My heart breaks for you. My body yearns for you.

And my mind has only hate for you.

Bethany

The Truth of the Monster

I thought I had found the man, third time’s the charm right?

You looked at me with something in your eyes – something other than lust.

Wanting something more than domination, manipulation, and control.

But you ripped me apart, leaving a bloody mess.

 

I became yours for the taking – I felt dirty.

You never asked for consent and you didn’t stop when I said no.

Only physical force saved me – my physical force.

Once again I was violated by a man who wanted to be a pastor.

 

I blamed myself for every girl after me – every one who you hurt next.

But I wouldn’t let the monster of what you did escape from my lips.

I wouldn’t let the bile rise up – I swallowed it down.

I prayed that the others are fine and that no more will be hurt.

 

I justified what you did to me and to them.

Over and over I justified the things you did.

But then some days my head is clear from your grasp.

And I know – I know that what you did can’t be justified.

 

So one day my mind was crystal clear.

And I made my choice in that clarity.

Phone calls were made and cars were borrowed.

A long night in the police station after hours.

 

So I told – I opened my mouth and the monster came out.

The dark mess came out slowly, then all at once, like bile I couldn’t keep down.

I told the police but I didn’t want charges.

I wanted a record for those after me, for those who might come.

 

But then I went back and I told home – our home – yours and mine.

Because even there I needed there to be a something for those to come after me.

I knew there were some to come – I was the frontrunner.

I was the trailblazer for those hurt by you.

 

I told and the monster came out in our home.

Bile rising up – tears pouring out.

I spoke those words you begged me not to.

The truth burned out – I don’t know if even I could have stopped them.

 

In the end even you – even you admitted it.

No punishments happened to you, not a single one.

And I was the one who received the backlash.

Maybe that was the truth of the monster.

Bethany

Don’t Get Too Close: It’s Dark Inside

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When you feel my heat
Look into my eyes
It’s where my demons hide
It’s where my demons hide
Don’t get too close
It’s dark inside
It’s where my demons hide
It’s where my demons hide

– Imagine Dragons

So my anger and pain finally caught up to me and I wrote “to” the guy who sexually assaulted me and who I tried to get justice against. I feel like a horrible person. I feel crazy. I feel ridiculous. But this is what’s inside. My pain and my horrid disgusting inability to forgive. My problem with playing victim. My demons. So here they are; no more hiding.

