Corrine’s Story: Part 9

For years I carried shame from the abuse that I suffered at the hands of others. I walked around with a chip on my shoulder and believed that I  deserved the atrocities afflicted upon me. I was told I was an accident and not supposed to be born from a young age. It seems like my parents didn’t want me from the day I was born; at least, that is how it appeared. This treatment from them led to my own self-hatred. I had no self-worth, and it seemed I was destined to fail at life and love.

When four grown men ravaged my 12-year-old body simply for their pleasure, like I was an object and not an innocent young girl, I broke inside. From that day forward, I accepted any kind of treatment from men. I used drugs and self-mutilation as a way to cope with the pain. My mother told me that it was my fault that I was raped because I was at a dope house. She told me I was asking for it going to places like that. I felt like the right to say no did not exist in my world. I believed that no matter what my heart was telling me, I was not allowed to say no.

Through the years of my toxic relationships, I discovered that I would do anything the man said because that was what I was supposed to do, right? If only I could tell my younger self that I had every right to say no and it was not love that they showed me. Sean only reinforced this belief when he would force me to perform sexual acts that I did not want to do. I know people say if “you didn’t want to, then why did you?” and I wish I could say that it was as easy as that to say no. Telling Sean no came with consequences that I did not want to suffer, so just going along with his request was easier.

Going to prison made me realize that just because I called someone my boyfriend and they said they loved me did not mean that I owed them anything. Could my boyfriend rape me? Is that even a thing? Yes! If you say no, then that is what that means. No matter who they are to you, no means no. I want every person, woman or man, to believe that in their heart. My inability to say no in life caused a ripple effect of tragic circumstances, and it all started because my right to say “no” at the tender age of 12 was stolen from me.

I allow myself to be vulnerable now at 37 years old because I have taken my rights back. I am no longer afraid to speak up and say no. I am not afraid of someone hurting me now. I can protect myself and my heart. I know what I am worth. I love myself today. I am not the mistake that my parents claimed me to be. God loves me, and He put me on this earth for a reason. My purpose is to share my pain and ugly truths with the world so that others know that they are not alone. There is freedom in telling others about the terrible past that you may carry. Trust me when I say – no amount of pain can stop God’s plan for our lives. I want others to know that you do not have to suffer in silence. There are others out there that know exactly what you are going through. For so long, I internalized all of the pain I felt from the hard blows of life, but now I speak about it taking power away from the pain and putting that power into my purpose. I may have felt broken for so long, but I have discovered true empowerment in the cracks of my brokenness.

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