#Metoo #timesup #LoveBetter #Voicesrising #Survivor
I shut down, and thought I deserved it or it was my fault. I was scared. The list is endless as is the shame.
When I was 13 and a 16 year old boy tried to inappropriately touch me at the park I ran away and never told a soul. Part of my young mind shut down, I thought "maybe it is my fault, I talked to him, he was a stranger. I knew better"
When I was 19 and a guy I barely knew pushed me down in the grass, raped me and took my virginity I never told a soul. I shut down. "I thought, I flirted with him, my shorts must have been to short. I deserved it."
When I was 27 and my boyfriend started beating and sexually assaulting me I never told a soul. Part of me shut down. I thought. "He is my boyfriend is it really rape? Maybe if I just loved him more he will stop. I must deserve this, it must be bad karma". I told myself that for 8 years. He became my husband who raped me. Until I got away. Barely...
When I was 36 I was away I thought I had some level of safety. So when said exhusband caught me alone one day and raped me at knife point, pushed my face into the dirt and took what sliver of safety or dignity I had left. I shut down completely. I became a zombie, went home, took a shower and I never told a soul. Until today...
So I believe survivors. I am a survivor. We all have our reasons for why we don't speak up. Sometimes you just can't out of fear or shame, or some other unexplainable emotion. But none of that changes the trauma. It is timeless. You have to heal, and you can heal but you will never be the same. That kind of trauma changes a person on a molecular level.
All I can say is...In this time of change we must be brave, and use our voices. Tell our stories, and embrace our truths. It is the only way this world will ever truly recognize our pain.
~E.L. DuBois~

Harness Magazine
Essay by E.L. DuBois

My silence was deafening… 
I was a naïve young woman, not yet schooled in the ways of the world. One raised in a relatively conservative Southern family where my only exposures to domestic violence and abuse were through television and film. I did not know true monster’s like the ones I witnessed on screen existed in this world, until I found myself in the clutches of a truly sadistic one. 
I learned very quickly that much like “fight club” the first rule is “not to talk about it.” So along with my dignity, my self-worth and my identity, I lost my voice. 
And my silence was deafening… 
I spent years as the possession of another person. A text-book case of a victim. With every assault, every degradation and every psychological game, I lost a piece of myself, until one day I felt nothing. Well, almost nothing. I never lost hope. I held onto a sliver of that magnificent emotion, and it carried me through even my darkest days. I may have appeared to be pure and total numbness, a shell. Nothing more than a walking, talking, pretending puppet. But, I was still a mother, and for my daughter I gripped onto hope, and never let go. My love for her was greater than all the monster’s hate. 
When I finally escaped the ordeal, I was a myriad of emotions. I went through periods where I would adapt the comfort of my numbness just so I could function. I felt if I pretended it never happened. if I never let the darkness in, I would be okay. A normal person again. The person I use to be before I went to Hell and back. But that is not how healing works. I realized that who I had been was gone forever, but I could rebuild myself and become a stronger, more beautiful version of that long-gone version of myself. 
Yet still, I was silent, and it was deafening…  
When I started my journey of healing I was broken. I wanted to hide in the dark and not let it all in, but I was a mother. I had loved ones who needed me. I needed me to be whole again. So, I let myself feel and began to heal. I let in the guilt and shame over what I had endured. I felt I was somehow responsible for the abuse. I found I was victim-shaming myself. I was my own worst critic. My mind felt fractured to the very core of who I was, so I began to write. I made myself write down every vile transgression against me. There were many days I was an emotional mess, but with time those days became fewer and farther between. I was rebuilding my heart, mind and soul. I realized that surviving what I went through changed me on a molecular level. The change was gradual, and as I grew stronger the broken mended and that sliver of hope turned into a raging fire.  
I found the last missing piece to who I am now through the courage of others. I began advocating for victims of violence, abuse and harassment. I supported movements like #MeToo and TimesUp. I found solace in donating money and time to causes such as the National Coalition for Domestic Violence and The One Love Foundation. I listened, I mean truly listened to the stories of other victims and I found my own strength. 
I vowed I would no longer be silent, and finally, I found my voice again. That is why I wrote my story The Glass Mask: Monsters Lurk Beneath. I had been silenced for so long that telling my story became the most important piece to taking back what had been taken from me. It also became my contribution to the victims and their loved ones. I wanted the voice I had taken back to resonate with people around the world. I wanted everyone to see just what my experience had been. That is why my story is a raw, roller coaster of emotions because that is what it was like being in the abusive situation I was in. When I wrote the book, I wanted to share my hope. I felt that if my story could help even one person, change perception or give hope, then all that I had endured would mean something. I could take all the negative and make it positive. 
So, that is what I am doing. I am still healing, growing and evolving into that stronger version of me. I always will be. And she has a voice! 
I am no longer a naïve young woman. I am a seasoned survivor who wants to empower, support, elevate and share my hope with other women/victims. To all those who still live in the deafening silence of abuse, I say “you are not alone, I hear you. I feel the roar of your pain. I will be your voice until you can be your own”.  
With much love, and appreciation. 
~E.L. DuBois~