I was speaking in Alaska to help rape victims heal emotional invisible scars which stole their joy for years after they had been attacked...
A man in the audience asked me, “How does it feel to be raped?” The gleam in his eye and the tone of his voice unveiled the fact that he did not know rape is not about sexual gratification.
I responded,” Rape is about power, control and dominance. Often it is also about violence, degradation and hatred. Even in cases of statutory rape, where the victim finds themselves caught in opposition between their mind and their body, rape is still a betrayal, victimization and an act of exploitation. Until you get that, really get that, you don’t realize that all acts of violence, degradation and betrayal, feel like violence degradation and betrayal.
Directing my voice to the entire audience, I continued, “Ladies, if someone slimes on you, that doesn’t make you slime. If someone unleashes their crude ignorance on you, that doesn’t make you crude or ignorant. If someone degrades and brutalizes you, that does not make you brutal or degrading.
There will always be those whose personal self esteem is so insignificant that they believe harming someone defenseless will make them appear to be strong. In reality their weakness of character is sadder by far than the physical weakness of their victims.
I was born into a cult, but that is not who I am. I have been beaten, raped and threatened with death, but that is not who I am. I have been betrayed, used and stolen from, but that is not who I am.
Who I am is not what has been done to me, nor what has happened to me. Who I am is the direction I chose, the decisions I made, despite and regardless of the behaviors of others. The obstacles thrown in my path are not me. I am more than that. We are all more than that. We are the strength of the choices we make, if not despite the obstacles, then perhaps because of them.
As these facts are true for me, so are they true for all of us. Perhaps the greatest challenge is to realize, no matter how others push you, press you and attempt to mold you into what they want you to be, underneath it all is your authentic self and that authentic self is wonderful, creative and joyous, with its own gifts to offer life. My gift. Your Gift.
I know who I am and I know who I am not. Recognize who you are. be who you are. And love who you are. Obstacles don’t define us, choices do.