“Me: ok, so I am doing another blog that is very deep. It is about rape and sexual assault
Do you think I should share about my own experiences? Or maybe keep my personal life out if it?
Liz: That’s a tough one…maybe allude to your understanding but not get into details..makes you more human I think.
Me: I guess I wish it wasn’t a bad thing to talk about.
like, I wish i could say:
I was 18, and took a pill for what I thought was a headache, to be knocked out and wake up unable to move with a man on top of me,
only for him to be removed by my best friend when she came back in from having a cigarette.
Or that “B” tried to attack me the night before I got my drivers license and kicked me out of his car when I wouldn’t hook up with him…oh and he was a cop…
Or the guy in NYC that got me wasted and took me to a hotel and was violent with me to the point, to this day, I still have serious self-esteem issues.
Why cant we talk about these things?
Why does it make ME look bad that someone did those things to me?
Because I put myself in those situations?
No! existing in a place doesn’t give another person the right to do that to me.
Why can’t we say that?!”
This is the conversation I had with my best friend about 5 minutes before I wrote this blog. I didn’t want to take away from Ms. C’s session, but I have dedicated years of my life to raising awareness for sexual assault and rape and no one has really known why this is such a big deal to me. I don’t talk about it alot…in fact, I am pretty sure that reading the above conversation will be the first time that even my own mother will know that these things happened to me.
Tell me ladies, why? Why has it taken me almost 10 years to be able to talk about these things? Why have I been able to dedicate my life to the cause but don’t follow my own advice.
Enough is e-fucking-nough.
Did you know that 1 in 4 women will be sexually assaulted? That is right. Look around your office, see 4 women, chances are 1 of those 4 women has been through something similar or worse than I have been through.
It is time to speak out. It is time to re-claim our bodies, re-claim our sexuality and re-claim our spirits.
THIS is where Ms. C comes into play.
I had hosted a contest a few months ago in my private group, the contest was to tell me why you needed to have a boudoir session. Like most women, Ms.C didn’t want to post her story publicly at first, because she didn’t want pitty on a long blog thread of so many amazing stories, so she emailed me. Reading her email I saw myself, I saw my pain, my fear, my journey. I saw her. I saw through it to what she was going through and why this session was so important to her to help her re-claim the part of herself that I know, from experience, is so easily lost.
I will let her take it from here:
“Self-love for me didn’t exist. There was always that nagging voice in my head that was telling me I wasn’t good enough or that I deserved to be treated in the ways that I was. I was a people pleaser that broke her back for others and always said sorry. I feel like this is an all too familiar feeling for so many women I know.
I am also part of a statistic. I am one in four. One in four of women that has been sexually assaulted. No matter how hard I tried I always felt his presence and saw his everlasting marks when I looked at myself in the mirror. I tried what I thought would work and what others told me would help, but the key reason I didn’t grow and heal was because I didn’t believe in myself. I just wanted it all to be over and I thought, as they said, time would heal. It didn’t for me, because I was static.
A little more than a year ago I met someone who has guided me to take care of myself, love myself, to give love to those who really deserve it and most of all the strength to finally begin healing. Little by little I began to see what she saw. Through this journey I did different things to reclaim my body and when I saw the contest post by Lindsay for a Self-Love Experience, I knew I had to enter. I wanted to reclaim the body I used to dread to see in the mirror. To have pictures of myself where I no longer saw the worn down woman that that man had created.
I always felt that disconnected with my body if I felt sexy because I associated this image of myself with what lured him in to do this to me.
My photo shoot with Lindsay was perfect. I felt one with my body and sexy. These two things are still very hard for me because I always felt that disconnected with my body if I felt sexy because I associated this image of myself with what lured him in to do this to me. I was so comfortable the entire time and each time she would show me a sneak peek of a picture during the shoot I was overcome with emotion. That was me on the camera. Me. Leaving that photo shoot I really understood what my lover saw in me and I was happy to finally see it for myself. My journey is far from over, but I know this shoot helped me so much on my journey to self-love.”
Thank you Ms.C! Thank you for your bravery and thank you for proof, that we can re-claim and learn to love ourselves again. You are sexy beyond belief and inspiring beyond that. It has been an honor to work with you and to raise my voice with you in the effort to Speak Out.
Hair and Makeup by the incomparable Erin Marie Artistry.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of rape or sexual assult, there is help. Contact the RAINN Organization: