April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

This post has mentions of sexual assault that may be triggering to some. Please practice self care. I love you. I see you. I speak my truth.

If there’s one month that makes me go inside of my trauma and dig around and build a home, it’s this month. My legacy is sexual assault. It has been passed down from great great grandmother, to great grandmother, to grandmother to me. I don’t know how many times I’ve experienced sexual assault, but I do know that it’s been many. My African and Indigenous self has more pain surrounding this particular experience than anywhere else in my existence. I used to fight it, to deny its existence and now, I embrace the pain. I grow through the pain.

A little while ago, I was having amazing sex with someone that I truly value and it became painful all of a sudden with no warning. Something beautiful turned into a trauma of burnt searing flesh, hurt and pain, tears and upset and while those before who have claimed to love me have blamed me for my trauma, this person held me, helped me, kissed me and allowed me to cry and fall asleep wrapped in arms of strength and warmth.

Sexual assault, rape, molestation, etc. are not easy to work through. It’s not easy to constantly and consistently diagnose triggers. This particular time that I was triggered, I went and hid in the bath tub. My flight or fight was boiling in my veins and I had to escape even though this person I trusted had nothing to do with my past experiences. But that’s how trauma and triggers can be, unexpected and unexplainable.

I wrote a poem. Because I am a warrior. Womxn like me are warriors, fighting a never-ending war of fiery flesh and seething spirit.

I am a warrior.

I’ve been engaged in war from the time that I was 12 years old

Not yet old enough to even understand

This is a war that we see every day and don’t talk about.

A war I inherited from my grandmothers

Back to the first settler on the shores of Turtle Island

Who thought our brownness, our sex belonged to them

A bedwarmer on the slaveship voyage and un-privileged mistress in plantation house

Our Africanness turned shame

And then our own men mirrored the behavior of these unwelcome colonial bastards…criminals

My rapists have all been brown men

Too scared of their own existence and needing to dominate over me

Not understanding their own parts to play in a society hinged on extinction

I cried out “Please! No!”

And here I am

Still deep in triggers and trauma

Fighting always and my armor is my mind

My skin that shines

My refusal to break even as I bend and heal my body from hurt and pain

I’ve been raped too many times to count.

I don’t know how many

Not all of them physical but so many were/are/past/present/I don’t know

and I am still here

I drink more than I should.

I drown myself in alcohol to numb just a little bit of the pain taken up residence in my brain and body

It’s not good

But it’s what I do

And I hadn’t had sober sex in so long

Running from pain and pleasure

Young one reading this,

Take my hand in these words

You are not at fault

Change your narrative

You are soft and supple

Strong and strange

You are everything you want to be

So be.

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