Sexual Assault and speaking out

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

"Where flowers bloom, so does hope." -Johnson

It was a normal weekend last year. I chose to go hiking with a friend. I was in a family park, waiting for my friend, minding my own business. In a moment, what I thought could never happen to me, did. I was sexually a FAMILY PARK. This man was bigger and stronger than me and I truly believe that if it weren't for me putting up the fight of my life and by the grace of God, that I wouldn't have returned home. I know that many women don't have that same blessing and I fully understand that and at moments have felt guilty for that.

As I was running away, I ran into a couple that saw I was terrified and in hysteria. They walked me to my car and said that I needed to file a report. For a moment, I was the biggest hypocrite - Always urging college students to report their assault right away, convincing them that justice could be served. I want to tell you, in my own moment, I didn't want to speak up because I thought, "They won't catch him anyway"... After an hour conversation, I agreed to follow these kind strangers to the Park Ranger station. I told my story over and over again or what I could remember. He hasn't been found and he may never be found and I have to find peace in that, somehow.

This situation has certainly altered me.
I was scared to walk to my car alone, still am.
I almost pass out if a male I don't know is walking too close behind me.
I felt/feel violated.
Me, being this extremely independent person, moving from city to city alone on the search of my next adventure...couldn't and sometimes can't do anything alone without feeling a little post traumatic stress now.

I didn't have enough time to get out mace if I had it or even a gun. All I had was my own body and my natural instincts to rely on. I could spend forever on the things I could have done...but that's not my reality.

My biggest regret isn't my own situation, it's not speaking up. For not reaching out to other women who I knew had gone through similar situations and letting them know they weren't alone. For not educating one last person that no means no.

I regret not telling anyone close to me for months. I called 2 people when it happened and that's it. I stayed quiet, didn't go to counseling, and let it harden my heart. I also regret not speaking up that my attacker thought because of my race and because of my gender I would be an easy target, things he vocalized several times as he was violating me. Two things that I cannot change about myself, things I was born with. Two things that in reflection make me angry because I can't control either.

So, don't wait.
If you see injustice, speak up and act on it.
Stand up for those underrepresented or can't speak for themselves.

Living life months and months after what has happened and dealing with the triggers, I've chosen to love anyway. I pray for the person who assaulted me. I pray for forgiveness for having a hateful heart towards him. This doesn't make me a good person. This just makes me a person who decided to speak out on a day where I felt I have hindsight, a day I knew I have made some progress.

Whatever it is that you feel is unjust. Do something about it.

Time with Gratitude

Sunday, November 9, 2014

I changed the name of my blog. It just seemed fitting.

It's easy to be thankful when things are great. When your family and friends are healthy. You have a steady income. You're comfortable and without a worry in the world. But that's not real life.

Life happens, tragedy and people shake your world and you're left feeling the way you do. But gratitude? It's still there. In the most lonely, dark, and hopeless of moments, gratitude is hiding, waiting for you to uncover it.

It's sometimes quiet and sometimes in your face. It's hidden, exposed, and everything in between. You don't have to apply for it or qualify for it, gratitude is a choice.

Gratitude is one of the least discriminate things. It's for all ages, people, and creeds. It's found in seasons, in people you love, in the homes you nest, and in the events that change your life.

Gratitude is found in the lives of parents, students, soldiers, people of every craft, third world citizens, and those who have absolutely nothing. It's in the depth of your soul and in the rumble of your laughter. It's everywhere.

So, I hope you continue to spend time with gratitude in your own life and I will try and share as much as I can about how gratitude is being uncovered in my own.


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