Tag Archives: rape

When Marriage Became More Than Paper to Me – Part 1

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The fairy tales that ended with “and they lived happily ever after,” represented some sort of cruel, sick joke to me once I reached my late teenage years.  All around me, and I mean in the tabloids and media, I was seeing people getting divorced for reasons varying from “falling out of love,” financial gain/loss, just not in agreement, and finally infidelity, that I truly didn’t see the point of why two people would even want to commit themselves to each other.

I saw it as a way to further muffle the woman’s voice, who was supposed to be helpless, unassuming, and a domestic demi-goddess to be able to look good and handle the household without complaining.  And since there were always several kids in this kind of family, she was always ready to have sex because she wanted more and more kids. If she was called “self-sacrificing,” that meant she was a martyr that was everything to everyone, whenever and however they needed her.

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I saw it this way until I wanted a relationship.

In the deep abyss of my mind, I, at least, knew the concept of marriage meant a vow to be with the other person for rest of each other’s lives;  to have each other’s backs, and as much as I opposed marriage, I wanted someone to want to vow to be with me for the rest our lives.

As crazy and as wild as my life was, one thing stood true – as I kept chasing after unconditional love in all the wrong places and the wrong people, I really didn’t know how to give the kind of love I wanted, because I didn’t know how to receive it.

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I don’t mean this in other people, because yes, there were some wrong choices there, but there were also some great people out there who cared deeply for me. (That didn’t mean they were “the one”).

In fact, I remember qualifying candidates as “the one” because we got along great and they seemed nice, but until I realized me own pattern, within 3 months, we hit turmoil and usually quickly it was over.

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No, when I say I didn’t know how to receive it, I mean, in a Higher Power kind of way.  (Now before I lose you, let me explain!)

I knew there existed a Higher Power who ‘loved’ me, but in this world, I felt I had to fend for myself.  I had to make a way for myself, provide for myself (even when I was sleeping in my car and eating mayo/sprouts sandwiches), and I definitely had to figure out who can love and accept me with all my imperfections, and many a night I spent in the arms of a new lover trying to find it.  However, I was still quietly suffering from bouts of depression and suicidal thoughts. I was raped several times.  I compromised my own dignity in order to have a relationship, more than once. And although I wanted this ‘imaginary perfect person,’ my own measuring stick of qualifying candidates ranged from making excuses for them (saying things like, ‘who am I to judge?’) to they better love me, warts and all – but be easy for me to love.

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Somewhere in there, in my search, I bypassed all the people who were telling me what I should do and I decided to delve further into my knowledge of God – mind you though, that was by happenstance because really I had just prayed, “Ok, God, I have nothing to show for my life, so you can take it now!” (which, by the way means something totally and wonderfully different to God, I believe!) Without meaning to, after being graced with “cords of human kindness,” who wanted to help me without return of favor but out of sheer joy and even protected my dignity, who extended help without my having to perform or just be “on,” but because it was it was on their hearts, really, it was too much for me during this humbling time.  I even prayed that God stop it because I didn’t know how to handle “so much love,” I prayed.  These were people who first showed a love that was one of respect and integrity.  The romantic love had to be on hold during this time, because honestly, I was a mess and still didn’t understand or recognize a love that meant respect for another being in a selfless way. More than that, I didn’t know why anyone would want to do things for the sheer joy of helping someone else.  I was still doing things for others because 1.) It made me feel good in a way where I was a good person to help someone else, meaning that eventually, I would be thanked or recognized in some way – if even cosmically; 2.) I felt I had to and with everyone being a part of a charity, not only could I get a tax break, but be called a philanthropist and 3.) somewhere in me I felt I should do it.  But more times than not, I never intentionally went out of my way to help or love others. And once I became a Christian, Heaven help those that didn’t ‘agree’ with my understanding of God. Regardless, I had enough problems of my own, and didn’t want to involve myself with others – yet, I still wanted a relationship.

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So, in reflecting how marriage became more to me, I believe it came somewhat in this order:

1.) I had to understand the type of Love I wanted – even more than that, the Source, and who really set the standard of the type of Love I yearned for;

2.) I had to demonstrate that love in a way where I did not expect to have it reciprocal, but because I was willing to do so for the sheer joy of it;

3.) I had to learn about boundaries – mine and others, and learn how to respect those.

4.) I had to be open to the concept of forever be forgiving of others and take responsibility without feeling shame when I asked for forgiveness

5.) I studied again the dictionary definition of the word ‘love’ and what the biblical standard of ‘Love’ if, and than set out to see if I could see it demonstrated on a consistent basis between two people who professed their love for each other.

