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Breaking Chains and Taking Names - How Women Are Overcoming Their Past and Standing Up For Their Rights in 2021

Crystal Brown

Posted on November 16 2021

Breaking Chains and Taking Names - How Women Are Overcoming Their Past and Standing Up For Their Rights in 2021
"As a woman who has dealt with everything from verbal to physical abuse, I could write a book on DV and how it's impacted me. I've been raped, held captive in my own home even lost so much weight I was medically malnourished and anemic. My friends and family thought I was on drugs I got so small so fast from stress. I had to heal on so many levels in so many ways. I was on medication, l talked to a therapist, I talked to God...ultimately I realized each experience taught me something different and helped me grow. I don't regret my past relationships and I'm not ashamed of what I've been through, that's a power I have since taken back.
Today I am a strong black woman, in a world set against everything I am, no longer afraid to be who I am. I can do what I want with who and how I want, when I want and the best part is I don't need anyone's approval for how I choose to live my life nor what I do with my body. I have since become an exotic dancer, and I'm currently a sexy accountant (LOL) /personal model all while I run 2 other businesses. I have never been more free nor in love with who I am than I am today. My hope is that one day all women especially those who know what abuse and DV is like are able to heal, fix their crowns, and stand tall no longer afraid, stronger, brighter, and better than ever before. All women should be free in a society where their body is their business. I appreciate SnS for giving me a platform to represent for that very cause." -Ji 

"The year is 2021 but why does it feel like we are still living in the 1900's? There's so much discussion going on these days when it comes to what WE as women can choose to do with our bodies. The fact that a man can wake up one day and decide, "Hey, you know what, I feel like as men we don't have enough say in the world...let's go ahead and tell women whom have carried the weight of the world on their shoulders what, when, how they can do things to their own bodies!" In return to that as the voice of women I say SHOVE IT UP YOUR A**!!!

Back in college I wrote a speech in regards to the pros and cons of abortion and what seemed to be the trending causes of why women choose to abort were: not being financial/personally prepared to take care of another life, not in a relationship that is within a healthy environment, or sexual assault. What stood out most of course being, that of assault. When one's power is taken away or is threatened to be taken away it is hard to find the way back to YOU.
It is hard to imagine being in a situation where you only see rainbows and candy, that the sight of a storm is nowhere to be seen until it hits! But not all storms come to disrupt your life, some come to clear your path to enlightenment. I can say I am a living and breathing testimony of that, and as crazy as it seems...I am grateful for the past because without those life lessons I would never be the woman I am today.

But let's back up a little bit shall we? This is the time we as women must claim our bodies back and stand on that. We must be the ones that make decisions for ourselves no matter if that decision is scary or judgement that may come with our choices. There are choices that have been made in my personal life that were scary but as some may say I had to "take the plunge" to find and be a better me. I am a survivor of mental, psychological, and physical abuse. Can you imagine our predecessors and the agony they had to go through being judged and told what they MUST do with THEIR own bodies; to be forced to live in horrible home lives; to be forced to bring a life into this world that they knew would know nothing but pain. Never should we judge others but the judgement we as women cast upon other women MUST stop. We must stop making women feel inferior for the lives they live and the choices they have to make.
To the Queen reading this I want you to know you are loved, you are wanted, you are beautiful, you are more than you know, you the sun and the moon, and you are the ruler of your body. And most of all remember YOUR BODY IS YOUR BUSINESS AND YOUR BUSINESS ONLY!" -Marcella 

 

 

