This post is detailed and may be too descriptive for some. My hope is not to offend, but to share my previous challenges…a glimpse inside my head…maybe it sounds familiar.
The funniest thing about obstacles and challenges is that they seem to always be delivered without an introduction or a warning. In 2009, I got an unthinkable Facebook friend request from the man that stole my virginity and date raped me in college.
Naively, I was the typical freshman, and never knew danger could come and find me in the form of a new boyfriend. For hours, I looked at the request and decided to forgive him, but the idea of befriending him was just way too much.
Unfortunately, the challenging life course was just getting started for me. A few years ago, I remember arriving to a work training only to be greeted by the man who date raped me in college.
The timing could not have come at a worse juncture. I was emotionally spent. I was fragile and tired. My sister had just got married, my pastor had just passed away, and my closest cousin, who is like a sister, husband, suddenly died.
My heart started beating fast and I hurriedly started talking to myself. Put yourself in auto-pilot mode and just get through the day! God must really like challenges. My mind was racing. What should I do?! I had no desire to disclose this information to my boss. And so, I decided to just maintain and hold it together; because it was my responsibility to listen and bring back the information for my team. Prayerfully, I managed to survive the entire event without flinching, leaving or escaping.Emotional Wounds
My twenty plus year old past, that haunted me for years was now staring me in the face. Thankfully, I’m a testament that God’s grace is always on time, and I was able to weather that storm. The trainer’s voice faded quickly, and all I could think about was keeping my cool and getting back to my office. As the trainers prepared for lunch, guess who offered me their card and decided to sit next to me? Yes, it’s true…the man who date raped me and caused me to lose trust in most men.
Shockingly, he had become a state licensed social worker and had his own youth mentoring business. He apologized and told me he was a changed man and determined to give back and make a difference.
Predators are Often People You Know and Trust
In college, I was a very naïve girl from Chicago. I was shy with big hopes and dreams. I never had a clue that you might need to protect yourself from people you know; as well as strangers. Predators lurk in all sorts of places, and the wise can only be proactive and share their wisdom to prevent others from becoming new victims.
I love to share my challenges in an effort to let people know it is ok to be human, a survivor and seek help when you need it. I wish I knew to date in groups; until you really know the person you are dating. Time is a true measurement test for integrity, character, respect, love and support.
Remember, challenges and obstacles knock on every person’s door. Stay prayerful and know God is always there with us; through every trial and tribulation. Believe, trust, and let go, no matter how scary the situation is. God’s grace is always enough and timely!
Thanks so much to everyone that replied to my post. I truly appreciate each and every comment. The older I become, the more I feel compelled to be transparent, and share my journey through life. As a result, I firmly believe that sharing my challenges and pain will free others, and maybe even encourage forgiveness; so they can move forward with their lives. From my own experiences, again, I have learned our pain sometimes can become our own prison.
Therefore, forgiveness is a defense and offers all an opportunity to heal and move forward with their lives. It has nothing to do with the perpetrator/s. It has everything to do with the healing of our mind, body and spirit. Sharing my personal story of rape and survival is just my way to encourage others. If I overcame it, so can you. It is truly my hope to let my fellow survivors know they are not alone, to offer an opportunity to educate and inform others of the potential dangers and to give another face/ profile of a predator.
As a mother of a daughter, I hope my story encourages mothers to have a conversation with their daughters, and let them know of the potential dangers when dating. Explain the rules, and why it is so important to date in groups and spend the necessary extra time to get to know someone before welcoming them into their personal space.
Mothers remind your daughters they are special, and educate them about dating. It should be someone that respects them, and understands fully that “No actually means No” and will accept it without question. My experience taught me that I was picked intentionally. He was extra careful…selective even…I was the perfect candidate. Twenty- six years ago, I was extremely shy, and so ashamed that I allowed this rape to happen to me.
In my mind, my rapist was never what I pictured a rapist to be. My rapist was extremely popular on the basketball team, homecoming king, well-educated and had many admirers to say the least. Personally, I thought a rapist would be a stranger and someone that would pop up in a dark alley or something like that.
Never in a million years did I even entertain the thought that my new boyfriend could be a rapist and be so well-liked. My flawed act was simply agreeing to go watch a movie in his room with four other friends. When the movie ended, the four people left the room and I prepared to get my coat and leave, the rest…history. I remember him blocking the door way and telling me, ‘Sharon you can make this easy or hard, but today you will leave a woman’.