Let me just add, I DID see it! I saw so many husbands loving their wives, while still being ‘men,’ and fathers to their children. I saw their wives stand majestically beside them, respecting them and encouraging them.  I saw it over and over again. I saw how when they were apart from each other, that wasn’t their time to rip apart their spouse and complain of their spouse’s shortcomings. I saw the mutual respect they had for each other to strengthen each other.  I saw them show respect for the vows they made to each other and before God. I witnessed them growing together in their walks with God to impact and encourage others.  Their children were polite and loving.  Trust me, for a moment I thought I was in a bizarro world, but it was right there in Los Angeles – of all places, and then again in Franklin, Tennessee.  Only because I saw it over and again did I believe it was achievable. So I made up my mind that I was going to have that.

(to be continued) – Forcing My Dreams of Marriage to Match My Vision – Part 2

Hugs, Peace, and truly love,

Arikah, Founder, Two Hearts Offline Matchmaking (www.facebook.com/twoheartsmatchmaking)

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Can you relate to this apology video?

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Being a Rape Victim – Should I Share or Not?

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This has everything to do with dating and relationships.

Perhaps this explains my past self-diagnosis of manic depression or panic and anxiety attacks.  Perhaps really I had these unresolved issues haunting me that made it difficult to cope with life, much less relationships.

If you have been a victim of childhood sexual abuse, having piece of mind in the trusting and security can feel never reaching.  If you have been a victim of date rape, or not so much you dated the violator but instead was preyed upon by a predator, the anguish and doubt in ever being loveable, the lack of interest in being affection when you are dating someone, can lead you in a psychological tormented cycle.  And if you are being domestically abuse, the shame you can feel for thinking the fairy tale romance is lost, that if you just did things better, that you are the only person that can understand your love interest, or that you must put up with it to have the children be protected, can feel as though only death can be your best friend at this point.

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Not true, young boys and men can also fall prey to this.

Notice the above did not have any gender specific details.

I decided to write this in light of the recent scandal surrounding Bill Cosby and the celebrities stepping forward to reveal their personal accounts of rape, molestation, and domestic abuse. (And Hollywood’s own sick and perverse way they choose the stars – victims reaching to children, especially boys, included)

It made me think if I should share my own experience of when I was molested as a child by the young son of my mother’s best friend, or losing my virginity to rape, only to be raped again by a different person in a different scenario two years later, again by another in different scenario (college) two years later, then several times after that resulting in a total of 8 separate times in eight separate scenarios – with only the last one in the form of a dating relationship, 14 years ago.

The question came to my mind because as I was watching the news report on Teri Hatcher’s account, and seeing Joan Collins’ experience only a day earlier, I was wondering why I didn’t have the urge to share. I wanted to, really I did, and share my own tears, but the urgency to do so wasn’t beyond grieving with the people stepping forward, instead of my own experience.

I think it’s because my own cycle of healing was made complete. (This is the only thing I think of as the reason).

I’m not sure this was in any particular order, but I do know everything had to happen to move on.

