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  • Raye Sweezea

#MeToo, My Story

Updated: Sep 8


I can remember that day...the day my life was forever changed by a stranger, a monster whom tried to extinguish my light. It was a beautiful sunny day in December, there was a chill but winter's cold embrace had not fully taken hold. I woke in a joyful mood, happy and content in my life, in my world. My husband and I prepared our children for school as we always did during the week, waking them with breakfast and then going about our routines until everyone was ready to leave...simple, easy, life. After, Tim and I had a chance to be alone and drink our coffee, enjoying the peacefulness of our surroundings and the comfort in each other's presence. It was a beautiful day...and I was ready to venture out and run my errands while my husband, a retired military veteran who was in college at this time, stayed home to complete some much needed homework...an agreement we had arranged many months before and had always worked for us perfectly. See, I didn't mind going grocery shopping all the time, as a stay at home mother I was often cooped up in my home and enjoyed the time out and about...it was at this time I could listen to my music, loudly, and sing at the top of my lungs without anyone asking me to turn it down or trying to start a conversation with me in the middle of the chorus! It was a part of my ME time, and I really began to enjoy this time alone, out and on my own.


So, this day I didn't expect anything different...a good afternoon running errands and singing...business as usual. I would end at home, perhaps with some take out for dinner since I was gone all day, and finish my day with my family...or so I thought. It was 1:30 P.M. and I had just finished shopping at the first store...I put my bags into the back of my vehicle, as I always did, and then returned my cart, as I always did...with my doors unlocked because I was only looking away for 30 seconds, there is no way anything could happen in that time...


30 Seconds was all it took...that was all he needed was someone to laps in judgement so he could strike. I entered my car, smiling and laughing at an interaction I had with another patron...a fun conversation with a random stranger...and started up my car before putting on my seat belt. I had just bought a new CD...yes I still use CDs lol...and was looking on the back at all the songs getting ready to open the new disk when I heard a strange noise...a phone? Maybe one of my alarms? Did I leave my phone in the back of the car? I turned to look, my eyes falling on my purse and phone right behind me..."it's not my phone'", my mind said...and panic..."I'm not alone", my mind went on...fear...my eyes fell on something, someone lying in the backseat..."I have to know them, they have to be a friend, that is the only thing it can be", my rational mind tried to convince me before his hand reached around and warped around my neck. I started to fight, scream...my voice horse because of have acute bronchitis...nothing really came out. My hands clawed at his, at my door handle, at my seat belt..."No you don't" I heard him say in an eerily calm tone as my eyes lifted to the rear view mirror in time to see him place the gun to my neck...I froze. I had no idea what to do, what to think...I was frozen, scared, my soul shattering in that moment...my life forever changing...


And then...I felt them, all of them, my guides my guardians my ancestors...my mother whom had only just died 6 months before this, my father whom had passed away when I was 15...all of them, they were there with me, holding me, helping me. Even now I become choked up by the immense strength they had given me...the words they fed me as he made me drive...words that lead to him letting go of my neck so I could breathe...words that reminded him I was human, he was human, and that we were not much different from one another, I believe preventing him from hitting or beating me...words that kept him from taking my phone after he raped me...words, I believe 100% that kept me alive! Those are the details I choose to hold on to, the feeling of their strength, their light, all they did to help me, hold me...I remember my mother's anger and desire to rip through the worlds and tear him apart as well ha-ha, she was a lioness after all! But that is what I choose to focus on, that during one of the most traumatizing and life altering experiences ever...when I was physically alone...I was NOT ALONE! I do not think I can adequately articulate the amazing and aw inspiring impact this has had...nor can I ever express the amount of gratitude I have for each and every one of them for being there...it is beyond any words I know. But this is part of why I have devoted my life to the spiritual and healing work I do...this is part of my way pf honoring them and the strength they have given me and continue to give.


