Disclaimer: The goal was to release this post a few days ago in honor of what April awareness month is, but I wasn't in the mental space to write or prepare myself for the outcome of talking about this subject matter. If you've been sexual assaulted you may want to skip this one or if you don't like uncomfortable conversations this post is definitely for you.
"What happens in this house, stays in this house and that's the problem."
I remember when I shared my story with my guy bff, and after he made sure I was good he questioned why was this issue so prevalent in our community. I didn't have an answer back then, but now I do. To wrap up sexual assault awareness month I'm dedicating a post to hard conversations and may this topic help some people find the strength and courage to have these uncomfortable talks. I love my people but we have our issues as a community and one profound issue is sexual assault/abuse as well as choosing to protect/support the perpetrator.
Why is this issue is so prevalent?
Most people can't handle it. This topic is heavy and taxing on your mental. My momma and I decided not to tell my dad about the incident. My dad would become overly worried about me and he would blame himself. He would also go on a rampage to find the person who assaulted me, although the likelihood of me seeing or being around this person is slim to none (no he doesn't read my blog, thank God lol). From a mental perspective I understand why people don't want to talk about it, but ignoring it doesn't make it go away. If talking about it makes you uncomfortable, imagine how the victim felt in that moment and still feels during the aftermath.
It's part of our history. Incest, abuse, molestation, etc. dates back to the slavery days and a lot of people saw this type of stuff or had it happen to them, and generational curses/trauma will continue until somebody breaks the cycle. But how can the cycle be broken if everybody refuses to talk about it and acts like these incidents never happened.
See something, say something. The amount of people that know that somebody is a perpetrator or have pedophile behaviors but they never acknowledge it is scary. A harsh truth is some survivors would've never been a victim if somebody who already saw the signs or knew this person had a history of abuse would've stepped up and said something. For example, the amount of people who knew of the R. Kelly allegations, seen young girls in the studio around him, or saw him lurking around high schools is sad. So many victims could've been saved if the adults and parents would've done better.
Nobody wants to be labeled a victim. From a survivor standpoint I didn't and still don't want nobody to pity me or treat me differently and I made that very clearly in the letter that I wrote to my mom. What happened happen, but survivors have to move on and treating us like a charity case is a constant reminder of the incident that we're healing from.
It happened to them so they did it too. This one is really wild but true. Some perpetrators were assaulted as a kid and this type of action without some type of consequences creates a learned behavior. Although this person knows how they felt during the assault their brain has been conditioned to think that somebody did it to me so it's okay to do it to somebody else. The mind is very complex and some people turn into the very person they use to fear. R.Kelly is a prime example. He was abused as a child and he went on to abuse countless black girls for over 2 decades.
Parents aren't being parents. This is one of the saddest part of some survivor's stories but it's the truth nonetheless. Some mothers get involved and decide to stay with somebody's son who expressed or acted on their interest towards the child. Some parents willingly leave their kids around people who aren't good people or deemed unsafe to be around kids. Once again a lot of black girls voices are silenced when their mother picks their man over them, and a lot of R. Kelly victims and so many other black girls are subject to assault because parents fail to be parents. In my parents defense they didn't let everybody watch me, and in my caregivers defense too they didn't know that this older kid was capable of doing what they did that day.
The perpetuator is in close proximity. It's easier for the perpetrator to catch their prey when they have frequent access to you. 8 out of 10 rapes are committed by someone that the victim knew and 93% of juvenile victims knew their abuser. Personally, I knew the person that assaulted me and other people who have confided in me knew their abuser too, so yeah unfortunately this statistic is true.
It wasn't violent. Some people believe it's only abuse if violence was involve but some abuser use coercion or non violent tacts to get what they want.
Now that I've addressed why assault/abuse is prevalent, let's discuss some sexual matters that are dismissed and tend to play a role in why this issue continues to be problematic.
Significant age gaps.Women being encouraged to date older because they're more mature than the men of their same age is one of the main reasons why age gaps have been dismissed and overlooked for decades. Before the age of 25 and maybe even 22, certain gaps are very alarming. I don't care that she's 18 and technically legal now, being a grown ass man and pursing somebody who doesn't know nothing about life yet is wrong. Transparency moment: my first partner was way too old for me when I was only 18, and I often wished my momma would've been more direct with me when I told her about him. From ages 18 to 22 and for some people up until 25, you're naive and believe what somebody's son tells you, therefore you need guidance. On the flip side after age 25 it's free game to date anybody regardless of their age, because by this age you've experienced life and the brain is fully developed to make conscious decisions. I started dealing with my guy friend when I turned 25 and yes, he's significantly older than me but my mentality and understanding of life and who I am as a women is vastly different than 18 year old me.
