Sexual Assault/ Abuse Does Not Define You

stebeunville rape photo #2 (1)

As most of you know from my previous blog post and tweets, I have been closely following the Steubenville Ohio Rape case.

Both boys, Trent Mays and Mailik Richmond, were found guilty. And the punishment fits the crime: [They]will serve their sentence at a juvenile detention facility until they turn 21, and both will be labeled as sex offenders for the rest of their lives.

In spite of all the ugliness surrounding this case, the victim’s mother conveyed a message of hope when she addressed Richmond and Mays at the end of the trial: “This does not define who my daughter is. She will persevere, grow and move on.  Her mother could not have said it any better. This is a message of hope for her daughter and millions of women around the world who have been raped, or sexually abused.

Sexual assault/abuse does not define you.

When someone violates you sexually, that can be hard to heal from.  Take your hurt, your pain, your shame and do something great with it, gather strength from it and move on.

I also what to extend this message to women who have chosen sex work, stripping, who have pursued a promiscuous lifestyle, or have experienced the heart ache of being used and dumped by a man like a Kleenex:

What you do or do not do with a penis, or what a man does to you, do not define who you are.

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Female Genital Mutilation

Barbaric. Inhumane. Cruel. Hatred against women. Crime against Humanity. Female genital mutilation (FGM) is the removal of the entire female external genitalia ( clitoris, labia, mon pubis, urethral and vaginal openings) leaving  only a small hole for urine and menstrual flow.  Most of the time it is done in a very unhygienic setting. Sometimes it is even done with a piece of broken glass. Some of the consequences of FGM can last a life time such as difficulty expelling urine, and menstrual blood, painful sexual intercourse and difficulty during child birth which can lead to the death of both the mother and the baby.  This brutality is done to girls younger than age 7, and mainly done to girls between the ages of 7 and 10. There is an estimated 100- 140 million women living with FGM and 90 million of them are living on the continent of Africa.  It is obvious that there are no health benefits.

This violence against women needs to stop. My heart bleeds for these women who are forced to suffer their whole lives because of FGM. They suffer because of something they themselves have no control over: being born a woman. They suffer in silence , they bleed alone, they forebear the pain alone, they cry alone. They are wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, and aunts.   Yet they are treated worse than the animals. Women and men are made equal, though they are not the same they are made equal.

Waris Dirie victim of FGM and Famous London mdoel

I reflect on Western culture, especially the things women do to themselves to please men. They mutilate their breasts, they slice into their faces, they scrape the fat from their bodies, and some willingly mutilate their genitalia here in America. The difference between what goes on here and what happens in many of those countries in Africa, is that we choose to mutilate ourselves.

As women we need to come together. We need to protect our daughters. We need to protect ourselves. We need to love our bodies. We alone can love our sexuality. We need to respect each other. We need to stop hurting ourselves physically to please a man. We need to stop hurting ourselves emotionally to keep a man.

Since learning about FGM, I say a prayer every day for those women and little girls who suffer at the hands of barbaric, ignorant men. I cannot forget about those little girls that are suffering, they are the silent voices that are never heard.

Info on how to help stop FGM: http://www.stop-fgm-now.com/who-is-fighting-fgm

Images: Image 1, Image 2