This is a post that I am battling to write. It has been brewing in the back of my mind for weeks. It has a close relative sitting in my drafts folder. It’s a post about not keeping silent, a post about speaking out.
Perhaps, it is just the fact that this has been a rather rough and eventful month for me…another couple of milestones have occurred: We moved into our new house, my dad had his birthday (and now will always be older than my mom was). Or perhaps, it is something more insidious…a creeping shame or the thought that there are people who have experienced far worse than me…and that I am dishonouring their stories by speaking about mine.
I have experienced domestic violence at the hands of my mother, I was also raped by my first boyfriend. Neither of these experiences were my fault. Neither of these experiences are shameful. And yet, I have kept silent.
I wonder if my mother by speaking out, by seeking help, could have broken the cycle more completely earlier. But the thing is…no one encouraged her to speak. No one told her that there was no shame in what she experienced at the hands of her mother, and so in times of stress when she most needed support, she could not reach out.
The beauty of modern times of course is that it is possible to speak out anonymously…without having to deal with the consequences of coming out with the hard truths face to face. But speaking out from behind a keyboard is still valid.
Speaking out about one of your experiences does not invalidate any one else’s experience. It does not matter if you struggle to express what happened, or if you are not particularly eloquent. It does not matter if all you can do is remind another person that they still have a voice. It does not matter what you say…so long as you speak.
Because the thing is domestic violence thrives in silence. Speak out: you have nothing to be ashamed of.