Grooming. This word can be defined as practicing or training somebody. A lot of men seek out younger females so they can manipulate and program them to be everything that somebody‘s consciously aware daughter wouldn't agree to being. The aunties and older women mean well when they're advising younger females to stay clear of these older men. If he's such as great man why doesn’t the women his age want him?
Sexual Harassment. This is borderline just as bad as following through with abuse/assault in my opinion. Somebody is bullying and making another person feel uncomfortable by making sexually remarks and advances within the work place or social setting. This is a form of mental abuse which is easier to disguise than physical assault.
Child on child abuse. Kids who are introduced to sex at a young age via seeing it in person, watching porn, or being a victim themselves are subject to violating other kids and it's easy to do this since most adults trust kids around other kids. When I was in the mental health field I read a lot of cases involving child on child abuse, and when I had to report a child on child incident after a kid confided in me what was happening when they left the group home for home visits damn near broke my heart. That moment played a major role in my decision to leave the mental health field.
Being under the influence. Date rape is real and some assaults occur when somebody is intoxicated or high off drugs which unfortunately makes it's harder to press charges on the abuser and due to victim shaming when substances are involved is why a lot of victims remain silent.
Same sex assault. Females definitely act inappropriate towards other females and some males question their sexuality if their assaulted by another male.
Older women preying on teen boys. The amount of black men that were involved with grown women when they were 12 to 13 years old is sick. Boys get assaulted too and this needs to be talked about more. Nothing is cute about being in middle school and dealing with somebody that's old enough to be your momma or auntie.
Sex trafficking is real. In major cities such as ATL, DC, and HTX, kids and females within a certain age range are being kidnapped everyday. Also everybody who was sex traffic wasn't sold overseas. Some of them were rescued and some of them beat the odds and escaped. With that being said as they transition back into society they still have trauma and a lot of their behaviors will reflect that. For example Alexis Skyy was trafficked during her late teens and her outlook on sex and how she was portrayed on social media for years was a reflection of that. I'm glad she's healing and finding God now.
This post was a lot but it was necessary. I pray that all survivors find their voice and make a conscious effort to heal. I can't tell you how to heal because healing is a journey. Social media can make healing out to be a liberating process but it's far from that in real life. Healing is an ongoing process and for some people it's never ending. There's times that I feel like I'm healed then I'll hear about an assault and I feel triggered again. Recently a manager at one of my bar jobs was fired for sexually harassing numerous female staff members and mind you this man's fiancé works there too and they have a one year old daughter. This situation triggered a breakdown. I felt worried about my co-workers well-being and I was super worried about his child's safety because if your okay with pushing up on grown women and making them uncomfortable who's to say he wouldn't violate his own child one day. I felt childish for crying when got home about some shit that happened when I was 4 years old, but that's a part of healing and for me I think healing is going to be an ongoing process. Enough people don't talk about how healing can be tearful, painful, and even exhausting when you have to acknowledge and sit with the reality of what happened to you.
To wrap it up if you've been assaulted avoidance isn't the answer. Your trauma or unresolved feelings will still be there. I avoided a repressed memory for 17 years and sure enough it got to the point that I couldn't deny it anymore and even once I started to remember it I spent another 3 years avoiding talking about it, until it got to a point that I couldn't avoid the conversation in therapy anymore. Then, I avoided telling my momma for another 2 years and the true healing started once I told her last year and felt like there was nothing left to hide. Also feeling embarrassed is a normal emotion and I'm beyond grateful that when I confided in my guy bff he assured me that there was nothing to be embarrassed about.
In light of avoidance I've successfully avoided talking about my first sexual partner during therapy and I know I'm going to reach a point where I can't avoid talking about that either, but on the bright side I somewhat had a real conversation with one of my friends about it. However I'm not ready to deal with that chapter of my life and for now avoiding it and acting like certain things never happened smoothes me but I know it's a band-aid fix.
To the people who have confided in me thank you for sharing your story with me. From one survivor to another we're going to be okay and going to therapy or finding somebody to process your emotions with is a major key to healing.
To the people who give survivors a safe space to share their story you're greatly appreciated.
P.S.: I love y'all for real, but some of y'all ignored my boundaries when I talked about this last year. Please don't DM or text me about this post, I'm fine and I'm healing.
"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about."
If you're considering therapy here's a website I used to find my therapist.
If you need somebody to confide in, access to local resources, etc. here's a great place to start