Keep It On The Down Low

Yesterday, April 10, 2011., my baby S.A.S.S.U was born. I launched the event at my church and also had a party in downtown Chicago which turned out to be successful. Though not many people came over to the table to get pamphlets, they surely got them enough candy to take with them on their journey. Also, some of them pretended to be interested in receiving more information and once I turned my head they snuck a piece of candy and were GONE! lol That evening, I held a launch party downtown at Akira inside of Block 37. I quickly learned that planning events take way more preparation than I thought. Regardless of the fact that it didn't turn out exactly like I wanted it to, I am still excited about this new journey.

As some of you may or may not know, April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The purpose or objective of SAAM is to raise awareness about sexual violence and to educate our communities as well as individuals on how to prevent sexual violence. When I initially started S.A.S.S.U, I was a tad bit..okay A LOT hesitant because I didn't know how people were going to respond to this program. Sexual Assault is something that people do not want to speak out about. It is TABOO. It is something that, if it has happened to you, is supposed to be this shameful secret that you carry to your grave. Well...it is time to break the silence and Ill gladly volunteer!

I am a survivor of Sexual Assault. In August of 2008 I was sexually assaulted by a stranger, in a park on the south side of Chicago. Ill spare all of you the details and just say  I met the devil face to face that night. The reality of it didn't hit me for a while because I thought I needed to be strong, not for me but for the people around me. I remember going to the emergency room and the nurse continuously asking me if I was okay. She kept saying that I was strong and she's never seen anyone respond the way that I was responding. I guess it had not hit me...what just happened....it didn't hit me until a year later.

I went through stages of feeling depressed, angry, hurt..you name it, I felt it.  I felt like I was a good person and couldn't understand out of all of the people on this earth...WHY ME??? I stopped going to church, I isolated myself from my friends and on some days my mother didn't know if I was coming or going.  There was this dark cloud hovering over me and I couldn't seem to get rid of it no matter how hard I tried.

I decided to start S.A.S.S.U because after tons of ups and downs, after people kept consciously or unconsciously making me believe I was going to or needed to go crazy (because supposedly that's what all survivors do), I decided that I had to LIVE. I mean, really live. After being as low as low can go I had no choice but to go up. I kept asking The Universe/God, how can I heal from this? How can I move on with my life?  And the answer became so clear, "Your healing will come by way of helping others heal."

Fact is, people don't care about something until it has happened directly to them and that's really sad. So if I am a survivor of sexual assault or molestation, who can I really talk to? Who can I relate to? Who is going to genuinely listen to me and at the same time not think in the back of their mind,"This chick/guy is insane!!!!" ? People don't care about sexual assault because its so on the HUSH. Society has embedded in our minds that we don't talk about horrible "things like that". We don't speak out about "those things" because it makes people uncomfortable. So we ultimately end up birthing silent suffering survivors who go through depression alone, raise their children alone because they do not want to publicly admit that their beautiful child is a product of sexual assault. And God forbid if we mention it in a church, the "saints" won't tarry over that. They wont talk about the homosexual men, preachers or minstrels and mentors who are supposed to be examples to the younger generation but are training them and tricking them and molesting them. Yeah.....we won't go there because that's what we are supposed to keep on the down low.

I decided to speak out because I realize that there is a need. People are suffering and all they need is someone that they can relate to. I wish that I had someone that I could talk to who would be transparent with me. Instead I encountered people who were so sanctified, judgmental and so disconnected that they didn't understand that I was dying a slow death inside. Again, reality is that molestation, sexual assault/abuse is so common that the person you are sitting down next to while you're reading this has probably been through it. That co-worker that is always smiling and upbeat when you see them probably goes home and has a hard time sleeping at night because they have flashbacks/triggers. Your home girl that you kick it with at school is probably afraid to go home because her father or mother forces them to do sexual activities against their will. Your guy that you play ball with was probably molested as a child but we wont talk about that. Let's just keep all of that on the down low.


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