I swore this year would be about speaking my truth. Some truths don’t need to be braodcasted… but then again the silence that we practice for certain truths cause much damage. And this truth has been heavy on my heart for many years and I wish to set it free.
One year ago today I was getting ready to go into group counselling for sexual assaults that happened during my teenage years. Assaults that went unreported, unheard, and unadressed for years. Before a year ago I had isolated myself; I had distracted myself with anything and everything including incredible travels and wonderful adventures which resulted in an already full and blooming life; though through out the travels and spaces of time and years the assaults stayed with me and I felt the presence of pain and anger and of shame and self-loathing for what had happened to me every single day regardless of the many distractions I placed around meself.
At 20 I started searching for healing, I started talking to a select few, a quiet few. They shared their knowledge and love and the tears started. The emotional release of anger started but there was still a lack… an emptiness, to me it didn’t feel right and I started looking in other places, though my silence became profound. I became less angry, less outwardly violent, though violence was still in me.
In 2011 I started working in the football world where I met men who I trusted, good men, and my faith in the male line was renewed. I met the young men who would over the years and many football trips become my brothers, my students: The Edgars, The Sams, The Jamies. The subtle healing continued. I stayed in the football world at once wrapping myself up in the day-to-day of life and forging incredible familiar relationships with men.
Relationships that I didn’t know were possible, and the brothers collected: The Jailens and The Jorges influence my life in a way that I cherish. These men, The Tanners, The Kents and The Connors whom I have such great love for and for whom I wish the absolute hight of success. My gratitude for the way they treated me, the way they spoke around me, the respect and love they had and still have for their sister continues to overwhelm me.
The desire to put the emotional and spiritual effects of what happened years ago behind me started to build up, and a year ago I decided to join the group councelling service offered at the Victoria Sexual Assult Centre. It braught everything to the surface.
The wounds opened.
The violence was fresh.
Awake or asleep, the nightmares returned.
I started checking my car before I got into it again, something I hadn’t done for a long time. I started looking over my shoulder again. I started shrinking away from casual touch.
The history was real in every cell of my body.
I didn’t know if I could return to football. I didn’t know if I could surround myself with men again. Albiet that the team is family, working with 50-80 men every day there are still conversations I overhear that I would rather not, discriptions of “tings” they’ve been with or wanting to get with, and “booty” talk that I just don’t and didn’t need to hear. Though while contemplating the return to the team I also noted that talking about what had happened became easier, there was a barrier that had lifted and I allowed the history to come up in conversation with family and other women first, and then my close male friends, colleagues, coaches. I resolved to see how it went and go back to the team, after all – these are my brothers and I am their sister.
Group councelling ended in March and the emotional release I could tell was happening, but it wasn’t happeneing fast enough and I started a physical purge. I started selling my stuff: clothing first, furniture and books came second, and then small things.. water bottles that had built up, craft items, trinkets, jewelry. It all had to go. By August 2016 I had sold half of my stuff. Around the same time I knew that working in the football world was over for me, for now. I couldn’t take it, the negatives where too much and no longer outweighed the positive aspects of the many incredible people who were part of the team. I was a breakdown waiting to happen and I was being triggered on a daily basis through no fault of the men I worked with, after all the violence still felt fresh.
Then Trump. Media… media… media. Objectification. #notokay. Locker-room talk isn’t like that, I would know.
Breakdown of my many systems.
Breakdown of my many distractions.
Breakdown of silence.
No more silence.
Purge: Stuff, people, things, language, lifestyles. Purge.
I had the power to go anywhere, whenever I wanted to. I had the power to spend uninterupted time with myself. The power to speak, to tell my story, the power to thrive.
This journey of healing is not over, but I will not spend any more time being silent about it. This culture is male dominated, whatever you say, and it is a rape-culture and a sexual assault culture, it needs to be changed. I will no longer allow these conversations to be taboo. They’re uncomfortable, but if you don’t move into discomfort nothing will ever change. It is up to us women and our brothers to make that change, to openly discuss how we are affected by what we go through, to be tough, to stand up and push through.
With love and compassion I open this conversation for those who have compassion in their hearts and intentions of healing, to speak their truths. To my brothers, I will always be there for you as your sister, know how much you have done for me and the power you have to affect other women in your lives.
With love, open hearts and open arms.
(Thank you to Chance for the two beautiful photos you took of me from Mystic beach)