During that time in my life, I was extremely shy and timid, 18 years old and afraid. My rapist was 6 feet and at least 200 pounds and I was just 5’7 and maybe 120 pounds. Initially, I tried to fight and stop him, but he was convinced that this was what I needed to take us to the next level. The feelings of being helpless and powerless over my situation consumed me and changed me forever. The story of how I lost my virginity was traumatic and permanently sketched in my brain. I carried that pain for years and never reported the incident due to my own embarrassment at that time.
As I stated before, I used to be painfully shy, and thought if I told people, some how I would end up being the blame me for going, and watching the movie and being so naïve. Plus, he was so well liked and get this…I did not want to consider HIM going to jail, losing his scholarship and dealing with the reality of everyone knowing in great details what actually occurred to me. As a result, I did what many women do, I buried the pain and carried the baggage of my rape into every relationship I had including my marriage. Thankfully, the encounter early this year gave me the needed closure and the opportunity to get the answers of why. Plus, he apologized, and allowed me to forgive and put that luggage down.
Growth and Empowerment
In my opinion, rape is a very emotional and altering act. However, a survivor selects to deal with the pain of rape, is their personal choice. For me, I decided to become a blogger, a sexual assault advocate, and a social worker. By simply sharing my story and ways to prevent date rape, I hope to empower others to be survivors and advocates against date rape and sexual assault. If anyone you know is a victim, encourage and let them know, “NO means NO” and it is never their fault or too late to seek support or get help!
My wish is to let all survivors know:
1. They are not alone and it is never their fault.
2. To offer an opportunity to educate and inform others of the potential dangers.
3. Give another face and profile of a predator for they are often never a stranger.
4. Encourage people to listen and be alert.
5. Help end sexual assault and Date Rape.
6. Help eliminate the shame, guilt and secrecy of abuse.
7. To volunteer and support organizations that advocates to end sexual abuse.
The National Sexual Assault Hotline is:
(800) 656-4673. The hotline is free, private, and available 24 hours a day. http://www.greatnessisachoice.com
I posted in the wrong section:
This article is a wonderful write, I believe all woman should not feel the embarrassment of being once in a moment over powered.
I understand the true nature of feeling weak and where the mind is letting things happen because of the moment, time, and the things happening around them. Drugs, alcohol, and unfortunate circumstances are what predators use to gain their selfish pleasure. Even the lack of knowledge is another tool for the predator.
Woman who experience such events should always feel the courage, through our new ways of living.
I remember feeling the shame when I admitted to my mother of my child molestation at 17 years of age, when it happened for 5 years ages 5-10…
My regret was, I wish I said it sooner, nothing could had gotten done as “statute of limitations” on such a crime was 7 years, Stopped at 10 I told at 17 in a heated argument with my mother.
That was the most painful part of admitting such a pain.
Woman who do not know their strengths PLEASE SPEAK UP, I know the shame that you think you should feel. However, in actuality of the whole thing, there is absolutely no justification for the shame at all.
Hopefully, this write will inspire the survivor virus to spread and woman, young ladies and men will be aware of all situations and not play with it. Also by speaking up will help and encourage others to speak up and protect themselves and others and mothers of daughters, as I am of proud father of a daughter will stop the vicious cycles of sexual abuse and suffering in silence!
Wow you are simply amazing.With everything that you have been through.I couldn’t even imagine what I would do if I ever had to face that monster again but it helps a little bit knowing that he apologized and has since then turned his life around.You handled it well and will continuously be blessed by our father in heaven.Stay Obedient and Prayered Up I will never ever forget this Testimony.God Bless You.Ari Diary Thoughts Of A Strong Woman
I really appreciate your willingness to share this part of you as I believe it will truly help someone. Although, this was not my experience, a dear friend shared a similar story and because of our closeness, her pain became mine. Thanks again for sharing and its good to know that by HIS STRIPES, WE ARE HEALED!
Thanks for sharing and being open with this very sensitive issue.. also being a survivor of rape/incest I truly understand your feelings. It has been a long road to recovery..i have realized that silence leads to shame vs. sharing which heals and helps others..
Sharon, sorry for the delayed response and GOD BLESS YOU for your strength as we know its very hard to share lifes trials but equally healing for both us as the listeners and you as the teacher to give us a lesson. You will continue to grow strong and I’m so proud to have been a part of this moment in your life. As a parent i too will share my stories with my daughter and trust me we all have had our “bumps” in the road!
