This month is Child Abuse Prevention Month as well as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. I reached out to a few of my close virtual friends and asked if they would mind sharing some of their experiences, stories and opinions regarding these topics. Today’s feature is on the lovely, graceful and eloquent Noelle.
SLY: Who are you?
Noelle: Freelance Writer, Banjo Prodigy, Recovering Addict, Self-Proclaimed Rock Star, Christian Feminist Slam Poet, Survivor
SLY: Does Sexual Assault Awareness month and Childhood Sexual Abuse Prevention Month hold any significant meaning to you? If so, why?
Noelle: Yes, because I’ve experienced both and I think they are both completely unacceptable and unacceptably quiet experiences in the lives of far too many people.
SLY: What is your story?
Noelle: TBA 😀
SLY: According to some statistics, very few people report abuse & assault crimes. Why do you think that is?
Noelle: Because our legal and medical systems, as well as our entire society as a larger whole pressures those who experience such violence to stay silent. Often times this pressure is carried out in the form of shaming and further abuse of victims.
SLY: Do you think abusers, rapist, molesters, pedophiles and the likes can be reformed, healed or changed?
Noelle: I think anything is possible. Ask me if it is likely, and I will say no.
SLY: What do you want others to understand about those who have been victimized?
Noelle: That such violence is completely unacceptable. That victims receive little to no support after such acts are committed. That our culture allows and even endorses sexually violent behavior, and that it is EVERYONE’s responsibility to start examining the way we live and making a genuine and vigorous effort to change. And that such violence is devastating in the lives of victims, but with support and dedication, such violence can be overcome.
SLY: Whats been the most difficult thing to deal with as it relates to what you’ve experienced?
Noelle: The most difficult part of my experience to deal with is how I was treated after I was victimized. Again and again, I was either completely ignored or simply not believed. I was belittled, accused, ignored, and silenced, not only by the legal system, but by my own family.
SLY: How have you dealt with your own personal rage at the traumatic things that have happened to you?
Noelle: Honestly… I haven’t. I’m still working on simply allowing myself to feel the rage, because I spent my entire life trying not to feel any of it. Whenever I do feel rage, I want to sit with it, embrace it, and express it. I feel like I deserve that.
SLY: What was an unexpected thing that aided in your growth and healing?
Noelle: God. It was very hard for me to get past the idea of God as a man, or that God had allowed these things to happen. I was angry and full of blame. What I realized was that I was misunderstanding God. I had always listened to what others believed God was, and I didn’t like what they had to say, but I lived with that God for a long time. Now, I realize that God is more personal than that. God isn’t some giant angry white dude in the sky with a long beard. I see God in a way that comforts me. I also had to make the distinction that God and people are two different things. People have free will. People fuck up, in major ways. God doesn’t hurt us, God is there to comfort us when people have.
SLY: What encouraging words do you have to offer for anyone who has ever been abused or assault?
Noelle: Keep going. Don’t give up. We have the power to change things. What happened was unacceptable and inexcusable. Allow yourself to feel, and remember that everything you feel is valid. This doesn’t have to break you.
SLY: What have you learned considering your experiences?
Noelle: Too much to write here. So much.
SLY: What do you think is the most important thing the world needs to hear?
Noelle: We hold the power to turn things around.
SLY: What brings you ultimate joy?
Noelle: My future. My nephew. God. My dog. 😀
SLY: What’s your favorite quote?
Noelle: “Courage is fear that has said its prayers.” -Dorothy Bernard
SLY: Who inspires you? Why?
Noelle: My sister, because she taught me to question authority, and that you can make your own family without recreating the mistakes of your parents.
Noelle, thank you so much for your courage, strength and openness. I really appreciate you gracing us with your presence and powerful words. Please feel free to stop by any time.
If you would like to share your story or anything at all, please feel free to contact me at sheenalashay [at] gmail [dot] com. Have a great day!
This month is Sexual Assault Awareness month. Every day I’ll be writing all types of posts regarding this issue and my personal experiences.
I create videos as a way to share my story. You can watch three related ones by clicking the titles below.
If you are a victim of abuse and assault and you would like to seek help or report your crime, please find all kinds of resources at RAINN. If you would like to share your story with me privately, be featured this month either publicly or anonymously or you just need an encouraging word, please shoot me an email at SheenaLaShay [at] Gmail [dot] com.