One of my favorite seasons is finally here and it’s actually feeling like it too. I was wearing shorts last week! Today is such a cool crisp day and I’m loving it. I feel like I’m slowly coming out of the funk I’ve been in these past few weeks and this weather is definitely helping. And hopefully November will bring some good things our way and we can all start to feel a little more positive about the future. For now, let’s all enjoy the gorgeous colors nature is giving us and breathe in the fresh fall air.
abuse, beheard, cometogether, domesticviolence, makeadifference, metoo, ourstoriesmatter, riseabove, sexualtassault, showsupport, speakup, spreadlove, stopdomesticviolence, supportwomen, togetherwecan, unite, useyourvoice, wedeservejustice
I am excited to share a new project of mine that is close to my heart. This could be something that really makes a difference. I ask that you consider coming forward to be a part of this and please spread the word if you know anyone who would be interested. Thank you!
Our Stories Matter is a project created to unite assault survivors and spread awareness on the issue. Victims of sexual and domestic abuse deserve to be heard and should be supported after experiencing traumatic events. Society certainly has shown us that shaming women and stating their claims as false is a reality. A sad reality that has to stop. And many children, both boys and girls, experience the turmoil of abuse and either is afraid to speak up or are so ashamed they keep it to themselves. We as humans need to help and support each other and this project is a step toward sharing that message. You are not alone and you matter.
Assault survivor Melissa O’Connor-Arena felt a calling to help change how people view this issue, as well as give victims the platform to speak up and share their story. She teamed up with a licensed psychotherapist, Christine Gutierrez, to provide a safe place for people to come forward, open up, and let go of the secrets that have held them hostage, for too long.
Having our voices heard not only initiates healing but enables people to understand what others go through. There is a deep concern for the lack of empathy in the world today. There is no better time than now to come together and rise above the ignorance. As a united front, we can defeat the immoral behavior and backward thinking we see too much of. All of our stories matter. And they deserve to be heard.
We are currently accepting submissions for the project. Please contact Melissa to learn more via email at email@example.com if you are interested in sharing your story.
With the #metoo movement going strong and now numerous women coming forth about all these men in the public eye, especially Kavanaugh, it all brings back moments in my life that I have tried so hard to forget. But I will never forget. And neither will the millions of other women who get sexually assaulted. Our stories are REAL and they deserve to be heard. And I hope that with this post I can help others to come forth and share their experiences so the power they lost can be taken back.
I am not sure how it started or even where he came from. But all of a sudden I was alone with him, up against the brick wall. Why was this happening? Why would this boy want to hurt me? I stood there afraid and startled. He was so close, breathing all over me. Telling me he hated me. I felt something sharp on my neck and didn’t know what to do. Don’t move, I told myself, as he held the glass shard against my skin. He was so mad. Minutes pass like hours. He slowly lets me go and backs up. Then I feel a horrible pain shoot up my body. I bend over and look at him, as he laughs at me. The pain is now starting to settle between my legs where he kicked me. I stood there watching him as he walked away…frozen. This was one of my most frightening memories of elementary school. I was shocked and embarrassed. This happened at school on the playground, where I thought I was safe. This boy, Paul A., wound up getting suspended and wasn’t allowed in my class anymore. I spoke up and something was done, but I guess for the time it happened and the age we both were, this was all they could do. I just hope his parents took it as seriously as they should have and did their best to prevent something like this ever happening to someone else. Once I left that school, I never saw or talked to him again. I recently found him on social media and still, to this day, my stomach still turns when I look at his face.
You never think it will happen to you. But then you find yourself scared, his hands all over your body. As he roughly tries to unbutton your pants, you fight to stop him. But he is strong. Stronger than you. At only 13 years old, you feel weak and defeated. But you don’t give up. As he forces his hands down your pants you slowly slip into a realm of which you will never come back. As he touches you, he ignores your words and gets mad that you aren’t just giving in. But you can’t give in. You have to fight. So you do your best. But he is stronger. And he isn’t giving up. Feeling violated is an understatement at this point. You realize the only thing you can do is clench up as tight as you can so he can’t take any more of you than he already has. You feel his hand roughly breaking through… but you don’t give up. Soon, he stops, frustrated and pissed off. All you can think of is running away. You make it to the door, which is locked, and finally are free. Eighth grade was full of good times, but this certainly wasn’t one of them. I will never forget what Albert M. did to me that night. And he got away with it. I just wanted to forget it ever happened, so I didn’t speak up. I didn’t want to get in trouble, so I didn’t speak up. And even though I knew my mom would believe me, I didn’t speak up.
Not long after, I was with a boy from school. He had his own issues, but I saw the good in Brian B. and knew he needed me. This relationship brought me lots of heartache, as I experienced verbal and sexual abuse from him, multiple times. It eventually led me to a therapist for help. Thoughts of suicide came and went, along with that boy. We ended the relationship but he continued to haunt me for some time after. And yes, he got away with it all. I do wonder about him time to time. And even though what he put me through was rough, I somehow hope he is doing okay.
Years later, in my 20s, I found myself in yet another situation no one wants to be in. As my friends lay passed out around me (from drinking), we were the only ones awake. I didn’t expect him to do it. It didn’t even cross my mind. Yet, here I was and here he was…as kissing got out of hand. Suddenly, I couldn’t move. He was so heavy. I told him to stop. But he didn’t. And I couldn’t fight him. I was already so tired and he was just so heavy. And no one around me could help me. It felt like hours. I felt dirty, disgusting, and gross. This time it was a blur. Time passing as he touched me. But I remember how it felt, how he felt. And all I wanted was to run away, far away. He eventually stopped and passed out. I went outside as the sun started to come up and walked around in a haze. I don’t even remember his name, as this was the first time meeting him and he was a friend of a friend. I wonder if he remembers mine. What I do know is that he woke up and started a new day…and simply got away with it.
These experiences molded me. They influenced how I felt around men and how I viewed sex and intimacy. To this day, I am scarred, even though I have moved on. Only a handful of people know about these assaults and some don’t even know who the boys were. And it doesn’t matter how many years it’s been. It happened. Period. You can’t erase moments in time just because time passes. And I always thought about how many more girls would suffer because I didn’t open my mouth. As I got older, I got stronger. I became more open about my life and spoke up more. I now know how important it is to share your story. Whatever that story may be. People will believe you. I believe you.
These boys may have tried to bury me, but I survived them all. And we can all survive together. Speak up. Let your story be heard. Make people listen. There are other women who feel your pain and have your scars, no matter how deep. We can rise above, together.
I’ve always felt like there wasn’t enough time to do the things I need to do. Mostly because I am always thinking up ideas and my life just can’t keep up. But I am getting better at making the time. And now that Elliot starts preschool tomorrow, I will have a few mornings to myself to work, relax, and enjoy some me time. Being efficient is a big part of it as well and being a mom has truly helped me in that department. I use the minutes and hours I have the best I can and always stay productive. You have to make the moments yours and own them.