My life has changed since I've done this show, "Speak About It".
There was a train (wrecak) of events that led me to this. Sometimes, I almost attribute my involvement with this show to my break-up a couple years ago, as I partied way too hard one night and this guy, a "friend" took it too far, or at least tried to. And luckily, gratefully, nothing happened. But that specific situation sprung a leak in something that I thought was sealed and done with. But obviously it wasn't. That visceral feeling of having no sense of control was all too familiar. It reminded me of when I was a child and I actually was saexually assaulted.
When it happened, I told a grown-up. This person told me to, not to tell anyone. That it will be taken cared of and I should never speak of it again. Then, it happened again. This time, I told someone else. Same ordeal, don't talk about it. And although that person was no longer a threat. Another person came into my life and repeated the same thing. Now, at that point, I blamed myself entirely. Had I not put myself in that situation, what could I have done to stop that, what was I wearing. Even at 7 years old, I tried to negotiate this. Because what I learned, actually from reading the script from the show, it doesn't matter a damn thing what I was doing or what I'm wearing or what planet I'm on, what happened to me - and unfortunately too many women and men - is never the fault of the person assaulted.
Now, then, who's to blame? And is that question productive enough? What is there to do now to reclaim some control back into the survivor's lives and more importantly, how do we prevent this from happening?
Speak about it. The difference when I was a child and now, is that I have a voice and that I know that I do. I can say something. And the beauty to all of this, is that I did. Numerous times over, on a stage. In many cities. In front of many, many people. #beatthat #ftw #speakaboutitrules
Now, you don't have to talk about it on a stage or even post online blog entries (as I am doing now. Smh). But there is a lot you can do now. Like when/if a friend's tells their story to you. Listen. But that's rare, right, or at least you would hope. What is most frequent is being on the look out for friends, family, strangers, whomever may be in a potentially unsafe situation, where something might go down that consent can't or won't be made. That's where we can step in and do our part - whether your 18 years old at a party or 32 at a bar - we just need to be there for each other and for ourselves.
Be receptive, be aware, be empathic.
And, of course, if you are a person that has been assaulted, what you can do. First things first, don't even try blaming yourself honey. Whether you said no or you implied it non-verbally, the moment you did not want that to happen, it shouldn't of happen. So much easier said than done but dig deep. Because it will never be your fault. Second, talk about it. With someone. Anyone. There is something so empowering and beautiful when that kind of 'stuff' gets air. It's surprisingly liberating. It'll never take the experience away, and I know it hurts to even mention it at times, but freedom lies in words and truth.
When asked why I do this show, I'm always fumbling around saying how 'important the message is to me' and how 'it on a personal level' - never really giving justice to what I really can/want to say. But hopefully, this can make a little dent to the reasons why I do th is show and how much this show means to me. Speak About It gave me a platfrom to become free from my own personal, unfortunate experiences and turned it into a beautiful, inspiring message that I hope I can continue to share with others.