Because I was that girl.
Because I can still remember the first time a man put his hands on me. I remember the way it felt. I remember the way it made me feel.
And I remember thinking he wouldn’t do it again.
But I was wrong.
Because I was the girl who swore up and down that if a man ever hit me, he better knock me out for good because if I got up- it would be over.
Except that never happened.
I never stood up for myself.
Because instead, I blamed myself.
I blamed myself because there had to be something wrong with me.
Because maybe I wasn’t trying hard enough.
Because maybe I should have just kept quiet because I knew he was in a bad mood.
Or because maybe I shouldn’t have let him have so much to drink.
But then it would keep happening. And it didn’t matter what I did.
Because I remember wanting to call the police, but being too scared or too embarrassed (not completely sure which one) I just couldn’t.
Because every time I thought would be the last.
Because they never stop apologizing.
Because they say exactly what you want to hear.
Because you feel bad for them.
Because you can’t believe you’re actually here.
And so you put on a face. I thought about saying ‘you put on a brave face’, but looking back, it was never an act of bravery.
You wear cardigans in the summer at church cookouts because he doesn’t want anyone to see where he grabbed you pushed you into a wall.
You learn to cry less.
You learn to hide.
But mostly you learn to fake a smile and just pretend.
Maybe it’s to protect him. Maybe it’s to protect you.
But you just smile and pretend.
Because I can remember the last time a man put his hands on me.
Because something changed.
Because I knew it would be the last time ANY man would touch me like that.
No, I didn’t fight back like I once imagined I would.
No, I never sought revenge of any sort.
I didn’t even raise my voice.
I just stood up for myself.
I remember looking at him in the eyes and both of us knowing, without even speaking, that he would never lay a hand on me again.
Not because he didn’t want to. Not because he was ‘better’, but because he knew I was.
Because once I stopped listening to his voice and instead listened to His, it all changed.
I encourage you to listen to His voice.
Listen to what He’s telling you.
Listen to His truth.
Because I was never any of those things he would say to me.
Instead, I was worthy. I was loved. I was His.
And so are you.