In the wake of the #metoo movement, there are many who have come forward to reveal their stories. I am one of them. Until recently I chose not to be public about my story because there is shame attached to it. It makes me and other people uncomfortable, and I didn’t want to be viewed as a victim. I want people to see the positive, smiling, successful me. And yet here are thousands who will choose to remain silent. They will quietly struggle, with no voice. Men and women, boys and girls of every nationality, no one is immune to the damaging effects of of sexual abuse. And the individual is not the only victim. Like a hurricane caused by the beat of a butterfly wing half a world away, so many lives are altered and relationships damaged because of the rippled ramifications of a moment of abuse. My intent is to reach those victims who are experiencing the aftereffects of childhood sex abuse. We are not broken, not tainted, and we can be happy and have rich fulfilling relationships that are healthy and amazingly powerful.
When I started MelisaToye.com, I thought I could share the strategies that I have learned without the back story. I kept telling myself that the energy or purpose behind the “why” wasn’t important, and that people didn’t need to know my story to learn from it. That was until I read an article by one of the authors that I deeply respect. Mark Manson at MarkManson.net, had written a piece for bloggers about how to make content stand out. He said something that struck a chord, “What needs to be said?” then I knew. I also thought about all of you who might feel relief, a connection, or simply calm, in knowing that you are not alone and that there is a way to overcome. What I will come to share isn’t important because it is mine. I am only one in billions who has been faced with adversity. What I will write is important because it was isn’t said. We have heard the stories of abuse, but what comes after? How can you wake up the next day or maybe even years later and move forward with strength, purpose, and confidence after the most intimate parts of you and your soul are violated so immensely? Where are the stories of perseverance, struggle, hate, rage, peace, and acceptance? Those stories are what is needed to heal us.
I spent the weekend thinking, planning, and wavering about the decision to lay it all out there. Even though my immediate family knows the truth, and I have even confronted my abuser, it is terrifying to bare the soul out into the universe bare and raw for anyone to see. I am committed to doing it. I hope that you will join me. You never have to say a word. Share what you read, if you find it helpful. I will be open and honest and will write with integrity. I may write something that isn’t popular but, I am saying what needs to be said.