Tag Archives: speaking-out

Before I die

Yet again I would like to begin this post by apologizing for the insanely long period between my last post and this one. I have been experiencing some slight issues with WordPress during my login and then this past weekend our house decided it wanted to attempt burning to the ground. We were very fortunate, I was home with my kids and I was able to get everyone out quickly and notify the fire department. They arrived swiftly and put the fire out. Hopefully I can get on a much better and more consistent writing schedule! Thank you very much for your patience.

 

Today I want to talk about something that wrenches my gut. I heard a song on the radio today driving back to the hotel from my eye appointment. I don’t usually listen to this type of music or this band, but the song “If I die young” by The band perry came on. At first I thought: Yeah okay, whatever. But I kept listening out of laziness. It got to the part where the lyrics say: “Funny when you’re dead how people start listenin”. Dude…I broke down in tears. I mean, I was full on sobbing. I would be a billionaire if I had a dollar for everytime someone told me to shut my mouth or stop crying because they had no interest in what I needed to convey. Especially when I was attempting to tell someone I needed help and didn’t want to die by my own hand. I would be drowning in money if I had a dollar for everytime I told someone I had a plan to not be around tomorrow and my voice fell on deaf ears.

 

I know I am not alone in this. I am not alone at all. I know many families who have lost someone from suicide said afterwards they wished they had listened. Sometimes they weren’t even aware that person was in such misery. It is a very tragic thing, speaking but not being heard…or believing that you don’t even have the right to speak. It is heartbreaking how many people could have been saved if someone listened. I want to be heard and listened to before I die, and I want that for you too.

 

Don’t ever stop opening your mouth. Talk! Tell your story till you’re blue in the face. Don’t shut up. Don’t whisper. Don’t suffer in silence. If you’re strong enough in your recovery that you can…put your name on your story! Don’t hide! If someone doesn’t want to hear what you have to say that is their damn problem, not yours! Don’t censor yourself to make others happy…because then you never will. In this world you truly have to be your own advocate. I wish I could say more people unconditionally want to be there for others and help them, but unfortunately you won’t always have someone like that. It can be very hard and scary for a while, realizing that you have a right to speak up and exercising that right…but I promise you that once you start doing it, it gets much easier. It even begins to feel very good.

 

Another misconception that was planted into my head at an early age was that if I spoke my mind, needs or wants I was being selfish. If I advocated for myself I was a self-absorbed bitch. Well I am here to wipe that lie out of your head! That is one of the biggest pieces of bullshit I have ever heard of in my life. Every human being deserves to voice their beliefs and especially their needs and wants. YOU have every right to voice these things. Realizing this will set you free my friends.

 

I want to share with all of you a recent experience of mine that pertains to this very topic. I have been in the process of prosecuting one of my most brutal and devastating abusers. It is still not over but I am hanging in there. It makes me a little nervous sometimes that this person knows I have opened my mouth about what he did to me, but even more so it makes me feel stronger. I have finally taken some control back and he can’t hurt me anymore. I hope that he can’t hurt anyone ever again and I also hope that this is an example to many people how you can and can’t treat another human being. Even more so I hope that it gives other survivors that extra push they need to report. I know it is scary. I know you will have a million and one worries and concerns about reporting and prosecuting…but I promise you in most cases it will only help you grow, become stronger and take control back. No matter what please remember that you are not alone. I feel I can repeat that sentence ten times a day, every day for the rest of my life and not get sick of hearing it. Every time those words come out of my mouth or from my fingers on the keyboard I feel a deep sense of relief and happiness overwhelm me. I know how powerful that sentence is. You are not alone.

 

No matter what…never shut your mouth. Keep telling your story. Keep conveying what you need and want. There are people who want to help. You don’t have to die for people to listen.

 

A little quote that helps me everytime I read it: “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should’ve behaved better.” ~ Anne Lamott.

Breaking the silence.

