There is a common question asked when I present one of my motivational speeches: “What is the most important thing you did in order to help you move forward?” (After being kidnapped, robbed at gunpoint and gang raped). Do you know the answer?
I asked my Facebook friends if they could guess, and the most popular response was: to forgive. Although forgiveness is an essential part of healing, TALKING ABOUT IT was the most important ingredient to moving forward.
Because the most prevalent emotions surrounding rape are shame and embarrassment, I decided that I would not be a statistic, and I would openly talk about my ordeal to anyone who would listen. I am open about everything, and refuse to hide the psychological residue of what happened to me. I admit to being in and out of therapy for most of my life and as a result, my life has changed for the better.
Initially, I faked it. Yes, I talked about it, but I felt dead inside. Emotionally I was a mess and the pain was often unbearable. As time passed, the courage to speak openly made me strong; I felt in control of my feelings about the reactions and criticism of other people. When you talk about it – you own it; whether it is your fault or not.
Today I live my life on my own terms. I don’t care what people think and I know who I am. I have developed a “Thick Skin” and no one can hurt me.