the story of Medusa. You know… the woman who was cursed because she was beautiful and then ended up having snakes heads for hair and with just one look, she’d turn her victims into stone. The only way she could be stopped, by cutting off her head. But have you heard of the real…story about WHY she was really cursed?

The whole thing started when Medusa, a mortal, was raped by Posideon because she was beautiful. The thing it was happening in Athena’s place of worship and Athena cursed Medusa into a monster. Anyone see the problem with this? This whole time, even through pop culture, she was this evil monster, who in every story had her head cut off and her killer was named a hero. However, she was victim of rape and victim blaming. And here I thought that Athena was supposed to be the goddess of wisdom.

In an episode of Charmed, titled “Switches and Stones”, Maggie, Mel, and Macy find a case of men who are turned into stone. This all happening during the time of Maggie’s Kappa Rush time and…during the time Maggie and Mel switched bodies by accident due to a magic spell. The sister’s figure it’s a magical creature, Medusa, who is turning people, mostly guys, to stone. But they are wondering, why…

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Huh how interesting…a demon helping victims of slut shaming, makes you wonder who is worse humans or monsters? I mean…it’s one thing being the person who starts slut shaming, but another to be a bystander.  The bystander effect according to Psychology Today, occurs when the presence of others discourages an individual from intervening in an emergency situation.

Bystander Effect

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So what is a bystander? According to Google, a bystander is someone (or a group of people) who is present at an event or incident, but does not take part. Other words for bystander include onlooker. But then…there is an interesting term called “Bystander Effect.” So what is the “Bystander Effect?” The bystander effect occurs when  the presence of others discourages an individual from intervening in an emergency situation (Psychology Today, n.d). In the case of the scene, the students were looking at the pics on their phone. So the question is then why what would cause students who clearly saw disturbing pictures of girls to do practically nothing. A chart from another Psychology Today article explains this (Burn, n.d.):

Barriers to Bystander Intervention

Again in the case of the students in the show, I wanna say they were “engaged” in numbers 2,3, and 5. The kids seemed fascinated more with the pictures and the shock value, rather than to call out (especially in front of their peers) a wrongdoing. In emergency situations where there four or more bystanders, only 31% will help (Gaille, 2017). In this case, that’s Mel, Maggie, and Macy out of all the people who are at the Kappa Rush party. Disappointing.

Non-Consensual Photo Sharing

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So sad. She had summon a demon to stand up for her, because other people wouldn’t. I can’t imagine the distress anyone would go through when going something like THAT, ESPECIALLY  after telling the abuser NOT to send the picture. The act that the girl’s abuser is called, “Non-Consensual Photo Sharing”. What constitutes as “Non-Consensual Photo Sharing” is (Breakthrough, n.d.):

  • Taking intimate photos or video without consent
  • Sharing intimate photos or videos taken with consent-and the reasonable expectation of privacy-and sharing them without consent
  • Sharing photos or videos with the intention of humiliating, degrading, or harassing someone
  • Using coercive behavior to obtain intimate photos or videos
  • Taking and sharing photos or videos of sexual assault
  • Unsolicited photo and video sharing as harassment

Consent

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That’s the unfortunate thing slut shaming does…it causes low self-esteem, depression, anxiety and relationship disturbances. Whatever form sexual assault/harassment comes in, “No” ALWAYS means “No”. To not respect, is well…sexual assault/harassment. In the case of the girl. So what is consent? It must be:

  • Clear
  • Coherent
  • Willing
  • Ongoing

So, the pictures of the girl were not given by her consent.

Image result for what is consent
Source: SUNO

 

Victim Shaming

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When we as a people engage in victim blaming, we are basically ostracizing them…saying their story doesn’t matter. When we say things like (“How To,” n.d.):

  • She asked for it
  • It wasn’t really rape
  • He didn’t mean to
  • She wanted it
  • She lied
  • Rape is a trivial event
  • Rape is a deviant event

Victims are already going through so much in themselves:  shame, low self-esteem, hopelessness/helplessness, denial or minimizing what had happened to them and fear of the consequences if they do report what happened to them, especially if their assaulter is rich and powerful (Engel,  2017).

