Monday, June 27, 2011
Participating in this e-course from the amazing blogger Liv Lane of Choosing Beauty is the single best thing I have done to date to develop my skills and find my voice as a blogger. This blogging prompt came from her over the weekend in an email:
I'll be writing something revealing about me and I ask you to do the same. Reveal something on your blog about YOU that you haven't shared yet: a personality trait, a bad habit, an odd talent, a fear, a breakthrough, an opinion, a belief. Then come over to Choosing Beauty and add the link to your blog so that others can easily find your post. It's a fun way to build traffic and gain support.
When I first read about this challenge in the course post on Friday, I choose a different topic to write about than what I am about to share here today. The notes about that topic came easily and filled several journal pages quickly. But as I re-read the email blog prompt a few moments ago, I knew that I had to write about something completely different. Something that I have never written about and never speak of.
Some years ago I was grabbed off the street, dragged through a park and down a river bank, and was tied up, blindfolded and raped repeatedly. I was sure that I was going to be killed, but I was left on the rocks and told not to move for fifteen minutes. The rapist said that he would be watching, and that he would kill me if I did.
But what I just shared with you isn't what I never talk about. I have spoken about this often. First to the 911 operator at the pay phone I made my way to, then to the police officers who picked me up to drive me to the hospital. I spoke to nurses, doctors, detectives, a wonderful reporter who shared my story as a way to help other women, friends, family, the representative from victims resources who came to the hospital, and later to a therapist.
What I never talk about is that I am afraid. Every. single. day. of. my. life. What the rapist took away from me is the ability to look at the world without fear.
I am sure that many of my friends and family would say if they read this "but you never seem afraid", or "I never knew that you are afraid", or something along those lines. And I am glad for that. It is very, very important to me that I not live my life with outward fear, that I not appear as a victim. There is a very frightening statistic about rape that I learned shortly after this happened to me: 1 in 4 women are raped at some point in their life. 1 in 2 rape victims are raped again. 1 in 2. Why? Because appearing afraid, appearing as a victim, makes you an easy target. So I decided to never, EVER show fear.
One of the best resources available to women who have been raped is the Joyful Heart Foundation, founded by Mariska Hargitay, star of the long running TV show 'Law and Order, Special Victims Unit'. I wish it had been in existence a few years earlier when I was attacked, but I am glad that it exists now. From their website: "The mission of the Joyful Heart Foundation is to heal, educate and empower survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse and shed light into the darkness that surrounds these issues." I just can't tell you how much I have learned from and been comforted by the stories of sharing and community on their website.
Do you have a Mantra? A mantra is a sound, syllable, word or group of words considered capable of creating transformation. Do you have one? I do, it's "Fearlessness". I sometimes wear a pendant designed by Me & Ro for Joyful Heart:
Embrace Fearlessness, my friends.