Today, I went to do a workshop for young women in Dykman. I have been creating empowerment workshops with this group for the past couple of months. Today, there were 15 beautiful Latina and Black sisters between the ages of 15-19. It should never come as a surprise but it always does when half of the group discloses sexual assault, rape or child sexual abuse. No matter how many times I hear it, no matter how I prepare for it, I am never ready for the humanity of it all. I am never prepared to hear my own story repeated over and over. I am never ready to see the devastating impact that it has girls. I am never ready for the tears, the pain that comes through the eyes, the weight, the self esteem, even the smiles. Im never ready to hear the impact, the suicide attempts, the self mutilation, the negative self talk, the abusive relationship or the anger, the sadness, the powerlessness, the misplaced resiliency that comes across as disappointment and lack of trust.
I know it happens everywhere, all over the world. That no young person is exempt. But today I want to cry for all the young women from my own country. The Dominican Republic is out of control. Generations and generations of young women going home for the summer and coming pack broken. The uncle, the dad, the step dad, the cousin. I mean really when is this going to stop. When will mothers and families stop blaming us for it happening. For not believing us or telling us we asked for it cause we are fast. Don’t they know that this is even more devastating than the actual abuse itself.
Loneliness creeps in the middle of the night, abandonment sleeps with you, shame hugs you and resentment becomes you!
It never really goes away you know. The pain, the pieces never really quite fit the same way
So what is there to do?…We keep asking the same question when will it all stop, when will we eradicate violence against women? End child sexual abuse?
well lets start with these ad campaigns. Child abuse is not just a persona l problem, its an institutional problem, we learn how to abuse our children when the government can do whatever they want with them too. Justified and righteous they get to use our children for ads like this, they get to imprison our children in schools, they get to take our children away and then place them in under the care of abusive shelters, they get to send them to war, they get to exploit them in prison and child welfare, they get to punish and reward them through government programs, cut resources and lack to no access to their human rights, they get to take away their autonomy and choice away by policing our reproductive health, mind, body and spirit.
Spring is coming. The Rebirth of the earth is on its way. Every year the Spring Equinox gives an opportunity for the rebirth of humanity within and without. It is in Spring that we get to let go of the little girl within that has been hurt, forgotten and abused. She gets to say how it will go this year. We get to say how this year will go. We get to create it from nothing.
I invite us all to take the last two weeks of Winter to Dream, to push hard for the birth of another world , another you! Enough is Enough! I don’t want to be ready for these conversations any more! I want to have another conversation, a conversation of possibility or creation, of beauty, of courage, of strength, of liberation, of peace!
These AD’s are a public Health concern, a human rights violation. They are Child Abuse at its best!