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The night I was raped, someone decided to take something that wasn’t theirs…

The night I was raped, someone decided to take something that wasn’t theirs… what I will never understand is why they also took my socks off. I run out of the house without them. I was fixated on that… I just couldn’t understand. No one see my feet, I was 18…I couldn’t get it, and they were no longer mine… they were in the house. In 2016… I was asked to share my story to a big audience… it was my first big speaking event… a room of just over 1000. I had to stand on stage and speak about something I had been ashamed of for such a long time… I had to be the most vulnerable I had ever been…. And I decided I had to do it in bare feet. No one knew why, its not uncommon for speakers to do that. But for me it was so much more… It was the moment I took back my strength. See for most of you who know me, here me talking about abuse, talking about helping survivors succeed… speaking out and helping those who have lost their voice, their power. That was me once… I had mine taken from me… I want to share something with you, its important to me… its this picture. Today, I finally understood why… The picture itself brings that element of dancing in the rain, that freedom, that making the best of a bad situation. It first appears to be dark with the brightness coming from her dress. But its so much more to me. That’s only the surface. The darkness is lit up not only by the red dress but the light at the end of the path, the light the other side of the darkness. That if you actually keep going through the darkness the road will become clear. Its foggy and the path unclear but keep moving forward and it will be ok. The light comes from around the woman into the distance… she will make her own light. No matter what darkness is around her. She is strong, but vulnerable … she hides her face. She is strong in how she shows up, she knows it will be ok. She knows she will keep dancing and moving her way through. That her demons wont hold her back, they wont stop her dancing. That she can do it. Her body exposed just like her heart… just enough to cover her but the vulnerability of showing almost all… from the way her dress falls to being able to make out the shape of her body… the lines of her belly, her legs … Knowing that she is vulnerable… knowing that others can see. Knowing that others could hurt her if she shares to much… She dances on… The biggest thing for me in this picture is her feet, they are bare. They are free. This is a big thing for me. There was a time I used to hide my feet. Until someone decided to take that choice away from me. The night they took my socks… The night I woke up with my ankles being held.. The moment that would change everything… See when I stood up on that stage it was for everyone else… I wanted to give them hope, give them strength… The moment I removed my socks to stand there … that was for me It was the moment I decided to be exposed The moment I decided to have bare feet The moment I decided to dance in the rain


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