Reasons I should love my body:
- I gave birth to two amazing human beings.
- My curves tell a story.
- At 35 years old, I still turn heads.
- Every stretch mark and every sag is there for a reason.
- My body is mine.
- It’s the one thing I have complete control over.
Reasons I don’t love my body:
- As soon as I started to develop, the older boys on the bus started inviting me to sit with them in the back. There they would grope and fondle me as they laughed among themselves, all the while telling me to stay quiet.
- In 1994 a much older teen-aged boy thought it would be fun to get me drunk, have sex with me as I cried, and leave me in a pool of my own vomit, I was 14.
- In 2001 a man in a bar slipped something into my drink, brought me to a hotel, took advantage of me while I was passed out, and then forced himself on me when I woke up in the morning.
Sexual assault comes in all forms, and beats a person down mentally and physically. It leaves scars that won’t heal. It brings us a lifetime of pain, and makes it difficult to carry on meaningful relationships. Many of us end up lashing out sexually, thinking it will somehow ease the pain. Sex becomes a series of motions instead of e-motions. We are angry. We feel alone. We are scared to open ourselves up. We end up in bad relationships where we don’t matter. You only have to be the victim one time to feel completely lost. One time to think you’re ugly. One time to hate yourself. As a victim I have spent time drowning my fears in drugs and alcohol. There was a long period of time where I used men for sex, and didn’t care who got hurt. I’ve been through years of counseling and therapy, but the scars sexual assault have left me with will never go away. Every time I look in the mirror all I see is ugliness and hate. Every day is a struggle, learning to love my body because of all the wonderful things it has done. I hope that one day I won’t have the constant pain I carry inside, that one day I will love myself again.
April is sexual assault awareness month. This month, take a moment to educate yourself on the facts of sexual assault and the affects it has on victims and their families. If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, contact the authorities, and get help. No one should have to live a life of pain and self doubt because they were taken advantage of.