Honesty & Broken Hearts: For Those Without A Voice

I’ve been struggling to finish this post for almost 2 weeks. And then I’ve been wrestling with the idea of posting it, but have finally come up with the courage to let it free.

RAINN posted a statistic recently that says “One out of every six American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime.” and 56% of victims are woman between the ages of 18-34. One in six. Let that number sink in for a minute. Think about 24 women that you know. Women in your family, ladies from church, work, college, yoga class, ect. 4 of those 24 women have a past like mine.

As a young woman with a past history of being sexually assaulted, both the Stanford and now newly added Vanderbilt rape cases both infuriates and nauseates me.

My first traumatic moment happened in January 2004, and it’s still a day that I’ll never forget. Thankfully, pieces are slowly leaving my memory, and the anniversary of the occurrence now passes without me even realizing it. But all of the stories in the news are bringing everything back up as if it had just happened.

My second encounter happened in college, where alcohol was involved and I was significantly smaller than he was. Significantly smaller is an understatement. He stood 12″ taller than me, and weighed at least 100lbs more than I did. The word no meant absolutely nothing when he was intoxicated, and I didn’t have the physical strength or ability to get away from him.

What I think men forget is that no means no. Not no means yes, and yes means yes. No means no. Thats it. And more importantly than that, the violation of a woman, especially those one who is unconscious, is the furthest thing from okay that there is. We are not things to be played with and used to a man’s disposal. We are people. We are human beings that deserve to be treated with the utmost respect at all times.

I feel terrible for the young women who’s lives are being turned upside down by the court trials that are now occupying their entire calendar. But as someone who wanted and was willing to fight for justice and was told no, please understand you’re making an incredible impact and hopefully changing history. I wanted to fight my case, but at 14 years old, and with a case that we were obviously going to win, the court system in the county where I lived didn’t want to use tax payers dollars on a case that would 100% be won. Rather, he was labeled a sex offender and I believe was sent on his way.

The women who are fighting are a voice for those who were silenced. Their honesty and broken hearts are something that women all over the country and world can relate to. They’re fighting for those who couldn’t stand up for themselves. Those who, like me, were ashamed of what happened and never told a soul. Those who only have cloudy memories of a terrible nightmare they’ve chosen to forget.

Thank you for speaking up and for fighting. Thank you for being brave enough to step into the light and share your story. When you fight for yourself, you’re also fighting for the one in six that are constantly being effected. Please remember that you are not alone and that there is a sisterhood of women who can relate to the words that you’re sharing. Thank you for your bravery and keep fighting!

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Perspective

While being in my mid 20s has been some of the greatest times of my life, its also the time when all of my friends are getting engaged, married and having babies…including my ex’s.

My first serious boyfriend ever got married this past weekend. He married a girl that I was incredibly close to in college. And it put me in this weird mood. Not because I wish it was me he was saying ‘I do’ to, because I don’t. I know that God used the relationship he and I had to teach me a lot, and grow in more ways than I probably am even aware of, but it was still weird. I tried explaining the feeling that was distracting me to my mom, but she just couldn’t relate.

I know a part of me is sad that I’m not at that season of my life yet, but still sad isn’t even the right word. I’m very slightly envious, because I’ve been wanting to be loved by someone who wants to spend the rest of their life with me. But then I think about how much I’ve changed in the last year and a half. I think about the things that I thought were important in a significant other, and how different those “absolutely must have” qualities have changed.

J and I remind each other regularly that we don’t need each other. While to some that may sound incredibly insensitive, to me its incredibly empowering. Its empowering to be able to look at the man I care about and with 100% honesty be able to tell him that I don’t need him. But that I CHOOSE to have him in my life. I choose him. He’s in my life because I want him there, not because I need him to provide for me. Or because i don’t know what life would be like alone. Or because I can’t live without him.

When the guy that just got married and I broke up, we’d been together for 4 years – 2 in high school and 2 in college and I literally didn’t know what life would be like without him. I hadn’t walked through life alone in so long that I didn’t know what to expect, our how to function. Id lost friendships because he became my world so I had to start from scratch. Granted, I was 16 when we started dating, so I really didn’t know what I was doing, but it made starting over even more challenging. I had to establish a baseline for the woman that I wanted to be and grow from there. I had to recreate the tribe of people that surrounded me and occupied my time, and I had to figure out what it was that I wanted. I had the freedom to decide for myself what I was going to do with my future, as well as what I wanted to spend my free time doing and even simpler, where I was going to eat. I didn’t have to take into consideration anyone else’s feelings but my own and it was terrifying and exhilarating.

Now I look at where I stand, and its incredibly empowering to be able to look back at the growth that’s occurred. To be able to honestly and truly say, but also believe, that I don’t need a man in my life. I’ve proven to myself that I am capable of giving myself the most amazing life all on my own. That I can provide for myself and my dog. That I can have friendships all over the world and successfully make them important pieces of my life despite the distance between us. I’ve found hobbies and grown as a Christian woman and daughter. And I’ve managed two jobs and developed a relationship with an incredible Christian man, all while never once losing who I am.

Take a step back and look into yourself for a second. Do you depend on your significant other or spouse for everything in your life? Financially, emotionally, spiritually, physically? I challenge you to take some time to focus on yourself. YOU are the most important person in your life. And I think that is something that we regularly forget. Everyone needs a reminder, and i’m happy to be yours.

With all my love,

kristi

Do not fear

The Bible tells us 365 times to not fear, so God has got to be pretty serious about that, but in moments of weakness we tend to forget how persistent he is.

I’m 25 years old with hip pain that’s preparing me to need a hip replacement much earlier than normal. I’m headed into my second hip MRI this afternoon, but this one is also an anthrogram. I have to be honest, I don’t remember the last time I was this nervous. They will be inserting multiple needles into my hip to numb the area before inserting a large needle full of dye. This dye is supposed to help visualize what’s going on in my hip, whether it’s a tear or a highly inflamed region. If its torn, surgery will be required to repair the torn area. If it’s not torn, we continue working on improving mobility, stretching, weight lifting, and will continue avoiding cardio until further notice.

I’ve been anxious researching the pain to be expected all day, with sweaty palms and an anxious tummy. I keep reminding myself how direct and repetitive God is about fear.

Psalm 56: 3-4 “3 When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. 4 In God, whose word I praise— in God I trust and am not afraid.”

John 14:27 “27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Psalm 118:6 “6 The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”

Joshua 1:9 “9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

If you have a free second in your morning today, please send a prayer up for me. Pray for a lower level of anxiety and the best results we can ask for, which is no tear.

Have a blessed day!

With all my love,

Kristi