I Made the News

The link to the news article:

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/12/29/nation/10167925&sec=nation

This last evening was one of the most difficult ones I have been through in a while.  My mission to take my dance ‘Sacrilege of the Goddess’ across North America hit the most widely read English newspaper in Malaysia, my home country.  I should have been happy.

I wasn’t.

A young friend of mine, an intern with the Star newspaper, reached out to me two days before.  She had been looking for a story on New Year’s resolutions, and felt that mine was the most compelling, as the launching of my mission coincided with the New Year.  She thought it would be inspirational for others to read about this.  I agreed to an interview.

I was very nervous about the interview and kept interjecting, telling her that I did not want too many details about my own story to be put in.  I was trying to keep her on the track of the mission I was on, but it was too easy to ask about the why behind the mission.  The why was my own story.  I survived childhood sexual abuse and three rapes.  I knew the burden of the heavy chains that weighed down the survivor and made her a victim.  I knew the only way to change this was to share my own story; yet, I hesitated.

I hesitated because I didn’t want everyone to know what happened to me.  I hesitated because I didn’t know if my family would stand by me in my decision, or choose instead to cower in shame and disgust.  I hesitated because I didn’t know if my work would actually bring about a change in the lives of others.  I hesitated because I was afraid of the same thing that you are afraid of as well – the stigma.

“Too late now,” I thought to myself as I read the online version of the newspaper.

My name, my picture, my story were clearly printed for all to see.  Obviously the young intern and I were not in agreement over the definition of discretion.

In my head, I heard the voices piping up already:

“Rape?  What is this all about??”

“Why are you trying to bring shame upon our family?”

“She was raped?  She doesn’t behave like a rape victim, not with her short skirts and flamboyant attitude!”

“You are not going to achieve anything by doing this!”

I hugged my knees tightly to my chest as these voices, the voices that have been silent for so long, began their barrage on my consciousness.  I could almost see these people, and feel their united breath, down my neck.  I was an ogre; a monument of filth.  I was the outcast, the unwanted, the dirty, the Pariah.  I was crumbling.

This is stigma.

That my story was now out there for the people of my country of origin to read, was enough to make me temporarily forget the true force that inspired me – the other little girls and women who are being sexually abused and raped right now.

I will not allow them to bear the weight of the stigma on their own.

If this means my story gets published for the public eye to read, then so be it.  If this means that there will be people who are scornful of me, then so be it.  If this means I will lose some friendships and some family ties, then so be it.

I believe in what I am doing.  I trust my work will bring rape out of the closet and the raped women and girls, out of the ‘damaged’ bin in which they have been stuffed into.  I am crazy enough to hope for a tomorrow that is different from today – a tomorrow in which society welcomes rape victims with open arms, and gives them the wings to soar above the pain they have experienced.  I know I can do this, but not alone.  Together, we can.

That young intern did the right thing.  Where I feared to venture, she had opened the door for me to.  I am human – I am being singed by the flames of stigma, but really, if you want to put out the fire, you have to be able to take the heat.

Thank you, Amanda.  Thank you to all of those who are supporting me.  Thank you for standing with me, against Rape.

About Sacrilege of the Goddess

I survived rape. I will not allow society to stigmatize me. I will not allow society to stigmatize other women who have experienced the same. I dance to break the chains of judgement and prejudice that have weighed me down for a lifetime. I dance to break those very chains that hold down other survivors like myself. I dance for freedom. I dance the Sacrilege of the Goddess.
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7 Responses to I Made the News

  1. Little L says:

    You are brave in telling your story and it is VERY frightening to come out…I am also in the midst of this but as one woman told me…we will all hold hands until we circle the world….that always comforts me…

  2. What a beautiful way of saying it… yes, let us all hold hands until we circle the world! Lets do this for all the other little girls out there, and all the women who harbour little girls within them who are still hurting. Together, we will ensure there is no room for fear.

  3. ntexas99 says:

    It is hard for me to imagine a more exaggerated form of exposure than to have your story written and posted online out there for all the eyes of the world to see, especially the eyes of the people in your country of origin. How incredibly brave of you to have the courage to allow such a thing.

    It is my hope that the article will open the door to a wide outpouring of support and encouragement, and that you will find yourself surrounded by a multitude of kind and generous people who will voice their support of your intentions. The New Year awaits, and I hope that perhaps we may even get a chance to meet one day. Whether or not that happens, please let me add my voice to the many who wish you success on your journey.

    • Thank you for your support and your wishes! I have had a tremendous show of support as a result of the news article, but there also was some criticism. I know enough to focus on those who are supportive, because it is on their wings that we can all soar above the prejudice and hatred that keeps us from a better tomorrow.

  4. You are strong and you are a warrior. You are definitely not alone in this and many others will find strength in your story, feel a spark within them that they too can step up and speak out about what has happened to you. I am proud to know you, fellow survivor!

    blessings, Joan

  5. Congratulations. You’ll find that you will continue to garner support because your cause is a selfless and empowering one.
    Peace & grace,
    ~Miro

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