For a while now, a lot of people have been telling me I should start a blog because they want to hear my thoughts and because I am a writer. So today I’ve decided to start one. This is my first real blog post ever, and I’ve been inspired to write something because I have a lot of thoughts and feelings revolving around recent events in my life that I am finally ready to openly talk about. So here goes…
Over the past few months, I’ve dealt with a lot, experienced a lot, and learned things that will forever make me a different woman that I was before. In life, we must all go through changes and experience pain in order to grow. I know this first hand because I have experienced so much of it in life–from feeling the pain of parental neglect from my father, dealing with health issues and having to live with a disability and the ignorance spewed by others because of it, ups and downs with friends, heartbreak, and of course the consequences of being a Black woman in America and being forced to witness the constant injustices inflicted upon my people. All of these things have made me strong individually and conscious of the world I live in; however, it did not necessarily prepare me for the trials to come.
Last semester, On October 5th, 2014, I was raped. At this moment in time, I can say that what happened to me and the months following felt like the worst time of my life. I felt worthless. I felt like there was nothing left to live for. I felt like nothing mattered and the only thing I wanted to do was die. I felt guilty, like it was somehow my fault. I felt embarrassed and ashamed to even talk about it. During the time when it all happened, I was involved with someone–lets just call him ASSface for privacy sake. This man was very special to me. After dealing with so much bullshit, I thought I had finally found someone who treated me the way I felt like I deserved to be treated, but that quickly changed after my assault.
ASSface blamed me for what happened. He said it was my fault because I let the rapist into my house. He said because I consented to one thing with him that means I would’ve “fucked him anyway.” He said that it wasn’t a big deal or even a real rape because I knew the person and wasn’t snatched off the street by a stranger. He said that if he would’ve never started fucking with me he wouldn’t have had to deal with any of the bullshit because the girls who he fucked with before me were “virgins.” According to him, because I wasn’t a virgin when we met, I was less than these other girls. Even though he wasn’t a virgin either, I was the problem. According to him, our mutual choice to not have protected sex each time reflected poorly on me but not on him. He said that after what happened, he felt differently about me. It was clear that because of what happened I became “dirty” and a “whore” in his eyes even though he didn’t say those exact words. Essentially, because I was raped, my value had vanished. Because a worthless scumbag stole something from me, I was no longer worthy of his time or feelings. Everything changed.
Misogyny was literally staring me in my eyes telling me that because I am a woman and a common form of violence inflicted against women occurred against me, I was somehow in the wrong. The idea that another human being has the power to dictate how valuable a woman is as a person because of “purity” and sexual relations is a ubiquitous idea. This type of sexist thinking occurs throughout the world–here and in many other places. And ASSface is not American. He is African. And there is a lot of patriarchy and misogyny in different parts of Africa. And I get that. I get that different values are instilled in us depending on how we are raised. But this does not excuse his ignorance because it is always possible to break free from the ignorance and hatefulness that one has been programmed to believe. If it weren’t, there would be no such thing as social justice movements.
When all of this first happened, I was devastated. I couldn’t understand. I was traumatized that he could say such things to me. I truly couldn’t comprehend. I was in a state of deep depression following this. I left school for a few weeks. I couldn’t move. I could barely breathe. Anxiety attacks were rampant. How could somebody treat me this way I thought? How could somebody who I cared for so much make me feel so low? The person I had been spending all of my time with for months? The person who was at my house damn near every day, staring into my eyes telling me that I was a masterpiece, that I was perfect while washing my hair and cooking for me? This person! It was like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I literally couldn’t believe it. After I told him what happened, this man left me in shambles to deal with being violated by myself. He wasn’t there. He straight dipped. And for the longest time I tried to figure out where I went wrong. Should I have not told him what happened? Should I have kept it to myself? Maybe I shouldn’t have been such a slut and chilled with that other nigga anyway I thought. His misogynistic views were beginning to have an affect on my self worth because I was in such a dark place that I wasn’t able to easily crawl out of like usual. It was like I wasn’t even myself. I thought I was broken and I needed help getting back. And eventually I did.
While dealing with all of this, I was also dealing with the sting of Black lives being taken every day in this country. And with everything going, sitting back and doing nothing didn’t seem like an option to me. So I banded with a few other beautiful Black women that I attend school with and together we led protests and began to work with administration at Emory in order to try to make some changes within the Emory community at the least. Because I was so focused on this, I was forced to consider injustices occurring everywhere, including against myself. And then it hit me–none of what happened was my fault. And i decided that I would no longer let some scummy rapist motherfucker and his ignorant, misogynist, little dick, fob counterpart have any more authority over how I felt about myself, or how I lived my life. I decided I was too strong, too beautiful, too real, and just too amazing in general to allow for such disgusting words and ideas to control my life. I was not broken and nobody can ever break me.
