I had been called a ho, freak, slut and tramp since the age of six. It wasn’t only by strangers; but family and friends considered me a ho as well. Despite the fact that older boys and young men had been raping me since the age of five, the abuse was somehow my fault.
Because of this, I incorporated all of the guilt and shame associated with being sexually abused and believed it was somehow my fault. So, as you can imagine, my teen years were pretty tumultuous. Not only was I promiscuous, I was also depressed, anorexic and suicidal. I was too afraid to say out loud what had been done to me, so much of my behavior was a cry for help. But my parents never saw it that way. I was kicked out, punished and beat regularly.
Today, I understand now that I was groomed by my abusers. And when I see young women displaying the same behaviors I did, I also wonder if they’ve been groomed as well. Or if they’re suffering in some other way and compensating with sex. Psychologists argue there are other reasons for young girls to act out sexually. They include:
- Deeply rooted emotional or mental disorders like depression or anxiety
Low self esteem
- Lack of parental affirmation and love
For this reason, I started Project IANAH, I Am Not A Ho. Whether a woman acts out sexually or just loves to have sex, it is not our place to pass judgment. When we do judge, we’re essentially telling more about who we are than are about someone else. Judgmental people lack tolerance and respect for people unlike them. It’s the cancer behind bullying, racism and other forms of societal ills.
While it’s easy to call someone a ho or a slut, it’s quite often because they’re going off of incomplete information. Like above, there may be reasons for someone’s promiscuous behavior. Our self esteem is shaped by the opinions of family, friends and strangers. The more people tear it down, the harder it becomes to walk away from damaging behavior. Because after a while, you believe the awful things said about you. As a result, many victims of sexual assault become young mothers, drug abusers, alcoholics and strippers. Not only because they internalize the trauma, but also because those around them fail to help, show sympathy and compassion.
Our world needs more empathy and understanding. This site is devoted to providing just that to all victims of sexual assault.