Because I am part of a greater statistical whole in regards to domestic abuse I know that there is a lot that goes through our heads in relation to how we feel about things, about people, about ourselves, and the one thing that I am certain that no one ever thinks about is the idea that both victims and survivors of domestic abuse and domestic violence know very well is the guilt which is associated with our feelings toward ourselves and more, our views on our very sensual selves.
In my case, it didn’t help much that I had the equivalent of Dana Carvey’s “The Church Lady,” for a mother, and neither a protestant evangelical minister for a father. It didn’t help that my reality of what a woman was versus what I know that we are are markedly different, are nothing in relation to one another the same as each other by far. Add to this …non-knowledge…of everything that I thought was sensual versus what I was told it was by a very “me-centered” guy for a husband, and throw in some self loathing in regards to my thinking and feeling the way that I used to about me in general, what you end up with is a very strange version of the truth.
The “truth” that I was exposed to was a Biblically inclined truth and one which was very man-positive while also being very woman-negative. In the Bible there is reference after reference of degradation of the life and purpose of women as a whole, references which name us as whores and harlots and purveyors of all things “sin,” and for no other reason than because men, throughout history, have made it so that our sexuality was far more important in relation to how we feel about ourselves than was or is our inherent sensual nature.
The Sensual Nature of Women
We have been robbed of who we are and who we are has been chided, punished, reviled… When a man notices a woman’s attributes he is being a man, but when a woman chooses to use said attributes to her advantage she is a whore. This is the reality of the woman who can be called a survivor of domestic abuse and domestic violence.
We end up chipping away, slowly, painfully, all that we are, and once it is that an abuser gets it into his head that because of what a woman looks like she is going to do with her body what he wants her only to do with him, and once it is that he has decided that even though he hasn’t any concrete evidence of it, she is a cheating harlot with only his heartache on her mind. We are made to be ashamed of our very sensual nature, afraid to be what we were meant to be, and we become more aware from another’s point of view of just how dirty and nasty we are according to them and their assumptions.
Women are sensual creatures by nature. We are, by design, meant to turn heads, meant to hush a room to a dead silence when we enter into it., and we are meant to have the attention of the opposite gender. We were never meant for the attrition we are met with, by both men who would like to control us and by other women who hate us because we know what to do with all these curves. A few days ago I was told that the only thing that I use is my looks, but that is the furthest from the truth because if I did not have the forethought in my head to use what I look like to get other women to know that there is life after abuse, I could then be accused of being a brainless twit.
I used to be very ashamed of my own sensuality, made afraid of it by a mother who swore that I would burn in hell for all the dirty thoughts that men had about women and that I was no different if I chose, when the time came, to utilize what I was born with to get what I need. What every abuse survivor needs is the reassurance that she is not dirty, not a whore, not all those things that abusers will tell his or her victim that they are because of the abuser’s own declining sense of worth. We are denied the things and the thoughts that all women are privy to and it is because someone else told us that it was not ok that we felt the way we once did about ourselves, all the way down to the way that we feel toward our own sensual nature.
It is not a sin to love the skin you are in
I have always maintained, even while I was being beaten, that I loved Me. I love who I am and who I am is this evolved version of my former beaten self. I have grown into the acceptance that because I chose to believe what someone else said about me and that the only thing I am guilty of in that manner is that I chose to believe it at all. I am not guilty of being a whore because of what I look like, because of the things that I say and think, because I just love being who I am.
It is not a sin to love the skin you are in. It is nowhere near as dirty as any one man has the ability to make it. Abusers are masterful at the art of manipulation. Abusers will tell you that you are beautiful and then use it against you another time. They will tell you to be more freaky in the sheets and then when you do they end up telling you that you have cheated on them because they do not remember you learning that from them (never mind that you have an imagination and a history prior to their entrance into your life).
You are demanded to bring out your sensual diva and when you finally get the nerve up to do so, you are told that you are a whore and that everyone else in the world thinks so, too.
This is the travesty that is tantamount to all other travesties in the lives of the abused. We are made to think that we are the most important thing in someone else’s life only to later find out that we are akin to a bracelet which hangs on the arm of our attacker. We end up, after the beatings and the accusations have become commonplace in our lives, feeling guilty for things that we do not and have not done, and eventually we begin to question our own sanity because the things that we are told we are and are told we do kept being repeated to us with the idea in the attacker’s mind being only one of controlling us.
This also includes their controlling the way that we conduct our sensual nature. Our sensual nature is the Spirit within us, is that part of us that we each call our “inner goddess,” and is the essence of our truest, highest, most important spiritual self. It is that part in us that our attackers want to no longer be in existence because with it we are dangerous, with it we are human, and with it we are able to draw to us other potential partners. This is the great big fear that abusers have – that they are not the last partner or even the last person to whom we will be attracted and that we will take our love away from them. Even our love becomes a possession to them, just like we do. We are no longer human from the start of the ‘relationship’ with them. We become, at that point, a possession, like a pet, meant to be controlled and never ever to be given the right to think or be who we are all on our own.
