The sunrise signals a new day – another opportunity to start over with a Clean Slate and begin again. This symbolism plays out each morning in my mind, and for that – I am extremely grateful. For many years, it didn’t. I was so emotionally and psychologically broken from being raped by two men who were my friends and then becoming pregnant from the rape, that I didn’t know how to pull myself back together. So, I didn’t. I was one of the walking wounded, searching outside of myself for years to find comfort and healing for my pain. I was convinced that this degrading experience had turned me into something ugly, worthless and shameful.
For survivors of Rape, Incest and Domestic & Sexual Violence, there are no national runs or marathons taking place in support of recovery. There are no medals given or color-coded products sold to recognize the strength, courage and determination required to overcome the trauma that remains from crimes like these.
For this reason alone, I am producing The Clean Slate Diaries this April (Download Flier). Held during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, this will be a Night of Healing & Recognition for survivors of Rape, Incest and Domestic & Sexual Violence – and those who advocate for, support and love them. Through the expression of Art, Music, Dance and the Spoken Word and performed by Central New York musicians and artists, this evening will celebrate the courageous path survivors have walked and the power of wiping our personal slates clean.
After years of hard work, I realized that what was inside of me could never be changed. Not what someone did to my body, not how I looked on the outside, not what someone said about me and definitely not how badly someone may have treated me. Regardless of what happens – I remain Renee. I am beautiful. My heart is pure. My light shines from within. My spirit cannot be broken. I may, at times, get off track and question my choices … but I am not defined by my outside experiences.
The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) states 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. That translates into a tremendous amount of emotional and psychological pain and suffering. It’s the secrecy of and the shame from these crimes that allows them to continue. The more we “normalize” the discussion process and extend to victims more credibility in the admission process, the less frequently these crimes may happen.
The triumph of the human spirit is undeniable. No matter where you are in this process as a survivor or as someone who has shown support along the way, please come and celebrate your VICTORY with us: The bravery it takes to keep getting up in the morning, the courage required to look fear squarely in the eye despite shaking uncontrollably and the strength necessary to seek help because you believe there must be something better than living this way.
In Solidarity, Love & Peace ~
For more information, visit The Clean Slate Diaries page or connect with us on Facebook.
Download Clean Slate Diaries Flier