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21 years ago....and I'm still sharing.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) and the month my healing journey of reclaiming my life began 21 years ago. April 20th, 2003-Easter Sunday to be exact, I was surrounded by women in all white praying over my mother and me at the Spirit of Truth Center in Washington DC, where I first felt the complete safety to tell my mother about the horrors that were happening to me in her household at the hands of her then-husband.

In these 21 years, I have pushed myself to relearn old patterns, and mindsets, talk through difficulty, speak up for other survivors, and create a life of joy THROUGH pain, PTSD, anxiety, and any other residuals that come from being a survivor. I've had to consistently work my self-love muscle and embrace the full meaning of my value. My journey includes the achievements of my Master's Thesis in Women's Studies, and a TEDx talk with my biological non-abusive father Peter J. Harris, by my side.

***Trigger Warning***

My Master's thesis, which you can download from the above hyperlink, contains multiple descriptions and experiences throughout my call-and-response dialogue with my father. Please be mindful of your capacity; it is raw, angry, and painful.

Healing has not been an easy journey. I still have remnants of my story in my body. My brain has flashes that throw me for a loop. My rapist is now dead, and yet I still occasionally have nightmares where I'm fighting for my life. My dreams have been the place where I had the loudest voice and the biggest fight because, in real life, I disassociated and froze. I know through working with my therapist, coaches, energy healers, prayer, and doing somatic work the continued work will be done and I will keep getting more grounded in myself and my body.

I am currently embarking on a new path that will result in the completion of my memoir. I have been writing my story for a long time, and this month's blog is a snippet of a piece of writing I found in a journal. In honor of my journey, I want to share this with you on this Easter Sunday 21 years after disclosure. My new path will also include opening up monthly women's healing groups, different classes, and other offerings.

Before you read any further I am providing the following TRIGGER warning.

Below is a first-person written account of my assault as an adolescent. I have not shared this particular story outside of a writers' workshop I took 10 years ago. If you read any further I ask that you breathe, and take care of yourself. This was not an easy thing to share, but it felt timely especially as we are going into the 1st day of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Pops and family I direct this to you. You have read enough. Pops, you have responded enough. Today I ask you not to read. We are on the upswing, I AM on the upswing.

Everyone else, if you so choose...

Written on....10-1-2013

~ I saw the ceiling, each crack, the crown molding. I heard the water running in the bathroom. This was a new house, there shouldn't be cracks in the ceiling or "nail pops" as he told me when I asked a few weeks ago. As I lay on my back in this king-sized bed I began to tell myself,

'Get up.'

'Move, you don't have to say here.'

'This is fucking ridiculous.'

'You're 16.'


'In a bed, he shares with your mother.'

'Get up.'

To late. He's back.

"I think this will be good for you. This will prepare you. So no little boy will take advantage of you. You'll be prepared..."

My mind splits...

'Really fucker?! Really?'

My lips didn't move though. My brain was on fire. Giving myself orders, demanding that I move my body, swing an arm, use something. Do something!


Body stunned, naked, vulnerable.

"Okay, I think you're ready. The suppository dissolved."

'This motherfucker is so prepared that he inserted a damn spermicide suppository inside me to prevent pregnancy. This was planned, perpetrated, and prepared for. He had to purchase these and stash them away...

Shit girl GET THE FUCK UP!'


He gets into the bed next to me. I never move, constantly staring at the ceiling. He begins kissing and groping my body. He leans in to kiss my lips, I finally turn my head. My lips were mine to control. I would NOT give him intimacy. My FATHER kisses me. HE does NOT get that privilege.

He doesn't force the issue and continues groping. With my face to the side staring out the window I look at the trees. My cul-de-sac is where I play with my friends. Roller skate, play basketball. Laugh. I stare and try to go there but all I see are shadows. Fading laughter, broken bikes, flat basketballs, trees dying-nothingness. I no longer see my childhood. I no longer feel like playing will be the same. Staring, I see myself now. I'm standing at the window seeing this 60-year-old man on top of my 16-year-old self.

"Is that okay?"

He has the nerve to ask.

His fucking voice snaps me back into my body. I feel him now. Fuck. I was numb-separated. Free for a split second. I feel the wet tears on my cheeks. Streaming, creating a soaked pool on the pillow. ~

To all survivors of intimate, sexual violence, I share my story in solidarity of needing better protections, policies, and support for us all. I share my story because I have survived and continue to survive. I share my story to emphasize the importance of everyone's voice and experience and encourage you to seek out therapy support to begin, refresh, or just maintain your healing. Therapy can be through art, music, talk, group, dance, bodywork...whatever you need to move the pain OUT. Start your healing journey and continue it in the ways your heart guides you.

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault, child abuse, or incest please check out RAINN's website for resources or call their hotline 24/7 at 1-800-656-4673.

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