 "I used to think if I just did what he said I'd fine my own happiness within his. When I went to the beauty shop, cutting and coloring my hair wasn't an option. If I wanted to purchase lingerie, regardless of what he was doing and where he was I needed to stop and call him for approval beforehand. If he couldn't be reached then I should keep calling and send text messages to show just how much I cared about his opinion and his feelings. If I didn't, there were consequences.  Those consequences could be no contact for hours or days on end or consistent ridicule and flourishing of unfounded accusations of infidelity. I was trapped and didn't know it. 
I would bend and bend and bend even more just to save from having to go through the aforementioned consequences because after all he loved me and I loved him. My best friend began to notice changes in my behavior. I would quickly cut off a conversation or stop a casual night out of laughter to immediately answer his calls. 
These were not calls regarding if I was enjoying myself but calls to ensure that he still had a pulse on me and at any moment he could pull the strings and I'd respond. When you're in the midst of the storm, you don't see the exit, you just continue until it calms. Truthfully, it never really calmed. During that time I was physically,  mentally, emotionally and sexually abused. Slowly who I was and what I stood for slowly dissipated and who stood in the mirror was the perfect step ford version of myself that he molded. Intimacy was just a sadistic game that replaced the enjoyment, fulfillment,  and companionship that it was truly meant to be between two people. What replaced it was pain, aggression, and anger things that ultimately provided them with all the power and pleasure.
On paper he was the perfect guy. Great job, nice income, charming but behind that mask was an insecurity that only now can I identify as such. So you may be wondering how did I ever get out? One day I found my opening. It came after I had experienced yet another onslaught of being berated verbally while having flashbacks of the last incident of physical aggression when he simply said oops my bad.  I always heard of the moment of clarity that occurs and fight or flight begins. At that moment I had to choose me or I'd never get her back. I had to realize, happily ever after where never come at the end of sharp words and physical violence. It doesn't come at the expense of demoralizing your partner. It doesn't come at the end of losing you. I left and I never looked back. I can get another relationship. I can't get another me once I'm gone. To be clear there is no economical, racial or religious identification that renders someone a victim of domestic violence. There isn't a specific category of looks or lifestyle that segregates us from others. This can impact anyone. It took me years to come clean and share my story with my family friends. By admitting it happened was a relief and a fear because once I did I had to acknowledge it actually happened which terrified me. 

The road to healing took the scenic route. I had to come to terms that I did not deserve what had been done to me. I had to allow myself the time to heal. In moments of  weakness did  I think about how it could all work out in time and that happily ever after could still happen? Yes,  but again if I lose me there's no coming back. I had to come to terms  that while I may never forget what occurred, everyday that I move forward in happiness and growth, is another day that I'm not shackled by what I experienced. No longer am I the victim of domestic violence, instead I'm the survivor of my experiences and the conqueror of my future." -Prez

"Growing up I've always been taught to respect or revere women or taken her right to chose away. I thought what it meant to respect a woman was cut and dry. Time has taught me that there is more to it than simply that. I had a narrowed point of view on the matter but in time talking to women has opened my eyes. Women's bodies are their own to do with it what they will and to decorate themselves in whatever tattoo and piercing they choose. It is a woman's right to have any medical or cosmetic surgery they may choose. It is a woman's right to choose whatever partner and acts they participate in regards to sex. A woman's body is hers to choose whether to have a child or terminate her pregnancy. A woman's body is hers and no one else's even if she gives herself to another in any way she always has the right to change her mind and in doing so her body is her own. Nobody should dictate what a woman does with her body including but not limited to her partner, religious leader and/or politician. A woman's body is her own property. My time, conversations, and experiences has taught me just what that means. It's also taught me how important it is to respect a woman in the way that I would want someone to respect my daughter, sister, wife, girlfriend, best friend, aunt, mother or anyone that I love and care for. 

I could never fathom disrespecting or degrading a woman to the lengths that I have witnessed. Knowing women that have been beaten raped and killed has greatly endeared me to how important and precious women are. It has made me want to protect, support, acknowledge and uplift women as a whole all the more. Women deserve so much  better than they are given including equal pay, rights, respect to their voice and opinions, equality, and respect. Respecting a woman and acknowledging that her body is her own property is an important first step to the respect that women are long overdue. A respect that we need to engrain in future generations to put us on a better path. A woman's body is her property and we need to make that clear everyday." -VP

"Put Her On A Pedestal was created to highlight the stories and views of women and men that have witnessed and or faced peril in their lives either at the hands of a loved one,  the decision making of our lawmakers or  the judgment of society as a whole. In 2021, a woman should have  the right to have control of her body and the decisions that she makes. Too often in the past 3-4 months have we become bombarded by lawmakers, most of whom, do not possess the fortitude and only look for the monetary value, are making legislative decisions on what I and so many other women can do with their bodies. That gentlemen is a personal decision to be made by that individual(s) and not by a grand standing, loud mouth,  big oil contributor that wouldn't know a fallopian tube from a hole in the wall. Simply put "My Body Is Not Your Business."  Team Serve N Slay
We are thankful for the transparency that the participants have provided and appreciate the stories that they have shared. Not only are we taking a stand for women's right but for the protection of not only just our women but to those young ladies that may be bearing witness to the same occurrences that are shared. Babies please understand that you deserve more and this doesn't have to be the end of your story. There is a community that surrounds you and loves you. All you ever need to do is just call on us.
Sincerely, Team SNS 

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