by Gina Mellish · 22 Jun 2020 · 7 min read
My life changed when I was raped, a part of me became completely lost, lonely, and utterly without hope.
Some outfits will forever remain ingrained in our subconscious long after we remove the clothes from our bodies. These articles of clothing often remind us of pivotal memories, from the first day of middle school to our senior prom. If you are fortunate, your garment will never carry traumatic memories, but for those who are victims of rape escaping these memories is almost impossible.
Reflections for the hip-hop songstress.
I don't know what my race is. I mean, I know I don't identify as one race. And to feel forced to choose is a specific cruelty that I would like to uproot. My skin is brown, so I knew the road of least resistance would be to identify as Black. Any hints at suggesting otherwise would accost me as one who is trying to deny my "race." I was born in the beautiful land of Guyana, known as "the land of six peoples." I grew up there until age 12, and I think it is for this reason that I never saw myself as any one thing. Indeed, it was even strange to me to have to identify my race in America, as I found it such an odd and useless construct —useless that is, other than for racism.
Your best friend just got back from her honeymoon and you can't wait to hear all about it, but she still hasn't replied to your text. Now weeks have gone by, and all you've gotten was a quick response. You think to yourself: "Did I drink too much at the wedding?" "Was my present lame?" "Did I say something wrong?" No, chances are nothing you have done or are doing right now is wrong. You've just entered a different phase in your relationship: the spare tire.
Why is work the number one place where adults make most of their friends? Because consistency is one of the three relationship requirements, and there's nowhere we're more consistent in our lives than where we're paid to show up regularly. Work is to adults as school is to kids: the best place to interact frequently with the same people. But what happens to all those work friendships—whose consistency relied upon sharing a breakroom, sitting beside each other, chatting in the hallway, or connecting briefly after meetings—when so many of us are now working remote?
In early March, stay-at-home orders were put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Suddenly people across the world were instructed to quarantine at home. For most people, inside the walls of their home is a place of security and solace. For others, home can be a dangerous place of abuse.In an instant, domestic violence victims around the world became isolated with their abusers causing domestic violence reports to increase by 35% in the United States, according to the World Health Organization. With social isolation and the stress of the unknown, the coronavirus pandemic started to breed dangerous situations at home where violence may have never previously shown its face. Domestic violence quickly became an epidemic within the pandemic.
Forget the typical post-break protocol, the healing process from an unhealthy relationship is a long and complicated road. It wasn’t until I found a community of survivors that I felt brave enough to share my story, educate others and lead by example that relationship abuse doesn’t define you.
Growing up I was trained to think that relationship abuse was purely physical. This way of thinking that I and so many other young people have come to know has led unhealthy relationship behaviors go unrecognized and tolerated simply because we were not given the tools to identify them.