I didn’t know rape was bad. I didn’t even know what was happening to me was called rape. All I knew is I was doing a favor because I was a good girl though I hated it. I was 10 years old and already resenting the fact that I was born. While normal kids were playing outside I hid in the bathroom wondering how hard I would have to slam my head against the sink to kill myself. I would wake up in the middle of the night with the same nightmare screaming and ripping my hair out. I felt it would be better to be dead than be at home. I used to think I would always be the terrified little girl. But I found the power and hope that makes me know I was meant to be here in this exact place at this exact time. I am worth something. I am worth everything. It took the longest time to see that but every day I keep moving forward bit by bit. I know for a fact that I am not alone. I am not the only one who was manipulated, beaten, scared, depressed, etc. This group of people made me feels less like the terrified little girl and more like the happy and strong young woman that I know I am. Because of them I feel beautiful. They taught me that rape doesn’t define me or what my future is going to be but most important they made me realize it was never my fault. Every bit of my confidence has been built up because of this group of loving people. I accept the past, I love the present, and the future is bright thanks to everyone who has helped me reach my potential. Please never be silent like me because I am proof that you’re not alone and that it always gets better.
2. Ground yourself. Take your toes and touch the carpet or the cold floor. Take your hands and touch the couch or the bed that you are sitting on. Tell yourself exactly what it feels like, what the color of the thing is that you are touching.
3. Focus on someone or something or some place that makes you feel safe. Try to picture this in your mind. It might help to find a picture of this if you have one to help rejog your memory of it. (For me, it is my crisis counselor, Leigh. Even though I have been out of counseling for three years now, she still represents safety to me, since she was a big safety net for me when I was my most vulnerable. So thinking about her, picturing what she looks like, imagining what she would say to me, helps me to feel safe)
4. Do something soothing. Like take a bath. Read a funny book. Watch a funny movie. Do a puzzle. Listen to calming music. Meditate. Do yoga. Go for a walk or a run. Do anything that you feel will distress and calm you.
5. Call up a friend who you trust will listen to you if you need to talk about it, or will get your mind off of it.
(Submission from a survivor)
Hey everyone! I started Empowered Voices as my senior project but I hope to continue it past high school. I LOVE how many followers and the attention it’s gotten for being somewhat new. That being said people won’t have anything to follow if the project receives no submissions. Please if you or anyone you know have something to submit to the page don’t be shy! Reblog and spread the word. The point is to hear what survivors have to say. I really want Empowered Voices to be a success but I need y’all’s help to make that happen.
Thanks! Hope everyone is doing great,
Thanks to all the new followers! Just a reminder to submit anything you might have to contribute :-)
i love my body and i love my form and i love my being and everything that comes w living the life i live and my strength and flexibility and endurance and my stretch marks and my scars and my arthritic joints and achey muscles and knobby knees and flabby stomach and tiny thighs and weak ankles
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wow resources!!!! this is awesome!
wow this is ridiculously useful
"I wore my fear
like a tightly woven Navajo blanket
stretched across my shoulders
and all the way down to my toes.
And I moved away as fast as I could, got miles and miles of highway between what happened and this new life that I ever so carefully created.
Surrounded by mountains and hills, I began to heal.
I had blocked out this part of the story. The part where I stood in front of my family and I spoke my truth and spilled my worst secrets. The part where we all came to the realization that I was one of many, many little girls. The part where we finally began to understand that it was sister after sister and that this so called “best friend” had ripped away childhood after childhood, via alcohol fueled attacks, corner after corner. The guilt on my father’s face as he learned how he hadn’t protected us. The uncomfortable silence. My mother saying “it seems that we have to decide between them (husband and wife, the friends) and you and we choose you.”
A confrontation in the driveway in a picturesque neighborhood and I stand in front of him, this man who I fear the most, surrounded by my family. My sister is right beside me. She has something to say, has her own story to tell, but every time she looks up at him, every time she makes eye contact with him, she bursts into tears.
I am the quiet one. I am the one who struggles to vocalize words, but these words I know. These words were with me in those corners every time he touched me, they are the greatest part of my story. Perhaps my voice shakes as I begin, but within minutes I volley every word at him. I announce what he did. Slam. How he started hurting me when I was eight years old, abuse that went on for years. Boom. Those secrets spilling on the sidewalk right in front of his house and I can see each of those words staining his character, littering his home. Twenty five years later, I choose to believe that those words are all still sitting there in front of that house in that middle class suburban neighborhood. They stayed behind as I walked away from him, that fear, the shame and my bitter anger dumped right on the sidewalk for all to see. His. They are back where they should have been all along. He has to live with them now. He has to try to scoop up every secret even as the wind comes to take them away. I will not be an ally in holding any more secrets, ever again. This much I know for sure.
Passionate about economic and social justice, Vanessa Houk is dedicated to chronicling the struggles of labor and civil rights. She is editor-in-chief of the Rogue Valley Community Press.”
A poem called Innocently
'In the time of innocence; a child plays
Small, helpless, weak, dependent upon others for survival
You come along, with your sick, warped mind…
you take, you shatter, you hurt, you inflict your darkness
It robs me of my innocence, my youth, I will never be the same
it shatters my path, I will take a new path
it leaves me in pain, I will feel for the rest of my life
it invades me with a darkness, I will have to fight for life
and then again…
My innocence is transformed and I become an advocate for both myself and others
In my new path I am stronger and my heart is filled with love for others like me
In the darkness I am also aware of the light and am able to follow it, grow with it, become it
Separate my darkness from yours and know you can never hurt me again
I am forever her, for she lives forever in me… Innocently
Titled: 46 Years Out
"As I travel the uncertain road before me…
It is not, what I leave behind
the impact of my past on my future
It is, the endless possibilities ahead
It is, the roads I have left to explore
It is, the beauty I have left to see
It is, the life I have left to embrace
It is, certain possibilities I have left to behold
'My rape is no less valid because she said she loved me. It is not less valid because she was my girlfriend. It does not change my value, worth, intelligence, integrity, or my passion. It will not stop me from living.' —a 3-year survivor
"Yes. I am a BRAVE, TALENTED, BEAUTIFUL, INDEPENDENT woman living FREE!"
"-I am not my rape-"
"I survived and I am living" -5 year survivor