“If you are the light, you cast away the darkness”
~Lee Man Hee
With all the reports of Bill Cosby in the news the past week it has brought to the forefront the issue of abuse.
Unfortunately these stories are far too common. Within the yoga community the past couple of years we’ve heard stories about John Friend, Bikram and Kausthub Desikachar to name but a few.
The predators are often charismatic individuals in a position of power and can be quite manipulative. They convince their victims it’s normal, that there’s something wrong with them, that it’s their fault.
If a victim does have the strength to speak out often they are put on trial. Their motives are questioned, their lives are torn apart, all the while they are having to relive what they went through over and over.
Many victims don’t speak up out of shame and fear and these predators count on their victim’s silence.
This is a personal story for me and its not one I’ve spoken up about for the exact reasons I mentioned above. I was ashamed, I blamed myself, I questioned everything that happened and tried to convince myself that it wasn’t that bad. It took me 4 years to even admit to myself what had truly happened and then I only told one person. A person I knew I could trust and who wouldn’t judge me for what happened. To this day there are only 4-5 people who know the full story. Until now.
Whilst I found peace and acceptance with what happened to me a few years ago it was still not something I ever talked about. I kept it hidden in the dark.
The past couple of years with all the stories emerging within the yoga community itself let alone in society at large I have felt a desire to come forward and tell the truth about what happened to me. Just recently when I was on retreat in Byron considering what I wanted to do I read this quote
“I am not a victim. I am the lighthouse”
I felt it was a sign for me to speak out.
I wont go into details but a few years ago when I was in a very vulnerable state and someone I trusted and who I saw as a teacher took advantage of that vulnerability. Whilst I wasn’t raped there was inappropriate touching and trying to manipulate me, thankfully I was strong enough to put a stop to it. Boundaries were crossed, it was abuse, and it is NOT ok. It was also NOT my fault. I have NOTHING to be ashamed about and I DO NOT blame myself.
We need to bring these stories into the light. If by telling my story I can help prevent this from happening to someone else. Or if I can help someone start to find peace with their story then it will be worth it.
For anyone who has been through any form of abuse whether it be physical, mental or sexual please seek help from others. Whether it be friends, family or any of the organisations that are out there to help.
Have courage to find the light. Be the Light.