"If you say anything you'll never be anything"

by Jo

There is a bit of back story to my story of domestic assault. The title of this post is something I was told by a young man who raped me in college previous to my relationship with my ex-husband. Little did I know that the rape would have everything to do with the rest of my life from that day forward.

Although my story of abuses began when I was a child, those words resonated with me. Even subconsciously, all my adult life, I had those words drilled into my psyche for only myself to believe. Not only by my own negative self-talk, but by a man who thought so little of me that he sought to crush anything positive about me that he couldn't use for his own gain. Nobody else believed I was a nobody, but nobody else knew what life was like within the walls of my own home.

Only last year upon the re-telling of my story when I found I could help other survivors/victims begin to come out and be strong did I realize how deeply I had previously held on to that awful phrase and made it my life's goal...to be nothing.

This year, December 2016 will be 30 years that I left college after having been raped. I thought I had no place and that nobody wanted to be around me, although I don't really think anyone knew the extent of what had occured except 2 people and I felt less than to them at that point. I left behind an empty chair.

On the 10th of December this year, I will graduate from college with a BS in Criminal Justice and I expect to begin my MSW program in the Fall. That empty chair has been filled, I'm proud to say.

I dedicate my story to my children whom I love so passionately. I thought I was protecting them for years. I thought they didn't know. I found out differently and I will spend the remainder of my days trying to make it up to them by respecting them and loving them unconditionally, though imperfectly as I always have.

I dedicate my story to all the women and girls in the world who think nobody is listening. Whether your voice is by the hand with a pen, typewritten on a screen, a whisper or a loud, audible scream... there are those of us who are listening that want to help you in the way you want to be helped. Begin...we will follow with support until you can stand on your own.

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