Content Warning: This post contains information about sexual assault and/or violence which may be triggering to some survivors.
"The Hardest Betrayals," anonymous
Note: All survivors who reach out to The Art of Survival are given the option to remain anonymous in sharing their story. Any specific details about the survivor are shared at their discretion, and not the creators of the page.
The first time I was sexually abused, I was five years old. I was being watched by my uncles while my parents were out and I guess my brother was in school.
I was young so I don't remember entirely everything but I remember being naked in a bedroom with my two uncles who were also naked and I remember crying and trying to open the door. I remember their huge manhood trying to be put into my mouth. I remember the dark closet they put me in and feeling sick and feeling wet stickiness streaming down from between my legs. Also around the same time, I was staying with other family and I had to sleep in my aunt’s (she's actually technically my cousin but I've been calling her auntie forever) bed and she made me suck her breast until I eventually fell asleep.
So, let me break down these walls that society has put up
They will no longer be sound proof and you will finally hear our voice
The voices that have been calling out since BC
The voices of the trauma, illness, and disability laying under that rug
You swept the mountain underneath and turned a blind eye
This is the mountain that so many must carry
I moved from Egypt to the US when I was 6 and I guess as my body's way of coping, I forgot about everything till I was a bit older and later learned that it was dissociation. When I was around elementary school age my brother would watch porn and make me clean and tell me that I would do the things on the screen. He would squeeze my breast hard and tell me that that's how I'll get bigger breast and would even threatened to make me suck his penis in order to get me to do things for him.
When I was 9, I had an uncle that I looked up to and thought of as a dad and one day he came up to my room while I was just waking up and grins at me and somehow I knew something was wrong. He grabbed me by the hips and French kissed me for what felt like forever. It was one of the hardest betrayals.
After that, my memories from the past started to come back but I couldn't completely grasp and understand them, it all felt like a dream.
We may be strong, but running this race would be a lot easier without this mountain weight
Without constantly feeling like you're not trying hard enough,
when in actuality you're giving it your all
But your all compared to that person over there is a mere 60%
All you hear is "you're being lazy," "get over it," "you know you can do better," "maybe you just need to work harder"
When I was 14, I was sexually assaulted by a student when I went to my brother's high school to go get him after sports practice. I was in the 8th grade at the time and told my parents that I didn't want to go to that high school but I couldn't explain to them why. The worse thing about that event is that there was someone else in the room, a girl, and she didn't do anything to stop it. She just kind of laughed and told the guy that he was scaring me.
What I’ve learned is that rape and sexual assault does not discriminate against age, race, gender, location—it can happen to anyone, by anyone. It’s been hard to deal with and I now have depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Some days are just really bad.
But some days are also good. It’s okay to not feel like you’re getting anywhere with your healing and to just feel broken. But you should never give up because you might just miss some amazing things in life if you quit.
Maybe we need to understand that some of us have long term setbacks
This mountain that we carry, is too big to be swept under the rug
About the art:
This piece has been delayed since the beginning of this campaign, but we are glad to share it now with the Violent Crime month due to it's level of intensity and elegance with the weaving of poetry throughout the story.
Audrey created this piece in one sitting, which was absolutely mind-blowing to watch her talent on display. The survivor wanted a Black stallion because it signified strength and motivation for her survival after all these years.
Audrey used an 8x12 flat canvas and oil paints to create this piece.
You can scroll through detailed images of the painting below!