The first account of abuse I can remember today was at age four. I was an innocent, happy, loving and gentle four year old that was in love with being alive. I was abused physically, emotionally, and sexually. No one deserves abuse, especially a child. As I grew up, I was victimized again and again and again. Every single time the perpetrator was someone I knew, usually a family member or friend. Having more than one abuser strengthened the lie I was told that I was bad, dirty and deserved what was happening to me. I began to believe that I was born to suffer and be beat and broken. I made friends with people who took advantage of me, I stayed around family members who hurt me and I picked lovers who tortured me. For a long time I have kept secrets…secrets of my abusers. Why did I do this? Because I was afraid to die. I was afraid that one, several or all of my abusers would track me down and kill me. If you need a second reason…it was also because I was afraid of what this harsh world often thinks of victims. That they must have deserved what happened to them.

I was told that they loved me. I was told that they cared, and this was how people who loved each other proved it. I was told that I was bad. I was told I was a slut. I was told that I was a piece of trash. I was told no one would believe me. I was told if I struggled I would be killed…or my family would be. I was told that a husband could not rape his wife. I was told many sick lies. Do you see what I just said? LIES. I was told LIES. abusers lie to their victims to induce deep and paralyzing fear. They do this to ensure you will keep THEIR nasty secret. You are innocent, you are clean and beautiful and worthy and do not deserve to be harmed. The brainwashing sets in fast, but you can reverse it.

Today was one of the most difficult days of my life. I wanted to write this short entry to tell you that. Today I struggled bad. Today I drove myself to a city where many horrible things were done to me that changed me forever. I went to the police station and it just so happened to be across the street from one of the locations of the abuse. It was hard…no it was VERY hard. I took a deep breath in the car and I looked at myself in the mirror of my visor and said out loud: I am doing the right thing. I walked in and I retold the abuse that spanned many months to a police officer. She took my statement and she comforted me. I was blown away by how well she was trained for this. She knew that I would second guess myself, that I would become fearful and sick. She knew that I would hear the lies in my head and want to dart for the door. She reassured me and helped reorient me. I am very thankful for the people behind the scenes in this process…you know who you are (if you ever read this) and I am very thankful for the friends who support me when I’m strong, and more importantly support me when I am struggling to hold on. I always say…there is nothing wrong with having help. When a storm comes the captain needs more men to help on the ship. Get the help you need, keep your eye on the goal and hold fast.

I know that coming forward and breaking the silence is extremely painful and scary. The thought of it even can induce pain and panic. I strongly believe this is one of the hardest things a human being can go through…but it is possible and in most cases it helps a lot. I can tell you that I feel great relief and confidence already. I am still scared, but I am no longer ruled by my fear. It took me 26 years to get here, so be gentle with yourself. This takes time. I still have many many many more miles to go. I just want you to know there is hope, help and healing. You don’t have to live in the darkness anymore, afraid to live your life. It is them that should live in fear, not you. You aren’t alone, I am with you! I love all of you.

Your friend, Dandi

You will not steal my future and a special shout out to victim-blamers

**Before I write this post I just want to remind all of my readers that the content can be highly triggering, especially if you’ve been a victim of SA in the past, please be sure you are grounded before you read. I don’t want anything written to hurt, only to heal**

As survivors of trauma and multiple trauma we often live in fear, even when we do everything we can to break free of it. For the most part, I don’t live in fear anymore, however, that doesn’t mean that I am no longer hyper vigilant, stressed out, anxious and still very often brought to my knees by a panic attack. Yes I have been making great strides, but even yesterday I had a full blown panic attack in a Meijer supermarket and had to rush home. I still make sure that I have something in hand while in parking lots or walking up to my door in case someone were to attack me. I still suffer from vivid and horrific nightmares that have me drenched in sweat when I wake. I still have days where it is very difficult to shake the fear that it’s not over. Despite all of that, I am happy, I am hopeful and I am now pursuing justice.

