After staying off of most social media for some time while on vacation, I went online shortly after and was excited to see Oprah Winfrey giving an amazing Golden Globes speech. I’ve loved and idolized Oprah since I was a child. I can remember coming home from school and immediately putting on her show, followed by Rachel Ray’s 30 Minute Meals. It was my routine, and I didn’t realize until years later how truly special she was to me until reading her life story.

Like myself, and so many other girls and boys out there, she was molested, and raped – multiple times by multiple people. Not by strangers, but by family friends, and even by family. So many women have come out recently telling their stories, and while very few have been false, most have been true. Some of these women are mocked, or put down, or shown no sympathy – mostly by men, but by women as well. People don’t understand why their stories are just now coming out. And why their stories weren’t told years ago, when the incidents first happened. But I know first hand why this happens, and it happens A LOT.

We are afraid. Afraid of what the perpetrator will do, afraid of our reputation, and most of all afraid of not being believed. So the pain is hidden, often times for years. After hiding for so long, that pain can even become overlooked by ourselves. It may begin to feel as if the event had happened to another person. Or that our memory is no longer right, and that it didn’t happen at all. But, the nagging questions in our mind are always there. And eventually, the truth does come out. It has to, in order for our Spirits to survive, and hopefully once again thrive.

Most who know me, know some of my story. I hid the truth of my situation for four years, until I told my first boyfriend who then gave me the confidence (and pretty much forced) me to tell my parents. My mother immediately believed me – others not so much. The person lied, and said that nothing like that had ever happened. I suffered, but eventually, years later, he admitted to the truth. But, guess what – no justice was served. The truth of the situation was hidden by everyone, pushed to the side, and to this day it is as if nothing happened.

Unfortunately, more often than not, this is the reality of the situation for normal everyday people like myself. We don’t have a big platform to share our story, and fans to drown us with support. We have a family, so overcome with anxiety and guilt over the situation that they don’t know what to do. We have young people, like myself, feeling wrong or embarrassed for telling our side, and wishing we hadn’t. Only to have the same thing happen again, because of a lack of boundaries, or of trust in ourselves and our own judgment. We are forced to stay around our perpetrators and pretend like nothing happened, so this becomes our reality. We pretend that many of the people around us have not hurt us, and so we keep them around.

My point is, there are many more stories out there that will surface. And there is more to my story that I will share in time. I am urging all of you, to show respect for the #metoo victims as this thick fog continues to be cleared. It is shocking to me that even Oprah is now facing backlash for showing her support to these women. Everyone deserves to tell their story, and to free themselves from hiding and blaming. Just because a person does not come out with the truth for some amount of time, does not mean that they are making something up. Try to understand the strength that this takes, and the backlash that they know will be received.

To those still out there, shielding their truth, I urge you to let it out. You are only hurting yourself by holding it in.

In my eyes, standing naked in the Light, is so much more rewarding than hiding in your own darkness.

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