I stand here for all survivors of sexual assault to make our struggle evident. I am starting a movement—the “I Am Not Invisible” movement. Why? Because it’s needed. Some estimates state that as many as one in four women will be raped or sexually assaulted sometime during their lives. That makes them members of our not-so-exclusive sorority.
We walk among society faceless, mainly because of our own shame. We fake our bright smiles-behind them are our lifeless eyes. We are lost in the crowd. But not for long. It’s our time-our time to step out of the shadows, and finally make the world take notice of this horrid epidemic.
I too am a survivor. Notice I didn’t say “victim.” I was violated by a boyfriend, although initially I didn’t categorize what had happened to me that way. More on that later.
As in all healthy relationships, we had sex-lots of consensual, teenage, lust-filled sex. But we also had a lot of non-consensual sex. While we were living together, I would often wake up to him having sex with me.
In my heart of hearts, I knew this FELT wrong. But I had never been in any other sexual relationship, so I had no reference- no handbook to tell me what was healthy. As with many parents, my mother never shared her sexual exploits with me or talk to me about my role in a sexual relationship, albeit not her fault, but a societal fault. So, being a naïve teenager, I thought maybe this was normal, this is what girlfriends do.
My thoughts as it was happening were; if you had sex with a person once, you had to continue to give it to them, right? I mean, we were in a relationship. So I shut up and I took it. For a year, I took it! In that year, I lost count of how many times I “engaged” in nonconsensual sex-nights with him rolling off me and me rolling over and crying myself to sleep.
Like many survivors, I suffered in silence. I was jaded . . . conflicted. On one hand, I had a boyfriend who took me out, opened doors, showered me with the kind of affection you’d expect from a lover. On the other hand, I had a secret, a deep, dark secret.
It couldn’t be rape. That’s what I kept thinking. In fact, at that time, I wore a smile every day. The only time I cried was when he was on top of me. But . . . it couldn’t be rape. I didn’t say “no.” You have to do that, right? I didn’t fight him off. You should do that too, right? I thought these things were the truth.
As children we are taught by our parents and the media that rape is something that a stranger does to you in a dark alley. I kept a wary eye out for “those” guys, but my antenna was not tuned to the rapist in my bed. My guy, who by day was a dream, became “that guy,” at night. He wasn’t violent, maybe because I didn’t resist his advances or fight back. So again, it couldn’t be rape, could it?
Let me tell you that any sex that is engaged in without consent is rape. Your lack of fighting back is not giving your consent. Your failure to scream, “No, please don’t do this!” is not giving your consent.
I must have a guardian angel because although they weren’t the best people for me to be in a relationship with, they weren’t pure evil either.
I still have trust issues. I still have intimacy issues. I still have communication issues. My journey is still not over. And I’m sure your journey, whether you’re at the beginning or in the midst of it, is ongoing.
Ty Johnson-Anderson is the creator of The Invisible Sorority, a community of intimate partner sexual assault victims ushering one another into healing and thriving post-assault. Ty launched the movement, I Am Not Invisible, in an effort to humanize the victimless statistics. Once a young adult spiraling out of control, she has managed to emotionally liberate herself from her dark past and move forward to manifest her future. She lives in Edgewood, Maryland with her wonderful husband and beautiful little girl. Visit her at www.theinvisiblesorority.com
The Invisible Sorority will show you:
Why forgiveness can be your best healing tool
Several techniques you can use to heal your heart through mastering your mind via hypnosis and guided meditations
How to increase your ability to manifest your ideal future
How to embrace your tears to strenthen your emotional stability
Improve your sex life using several intimacy exercises designed to show you to live in the NOW
The invisible sorority is like a phone conversation with your best friend. It will inspire you to make positive changes in your life while helping you to ease the pain of your past assault.
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Genre – Non-Fiction, Self Help-Abuse
Rating – PG-13
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