Okay... this is my train of thought for today. This is not an easy topic for me, but I believe that someone out there might need to read this. I have recently become aware of some "celebrity" YouTubers using their fame to harm young women. They say they were just pranks, or just mistakes. Once is a mistake. Doing something repeatedly, and creating a channel doing it as a basis for your vlog is horrific. There are a few people trying to draw attention to this problem. I think that it has to be done. When one person tells their truth, despite the risks, then you can... sometimes inspire others to tell their truth... creating a chain of awareness and healing. It gives all of us to see these monsters for who they are also, because that is what they are... MONSTERS! Truth is hard to say though, so here is mine. I was 13 years old, and I snuck out to meet an older boy who I had a huge crush on. I was so excited and thrilled by even the thought of getting time with him. However, he had other plans. He was older than me, and he knew exactly what was going to happen. I was blissfully innocent and ignorant. I did not understand what the consequences of doing what I was doing could be.
That night... we met up... he said that he wanted to go see his cousin for a minute, before we went out. We went in. He introduced us. He took me upstairs to show me something... and then he proceeded to... rape... me. When the night was over... I felt like any ounce of me that I once had, was gone.... buried... never to return. I continued to make one poor decision after another. I started smoking, drinking, lying, and other unhealthy practices. I am now 43 years old, and I am just now beginning to heal. I have suffered for 30 years. I have struggled to define who I am. I lost all my innocence that night. I lost my self respect. I lost myself. I had nightmares for many of those years. I couldn't even hear the world rape without dying a little more inside. I could not have a healthy relationship with my husband, a man who truly loved me. I had spiraled in to all sorts of bad, and self destructive behavior. I was no longer that little girl with a crush. I was a shell, a hollow, empty, lost, lonely, heartbroken shell. I was stuck in my own private hell.I think of the millions of kids out there who make decisions like that every day. Some of you are lucky. You come home stupider, but safe. I was not so lucky.
The young men, not boys, but young men who do this degrading, disrespectful, and disgusting acts to women (for what they claim to be entertainment) are predators, vicious, selfish, perverted predators. They use their celebrity to lure you into a choice you might not have made if you had never known them. Some of the women were touch against their will. Some of them had to endure being flashed by the naked male... in public. Some of the girls were asked to do things, perform tasks, or "sext" them back and worse. Some women were sought after because they were drunk. Now that is an entirely other topic for me, but NO ONE deserves to be assaulted. NO ONE! Of course there are things you can do to lower your risk of this happening to you, but the truth is... If a boy or man makes a plan to do this... there is not much you can do to stop it.
However, if we talk about it, it makes more girls aware of the risks. I was too young to understand the ways of men and women. I did not really even know what sex was or how it worked. In one minute all of that innocence was gone. It was terrifying, it changed my life for the worse, and it never left my thoughts. The worst part of all of this...is that there are lots of fans of these men who harass, threaten, belittle these women. They abuse them and defend the predator... even going as far as to say that it's harmless and funny! THAT IS INFURIATING TO ME! What is worse, even than that, is that there are women and girls out there who also defend these men, harass, and belittle the girls and women who come forward. Of all people, women betraying women is inexcusable. I do not understand this.
This does not make me a prude. It does not mean that I am an idiot who cannot think for myself. It does not mean that I am ignorant of the ways of the world. I am more aware than most. I am a victim, and now... I am strong enough now to tell you... RAPE IS NEVER OKAY!
We used to have censors... who tried to keep the moral code for our society. To say there are censors now... is a joke. I know that that will get people fired up against me, but I don't care.
WE CAN DO BETTER THAN THAT! There are shows today... that see no harm in glorifying rape and violence against women and men. You know which ones those are. This is unacceptable, but because the moral compass of our world is skewed it will continue to be shown... and it will happen more and more... the more we accept it. Everyone says we can choose for ourselves. That is true, but our "modern" way does not seem to be improving things. We have so much power, but we don't use it. Shows, movies, even musicians cannot do what they do, be who they want to be, or be as successful as they are if we don't stand for it. I believe in free speech, but there are so little things to be proud of today. I believe in free speech. I truly do, but some things are not okay. Some things are not supposed to be put up with. I would never assume to tell you how to live your life, but for an example of what I am talking about.
