SURVIVING IS NOT PERFORMING by ASHLEY DIANA WREN

TRIGGER WARNING: Writing below contains discussion of sexual assault.

This is one of my most powerful pieces to date. I only wrote this yesterday and shared this during my writing class. It left people stunned and they didn’t know how to react. But I’ll be going back to Grit Uplifted every week to challenge myself. Hope some of you get a chance to read this <3

GRIT UPLIFTED EXERCISE ON OCTOBER 21st/2017
Writing prompt: Write a first person response to the Emma Forest’s quote, “We all perform. Its what we do for each other, deliberately or unintentionally.”

I know it’s been a week since the Harvey Weinstein allegations came up. As a social media influencer, I see the tweets and posts 24/7. Of course, they
Trigger me, but at the same time I know I need to speak up and act up on this.
Since, I was 5 years old, I was kidnapped and sexually abused by my biological father and was forced to work in the sex trade because of him. Since I lived with him throughout my
Whole childhood, I was forced by him to not say a word. For 15 years, till I left his handcuffs and “snake” torture I got from him, I never was to speak about it. In my culture, incest is acceptable, but sexual abuse is taboo.
At about 12 years old, I came to Canada to meet my biological mother and her husband. I was going through puberty, and found from my mother and stepfather that I was born a hermaphrodite (intersex). (NOTE: I am a person who wishes to reclaim the old gender and sexuality terms)
When she explained that to me that was a complete mind-fuck. I confided to her that I always felt as a girl, since age 5. She took that and used it to her advantage. She ended up sexually assaulting me and she denied everything. She is a child psychiatrist and at the time, had the power to commit me in a mental institution.
In 1993, she send me back overseas to Cyprus to my original abuser.
In 1994, I experienced abuse from a Greek Orthodox priest, who was a friend of my fathers. I began struggling with my faith and decided that I hated the doctrines of Christianity with a passion. Not the people who are Christians. I need to make sure that I make people understand that I don’t hate Christian people. And reiterate that it’s the doctrines of the religion and the people of power in this belief system. According to this priest who did the damage, “Children are lambs and need to be sacrificed for Jesus and God.”
Since then, I have continued experienced multiple assaults, with the most recent one happening February 27th / 2017 under the Labatts bridge by a stranger here in London, Ontario.
I had to fake it for all these years till the latest dreadful experience that I had last February. I said “No mas”, which means “No more” in Latin.
Since June 2017, I joined Opening the Circle, which is a peer support group that I began peer support work with and I began breaking my silence. I am tired right now. Everybody needs to know that times have changed. I as a survivor feel that we shouldn’t perform to please the world. Some of us suffer and hurt during this process, and we need to stop the silence due to the fear of sexual abuse. By telling our stories and enforcing the #metoo campaign we do this for each other. Definitely not deliberately or unintentionally.

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One Response to SURVIVING IS NOT PERFORMING by ASHLEY DIANA WREN

  1. Erin says:

    Ashley,

    Thank you for your bravery in sharing your story so that other folks can be assured they are not alone. It’s only through discomfort that real change can occur.

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