I remember you sharing this story and another similar story with me 20 years ago. I now have 2 daughters and couldn’t Imagine them carrying this painful experience for the rest of their life. I’m happy you found an outlet to share this experience of pain but it still makes me sad that this wonderful. Young lady had this episode that would alter all her future relationships. Happy New Year Sharon.
Its a great lesson of “bad guys” or “rapists” are not only lurkin in dark alleys and strangers, sumtimes they are our brothers, cousins, friends, and in some cases, our sisters! Rape is a very evil violation of a persons soul and spirit as well as bodies! I cant imagine! God Bless victims and their families!
Sharon I applaud your strength and resolve! You are doin a great thing being as forthright as you are! Many Blessings and thanks for your testimony!
Thank You So much for sharing your story. God Bless You and others that have experienced this selfish act brought on by the Most Selfish type of individual. I always wondered how a person felt when a encounter with the Abuser happens. My Abuser is a family member and unfortunately, I Stay Away from All family functions not because of what I’m scared he will do to me, but because of What I’ve Had Thoughts of Doing to Him!!! Please Pray for Me as I will do the same! Thank You n God Bless!
Thank you for sharing strength and courage AND for helping more survivors find the right resources for getting the support they deserve.
Thanks Mike for reading my blog and for leaving a reply! Season Greetings to you and have a wonderful New Year!
Sorry for the delayed response. I admire you for being able to share this experience at this point in time. I believe that this has allowed you to settle what you have had to suffer with for years. Our purpose in life often times takes on a role, we may not understand. You are in a powerful position to mentor others and influence their thinking. Hopefully, you will broaden the awareness of what other young women can be faced with. You have grown to become an inspiration to others. In accepting an apology and with forgiving, this does not mean you have to befriend him. No one needs to be reminded constantly of a bad ordeal. You have moved on. I salute you for your courage.
Thank you for sharing such a powerful testimony. You are an example that we can overcome challenges and live a normal and healthy lifestyle.
Deep story but the great part is that u overcame. U did that by prayer, trusting God, facing your past, and forgiving. God bless u and your ministry! I encourage everyone to watch the movie “Black Butterfly” on Netflix.
I commend your for your strength and I realize it has taken you awhile to get to this point. It is only because you have allowed God to lead and guide you through this thing we call LIFE. Your story is definitely a testimony. I do not know what I would do in your position with respect to the assailant. You must forgive in order to move on and that is what you have done. Is it possible that he has changed YES and NO; however it is not our job to make that determination. God knows all and will deal with him in due time~if it has not occurred already.
You are truly amazing. During these times when so many people are taking their own lives, for whatever reasons, you are showing your Strong faith in GOD and knowing without any doubt that, you and anybody that reads this can keep on keeping on regardless of any Life situation that arises. I had no clue about this happening in your life; your strong, vibrant spirit shows otherwise. This is Well written, positive and motivating, GOD bless you for your strength. , Happy Holidays.
Thank God for your strength and wisdom to get through your confrontation with poise and grace. You handled that situation in the best possible way.
As far as FB friends, I wouldn’t suggest it & I wouldn’t give an explanation for why. You know that you can handle things in case of a public encounter. But why allow this person access to your fabulous life now. He just wants to see what you are doing. He may have changed and thats fine. God speed to him. But he can keep it moving. Don’t open a pandoras box from your past in your present. It’s not necessary. If you have accepted his FB request. I would suggest unfriending. This does not mean in anyway that you have not forgiven him. It just means that you are selective…
Wow! What a wonderful piece. This was well written and I honestly think it will help someone. Thank you for sharing.
First, thank you for sharing. That’s a wound being opened every time it gets told yet every time it gets told a great healing can take place. Forgiveness is a great thing. I have just forgiven several people. Not for their sake but for mine. I did not want that hate and bitterness on my heart. You have moved forward with great strides and I happy for you.
Thanks for sharing… I think this can help a lot of people
Wow, this is so powerful and well written. It truly shows the pain that people are not aware of and how it affects people so many years later. I am actually making a film on this very topic called “Molested This Way” to show the effects of molestation on children and people and how it follows them and their actions years later. Thank you for sharing your story of pain. This happens far far to often. God bless.
This is a wonderful and awesomely powerful testament to not only your strength and character, but most importantly the power of God!!!!! You have endured and overcome so much, and you are so much more than a conqueror you are a living testimony and example for all women!!!! You are now and forever will remain my inspiration!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you for sharing a piece of your journey!!!!!!!!!
It was traumatic but there is a God, He said he will make your enemies your footstool.