As conscious as I am, I’ve always known that misogyny existed. I’ve known for a long time that rape culture was rampant. And I’ve recognized that many men hold themselves to different standards than they hold women to. This in itself is wrong, and it needs to be understood that when you lay with somebody you become their equal. If I’m a “hoe”, and you choose to sleep with me, you are a hoe too. You cannot be better than anybody you consciously choose to share yourself with. But many men don’t understand this. And they feel that women who have sexual autonomy are less valuable. I find this ideology quite funny because you’re essentially saying that after the woman has been touched by you or your homeboys, her value decreases. So, you tainted her? The logic is disgusting because it is not applied in a vice versa manner. Sexual activity does not define human value, and if you think it does you’re sick. But I digress. Before this happened, I had never felt like i truly experienced sexism first hand, nor did I have a full understanding of how fucked up gender inequality could be to an individual. These ideas are so hurtful and detrimental to the well-being of women everywhere and society in general and it saddens me that so many men have trouble understanding why. Even if you are not a rapist or a woman beater yourself, by subscribing to a sexist mindset and having sexist ideas about women, you are equally as harmful to women. My experience has made me very intolerant toward sexist ideas and it is hard for me to just accept people’s ignorance towards the matter because I would never wish what I went through on anybody–not even my worst enemy.
These thoughts have been inside me for a while now but I had been so torn up and confused about my feelings toward ASSface because I never got any closure from the situation. I was just left hurt. And although I was finally able to deal with what happened, I was not able to deal with the separate but intertwined situation that happened with him. So last month, when I ran into him at a party, and we talked about everything, and he apologized and ladadadada I thought maybe he changed? Maybe he gets it now? So I gave him another chance to be a part of my life. I did so because I wanted to forgive him. And I just wanted to move on from everything. But I soon realized this was a mistake because nothing had changed. He was the same misogynistic asshole, and he treated me like I was the one who needed to work to be back in his life in a significant way. And after a few weeks of nonsense, back and forth “friendship”, “I love you” and “I didn’t mean it in that way,” and blatant disrespect and disregard for my autonomy and human emotions, I finally realized that I had to cut him off for good. I finally accepted that it was just not meant to be. After what he did to me in October, he did not deserve a 2nd chance. He didn’t deserve anything from me. And he still didn’t get that. But I finally got it. I finally realized that this whole time, it’s all been about me and not him. I realized that I had to do what was best for me. And although, it wasn’t easy saying goodbye, I knew it was right.
This entire situation has been extremely hard for me, but I took away from it. I learned some important lessons that I think everybody has to learn eventually:
1. When somebody shows you who they are, believe them
ASSface revealed his true colors in October when he treated me like I was nothing. He showed that he was selfish, insensitive, sexist, immature, and just generally cruel. But because I’m a good person and I understand my own intentions, I like to see the good in people. I tried to look past his cruelty and see the person who I thought he was before the monster reared it’s ugly head. But I shouldn’t have. Yes, people make mistakes. And no, nobody is perfect. But people are who they are. And when times get tough, people reveal their true selves. Going forward, I now know that not everybody has a good heart. And that’s okay. But once they reveal this, instead of hoping there is some good inside, I learned that it is best to leave them alone. Perhaps they will grow into better individuals and perhaps not, but either way, that is not my business. I know for a fact that what you put out into the universe always comes back TWO-FOLD, and Karma is already handling her shit. Next.
2. Forgiveness doesn’t always mean second chances
Forgiveness is for yourself and for nobody else. In order to release pain, sadness, and anger from our hearts, we must forgive those who have wronged us. Otherwise, we will always be holding on to toxic, negative energy. And for what? They did their dirt and they moved on. In order to move on once you’ve been scarred, forgiveness is a must. BUT, this does not mean that the people who have wronged you deserve to be let back into your heart. Your heart is sacred and nobody but you can protect it.
3. Self-Love will forever be key
You are the most important person in your life. Self-Love is so important because if you don’t love yourself, you will always be vulnerable to being burned by others. When you love yourself, it is easier to accept that somebody else doesn’t love you because who the fuck are they when you’ve got YOURSELF? Who can tell you that you aren’t perfect when you know in your heart of hearts that you are. When you know you’re golden nobody else can tear you down. I had to realize that no matter how much I loved ASSface or anybody else, I had to love MALIKA first–before anything and before anybody. If I didn’t I wouldn’t be able to heal and move on from tragedy. I am a very loving person, and most of the time, all I want to do is love people. I just want to share my love and I want to be loved in return. Because of this, it was hard to separate my desire to love others with my need to love myself so that I can feel whole. I believe that healing begins with knowing and loving yourself. Before opening your heart to anybody else, you must be able to look inside your heart and know that before anybody else’s bullshit is let in, you must recognize your own worth.
I am still healing and working to get to the best place that I can be spiritually, mentally, and emotionally–but because of these hard lessons that I was forced to learn, I am getting closer to being where I want to be every day. I have finally reached a place where I can openly share my story with others and I hope that my words can help anybody who may be going through a rough time.