Letters to Carson: Day 1 through Day 40

#ProjectBandTogether

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So a wonderful person started this thing called #projectbandtogether because one of her friends was bullied for wearing a headband. This hashtag is a way for the stories of those who have been bullied to share their stories and know that they are not alone. I also wanted to let people know that I won’t be returning to Houghton College. This explains some of that.
So I’m here to tell you mine, and maybe some will think it’s over sharing. I don’t think so. I want people to know that these things happen. These things happen in college. They happen from a young age. They can affect you. I honestly cannot remember a time in my life that I was not struggling with bullying. I also love headbands so this project is definitely something I wanted to be involved in, although it took me quite awhile to type this up because I’m at camp. So here it goes, it’s a long one friends.
I can’t even remember what the earliest instance was. Whether it was my “best friend” making fun of me and telling me I was fat, ugly, annoying, unlovable, and making me self-conscious about the size of my breasts, or older guys making fun of my wild hair. Some would go as far as to tell me that I was “uglier than a horse’s ass” even though I didn’t know them well. Older boys at my brother’s soccer games would shove me around and poured Gatorade down my shirt while calling me ugly. No matter what age I can always remember guys and girls telling me I looked like shit.
Sometimes this would go as far as to include the people who liked me. People who liked me even just as friends were laughed at because they liked me. My childhood “best friend” would manipulate situations and friendships for a worse outcome for me. Often this included her lying to people and trying to date every guy I liked, in turn this lost me a lot of friends and thought that I just wasn’t good enough.
It didn’t stop there with friends though. I would call emotional abuse an extreme extent of bullying, which is something I experienced from some of my exes. One would constantly tell me I was ugly and that no one other than him would ever love me. I was often told by him how lucky I was to have him. When he left he told me I was only worth my breasts. He was degrading, sexist, and verbally abusive. His next girlfriend constantly posted about me, calling me ugly and crazy, and got my old youth group to join in as well. They named the youth group bus the “I hate Bethany Bus.”
So I left that friend group. It helped that I moved, and I thought everything was great. It was for awhile, I met a great guy and we started dating. The problem was after our relationship that the bullying and abuse appeared. He was abusive and malicious, putting me down in every way, and mess with my mental instability. At the end he told me had been trying to get me to kill myself. Why? To see if he could.
So I’ve faced a lot. And though I’ve faced a lot of bullying – never have I experienced it quite like I did while at Houghton College.
Walking into Houghton College I was bullied. I was bullied for the guy I had dated who was a local. I was bullied and gossiped about for the action I took against him with my college. Then…Yik Yak happened. If you don’t know what Yik Yak is, it’s a lovely location based app for college students to post anonymously. Sounds like a grand idea yeah? Nothing could possibly go wrong. Right?
Freshman year I picked up what we call a yik yak name, “Red.” Which makes it easier for people to pick you out on campus (it helps that Houghton is small and I’m one of the few people with red hair.) This name was originally started up by someone being nice to me – but very quickly did I become one of the people Houghton’s Yik Yak focused on – and not in a good way. The posts varied from talking about how ugly I was, how annoying I was, how weirdly I walked, what a bitch I was, how I needed to leave campus, how fat I was, and a couple times talking about and making fun of me being raped and my sexual assault. I was called damaged goods. I was called a liar. I was told to kill myself.
There were times I was afraid to leave my room. There were times I was too embarrassed to leave my room. There were times I would get depressed. There were times I would get suicidal.
I’m here to tell you that this is not okay. I have not had it the worst – not by a long shot. That is not okay. No one should hate themselves. No one should be subjected to destructive words. No one should reach a point where they want to stop living.
But I’m getting through it. I’m doing things that I need to do to be healthy. I’m trying to cope. I’m trying to separate myself from the toxic things. But I need you all to know something.
There are good people. You need these people.There are people who will support you. There are people who will fight for you. It is not an easy thing to overcome on your own. I don’t know if I could have done it without my friends.
While circumstances outside of my control are holding me back from returning to Houghton next semester, my friends have encouraged me to do what’s best for me. My friends do not want me to return to Houghton, because they know the toll it’s taken on me. (Spoiler! one of them is Liv) They know how toxic Houghton and some of it’s students were to me. My friends have fought for me through every step of the way. They have protected me and held me up. I would not be here without them, even the little things have saved me. I don’t even think they know how much their little things were huge to me. Asking me to eat with them? A hug? Being complimented? It meant the world to me.
Be like them. Be the person who protects others. Be the person who helps. Be the person who encourages. Be the person that stops bullying it’s tracks.
-Bethany

Today…

Today I confronted my rapist. It has been 4 years and I finally told him exactly what it was. I’ve alluded to the fact but this time I said the word rape and I stood by my stance.

Maybe you think nothing of this, but this is a huge step for me. This man had such a mental hold on me even though it was years ago. He was mentally abusive and controlling. In some ways, he still is. He was the man who had me believing that I was lucky he was interested in me.

I confronted him and while he didn’t believe me, I was finally able to feel like I might be able to move on from that moment. I accepted it. I stood up for myself. I can’t change his mind and I don’t need to.

Today I am proud of myself.
Today I am strong.
Today I am more than what he did to me.
Today I am making the healing begin.

Bethany

These Lies I Believe and the Swords I Pierce Them With

My head and heart of full of them. Full of lies and disgustingly false things. Lies. 

You’re ugly

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful. I know that full well.” Psalm 139:13-14

You’ll end up alone

“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” Psalm 139:7-10

No one loves you

“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 5:19

Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love youI will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life.” Isaiah 43:4

You’re a failure

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

You can’t do anything

“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13

You’re pathetic

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

God has abandoned you

“God has said: Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

You’ve sinned so many times, this one thing won’t matter

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it-he will be blessed in what he does.” James 1:22-25

“What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?” James 2:14

Your body is worthless

“Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Luke 12:7

God isn’t with you

“Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.” Isaiah 58:9

That little mistake has destroyed everything

“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” Isaiah 1:18

You will never be good enough

“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

Your fear will overcome you

“So we say in confidence, The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:6

“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

Bethany