“Lonely is when you’re being abused and, sadly, no-one believes you because you’re a ‘strong‘ woman.”
― Mitta Xinindlu
I didn’t say no, BECAUSE I DID NOT KNOW I WAS ALLOWED TO SAY NO. Does that explain it for you? I wasn’t given a choice, time and time again. They beat me, kicked me, choked me with my own belt, branded me, body mind and soul. They set me on fire, put ice in places ice should not go, nails in parts of my body that shouldn’t have had nails in them. They tortured me for years.
By the time I moved to British Columbia I was raped more times than I could count, and instead of trying to keep count of the number of boys who raped me, and the number of men who molested me, I started scarring my body so that I wouldn’t forget that it happened.
EVERY single scar on my entire body, is a reminder that I was raped, abused, or tortured in some way by a man who taught himself or was taught by other men, that if I hadn’t wanted it, I would have said no.
Even as the beatings, and the abuse, and the public whore shaming was a reminder that I was NOT allowed to say no.
I was trained to say yes, to scream it from the roof tops, to tell my abuser that everything he was doing was pleasureable even as inside I was dying and wanted very much to kill myself. One man had me for two days, before making me walk an entire mile home, so that he could follow me.
Then the other men showed up, and then the torture started, and then the brainwashing. I was “under” for more than twenty years, and so even relationships that were MEANT to be consensual were not, because I was completely out of my mind with trauma, ACTUAL violent based brainwashing, and grief.
Now that you understand why I did not say no, here’s the one lesson that I need you to carry with you for the rest of your life:
I SHOULD NOT HAVE HAD TO SAY NO, BECAUSE MEN SHOULD NEVER HAVE PUT ME IN THE POSITION OF BEING RAPED, ABUSED, TORTURED, AND BRAINWASHED TO BEGIN WITH.
I was a child.
Children are supposed to be loved, respected, cared for, and taught how to set boundaries, but because I didn’t know any of that stuff, and the adults that surrounded me didn’t care to teach me, I was taught that MY body wasn’t actually mine.
I spent years thinking that I was crazy, or that I was someone else, being told to get over it by a guy who I thought was a friend, and as it turns out, was an abuser in his own right. EVERY man in my life was a man who either a) made excuses for the men who abused me or b) defended the men who abused me or c) actively abused me themselves either emotionally, physically, sexually, or spiritually.
There was quite literally NO escape from the abuses of men in my life, and then as the story began to trickle out eve women friends jumped on the bandwagon, “you’re so strong, but BUUUUUUUT why didn’t you say no?” “You’re so strong, but, BUUUUUUUUUUUUT why didn’t you tell someone?”
Because I didn’t want to die.
If the first thing on your mind is any of the following:
- Why didn’t she/he/they/them say no?
- Why didn’t she/he/they/them say something?
- How can I frame this so the VICTIM takes the blame and the ABUSER gets away with it
You are actively choosing to contribute to the culture that is rape and torture of innocent women and children, who don’t know that they are allowed to fight back, or who are too scared to fight back, or who don’t have the strength because there are more of them then there are of us.
In every way that is possible for a human to be raped, I have been, and yes I am still here, but ONLY because I died spiritually, and for years I lived like a zombie to survive, ONLY because I spent years pretending not to be me, pretending to do whatever I was told, and ONLY because it took me more than thirty years for the full weight of what I went through to be processed by my brain.
And I AM STILL FINDING MORE MEMORIES!
I didn’t fully feel the weight of everything that I had experienced until I left Winnipeg and got arrested for having a panic attack in 2017. That was the day that I was done.
That was the day that I subconsciously decided that I was done being treated like crap because of the color of my skin, and that was the day that I decided to get loud.
I couldn’t detail everything that I had been through to the cops who arrested me, but through counseling (with a man who turned out to be a guy there at the house the night I was LAST gang raped,) and friends, and talking with RCMP, and writing, I found myself again.
I found all the parts of me that were hidden and buried by abuse, and I learned that yes I am strong, but that more importantly than that, I SHOULD NOT HAVE HAD TO BE THAT STRONG.
No one should grow up being taught that the sum of their experience on this earth depends on the genitals between their legs. No one should grow up believing that the only thing they have to offer amounts to being a living sex doll for disgusting perverted broken men and boys.
“It all came back. Every bone in my body turned HOT. Then I COULDN’T make it STOP. All those memories. Whatever kept them stored away broke. There was a RUSH of sensation through me, then nothing. And for days afterward, I’d get overwhelmed with a sound or the way my shirt rubbed against my arm or a smell. Like MY BODY remembered and reminded the rest of me.”
― Ronlyn Domingue, The Mercy of Thin Air
I think to some of the most amazing parents that I know, who would NEVER let what happened to me happen to their own children and I ask myself almost daily, “what made me different?” What made it so that “I” in particular, and other kids who looked like me, didn’t and do not, have that kind of protection?
Child pedophiles will convince themselves that they are giving their victims a gift, that they are teaching their victims how to be, so that it’s “easier” or that it’s a “Special event” in their lives. It’s not special it’s fucking disgusting.
Child pedophiles are a dime a dozen, they come and they go like the flow of water through the world, what’s abnormal, what’s special, are the people who stand up for victims, who raise their voices alongside survivors.
We still, REFUSE to talk about child pedophilia, we still REFUSE to talk about the effect of child abuse, we talk AROUND the terms of rape, abuse, torture, brainwashing, as if not talking about it means that it either will not, or did not happen.
As much as I hate to quote that woman, child pedophiles are NOT Voldemort, they aren’t some big powerful wizard that can change time and space, they are fucking GOOFS who rape children, and get away with it SPECIFICALLY because people are too afraid to address the issues of child rape.
But the moment a victim comes forward one of the first questions they are asked is ALWAYS “Why didn’t you leave? Why didn’t you say no?” It’s rarely ever “are you okay?”
To answer the unasked question, no, I am not okay. For the rest of my life I will be processing what happened to me, and even IF I am able to find someone who is going to love me in spite of everything that I’ve been through, even IF we build a family, every single thing that I ever do, will be tarnished by the memory that it ONLY happened, because I became the person I needed to become, to survive the abuse I suffered as a child.
For ever and always, eternally, I will be known as the woman who got a lot of abuse, for a hundred reasons that erase the fact that each and every one of my abusers, were boys or men who were taught to abuse by other men, who didn’t understand, or didn’t care, about the damage they were causing to people like me.
But sure instead of asking why HE became an abuser ask ME why I didn’t leave. If that’s what helps you understand abuse more, than sure, do what you have to do, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be over there building a life, a tribe, and a world, were abusers can’t get anywhere near myself, or the ones I love, ever again.
To all the loud girls out there, I love you, I adore you, I think you are the most powerful creatures in the universe, and I cannot wait until your wings spread for the first time.
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall
If you or someone you know needs help, please navigate over to this page. There are hundreds of phone numbers you can call from anywhere in the world, who will be answered by people who genuinely want to help you heal from the trauma that you have experienced. PLEASE use them. You are NOT alone. – Devon