There really isn’t an easy answer. I get scared. I have gone periods of time of never mentioning any of it.
Because sometimes I’m afraid of the abusers from my past. Or their family members. Or I fear what people will think of me when I bare my soul and my darkest, ugliest secrets.
But then I remember that I was the victim. So much of what happened to me happened when I was too small to defend myself. How can I be ashamed of that? I didn’t do it or ask for it.
When doubt enters my mind about my first marriage, how I was older in the end, I have to remember that I started young and that I was scared. Again, it wasn’t my fault someone else chose to hurt me.
Still, yes, it’s hard. It has become more difficult over the years as my own children grow older because they can read and see my past, and it isn’t easy when I come face to face with someone who has read what I’ve written about. The privacy I once sort of had when I spoke out but didn’t really know people is gone in many ways.
But it’s easy because I know I have to. Someone needs to hear and read and know they’re not alone. Someone else needs to see they are actually in an abusive situation. Someone else needs the wakeup call to help someone they love. And still others might recognize themselves in the role of abuser.
I have to speak out because it is harder to be silent, to pretend nothing bad ever happened to me. I have to speak out because sometimes even I can’t believe it all happened yet I can still smile and be happy. I have to speak out because too many cannot.
*The image used with this post was taken for Violence UnSilenced for their one-year anniversary video several years ago…