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How to Help Victims of Sexual Assault

Definitely, what can be a help is by carefully wording what we say (“Tips for, n.d):

  • “I believe you”./ “It took you a lot of courage to me about this.”
  • “It’s not your fault.”/ “You didn’t do anything to deserve this.”
  • “You are not alone.” /”I care about you and I am here to listen or help in anyway I can.”
  • “I’m sorry this happened”/ “This shouldn’t have happened to you.”

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Other Reasons Why People Don’t Step In

 There are some other reasons why people remain bystanders:

  • “[The] situations present that create more danger to a perceived situation, such as having a perpetrator present.
  • “[S]omeone will only choose to act if the potential reward is greater than the known risk.
  • “The costs of an intervention being physical in nature is one of the greatest attenuations of the bystander effect.”
  • “The more we live in cities and are part of crowds, the problems of ignoring the plight of individuals, of communities and groups will remain with us, unless we address it proactively.”
  • I liked how Maggie…well, Mel (who was in Maggie’s body), talked about what happened to one of the rushees who was assaulted even though she was afraid (for Maggie’s sake at least) she might lose her place as a Kappa Rushee. Luckily that didn’t happened
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    What Else Can Be Done To Help Sexual Assault Victims

    There are plenty of ways to help victims of sexual assault with having to do anything uber heroic.

    RAINN suggests:

    • Avoiding Judgement
    • Check in periodically with them
    • Knowing your resources- This includes knowing the RAINN hotline: (800) 273-HOPE (4673), knowing the National Suicide Provider Lifeline: (800) 273-TALK (8255), but most importantly…remind them to do good self-care

    If you want to intervene there are some things that can be used to protect and help you (Gaille, 2017):

    • “Many communities have enacted Good Samaritan laws that require people to help when they see an emergency situation or a legal penalty, including jail time in some jurisdictions, may result.”
    • “Training programs that give people certain skills to better recognize an emergency situation can help spur action when they see it happen for real outside of the classroom.”
    • “Rewards and other protections have been instituted in different industries and environments to protect whistleblowers and heighten the need for ongoing activism.”

    If you or someone you know is undergoing any form of nonconsensual photo sharing contact the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative Hotline number below:

    Image result for CCRI CRISIS HELPLINE

    You can also visit the CCRI website for more details:

    Cyber Civil Rights Initiative

    Reference

    Breakthrough. (n.d.) Understanding Non-Consensual Photo Sharing. Retrieved from: https://us.breakthrough.tv/resources/understanding-non-consensual-photo-sharing/

    Burn, Shawn Megan. (n.d.) “A Situational Model of Sexual Assault Prevention Through Bystander Intervention.” Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/files/attachments/124123/situational-model-sexual-assault-prevention-through-bystande.pdf

    Engle, Beverly. (2017). Why Don’t Victims of Sexual Harasssment Come Foward Sooner? Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-compassion-chronicles/201711/why-dont-victims-sexual-harassment-come-forward-sooner

    Gaille, Brandon. (2017)17 Exceptional Bystander Effect Statistics. Retrieved from: https://brandongaille.com/16-exceptional-bystander-effect-statistics/

    Harvard Law School Halt. (n.d.) How To Avoid Victim Blaming. Retrieved from: https://orgs.law.harvard.edu/halt/how-to-avoid-victim-blaming/

    Psychology Today.”Bystander Effect” (n.d.). Retrieved from, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/bystander-effect

     RAINN. “Tips for Talking with Survivors of Sexual Assault.” (n.d.). Retrieved from: https://www.rainn.org/articles/tips-talking-survivors-sexual-assault

    More Reading

    “Bystander Effect’ and Sexual Assault: What The Research Says

    “It’s Victimization”: Push Grows To Charge Onlookers Who Tape Sexual Assaults

    Punish The Onlookers

    The Effects of Slut Shaming on Teen Girls

    The Time I Totally Failed to Stand Up to a Street Harasser

    The Timeless Myth of Medusa, a Rape Victim Turned Into a Monster

    R. Kelly, Part 6: Victim Shaming

    Dr Luke’s Lawyer: “But again, there are people that are falsely accused of rape, aren’t there? You think there has never been a false accusation of rape?”