  • I had to keep telling someone until I felt I was heard.   I remember when I called the police for a rape attempt by a neighbor I knew when I was living in AZ. by this time, I had been attacked 7 times already (from college), but I guessed if I was off the campus and far away, things like that wouldn’t happen again.  I was working at a strip club, too, which didn’t help my cause when the unsympathetic cop arrived and saw my bag that had my outfit in it. He didn’t care to hear that I invited the guy in because he was younger than me and was going to college and because I ‘knew’ him, I invited him in to give him last minute tips of college living, when, as he was leaving and saying good-bye, he attempted to overpower me at the door and wasn’t until I calmly said to him that if he proceeded, I’d sue him and his family name for every penny they had (he was related to some famous athlete, but I don’t remember.)  Anyway, I finally decided to report it and that’s when I realized there is a second violation that occurs many times when a rape victim reports it.  So I just told any and everyone who asked me about my private life, purging the anguish on their shoulders.  It wasn’t until I had to harness that purging by joining groups, “Wounded Heart,” ‘Rejoice Always’ (thank You Claudia Cartier wherever you are!) AND counseling AND a sponsor that I felt I was finally being heard – which meant I was finally being validated for the violation that occurred against me numerous times.
  • I had RAGE against God – and I confronted Him about it.  Things happened before I came to the Lord.  I never questioned whether or not he was there, I just didn’t think He was as involved.  I only humored well-intentioned Christians at that time – my beef was with God. The driving factor after I made the decision was that I was going to give Him a piece of my mind.  ‘Wait, what? you want me to follow You and trust You when You weren’t there for me before? You didn’t get it right the first time!’  Everything I felt came out with an almost demonic force of accusations in my journal that it resulted to my checking myself into the Psych ward on Hollywood Blvd, demanding Prozac, which gave me a horrible allergic reaction and caused me to make the decision to just deal
  • I had to keep going back to God until my anger turned into permission to allow Him to heal me.  If you claim to be a believer, I tell you there is hard fact that is claimed in the Wounded Heart book that has its readers following the workbook hurling it, the book itself, and the Bible across the room. I won’t ruin it for you, but I will say that it caused me to stop doing the next thing.
  • If I was going to be with questionable friends, I ALWAYS had a way to leave early, with my own transportation. Which meant I hydrate before I went out and had NOTHING to eat or drink at the party.  I learned in college, the hard way, and unfortunately, many more are learning or will have to learn this important tip.  If I honestly knew my friends were partiers, I had to make the decision to be friend away from the party and the one they called if they needed someone, instead of my being the helpless lamb in the den of lions with them.
  • I had to Stop making my life be about seeking revenge, but start living it.  I was quickly learning that every time afterwards, I would tell myself it wouldn’t happen again, I learned Krav Magna, walked with pepper sprays and told myself it wouldn’t happen – just to have another situation happen.  I remember wanting to seek revenge on all the attackers and with my new pepper spray I even sprayed someone for just saying hello and I didn’t want to talk to him, and the wind blew back and it ended up in my face! I laugh now about that, but perhaps that was analogy of how my own efforts would be to try and track them down, and do whatever to them. Before coming to the Lord, I had once dated a guy who used to rectify situations when his girl friends from college said they were attacked,  and I wanted him to do that to the last guy I was with. My ex-boyfriend (the attacker) had no idea how close he was to finding his young son’s head on his doorstep – just so I could have my justice. Would that have solve anything? Why would his son have to suffer? (That’s how far I had drifted from living and being my true self.)
  • I had to stop calling myself a “victim.”  I’m a survivor.  When I called myself a ‘victim,’  I was helpless.  I was paralyzed with fear. I had no voice and could do nothing.  When I was paralyzed with fear, that’s when another new situation happened (mind you, I was in the environment, too and I desperately wanted a boyfriend, so many things happened because of that deep desire.) But, I made up my mind to re-define ‘victim’ as dead.  I was a survivor. I am stronger, I have a voice and my life does have worth, meaning, and value and no one on this earth is entitled to an explanation of my existence.
  • I had to forgive – not tolerate and not for them, because as far as I knew, they weren’t the ones losing sleep – I was.  I had to allow myself to melt into my Heavenly Father’s hands to begin forgiveness.  In doing so, He even answered the question I posted earlier, ‘Why?’  Because we all are given free choice and many people’s choices, good and bad, affect others.  My staying in rage, paralyzing fear, and unforgiveness only physically hurt me in the end, and impacted the people around me – which has a butterfly effect.  Although it took years (14) to get here, I decided to live healthy because I wanted to love someone and I wanted that person to love me.
  • I had to start listening to my gut and NOT stay if I felt uncomfortable in anyway. Part of my experiences happened because I leave when my gut said to leave.  I stayed, had a drink, and ignored the little voice giving me the warning.

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If you have been violated by rape, (and unfortunately, the likelihood of a majority of the readers having their own story, or know someone is a definite given) the most important thing you can do, after removing yourself from danger is to get yourself to place where you are a ‘survivor,’ and not ‘victim.’  We need your voice. We need YOUR voice. My daughter needs you to be healthy. The young child near you, the person you work with, needs your compassionate ear.  You getting healthy FOR YOU is more important.

I can’t speak for those who are the violators, the rapists. You, I don’t understand and won’t pretend to understand why you would inflict pain (and here’s the thing, if you are reading this and you have been the cause of pain, the attacker, then perhaps there’s hope for you yet. You still need your own system of finding forgiveness and your healing from childhood events (I guess), which starts with humbling yourself to the Lord.

At any rate, share.  Share when, and if you’re ready.  (Forgive me if this sounds like a PSA,) but as this is your choice, I can promise that when you do, you will be in a place where you can listen sympathetically to others without falling victim to your own experience, dealing with picking up the pieces from the past, to live in the present.

With love and respect,

Shakira Arikah Baly-Jensen

and I think he said it best…

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