After he took my car keys and left my car, I took off running in the opposite direction wanting to get as far away from him as I could. He had taken my information and threatened to come find my family and I and to kill my children in front of me should I go to the police...and being in the state of mind I was in, I believed this...so I called my husband...and his world fell. I will never forget his voice, his cries of anguish, of pain...my heart broke but he kept talking, he kept himself strong and spoke with me..."Call the police...I do not care what he fucking said CALL THEM NOW! I will be right there...I am so sorry baby, I love you..." he said...his voice grabbing hold of the only strand of logic left in my mind and I called. I ran into the store while on the phone, hiding from the monster, hiding from the world...a woman over heard me, she sat with me, her arms wrapping around me as she sat. The man behind the counter called security...a few others stood by and listened, their mouths opened in shock, some in fear and worry. Another woman joined the first lady and sat with me as well, both embracing me, a stranger they had never met, in a hug as I cried on their shoulders. The first woman had to leave, she felt so torn but she had to pick up her child...understandable, obviously, she did more than she ever had to...I thanked her through tears as the other woman and I sat waiting for the police.


The next few hours...oh man the hours...are a giant blur of emergency lights, cops, nurses, and doctors as I was rushed to the hospital for a rape kit. My husband had arrived first at the store, but he then had to return home to pick up our children before he rushed to the hospital in a panic to get to me. We did not return home until after midnight, exhausted, soul sore...my children were all worried and upset, my husband distraught...I was numb, just numb, and wanting a scolding hot shower. We did not get much sleep that night, my two younger children fell out shortly after we got home, but my oldest, husband, and I...along with a friend my husband called to help him through all this...stayed up until we couldn't any longer. The next few days were filled with more police interviews, doctor follow ups, and a lot of sleep on my part...I was beyond numb and checked out, it was all so much and I was just so incredibly tired. The next day the story was in the news, I was scared but waiting to see what would happen...I was ready to go to court, to face him and let him know he did not intimidate me, he did not win...I held on to that each time I read the news article, each time my mind drifted to what had happened. But it wasn't meant to be that way...two days after the attack we received a phone call from the investigator on the case...thanks to a tip they received they were able to locate the man whom attacked me. They gathered all their resources and went to apprehend him, and it was at this time he took his own life. The case was over...he had been found...he was now gone...my husband and I slept sounder than we had for 2 nights before.


This whole experience was beyond surreal...and I am not sure surreal is a fitting enough word for how this all felt...but then it was suddenly over and I was left with having to find a form of closure in a situation where typical closure was taken from me. But, I mean, nothing in my life has ever really been typical ha-ha! So I decided my closure was going to be taking my own healing process into my own hands...I was fortunate enough to have already been seeing a wonderful psychologist for a little over a year before this, and I had some amazing support and healing souls around me...helping me, guiding me, just being there for me. I surrounded myself with these people when I could, going to events and classes where I could...learning, progressing, moving forward while working on deep soul healing and growth. The whole process was intense...but as I said, I had the privilege of having an amazing support system, both physically and spiritually, and they were often there to help hold space for me while the heaviness of it all became too consuming. But through it all I never gave up, I kept moving forward...there were times though, times I wanted to relent, to raise my hands in defeat and say I can't do this any more! But I didn't I persevered and overcame these feelings...with help, with love, with guidance I continued to do the hard work of self healing, self care, and self love...and I still continue the work to this day, helping to keep myself balanced and able to continue the work that I do.


My life is different now...it always will be...but I refuse to claim myself a victim, oh no I am not a victim. I am a survivor...and I am a thriver...through my own healing my passions grew into a desire to do for others as my support had done for me. I continued my spiritual and energetic medicines studies, delving deeper into the understanding of it all as it related in my own life...into my own journey. I began to find balance, peace within my existence, within my life as a whole...I worked through the many different traumas I had experienced, learning, growing, gaining an understanding. I had found myself more connected with the divine, with my mind, with my physical being and the earth more than ever before as I shed away old beliefs and untruths about myself...and started to fully embody who I truly was, whom I had always been. I found my voice and spoke my truths, I stood my ground in strength and courage, I became empowered, strong, whole...but I remained humble, reverent, and in complete gratitude...always willing to listen, willing to admit when I was in the wrong, admit my faults and short comings, while knowing that these did not take away from me and my strength but only added to it...I am human, I am not perfect, none of us are. I am a work in progress...and I am beautifully me and living free.


 
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