    Lady Gaga: How about all of the women that are accused of being liars and how she was slut shamed in front of the world, how about that?

    Lady Gaga fighting for Kesha against her former music producer Dr. LukeFrom the online article: How Can Sexual Abuse Survivors get Justice When the System fails them?

     

    I don’t really get the whole thing about victim shaming. No…it’s not that I don’t know what it is, but rather..why does society blame the victim? Why does society seem to crucify the people who need the most help? The victims who presented themselves on the Lifetime show, “Surviving R. Kelly” and even on the Dateline Special, “R.Kelly: Accused” are viewed pretty much as TV whores….women who are vying for their 15 minutes of fame and to gain money. However, after even listening to clips of their stories, I believed them, especially when they talked how it affected their lives, because I know how my incident affected mine.

    So in a definition context, what is victim shaming? According to Wikipedia (I just loved how they perfectly defined it), “Victim Shaming or victim blaming “occurs when the victim of a crime or any wrongful act is held entirely or partially at fault for the harm that befalls them.” Why is that? It’s because compared to a robbery, the victim is more to their assaulter.

    Title IX Political Cartoon Analysis

    Here are some other reasons why people disbelieve survivors (Whiting, 2019):

    1. The Myth of the Evil Perpetrator
    2. Wishing the World Was Safe
    3. The Wrong Kind of Victim
    4. Confusion and Self-Blame

    The Myth of the Evil Perpetrator

    This is guy that everyone understates. Why? One could be his socioeconomic status…meaning he’s rich….he’s successful. He has an outstanding reputation…the guy that everyone loves…the guy everyone knows and trusts. He’s the “nice guy” and this “nice guy” is either good looking or they are someone you’d even trust your children with.They’d never do such heinous things.

    Example:

    Larry Nassar, the now disgraced USA Gymnastics national team doctor and osteopathic physician for Michigan State University, was someone who well-known for being generous, selfless, and committed. He was known for his goofy charm and steadfast service, that when the young girls tried to report his actions , their cries were often ignored. And it didn’t help either since he was known for “women’s pelvic issues” which was helpful for common injuries that were faced in gymnastics, he would rebuke the girl’s cries of his sexual advances by saying they misunderstood his “technique”.

    Wishing the World Was Safe

    I guess for some people ignorance really is bliss for some people while still having this “I could have seen it a mile a way” attitude. Well, of course they could. If after I’ve heard someone story without having being in the situation myself,  of course, I would have seen it coming. Researchers call this the “hindsight effect.” In one study, research participants read different versions of a story. One group of participant read a version where a character was raped at the end, while the other group head the netural ending. The first group displayed a bias toward their character after picking up on clues from the story hence leading towards the “I knew it all along” bias where the listening audience  may make the situation being told them “predictable” or “easy” when really…. it wasn’t.

    Example:

    In Mississippi, a woman was raped on a Biloxi Bay Bridge when she went out running. Even though she reported the assault and was treated and tested local hospital, people still had something to say about the incident: “I would not run alone that late at night, especially being a woman. Go during daylight or with a running buddy” and “It’s dark at  6 p.m. what was was she even doing alone walking on the bridge?”

    The Wrong Kind of Victim

    Or what is called, “ideal victim” is where the victim must fit these five characteristics:

    1. Weak/vulnerable
    2. Involved in a respectable activity at the time of victimization
    3. Blameless in all aspects of the interaction
    4. Victimized by an obvious offender
    5.  Someone who does not know the offender

    Example: If a person fights back, is not dressing in the right way, is intoxicated or if the accused is someone they know, their story is more likely to be questioned or doubted

    4. Confusion and Self-Blame

    Here the victim may either accept that the blame their perpetrator is placing on them or feel a deep shame for allowing the abuse to keep happening or for being at the wrong place or for not getting away.

    Examples:

    One of Larry Nassar’s early victims, Larissa Boyce, while trusting in her coach who found her claim upsetting, then was told by her coach, that if she reported about the incident it would have “very serious consequences” for both Nassar and herself. Terrified at this possibility, Larissa end up eventually crying and apologizing to Nassar, saying it was a “misunderstanding and all her fault”.

