Thursday, February 14, 2013

One Billion Rising: My most personal story

In honor of One Billion Rising on V-Day and the revolution against violence and sexual assault toward women, I rise...

I rise because at the age of 17 I was raped on a cold concrete slab in the dark of night.

I rise because I was asked for my first kiss the same night I was robbed of my virginity.

I rise because his prelude before the rape -- "I can never love you" -- has haunted me ever since.

I rise because the shining future of a self-confident girl was ripped to shreds in the matter of minutes.

I rise because I was taught what sex was supposed to feel like by a criminal.

I rise because the selfish, violent act of one man sent me on a very long path of self-inflicted destruction.

I rise because it took me 19 years to return back into my body after leaving it at the scene of the crime.

I rise because my rapist left me with a health condition that remains, only to remind me of my past and test my future relationships.

I rise because sexual assault lasts but a moment yet has a story that never ends.

I rise because he taught me to hate myself and no matter how many times I was loved, the self-hate always won.

I rise because it took another act of violence 19 years later to heal me.

I rise because women are absolutely allowed to be sexy, sexual beings without being violated or possessed because of it.

I rise because being violated sent me to the gutter to crawl until God gave me wings to fly.

I rise because my mom was also a victim of assault as a young woman which led to a devastating outcome.

I rise because I don't want my two young, beautiful nieces to follow in our footsteps of knowing this kind of pain.

I rise because "I was raped" should not be the typical coming of age story for one in three women.

I rise for the women who can't.

I rise because I finally can.

One in three women on the planet will be raped or beaten in her lifetime.  One billion women violated is an atrocity.  One billion women dancing is a Revolution.  I am but One girl -- Yet I am all women.

February 14th.  Valentines and victories.  Vessels and vacancies.  Validations against violence.  This is a day to love and cherish those close to us with remembrances of all that is romantic and sweet.  This is also a day to recognize the most important love affair you will ever have in your life - You with yourself.  Many women have suffered the loss of self-love because they were taught by a stranger, a family member, or a date that they were not worthy through a violent act against them.  Innocent women.  Young girls.   Mothers, daughters, sisters and friends.   This is the day we lift them up in celebration.   This is the day we dance wildly and free in the revelation that women are not for sale, to be taken against their will or to live in fear of simply being female.   This is the day to rise as One Billion in One Voice and One Dance for One Purpose - Freedom from violence.   And so it begins...

Why will you rise?



  1. I love you my Fe Fe. Again I read this and I remember you sharing this the first time with me. You are beautiful, shining, and brilliant. Your words paint of hope and wings to fly in a world so often broken for so many...

    1. Your way is so beautiful, Luke. I remember that time as well - unfolding and safe. Thank you for every moment...xx

  2. FeFe, my sweet, lovely fellow Chocoholic.... You bring me to tears, yet again.

    At 22, I was already a timid creature. When a friend (former coworker) came into town on a break from law school and asked me to dinner, I was pleased. We'd always gotten along so well. When he picked me up, he informed me it would just be drinks, since he had a lot to do the next day. I was hungry, but figured I'd get myself a little something at whatever place we went. He drove around for a while and we talked; then he suggested just having a drink at his place. He made my drink, and added a little something extra. I don't remember much of that night, but I remember wanting to scream for him to get off me, but I couldn't. I couldn't say anything, I couldn't scream, I couldn't even sob, which was what I wanted to do.

    It was almost 20 years later before I realized that what had happened to me was date rape. And it was five years after THAT that I finally realized this experience had been the template for almost all my other experiences, my so-called romances (not all, but most). I realized that for all this time, a man's insistence didn't inspire my own continued resistance (because I often started out with not wanting to go so far), but a passive and numbed surrender to a man's will for my body. And the feeling of unworthiness that had lived in my heart since I was 22 would find more support yet again.

    Thank you for your courage, for leading the way for so many. Thank you for saying this, for adding your voice to those of so many women willing to speak out. I'm with you, my dear. You are beautiful. You are lovely. You are courageous. You are strong. You are funny. You are inspiring. You are truly fearless.

    Love you muchly,

    1. Tanya, beloved...
      Your story makes me so angry. The plotting of him, the long drive, the depletion of food, the drugs, the robbery of not only your body and psyche but your ability to fight even a little or, as you longed for, to cry. He chose the cowards way on every account with such emotional brutality. It denies every bit of a woman and every basic nature of a human being. There are stories of savaged, violent undertakings that are terrifying to ever comprehend and I see this kind of sexual assault just as brutal. And the thing is that probably, this co-worker, this friend has no thought to what he did and the outcome...the torture that befalls you like a slow poison that kills you just enough the keep you breathing and semi-upright and seeps in to destroy so many pleasures and joyful occassions that every woman has a right to have. I apologize for the vent, it's just at this point in my life it makes me so incredibly angry.

      "...I finally realized this experience had been the template for almost all my other experiences, my so-called romances..." - the killer. The unworthiness you speak of. The "passive and numbed surrender". You have worded it so perfectly, Tanya. In a way that not only speaks directly to me but to so many. Thank you for being so vulnerable here. Your gift has solidified our unified experience of the lifelong detrimental struggle that in many cases becomes our dirty little secret. It is a daily battle for many and that which ends the life of others. Thank you for coming alive in courage, my beautiful friend. You never cease to amaze me.

  3. I didn't see this until today, and I am floored. You are so beautifully brave, so amazing. This is a PERFECT way to honor love and fight violence simultaneously. Thank you for this. We all thank you.

    1. Thank you, Miss Julie, for cheering on the good fight...for your belief in this. It is truly my pleasure to share my story - the good, the bad and the Uglies. My prayers have already been answered.

  4. You have always been a persevering soul, and in this you have taught me what it is to rise up through the most difficult, as we have often together. When I was praying in 2010 about life this quote came to mind through the sacred space of the moment. "Sometimes an emerging soul must rise up through the ashes of an old identity." Phoenix rising, you are, and one who is empowering others! Your devoted friend.

  5. "I rise because women are absolutely allowed to be sexy, sexual beings without be violated or possessed because of it."

    These are the words that pulled opposing forces and feelings together for me.. the tap of a hammer that shattered years' worth of confusion and denial.

    If it is true for my sisters, then it must also be true for me. If it is true for me, it must also be true for my sisters, here and around the world.

    And the truth shall set you free...

    You have a mighty gift. So very excited to be here, right now.


Your comments are the golden wrapper to my Chocolate bar. Without them the blog would melt away. I love to hear what you have to say. Thank you, my Lovelies!

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