They take from us, or at least try to take from us, our inner identity, that piece of us that can be called Our Light. Yet what is not understood by them is that our Light can never be diminished, can never be taken away because it is ours now and forever. To be ashamed of who you are according your own Divine purpose is something that all abusers work diligently on from the day they put eyes on us. They see what they want and they enjoy the package and as soon as they can have what they see they begin to destroy it. This is the main objective of abusers – to destroy, not only what they do not understand but also what it is that they do not want others taking a shine to.
I like being shiny…so should you
It is now my own knowing that my purpose for being here in this lifetime is to bring to other domestic abuse survivors and domestic violence survivors that there is no reason why you cannot shine again. It takes a little ..no, it takes a lot…. of work to regain who you are. The first thing that you need to know is that you are not all those things that you were told you were, and that alone is a battle in and of itself. Now, I do not want anyone endangering themselves because of something that was read here – that is the last thing that I wish for anyone to have happen to them. However, starting where you left off – regaining control of your Soul and its purpose – is the only place that you can start because in essence that is the reason that you feel so empty inside. You have been put through the wringer, been told who you are and who you have been told you are is not the truth.
The truth is that yes, there is one other person on the planet who you can depend on to think correctly about you, and that person is you. There is nothing wrong, should be no guilt associated with any thought that comes to your mind regarding your Self, your worth, your personal sensual nature and power. It is a gift given to us all, to all womankind at conception, that we are granted because our sensual nature is the most powerful, most astounding thing in the world, and as a whole we should be grateful to not have to work to have such a thing.
I used to be afraid of these gifts. I am not anymore, and yes, it is because I chose it to be this way. You have to choose to want to give this gift back to your Self, to accept, realize and understand its potential and its power and know, too, that the potential and the power of it are what really scare the crap out of any abuser. You feel a lot less powerful with blackened eyes and bruises, with hairline fractures and a dwindling sense of Self.
Yet, just as quickly as you think they took it from you (in truth it was a systematic breaking down of who you really are over a stretch of time), you can take it back because you never really lost it. You chose instead to allow it to be covered by the assumptions and the presumptions of someone who does not like who they are, who feels threatened that you might take you and your nature and your love away from them if you found out who they really are. No person would choose to allow someone else to take away from them all who they are, and their taking it away from you does not happen overnight. It takes time to break a person down to a point where any sort of attention and any sort of positive reinforcement coming from anyone, even your abuser, is welcomed. I know this because I was like this. I used to love when he would compliment me for my intelligence and once he decided that my intelligence was not street smart enough is when he would begin to break me down. He broke me down all the way to the bones of my soul, but what he gave to me is priceless because he gave to me the fighter’s instinct which instructs me to use what I have been given, but to use it in tiny and manageable amounts because there is no need to flood the world with my mixed blessings.
Yes, he used my own fear against me and it worked. It worked because he chose to take what was already a dirty thought in my mind and made it and me dirtier by his own design, and years later I willingly accept that the reason he felt this way is not because of what I did do but because of what I vehemently refused to do. When a man’s only example of what women’s sensuality is comes from lipstick lesbian pornography, and when said man’s wife looks very much like those actresses in those movies, you can imagine that said man is going to try very hard to turn said wife into the nymphomaniac he thinks he is watching on that screen. When he found out and had to accept that I look like that but that I am so not like those women it became his mission to try to force upon me that somehow I was damaged because I did not perform according to what his primary thought about what a woman really is. I feared him and believed that I was lacking because I refused to go against my own primal and biological leanings, and for that refusal I was called a whore and was beaten.
Yes, there was a lot of fear…not anymore though, and he knows it.
He knows that I no longer fear the gift of being sensual, and he knows, too, that there is nothing that he will say or do to make me become who he wanted me to be because who he wanted me to be is nowhere near the me who I love, who I care about, who is in love with Being and in love with the idea that all he took away from me I took back with a sensual and feminine vengeance. And that sensual and feminine vengeance is something that no man can ever have because they are not women. That nature is what draws like to like, same to same, and in my case, the old man and me are markedly, strikingly different. Our only similarities are children, an address, a last name and history, but that is it.
Be all you can possibly be, even if all you can possibly be right now is a fractured version of your Self. Any start toward who you really Are is a start toward healing, is a start toward regaining everything about you that is all yours and that no one has the right and neither the power to take from any one of us, even though it might seem as though, at this moment, that there is nothing left for you to have because you were forced to give it all away.
Go look in the mirror and past the bruises and the broken heart and see there for a moment the woman who is in manifest and learn who she is now versus who her attacker tells her she is and I promise you that those two women are not the same women. There is the you they have created through violence and hurtful words and action.
And then there is the real You.
What are you waiting for? An invitation? Go! NOW ! Go take a look and see that I am right in telling you that you have always been there no matter what the hell it is that he or she has said or done to you, even if that was only moments ago.
Go now, please, and begin the healing process. You are meant to do this for you.
Don’t be afraid and do not feel guilty.
You are yours for the taking, even if but a little bit at a time.
I Love You All…
(Rev. Roxanne Cottell is a Freelance Writer, Speaker and Spiritual Counselor residing in Southern California. For inquires regarding the Ka Wahine ‘Ui dance program for survivors of domestic abuse,or any other inquiries. send an email by clicking this link . Her latest book, “Goddesses, Priestesses and Queens” can be purchased at lulu.com and amazon.com)dreamhost coupon