Joi Miner and Bonnie Jones: one and the same

I would have to say that the hardest part of recovering from sexual assault is moving on with your life. Dating is always so difficult for so many reasons. First, there is the insecurity. You feel unwanted. Undesirable. You cannot trust the person that you are with. Why would they want you? Can they not see the scarlet letter branded on your chest? The sorrow behind your eyes? And what’s worse, you always fear that they may hurt you as well. Getting over these hurdles is a trying task and not at all for the faint of heart. A lot of women stumble and some, unfortunately, do not finish the race. They close themselves off from the world and allow their fears to consume them. I cry for these women, daily. I mourn the loss of the beautiful people whose lives were stolen from them. But, I mourn them as I do the part of me that will never be the same again. Keeping the memory with me always, but also knowing that there is an entire world out there that deserves to know me, in all of my beauty, in all of my glory. I live the life they fear to lead, and I live it for them as well as myself. But what is the first step? Where do you begin when you are not trying to regain your life but just continue living? The questions go on and on and there seem to be new questions leering at you every morning when you wake. What you have to do, is have the faith to step out and keep walking. Take a walk with me… Hello. My name is Joi Miner. I’m 30. 5’3”. 135 lbs. Oh, and a rape and domestic abuse survivor. This is how a speed dating conversation would go for me. If I did the speed dating thing. Or maybe a personals ad. Or the About Me section of my Facebook page. There is no way to introduce this into a conversation. There is no right time to tell a person of interest that this has happened to you. It doesn’t matter if it has been 2 minutes or 2 years, the look is the same. The reaction is the same. And that sucks. So, do you keep it to yourself and just not say anything? Do you drop it on them on the first date? Do you wait until he proposes and then tell him? It’s a really sticky situation either way. He’s either going to stay or he’s going to go. But, even if he stays, you will be seen a damaged goods. All of the strength, confidence, poise that you have possessed and will possess the entire time that he knows you will be second-guessed. I have seen it all. The man who ran for the hills. The empathetic supportive one who still touches you a little differently after he finds out. The one who places you on a pedestal and spends every waking moment, and some sleeping ones, trying to make up for every bit of wrong that every man has done to you. (And guys, if you are reading this, the last one is just damn annoying! We want to be normal, not a charity case, and this is how that makes us feel!) I can say that, I have since found love, with the most wonderful man. He was patient as I adapted to what real love felt like. He was kind and gentle when I was brash and angry. We have been through many trials, seen more peaks and valleys than the Himalayas. But we are survivors. Through the pains of one another’s pasts. Through the betrayal of friends and loved ones, on both sides. We remain standing and are stronger because of it. I want you all to read this and know that, no matter what your trials, you are not alone. You are not unlovable. There is someone out there that will love you. But, you must first, fall back in love with yourself. I Love You, Much, Much, And More. Joi

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