Thank You.

I woke up on my 34th Birthday with one intention: let love in.

I was thrilled by all the Birthday wishes I wholeheartedly received that day as I continue my journey back to a connection with my body, a soul case that has, for most of my life, been a stranger to me. My day of birth has never been easy, and like many things in this world, I have a detachment from it. Being forced to evacuate my body at 4 years old because a monster made a choice to invade and steal my childhood is the primary reason that I have always woken up on the seventh of every July with an unexplainable emptiness. I would always ask myself, “How can I celebrate a life that I can’t wholly remember and was not allowed to live properly?” It has only been in the past three years that I have started to “like” it, but it was always a game day decision; whatever I felt when I woke up on my Birthday was the wave of emotion that I was going to ride.

It has been a little over twenty months since my first speaking engagement, and the number one question I get asked is why I have chosen to do “this” publicly, why I choose to blog, to speak, to rant, to rave. My answer has stayed the same; nothing positive came from staying silent. In silence, I was cutting, purging, bingeing, over exercising, depressed, suicidal, you name it, it was happening. I don’t know about you, but I like the whole Breaking My Silence thing a whole lot better. I woke up on the morning of my thirty fourth with no shame of my traumas and acceptance that I will never receive apologies from my abusers. But I have also accepted that as long as I am alive, I will always be a work in progress, and that I am living life with intention now, instead of waiting to die. Thank you to everyone that has stood by me, you guys are my real family. And to those that have walked away, you guys have been my greatest teachers, teaching me that rejection is protection in disguise, and that silence is, I believe, a staple in the cultural identity of Asians.  I am thankful to these people for clearing so much room for amazing possibilities. My fellow survivors, in the wake of our monsters destructions, we will always rise victorious. One day at a time. ‘Coz they win when your soul dies.

Speech at the Victor Walk Vancouver – May 23, 2013.

When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid. A quote by Audre Lorde, Activist.

Sexual abuse can occur in any neighbourhood. The abuser can be of any age, race, or economic status. In most cases, the abuser is not a stranger, but someone of close relation to the family, even a relative. Both the abuser and victim can be both male or female. So what does this mean?

It means that no one is exempt.

So how can I attest to this?

Well sexual abuse happened to me – in my own home, more than once, at different times of the day, at different ages. The abuser was very well known to my family. He was my paternal grandfather. He betrayed my trust, invaded my personal space and body, stripped away my feelings of self-worth and love, shattered my self-esteem, and he stole and murdered my childhood. He threatened me with separation from my loved ones when he cornered me on one occasion and said “Don’t tell anybody about this, do you want to ruin your family?”

It wasn’t just the acts itself that were destructive, but what happened to me after; my difficult aftermath, which included depression, self-injury and extensive loss of autobiographical memory.

Abuse thrives in silence and these kinds of secrets are wrong to keep. It took years to break my code of silence and tell my parents, because I wasn’t equipped with the proper language to explain to somebody what had happened to me. Back then, sexual abuse wasn’t talked about in my highschool, and if it was, I know I would have broken my silence much sooner. Did you know that 1 in 3 females and 1 in 6 males in Canada experience some form of sexual abuse before the age of 18? That statistic needs to change and it starts with creating awareness. In fact, I strongly believe that abuse education should be mandatory in schools, that it should be part of the curriculum.

Our silence is their protection, and they don’t need to be protected. I feel that when you break your silence, you create space for others to share their stories as well.

I am not alone. You are not alone. This Victor Walk today is proof of that. Thank you to Theo Fleury and The Victor Movement for creating space for me to share.

In the wake of this monster’s destruction, I rise victorious.