An Open Letter To My Abuser

An Open Letter To My Abuser

You tried to clip my wings, but you only let me fly higher than I had before.
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Dear Stranger,

I imagine sometimes what your life could be. What does your day entail? Do you have children, and how could you even bare to look in their eyes knowing you corrupted the innocence of another? Sometimes I wish I was a little more strong, a little more brave, and I had told someone sooner. Maybe I could have prevented someone else from getting hurt by your same hands. 7 years old is a hard age to be brave at. Sometimes pool water makes me anxious. Weird, right? The smell of chlorine becomes sharp and pricks at the memory I had long tried to forget.

But no, this letter is not about forgetting. This letter is not about shoving an old flashback into the back of my brain. And this isn't a letter asking for your sympathy. I'm not here to bash you. I'm not here to tell my sob story. You didn't think I would let you tear me down, or did you? You did anything but.

I want to thank you, stranger, for making me realize that this wasn't my fault. I used to think that sometimes I deserved what happened to me, but then again, what 7 year old girl in a women's locker room deserves the violation of a man? In fact, what woman deserves the violation of any man, regardless of age?

I want to thank you for helping me find my purpose. Life experiences subconsciously shape you into the person you will become in the future. I want to help young women who have gone through traumas. I want to share my experience and let them know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The journey is hard, but the destination is beautiful, and better than anyone could ever imagine. The moment you are at peace with yourself is a moment of bliss.

And lastly, I want to thank you for making me the person I am today. I want to thank you for teaching me how to be strong. I found my strength through this experience, and I continue to grow stronger. I don't want to give you the satisfaction of knowing how deeply this impacted me, but I can't hide. I didn't tell anyone what happened for 9 years. Holding a secret for that long made this process a whole lot harder. But in the end, I opened up and got the support I needed. You tried to clip my wings, but you only let me fly higher than I had before.

Sincerely,

The scared 7 year old girl who grew into a strong, beautiful, fierce, and tenacious 17 year old woman.

-

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-656-HOPE for the National Sexual Assault Hotline.

Cover Image Credit: Shutter Stock

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Should People Label Their Sexual Orientations?

Better question: why are you asking?
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Lesbian. Gay. Homosexual. Heterosexual. Asexual. Demisexual. Pansexual. Akoisexual. Graysexual. Bisexual. Androsexual. Gynesexual. Intersex. Queer. Skoliosexual.

And the list goes on.

Nobody can seem to agree on whether or not people in the LGBTQ+ community should put labels such as these on their sexual orientations. Well, I’ve got the answer for you.

Stop trying to answer it.

Whether someone chooses to identify, openly or not, with a certain sexual orientation is none of your business. It’s their choice, not yours. Not mine. Not anyone else’s. There are valid reasons for both holding a nameable identity and avoiding labeling sexuality.

Some advantages of naming a specific identity could potentially include making sense of an identity that is different from the normative one, becoming part of a network of people who understand, and utilizing the term as a tool to explore different identities.

Some advantages of avoiding “labels” for sexuality could potentially include feeling free to explore sexuality in its fluidity, avoid what feels to some like constraints, and allowing for the often unclear nature of sexuality.

But unless you are the one questioning whether or not to use a label for your own sexual identity (or aiding a friend in this pondering), then you don’t need to worry yourself with any of this. It’s a personal choice. You don’t need to present an opinion on this if it does not apply to you.

If you’d like more information on the meaning of different terms related to the LGBTQ+ community and movement, see the following super helpful list: http://itspronouncedmetrosexual.com/2013/01/a-comprehensive-list-of-lgbtq-term-definitions/

Cover Image Credit: rihaij

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20 Powerful Quotes By 20 Powerful Women

"Girls compete with each other, women empower each other."
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If you're feeling unmotivated, uninspired, or discouraged, you're not alone. Women everywhere are being made to feel as if they're lesser simply for speaking their minds and living their lives the way they desire. We are incredibly fortunate to thrive in a world with so many influential, outstanding women.

It's important to have positive role models to look up to amid all the chaos, so here are 20 powerful quotes by 20 powerful women.

1. "I don't care what you think about me. I don't think about you at all." — Coco Chanel

2. “I’m tough, ambitious and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, Okay.” — Madonna

4. “Women are like teabags. We don’t know our true strength until we are in hot water.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

5. “Doubt is a killer. You just have to know who you are and what you stand for.” — Jennifer Lopez

6. "Nothing will work unless you do." — Maya Angelou

7. “Once you figure out what respect tastes like, it tastes better than attention.” — Pink

8. "You should never view your challenges as a disadvantage. Instead, it's important for you to understand that your experience facing and overcoming adversity is actually one of your biggest advantages." — Michelle Obama

9. “I am a woman with thoughts and questions and shit to say. I say if I’m beautiful. I say if I’m strong. You will not determine my story — I will.” — Amy Schumer

10. “I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish that He didn’t trust me so much.” — Mother Teresa

11. “You have to have confidence in your ability, and then be tough enough to follow through.” — Rosalynn Carter

12. "I don't like to gamble, but if there's one thing I'm willing to bet on, it's myself." — Beyoncé

13. “Everyone has inside of her a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be, how much you can love, what you can accomplish, and what your potential is.” — Anne Frank

14. “If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.” — Margaret Thatcher

15. "We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced." — Malala Yousafzai

16. "Women must pay for everything. They do get more glory than men for comparable feats, but, they also get more notoriety when they crash." — Amelia Earhart

17. “A really strong woman accepts the war she went through and is ennobled by her scars.” — Carly Simon

18. "Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning." — Gloria Steinem

19. "Giving up doesn’t always mean you’re weak. Sometimes you’re just strong enough to let go.” — Taylor Swift

20. "If you truly pour your heart into what you believe in, even if it makes you vulnerable, amazing things can and will happen." — Emma Watson

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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