ME TOO. Two words that can bring about awareness to an all too familiar experience of sexual harassment, assault, and/or abuse that happens more so than is known. These experiences can leave a scar not just physically, but more so emotionally and mentally. YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Many of us share the same scar. And now is the time to RISE UP!
Those who have experienced this sort of trauma become so accustomed to the emotions of fear, guilt, and shame that are placed upon them by their perpetrator, themselves, and society that they hide their scar as much as they can. But like any scar, it will never go away no matter how much you or society try to hide it. This scar becomes a part of you and affects everything from your relationship with yourself and others to your everyday thoughts and emotions.
The actual experience itself is not what does the most damage, it’s what happens after that is the real struggle. A struggle that can last a lifetime. A struggle that mostly goes unnoticed by others.
Our society creates this notion that it’s your fault you didn’t speak up. So many people ask, “why didn’t you say anything?” You should have! That easy, right? WRONG! What most people do not understand is that these experiences are mainly perpetrated by those who utilize manipulation to feel powerful and in control of another. They will use any means necessary, from threating someone’s life/career/etc. to threatening the life of someone they love. That is where it hurts the most because they know how scared and empathic their “victims” are and they use it to their advantage.
Being an empathic and compassionate individual are traits that these manipulators look for in a “victim”. Sad but true. Two traits that are highly regarded as virtues are being used against those who possess them. More so, these individuals then become so afraid to continue express these same beautiful traits in fear of being manipulated again. They build walls, they shut down, and they shut people out.
My personal story is similar to many women, men, and children out there. My life was forever changed the first night I was sexually abused. That is the day my thought pattern of living in fear began. The day that vibrant young girl I once was went into hiding. The day my self-love diminished and my ability to trust a man was forever flawed.
It has taken many years of healing therapy, reading books, and self-compassion to finally be at peace with my experience. To change my perspective and begin to live my truth. I no longer let this experience define me. Each day I make a promise to myself to release the fear based thoughts and emotions that still reside within me as I release the view that I am a victim.
It wasn’t an easy road and those who have stuck by my side know that it has been a roller coaster of emotions. BUT I RISE UP!
For those of you who have experienced any act of sexual harassment, abuse, and/or assault, I ask you to RISE UP! Not only to free yourself but to let others know that THEY ARE NOT ALONE!
For those who know someone who has experienced sexual harassment, abuse, and/or assault, I ask you to keep supporting those who need your love right now. It makes a difference.
To all you parents, teachers, and anyone in a positon to influence our next generation, please make sure to build up our youth and help them realize they are loved and supported. That they are strong, beautiful, and courageous. That NO ONE can take that away from them. They are love.
On a personal note, I would like to acknowledge all of those who have been there for me along my journey. All those who have leant me a shoulder to cry on, who have given me a hug when that’s all I needed, and who have listen when I needed to voice my story. THANK YOU!
AND to the wonderful man I currently share my life with. You are a true definition of a kind and caring man who loves me no matter how many scars I may have. I love you!
Together we can make a change. #riseup #youarenotalone #metoo
Ashley Tracey, MS RYT
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