EXAMPLE: I have known people who lived their lives without a parent in the house. There home was full of chaos, drinking, drugs, cheating, and underage and unmarried pregnancy. No one was truly happy. I thought, "This has got to be better than my home, where my parents had rules, responsibility and morals. Where is the fun in living for them, and following their rules,"but I was wrong. I was miserable. I felt lonely, scared, lost, and so, so sad. It was NOT better. After a couple of weeks, I finally went home. I was safer, but I did not do much better. My damage had been done... beginning with rape. For all the love I got, it didn't heal my heart. I was broken, because I took a risk and paid the price. It wasn't until I got married and started to have kids of my own that I found out how wrong I was, and how much pain I was in.
I now have a daughter who is 13 years old. I am shattered to see her innocence, and realize what I lost. Her life is healthy, peaceful, fun, and happy. She is scared about growing up and the changes that she is going through, but she is safe. I never will get that back. Once upon a time... I was a happy, innocent 13 year old. That night I was a victim, robbed of everything I held dear. It took me 30 years to find peace, and to feel safe again, although I fear every time my daughters leave the house, and I will never live with no less than 2 English Mastiffs. I will never live again in ignorance, and I will never stop being there for girls and women who might need my story. We have to make a world where girls and women who are assaulted, raped, and touched without their consent have to be afraid, bullied, and victimized. We have to stop those who are find it allowed, or worse yet funny. We don't have to be silent victims anymore. STAND UP TO YOUR ATTACKERS... no matter the risk! You only give them all the power if you don't tell someone. They will use your silence to hurt another.
If you are a victim of rape... please tell someone....please. Don't suffer alone.
I am putting this hotline number on my post to help you if you have no where else you can turn. Sometimes it is easier to tell a stranger than someone you are afraid won't believe you, or will hurt by this knowledge, but please... please... please don't be afraid. Get help.
There is strength when you have the support you need. As long as I am alive, you will know that you are NEVER alone. You are in my prayers, my thoughts, and my heart, but do not suffer in silence. TAKE BACK YOUR POWER! Don't wait.
Do it now. I love you. Please pass it on. If you are not a victim... do what you can to make yourself a helper. It could change someone's life. This is the National Hotline for people who suffer from a sexual assault/sexual molestation... so on.
I want you to have an option to help you get the help that you need.
Call 800.656.HOPE (4673) to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.
How can the hotline help me?
Calling the National Sexual Assault Hotline gives you access to a range of free services including:
Calling the National Sexual Assault Hotline gives you access to a range of free services including:
- Confidential, judgment-free support from a trained staff member
- Support finding a local health facility that is trained to care for survivors of sexual assault and offers services like sexual assault forensic exams
- Someone to help you talk through what happened
- Local resources that can assist with your next steps toward healing and recovery
- Referrals for long term support in your area
- Information about the laws in your area
- Basic information about medical concerns
P.S. Men CAN be victims too. It is not a joke, and I can imagine that for them it must be even harder to get help. I can imagine that there is less help for them than any of us. Please, if you are a boy or man who is suffering in silence, please do not remain silent. Take away their power over you and ask for help. Please. There are women's prisons for a reason. Men can be hurt, abused, degraded, bullied, and harassed as well. This post is also for you. Get help. Don't stop until someone listens to you. Tell your story. I know it is embarrassing, painful, humiliating, and not supposed to happen, but if it has, please get help, even if it is a confidential help. Many therapists are trained in rape (for men and women). Ask around. If you have a church you attend, you can privately ask for advice, you don't even have to tell them why, just ask who your church might have available. You might know a friend, or acquaintance who might have a person to suggest. You can also ask your doctor. You never have to be specific when asking for help. Something I learned in therapy is that YOU NEVER HAVE TO HAVE AN EXCUSE, or GIVE AN EXPLANATION for why you need this help, but please get it. Use the number I have provided above. It does not say Women Only. Please get help. You deserve to be heard, and you deserve to be able to heal and take your life back. It will be okay. You are in my prayers. (that might not mean anything to you, but it does to me).
DON'T BE SILENT... IT ONLY WORKS TO THE ADVANTAGE OF THE ABUSER, RAPIST, OR PREDATOR! DO NOT SUFFER IN SILENCE! IT WAS NOT YOUR FAULT!