I have many abusers and for a long time this made me very ashamed. It also made me feel that there was something terribly wrong with me and that I must have deserved each and every trauma. This is wrong. It is never the victim’s fault that they were hurt. I don’t care what anyone says, it doesn’t matter what the person was wearing, what time it was, where they were…none of that matters. Someone decided to do something horrible, to take something from me that they had no business taking. Just because a bakery puts their pastries and cakes in the window of their shop doesn’t mean someone has a right to smash in the window and take what they see. It may sound like a stupid analogy, but there are many people around the world who believe if a woman or man dresses provocatively they deserve to be sexually assaulted. Maybe this simple analogy will get to their simple minds. The victim did not ask to be hurt, the perpetrator is the one at fault and should be harshly punished.

I was first sexually assaulted at four years old. My childhood was ripped from me before I even had a chance to have one. Many years and details of my past are gone because they were traumatic and another one of my personalities took the abuse for me so that we, as a whole, could survive. My past was Hell and was robbed from me. I want to take a moment to again, point out to the victim-blamers out there that victims did not volunteer for their abuse, they did not ask for it, they did not invite it. In no way did the four year old little girl I was ask or deserve the horrific things that happened to me. As a young adult, the many times I was touched, kissed, groped, raped, sodomized and beaten in no way did I volunteer or ask for it. I am so angry, no, rageful when I hear people say that a victim asked for it because of what they were wearing or where they were or the infamous “why didn’t you just leave”? You cannot understand until you have been there.

My present is very complicated. Monetarily I struggle, I struggle with my appeal to the Veterans Administration for an increase in the disability for PTSD. I am anxious every day, some days I cope with it using meditation, playing with my children, deep breathing, writing and art. Other days it is impossible for me to find relief without medication. I am currently pursuing justice pertaining to four of my abusers. This has been a giant trigger and it has been responsible for my sudden increase in fear of leaving the house. In the past few years I have made great progress in getting myself out of the house, but currently I am usually choosing to stay indoors where I feel safe. I will get back to where I was, but for now I need to be gentle and patient with myself. This is a very difficult and scary time, but it is not the end. My present is also exciting. Despite the anxiety and stress of money, job, school stuff, I have two wonderful children I love more than anything and I get the privilege of taking care of them, loving them and watching them grow. I also know that with hard work I will be successful with my art.

My future…all I can say is, it is mine. No one else’s. I have lived in the dark, in the deepest pits of Hell one could experience due to fear. It is time that I get out and live a fear-free, healthy, happy life. I think it’s about damn time my abusers are the ones who have to live in fear. I will no longer stay quiet. I am taking responsibility of my present and future.

Whatever horrible things happened to you in your past, they were not your fault and they are not your fault now. You are not responsible for your past, the people who harmed you and failed to protect you…that is on them. You were a victim. But now in your present, looking forward to your future…please know that those are your responsibility. This is the key to making the transformation from victim to survivor. Take control of your life now, heal, stand up for yourself and refuse to let anyone else run your life any longer. Have an addiction due to the horrors of your past? Tell addiction to go fuck itself and allow yourself treatment (I apologize to anyone offended by my foul language at times, sometimes I feel strong language has its place). I have a particularly strong loathing for addiction. Please love and respect yourself enough to take your life back and live it! I promise you…life as a survivor is MUCH better than life as a victim.

Just as a reminder, RAINN is an amazing organization who is there for you 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. You can reach them at: http://www.rainn.org/ or call them at: 1-800-656-4673. Everything is confidential.

Please seriously consider prosecuting your abusers. I know this is a tall order I am asking of you…I know it’s terrifying. I am in it actively right this very moment as I type these words. But please know that it will set you free, and it will ensure those sick people will never harm you or another person ever again. You are not alone in this fight! Even if you don’t have family or friends to support you, please know that I care and I will support you.

As always, I am proud of you, I congratulate you on another day, and I love you. Every day we are one step closer to where we want to be. Let’s do this together.

Your battle-buddy, Dandi.Image