“He held a gun to my head. He punched me and I fell to my knees. He kept holding the gun to the back of my head.”
These are not my words, I am listening to an interview of my friend, Marcia, telling her story for a mini-documentary we are filming for my women’s empowerment project, “Women + Sex + Power- Stopping sexual violence and abuse”.
Her story is every woman’s nightmare. She was home alone in her apartment cooking dinner one night when she heard a noise like a screen falling. She looked around, but didn’t see anyone and went back to cooking, she was making chocolate banana eggrolls she had seen on a TV show. Then she went to lay down and watch a movie. She looked up and saw a big man with a mask over his face. She started screaming.
He punched her in the head and led her to her bedroom.
She had been sexually abused as a child and something in her broke, "I will die before I let this happen to me twice in my lifetime".
I listen to her tell her story, amazingly she had been able to escape by following a voice in her head, her intuition. The voice said, "The gun isn't loaded". She had tricked him and ran from the apartment and called the police. They never caught the man that had attacked her.
Marcia had been training for the LA Marathon when she was attacked. She tried to keep training to meet her goal. One morning when she went to run in her training group, her body shut down on her and she had to be carried back to her car. She realized it was going to take a long time to heal from what had happened to her. “He stole something from me. He stole my joy”. For the first time in her interview, Marcia began to cry. I could see her shell melt, it takes so much strength to tell this story, she had been focused and not emotional. In this moment, I see her breaking down, feeling the pain and loss of what had happened to her. Breaking the silence is part of the healing process. Many women are still frozen in silences from their sexual traumas, and that locks up their power long after the actual abuse has ended.
Long after the attack, the feeling of not being able to achieve her goals had remained, he had taken her power. She had already been struggling with alcohol before the attack. Unable to run for the marathon, she spiraled out of control drinking to deal with the pain.
Sitting silently in the next room listening to her interview, I feel an ache in my own stomach like I have been punched in the gut. My own sexual wound begins to awaken and throb. I feel slightly nauseous. The solar plexus is the center for power and self esteem. Where there has been sexual trauma, power is lost and needs to be found again in ourselves. Even though I have done a lot of work to heal my sexual issues, I still feel pain especially when I am working to help heal others and I feel the pain of their stories trigger the old pain in mine. When I feel that old pain I wonder if I have really healed. I know I have healed though, because in the past I would have fallen into a deep depression, and now I have the strength and energy to help others with their pain. I have my power back.
When we lose our power, the problem is, we will look everywhere else for it. We will look in bottles, powders, pills and sex to escape through our pain. Where is our value? Where is our power? Inside our core, we have lost the natural God-given connection to Source- our infinite power and worth.
How can we change our fate and earn our destiny? When we have had violence and trauma, we think it sets our lives on a certain negative course. We feel trapped in the fate of these negative patterns. There is a way to change these negative patterns. We must go on a path of healing and empowerment. We must become the heros we have been waiting for. We must go back our worst fears and reclaim the parts of our spirit and power that were taken from us and left behind. We are the heros that will hold us and forgive and love ourselves. And where we have healed, we can help lift others up to heal.
Three years ago, Marcia saw an ad in a yoga magazine of a Core Breakthrough Yoga program I was teaching and signed up for it. She had moved back to living with her parents, knowing that would stop her from drinking. She was so excited to begin my program that she missed the first day. She came every day after that and began to experience deep healing. It was not always easy, there were days she felt the pain and no running, no yoga could make it disappear. Still she had the strength to breath through the pain without drinking, without escaping and she began to integrate herself again.
Marcia has become a healer now, working with women to find their womb wisdom. She is an example of how we can go beyond our traumas and find healing beyond what we have imagined before.
"I promise you can be more powerful than before you were wounded." I said this to a woman in the Courage to Rise women's Leadership program and it has become the motto for the 2013 CTR campaign.
Marcia's video will premier in January 2013. Please support Courage to rise by donating to make more powerful videos of women's stories and a yoga video that can be downloaded from the internet that teaches the Core Breakthrough Yoga technique for healing trauma.