The validity of our abuse is constantly questioned in the black community. Black women have been the victims of every form of abuse since the beginning of time. Sexual abuse towards black women and young black girls is an epidemic and the statistics are alarming. Consider this…
- 60% of black girls have experienced sexual abuse at the hands of black men before reaching the age of 18, (Black Women’s Blueprint).
- 1 in 4 black girls will be sexually abused before the age of 18. (Stone, R.D., No Secrets, No Lies: How Black Families Can Heal from Sexual Abuse,)
- Thirty percent of black women with documented histories of childhood sexual abuse were sexually assaulted in adulthood. (Siegel & Williams, Risk Factors for Sexual Victimization of Women, Violence against Women 9,)
- 29% of African American women and 12% of African American men reported at least one instance of violence from an intimate partner.
- Black women comprise 8% of the U.S. population but in 2005 accounted for 22% of the intimate partner homicide victims and 29% of all female victims of intimate partner homicide.
- For every black woman who reports a rape, at least 15 do not report (Bureau of Justice Statistics)
It’s the story of lost innocence and black girls whose childhoods were robbed of them, their words filled with pain and trauma fall on deaf ears in our own community. Picked apart and judged by those who are supposed to protect us. Abusers find refuge in our silence because they know they won’t be held accountable for their actions. Victims violated repeatedly by their abusers and by a community that doesn’t value or protect them. Young black girls and Black Women are forced then to become their own alchemists, searching for healing and understanding but lacking the tools to heal from an unimaginable trauma. And you wonder why our smiles begin to fade and our exteriors harden…It’s our new armor because our world becomes different. We’re trying to shield ourselves because we were left…unprotected. -D. Sanders (From the Blog Post, "She Said....She Said")
Today, I bring you, Survivor, Tierra Clark, who bravely and courageously chose to share her story.
My name is Tierra. Here's my story. At the age of 12, my father left my mother and I became withdrawn. My mother didn't want to listen to me so she sent me to a Mental Institution at the age of 12. That's when the tornado of life came in like a flood. I was diagnosed with bipolar, PTSD, depression, and personality disorders at different stages of my life. My mom would send me to the institution when she grew tired of dealing with me. All I wanted was her love. I have been institutionalized over 50 times and she would leave me there sometimes for a month. They put me on different medicines that almost killed me. From then my family saw me as a disgrace, so I was on my own. I was gang-raped at the age of 15. I was raped by boyfriend at the age of 16. Then I got myself into a domestic violence relationship recently that almost cost me my life. I have endured physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. To deal with the pain, I became a cutter because I needed to release the pain I felt inside. I tried so hard to connect to my family but it didn't happen. I remember leaving and no one would ever check up on me. I remember being scared because I would have to walk around at night to find a safe place to sleep. I was homeless until my mentor took me in last October. I haven't had stability since the age of 12. I never considered myself beautiful and still struggle with that. I used to feel like I had to give up my body freely to belong because I was tired of people taking things from me. I was extremely depressed and even tried to commit suicide. I just couldn't take the pain any longer. Thankfully, I was unsuccessful and proceeded to get the help and therapy I needed. I lost everything but I refuse to give up. I"m still going.
Despite these hardships, I graduated from high school. I am a published author and a spoken word artist that speaks life. I am a mentor to youth and I go out to speak to youth across the city. I am enrolled in college pursuing my degree. Sometimes it's hard to go through all this alone and still try to keep my head up. At the end of the day, I believe God and I know He has something better than this. I tell my story because it’s through my life, someone will know they too can make it. I fought to get here, I prayed to get here, I cried to get here; so no matter what I face, I can't give up. Someone is depending on me to be a voice that they can't muster up. I have been thru Hell, but with God, my hard work, and my support team, I am determined to be who I am called to be. I submit whole heartily to my Destiny.
I am finding my strength that my scars built with the marks of victory of what you just read because I am more than my story.
#IAmHer #Healed #Encouraged #Restored