    So, how can people  know what sexual assault is? Educate themselves. It’s as School House Rocky says, because:

    Image result for schoolhouse rock knowledge is power gif
    Sorry had to put a lighthearted gif, to such a tough topic. And I don’t know about you, but Schoolhouse Rock always put a smile on my face 😀

    Alright, so what sites could help people better under sexual assault? Take a look at the sites below:

    No More

    NSVRC

    Planned Parenthood

    RAINN

    Reach Out (Australia)

    The Survivors Trust (UK)

    Victims Connect

    Victims of Crime

    Victims Support (UK)

    1 in 6

    If you live outside of the U.S. and know of any anti-sexual assault organiation in your nation, if you can message me, so I can put in this post. Thank you!

    References

    “How Denial and Victim Blaming Keep Sexual Assault Hidden”. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/love-lies-and-conflict/201901/how-denial-and-victim-blaming-keep-sexual-assault-hidden

    Victim Blaming. (n.d.) Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victim_blaming

    More Readings

    Amber Heard: I Spoke Up Against Sexual Violence and Faced Our Culture’s Wrath

    Ex-Baylor Frat President Indicted On 4 Counts of Sexual Assault Won’t Go To Prison

    The Veil of Silence is Lifted for Black Women Thanks to R. Kelly Docuseries

    The Hearing That Forced The World To Listen To Larry Nassar’s Survivors

    Why Do Sexual Assault Victims Wait So Long To Speak Out? Take A Look At The Comments Section

    R. Kelly, Part 2: Black Women and Girls: The Discounted Victims of Sexual Assault

    Image result for black women protesting against sexual violence
    Source: Atlanta Black Star

    Since the first African arrived here (as a slave), Black people,especially Black women and girls have been overly sexualized. Why? We have (for the most part) have bigger thighs, bigger butt, and bigger chest size, than most women. But for some stupid reason people throughout time (especially in this country), people think we’re promiscuous??? Where did people come to THAT conclusion? Sorry we have bigger—assets than most women do.

    Our bodies develop much faster and bigger than most girls when undergoing puberty. When I think and look back on time I was a preteen, I was more developed than most my classmates and by the time I was 14 or 16 years old, males young and old were staring at me. Especially the men. I mean…how the hell could they not know I was teenager??? Or what if they knew, but didn’t care?

    Unfortunately studies have shown, adults view young Black girls anywhere from the age 5 to 14 are seen as “more sexually mature and know more about adult topics than white girls in the same peer group” (Shapiro, 2017). Now…how adults come that conclusion boggles my mind. It’s sick. How does an adult plug their adulterated mind and assume that a child knows such topics???

    Here’s another reason why young Black girls and women (especially young girls) are not taken seriously for sexual assault (Blake, Epstein, & González, n.d):

    • Black girls need less nurturing
    • Black girls need less protection
    • Black girls need to be supported less
    • Black girls need to be comforted less
    • Black girls are more independent
    • Black girls know about adult topics
    • Black girls know more about sex

    While this does not surprise me, it also does because I’m actually seeing these . Those bullet points are basically seeing Black girls as adults and not children. Even when we have ambitions–which may sound “adult-like” to others– it could be assumed as threatening (Blake et.al, n.d.). But even if those girls are considered “adults” does that mean it’s okay to turn a blind eye to those “adults” when they need help, because it’s assumed they’re promiscuous and mad and angry???  In turn does that mean, that adults…especially adult Black women aren’t worth protecting either? Tch…But you know what’s worse? The perpetrators of Black girls and Black women don’t even go to jail.

    It’s already hard enough to find out that  in general not all rapists will be charged or serve time for rape. Check out the graphs from RAINN below:

    Graphic demonstrating that out of 1000 rapes, 994 perpetrators will walk free. Out of every 1,000 rapes, 310 are reported to the police, 57 reports lead to arrest, 13 cases get referred to prosecutors, 7 cases will lead to a felony conviction, 6 rapists will be incarcerated.

