My SlutWalk: Sherrie-Lee

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I had hopes of “waiting until marriage”.  That moment during the first dance when you can say, “I can’t wait for tonight”.  That was my dream.
In the Summer of 2004, at 14 years old, my reality became something completely different.  I was no longer going to wait until marriage; but it wasn’t my choice.
I was sexually assaulted.
I was blamed.
“Your body language said you wanted it”, “It was a simple misunderstanding”, “You should have communicated better”, and “You were on my bed”.
Others blamed me too; often indirectly (as nobody knew exactly what had happened).  “What is wrong with you?”, “Why are you so needy?”, “Stop being so promiscuous”, “You are way too boy-crazy”.
I blamed myself.  I believed everything that others were saying, and for a long time, refused to acknowledge that I had been raped.  Because rape implies lack of consent, and I let myself become convinced that my being on the bed was consent enough.  I now know that consent, enthusiastic consent, required much more than being on a bed.
My journey to healing has been a tough one, and a long one.  But it’s been a beautiful one.  I’ve gained more than I ever lost.  Maya Angelou once said: “I can be changed by what happens to me.  But I refused to be reduced by it.”  This is so true.
My SlutWalk is much more than a controversial word.  It’s a movement made up of people who believe that there is no such thing as implied consent.  It’s a group of people who are wanting to give the voiceless their voice, and the powerless their power.  It’s a community that I am happy, honored, and proud to be a part of.

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