To become a rape survivor in Jamaica, you have to first survive the judgements, this means being repeatedly asked ‘Where were you? What were you wearing? Why didn’t you…? Because it seems like having your vagina murdered wasn’t enough punishment for a crime you didn’t commit. So you are further stripped of your dignity by society and then all you are left to do is suffer in silence. It almost feels safer to die in that silence and experience things you dare not say.
Until a group of women, warrior women, decided that they would unsilence me and many other women and girls who lost their voice to abuse.
After my mentor Taitu told me about the Healing Circle, I was very cautious and afraid at first but just like everyone else gathered at the first meeting, I wanted a shot at freedom. I wanted to try living again because for months I struggled with trusting people, trusting myself to make decisions for myself to help me recover.
The healing circle has become my escape. It’s my safe space to feel what I feel and say it. It’s where if I’m misunderstood I’m not judged. It’s where if I cry I wouldn’t have to explain why. It’s where women are reminded that they are queens, even in the face of brokenness.
What I really like too is that in the Healing Circle you get individual support to help your need within a group.
The Healing Circle and counselling has been helping me to envision myself as a survivor, not a victim. Someone who can rise above rape. And someone who can recover and thrive.
I’m short on adjectives that will deeply express how grateful I am to leaders of the circle but I will say this: I’m slowly getting excited by my future…coming from 3 days in the hospital when taking my life failed.
I feel empowered. And I feel hopeful. And, I want to live.