Blogs » The Grapevine » The V-Word: A personal struggle

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My friend Aprill Brandon wrote a column that stirred up a little controversy, printing words that "polite company" found it hard to say. I want to publish a couple more "shocking" words – sexual abuse.

Being a survivor of sexual abuse, I'm considered a success story, unique because you can't look at me and see the wake of devastation. That's always been my strong suit – my poker face. But I'm certainly not unique. Let me tell you something that truly is shocking: someone you know has been sexually abused. In fact, I'll bet more than one.

I know, you're looking at your computer screen saying, "No, not anyone I know!" Well, you’re wrong. We are the people cutting your hair, teaching your children and the heartless journalist writing your news. We are your mothers, sisters, aunts, daughters and best friends. But to maintain equilibrium in our relationship with you, we've kept silent. I mean, talk about a show stopper – "I was sexually abused from the age of 5 to 15!"

Unfortunately, we are even those who have yet to reach success. That single mother on welfare going to prison for bad checks you’ve deemed a "drain on the system." Where was the system when she was 7 and a man touched parts of her body she wasn't even aware existed?

Yes, I did just go there, describing sexual molestation to shock you, Mr. and Mrs. Polite Company. Because you are the ones who need to hear this, to be able to say ( in a hushed voice) the V-word. Child molesters are cunning, manipulative people who prey on polite families. Every child, even yours, is vulnerable to this life-destroying abuse.

My success was no miracle. It was blood (from cutting myself), sweat (from raging against myself and others) and tears (from self-loathing and despair). Do you see the pattern there? We rarely turn it outward, but instead suffer inwardly. It is sheer determination, willpower and hard work being a survivor. All done in silence to protect you from the big, bad words, "sexual abuse."

The Vagina Monologues gives us a voice, not only through the stories told, but the money donated to organizations that help us find our own voices and see there is no shame in surviving, no shame in our sexuality. And it gives us the courage to say our V words.

Victory, Vigilance, Viability, Veracity, Virginity … and let’s not forget, Vagina.

Tickets for the Feb. 11 and 12 showings (both at 7:30 p.m. at the Victoria College Johnson Symposium) are $10, $5 for students with ID, at the door, and advanced tickets are available via the Fine Arts Secretary in the Fine Art Building off Red River, between the Main Entrance and Entrance #6.

P.S. Please stop calling Victoria College threatening to kill the people putting the show on. They are doing what few have the courage to do - standing up to those who defile sexuality and attempt to take the humanity out of thousands of children across the globe. We should be praising their efforts, not terrorizing them.