    Graphic explaining the number of perpetrators of robbery that will serve jail or prison time. The graphic visually contrasts the much lower jail and prison rates for perpetrators of rape. For every 1,000 robberies, 619 are reported to police, 167 reports lead to arrest, 37 cases get referred to prosecutors, 22 cases will lead to a felony conviction, and 20 robbers will be incarcerated.

     

    If you’re still confused by this I’ll explain… So, out of every 1000 rapes, 5 cases will lead to a felony conviction, and about 5 of them will be in jail. This is compared to out of every 1000 robberies, 22 cases will lead to a felony conviction and 20 robbers will be incarcerated. Sad right? Maybe rape should be put under robberies, because

    1. It seems like the judicial system takes it seriously when somebody  loses their belongings.
    2. Afterall, victims of sexual assault are robbed of their identity, safety, innocence, peace (especially inner peace), trust, relationships, etc…

    According to “The Body is Not An Apology” website, if a Black woman’s or girl’s assailant is a white male, he is less likely to be convicted of sexual assault, than if the victim was a white woman. Oh and it get’s better….even when a man is found guilty he will still receive shorter sentences than if he were to rape a white woman. So the big question is…is the judicial system encouraging the raping of Black girls and Black women?

    Next:

    R. Kelly, Part 3: David Vs. Goliath: Sexual Assault Victims and Judicial System

    References

    Blake, J., Epstein, R., & González,T. (n.d). Girlhood Interrupted: The Erasure of Black Girls’ Childhood. Retrieved from https://www.law.georgetown.edu/poverty-inequality-center/wp-content/uploads/sites/14/2017/08/girlhood-interrupted.pdf

    Francis-Favilla, A.G. (2019). “You Are Not Alone:” Uncovering the Dark Secret of Black Women and Sexual Abuse. Retrieved from https://thebodyisnotanapology.com/magazine/a-dark-secret-sexual-assault-african-american-women/

    RAINN. (2019). The Criminal Justice System: Statistics. Retrieved from https://www.rainn.org/statistics/criminal-justice-system

    Shapiro, T. (2017). Study: Black girls viewed as “less innocent” than white girls. Retrieved from, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/study-black-girls-viewed-as-less-innocent-than-white-girls/2017/06/27/3fbedc32-5ae1-11e7-a9f6-7c3296387341_story.html?utm_term=.6ec8391da115

    R. Kelly: Intro

    Image result for r kelly
    Source: People

    How R.Kelly it’s “surprising” that society realizes he’s a pedophile is beyond me. I mean for starters, he’s been off and on the news on how he is basically holding a harem of young girls and women. And…and the infamous short lived marriage he had with the late Aaliyah when she was 15 years old.

    Image result for aaliyah
    Source: NYULocal

    I miss her and her music. She would have been 40 years old this year.

     

    Image result for aaliyah at 15
                        Aaliyah when she was 15 years old.                       Source: UrbanCafe

    This slick pedophile has eluded facing the consequences of hurting his victims. You might say, “Well we separate his personal life from his talent.” Well you know what? I call bs. Why? ‘Cause talent, money, and power shouldn’t excuse the maltreatment of other people. Especially when are young, Black women/girl. So what is going on??? Why hasn’t he been put in jail with all the evidence, including the victims who have come out to report him? I have an idea:

    • A failed judicial system
    • The lack of reports and/or empathy toward Black women and young girls who are victims of sexual assault
    • Misconception of rape reports
    • Victim Shaming
    • Sexual Grooming

    The following topics I brought up will be posted into 6 parts. These parts will also tie into how R. Kelly has manipulated his victims and why the system does not believe victims, especially on how and why Black women/girls are not believed and how the judicial system fails them.

