Speaking Out

by shelbyisrad


(photo taken by Lilly)

[Trigger warning: abuse]

There is a piece of my story that I’ve hinted toward many times on this blog.

Some people I have shared it with, but generally I am not very open with it.
Because it is dark and scary and though I know it’s not my fault it happened, the voices still haunt me trying to convince me otherwise.

The short version: I am a survivor of abuse. Emotional, Verbal, Physical, Sexual, Neglect.

The long version will take time to tell. It will hopefully one day become a book I long to create.

A bit of that story is this:

I am the second of four children. My earliest childhood memory is one of bring neglected and locked in a room by my mother’s boyfriend. Most of the abuse I have suffered has been at the hands of my mother’s boyfriends. Men who only knew how to function if they could control someone or something, and so they turned their anger and desire for control to me. The small blue eyed girl who was too shy and terrified to ever tell their secrets. But I will hold them in no more.

I was abused physically, but hid the bruises as a child. No one saw the marks of fingertips that grabbed too tight, welts from smacks I did nothing to receive. Bruises I claimed were from falling down on the slide, or tripping on the playground. Those marks faded, and the scars they left behind were the first I saw begin to heal on my heart. I could acknowledge them, I could whisper that secret.

I was abused sexually and that secret ate me alive for years until I spoke it once day at the age of 13 trembling in front of a room of people (youth and leaders at church) I couldn’t even see through the tears pouring from my eyes. I still didn’t tell countless other people though, other church groups, very very very close friends. At 13 I spoke it and still felt shame. I hid it for a very long time after only revealing it to a few people. I was still leaning to speak out.

And that secret still destroyed me until the night last year a few months after my 21st birthday sharing a bottle of wine, I told my Grandma. We wept together and for moments I honestly regretted telling her because I saw how it pained her. But I have felt more release from that night of weeping than I had ever felt in my life.

I fear that the sexual abuse I suffered has damaged me in ways I don’t even know yet. I am afraid it will affect my future marriage and my ability to be intimate with my future husband. But I realize keeping it hidden will only make those things worse. So I speak it.

I suffered what felt like endless verbal and emotional abuse. Those scars are ones that still taunt me. In moments of depression I can still hear their venomous words and feel them seeping into my blood stream. The men who were supposed to care for me telling me I was dirty and worthless for the things they did to me. I was shamed for looking like my mom, who they despised eventually because she left, and often left us in their hands. I fight those whispers daily, I scream at them and wrestle them in the dark speaking my own beauty and bravery over them. It is hard, it’s a tiring battle but one I will not stop fighting.

and so I speak up, I speak out. I tell you I am a survivor of abuse, and I fight like hell to thrive.
I fight to tear away those labels from men who are beyond unworthy of placing any label or name on me.

I raise my voice to say I am a scarred and broken person but those scars give me more strength than you know.
I have learned the beauty I possess and the light I shine are more than the darkness in my past.

I am a survivor and a warrioress. I will raise my voice and stomp my feet and speak for myself and the countless others who feel silenced by the shame others have placed on them.

I will talk about it openly to remove the stigma that seems to be attached.

I want to break the silence because TOO many people just don’t know it is real and it exists and it is destroying people every day.

This is only the beginning. I am silent no more.