It seems strange to be celebrating such an odd number of blog posts. I mean it’s not 1000, it’s not 500….it’s Seven Hundred and Eighty-One.
The WORLD was such a DIFFERENT place when I was GROWING up. Now I’m GROWN, and I don’t KNOW where I FIT. I’m ONE in EIGHT billion…All of us are SCARED. – Devon J Hall
When I was growing up, Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, Robert Kelly, and Johnny Depp were heros. They controlled the world of Hollywood and everyone loved them, and everything about them.
Men ruled the world, and while there was the occasional Black woman, or white woman for that matter, who made it past the glass ceiling, in all honesty, too many of us were stuck beneath the basement.
Women hid, and they remained silent because that’s what they were conditioned to do.
Women specifically, were celebrated for coming out and sharing their stories, because in the 90s it was incredibly rare to hear about a disabled mother raising five kids on an income of one. It was uncomfortable, but necessary to talk about the woman who survived cancer, only to get cheated on by her husband. It was deemed important to talk about and listen to women who escaped cults and went on to live beautifully successful lives without men by their side. This theme of celebrating women came from exactly one source in the nineties.
When I was sixteen years old I was hospitalized – for the first time, I believe. I was placed in a place called Maples, which was a special unit of the BC Children’s hospital designed for unruly kids. I was supposed to be entering the BC Children’s Hospital’s Assessment program, which allegedly would help me and the doctors, and my mother, discover what was “wrong” with me.
It took me almost twenty-five years to understand that I was not the problem. Even though Queen Latifah and Oprah and women like them, did their best to convince me that I wasn’t the problem.
Sexual abuse strips away your soul and steals your voice. Being abused at such a young age (it started when I was being baptized in Calgary, under 2.) makes it almost impossible to communicate in the ways people who haven’t been abused, understand.
“That happened to me once,” I said to my mom while she was watching Queen Latifah and Oprah discuss sexual abuse. I was sixteen.
There was NOTHING “wrong” with me. I wasn’t BROKEN, I was SHATTERED. All the GOOD parts of me had been STOLEN by ABUSE and whatever was left was only CAPABLE of FUNCTIONING as a DOLL. As LONG as I did what I was TOLD to do, EVERYTHING was fine. – Devon J Hall
As a child, I had no problem telling people when I was being touched against my will, but the more that it happened, the fewer people believed me. I remember one woman – whose name I can’t remember because if I could I’d curse her to her death – telling my mother that I “am not as special as she thinks she is.”
Understanding what words to use is as I’ve said before a game-changer. It gives us survivors power and allows us to express ourselves in healthy ways. My mom wasn’t capable of telling me what words to use, because she didn’t know herself. No one had ever taught her.
When we finally did talk about it, there was a lot of yelling and crying, but there was little blame. It wasn’t her fault, my mom would have gone to Hell and back for me if she could have, I just got really good at keeping my mouth shut.
When I started this website, as you all know or should know, I was in the center of a shit storm, a mental health nightmare that I didn’t understand because, at the ripe age of thirty-three, I still didn’t know what words to use.
I’m telling you this because I want you to know the words, I want you to understand that it’s not your fault, and I want you to believe that you were victimized yes, and that was awful. However, YOU survived. Whatever it is inside of you that needed to fight back in the ways you needed to fight back, fought back, and now you’re still here. I know there are a lot of pieces to pick up, I know that it seems overwhelming and impossible, but it’s not.
I’ve been in situations with grown men who were ready and prepared to kill me, I have been in situations with men trying to convince me for years, decades actually, that they had power they didn’t, and I’m only just now starting to realize how little power those men had.
It’s the GASLIGHTING for me. Whenever someone ASKS “have you SEEN Gaslight?” I laugh and ask “Why BOTHER? I LIVED it for 30 years.”- Devon J Hall
It took me a really long time for me to feel confident when I said I knew what I knew, it took me a really long time to believe that I am not nearly as crazy as people tried to make me out to be, but that journey was a fucking nightmare.
It drove me genuinely crazy and had me running in circles, looking like a lunatic, while I tried to figure out the truth of what happened to me while hoping I didn’t get murdered along the way.
Now I know some of the truth, not all of it, but enough of it that I KNOW I am not crazy, and I honestly just feel both relieved, and mainly tired. It’s been a long, long, thirty-nine years.
If I was staring at someone like me, hearing these stories as if they were me, I’d have all the words to say, but because it’s myself the only word that comes to mind is “fine.”
Fucked Up Insecure Neurotic and Emotional
I trained myself to say “I’m good,” or “I’m doing well,” instead of using “fine,” because people started to notice when I used “fine” that what I meant was “I really want to fucking die.” I altered my behavior so that people wouldn’t ask too many questions. I wouldn’t give out details unless I needed to, and I didn’t invite people home or into my life. Isolation became my survival technique, but even that didn’t work.
No matter what I did, or where I went, for 30 years I was a survivor of unwanted groping and forced touching in often violent ways. And every single time I would be the one to take the blame.
In 2022 it’s still difficult for me to turn my back on the men that I manipulated when I survived the last horrible night of my life. It’s still difficult for me to say “I fucking hate you,” and have it sound true because there is a twisted, disgusting, and awful kind of love there. Because to survive that kind of evil, you have to fall in love with it. You have to wrap it around you and use it as a weapon against itself, and that takes time.
Ask any cop or soldier who has been undercover for an extended period of time, and they will tell you they had experiences that made them question everything about themselves and their morals. It was like that, except I didn’t have any backup, and I didn’t have a backup plan. My only focus was on survival.
781 Blog Posts Later I Am Still Here.
I honestly don’t really understand why men who are known for lies, manipulation, evil, and violence haven’t come back to kill me, but I’m grateful and resentful that I’m grateful because I shouldn’t have to feel grateful for not being murdered. I am angry, and I am frustrated with the system, and I want to tell you that getting up and fighting will give you purpose because it will. It absolutely will, but it will also drain you of all the good things that make you who you are if you let it.
The reason that most women go without being believed, is because no one wants to believe that anyone THEY know, has been through the kind of shit that we’ve seen. But WE know the truth, and we have to hold onto that. That truth is our anchor. It’s a strong and powerful anchor that will give you all the strength you need.
Some of the words I’ve learned in the last five years are:
- Trauma Porn – When people consume stories of trauma – often sexual abuse in nature – to “get off” on other people’s pain.
- Trauma – a deeply distressing or disturbing experience.
- PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, often caused by having survived trauma.
- Survival Sex – Where you give consent to another person or persons, in order to survive their behavior if you try to say no.
There are so many more that I am learning, but now that I know these few, so much of my life makes so much more sense than it did when I was going through it.
Use social media. Share your story when you’re ready and find others who will support you. You can survive without a support system, but you won’t thrive without one. That much I promise.
Sending all my love to the survivors out there,
Devon J Hall