    Next:

    R. Kelly, Part 2: Black Women and Girls: The Discounted Victims of Sexual Assault

    Celebrate Recovery: My Recovery Testimony

    Image result for person celebrating

    The following essay, was for a testimony I was to give to the attendees of the “Celebrate Recovery” of my church. To be honest, I wrote that the last minute, because of the nerves I had built on writing this. The anxiety knowing what I said and how I said about my testimony would and perhaps could change a person’s life. It was nervewrecking for me (even though I brainstormed a couple times) to know I could have impact on someone’s life. But the time it was about two day’s before I presented my testimony I spent all night to put it together. Barely even rehearsed it, but it was already in my heart and memories of the recovery process I went through. But at the end, it seemed everyone liked it because the audience was applauding and one of leader’s of the program said some people were nodding or exclaimed how I overcame my obsticles. One person also joked about how I could have come from Harvard, because of how smooth I talked and how well written was. I can’t believe people liked it! Anyway without futher adieu, he is my written testimony I presented at my local “Celebrate Recovery” location:

     I am a believer who had struggled with anger issues. I know it’s hard to believe that I have anger issues, but I do. I have struggled with anger issues for a long time…all pent up…angry at the world and angry at myself. And that was the insanity. But mostly I was doing it as a way to protect myself. My anger stemmed with loneliness, insecurities, lack, and uncertainty. It didn’t help either I grew up in a domestic violent household either. The shame of living through that (and feeling misunderstood or discounted) kept me from confidently making friends or getting into a relationship. I felt if I let go of my anger it would weaken me, make me vulnerable…and being vulnerable meant exposing myself to the hurts and feelings I’ve tired so hard to bury and forget. But like everything else, nothing lasts forever. Plus, all that pent up anger from childhood caused me to have anxiety and depression disorders.

    To be honest, I didn’t want to go back into Celebrate Recovery, because at the previous church I attended the people at THAT celebrate recovery weren’t very interactive. And incase things didn’t turn out well and THIS celebrate recovery, I didn’t wanna leave my business out in the open. I mean sure, I wouldn’t see the attendees again, but I don’t feel comfortable leaving my hurts with strangers. Unfortunately, a couple years ago I didn’t have a choice. In late 2015, I was sexually assaulted and that had a toll on me. And then THAT eventually led to a falling out with my folks, which led me to living a friend, but even there I was falling apart, because I was still reeling from everything that happened in just a few months. I had to put school on pause for awhile too. Pretty much I was a mess and angry. It was then their family member suggested Celebrate Recovery. Even though I was facing some pretty rough circumstances, it gave me enough to focus on myself and the only relationship I had that was fully available: my relationship with Jesus Christ. Being in the program really helped me to vulnerable and a safe spot for me to heal. Plus seeing other people sharing their vulnerabilities helped to understand it was okay to be vulnerable….that there was strength in being vulnerable and strength in facing them as well.  It was also encouraging to see other women wanting to grow from their pain and help each other out. The more I came, the more I was able to have a handle on my anger. The step that spoke to me, was the first which was “We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors, that lives had become unmanageable.” I needed to accept that, because I had to stop feeling the need to control things and keep to myself. It’s like the good book says in Genesis 2:18 and Matthew 18:20, in, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” and “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

    Because I pursued my relationship with God and myself vulnerable to Him, I was able to be vulnerable to myself and better it and I was able to better my relationships. It’s still a work in progress, but it’s manageable, I’m manageable. I am freer and lighter, and I have a bit more confidence in myself and how I relate with others. Yeah, the pains of the past are still within me, but they don’t dominate me as much anymore. Since, my attendance in 2016, I’ve also been able to make friends here, which was something I did not expect. I was just focusing on bettering my spiritual side and managing my hurts. And what’s great is that we all help and support one another. This recovery journey has taught me that God is in control of everything, even my anger. I spent so much time feeling like because it was my anger, it should be my responsibility. But as I look back on my life: the relationships I’ve made, the circumstances I have faced, it shown me that God has dominion over EVERYTHING…good and bad but as long as I have him in my life I’ll be okay. I don’t have to take on everything my own, not even the pain I have. He will send me all the resources and support to see that I’ll be okay through it all.

    So, my advice to the newbies is this, you don’t have to take everything on your own (your addictions, your hurts) you’re in good company here as well as God’s company. So, don’t worry about what you do and don’t have emotionally or financially, nor how long you expect for change to happen in yourself. Just focus on spending the next hour here and focus on rebuilding your life with God and in his time, you will get you’ve been seeking.