The reason I have chosen to trash my beautiful wedding dress is that it is a symbol of both beauty and a bright future, while trashing is a representation of shedding the pain, fear, and struggles of the past. The ability to help raise funds to help a place that can change the lives of women and children in emergency need touches my heart to the core. At one point, I was that woman in need.
let me share my story with you and the world.
As a young person, I never had to deal with seeing violence, aggression, or pain in the form of a marriage or a relationship. My family was intact and many of my friends' families also were just that typical happy family. I never saw that in the real world, there is so much more than the painted beauty on the surface.
I learned this reality first hand. I was 18 when I experienced my first taste of manipulation by a man, someone I worked with who told me he was only 3 years older than me, but in reality, he was 11 years older. I never had much of the attention of boys when I was younger so of course I because infatuated by this person making me feel special. He convinced me to disobey those I trusted, act out at work, put myself at risk by attempting new things, and even walk an entire length of a highway just cause he wanted me to come to see him. He even had me convinced that I didn’t need to go to post-secondary, I had him. This was a big deal as I was a top academic and all I dreamed of was post-secondary. I was brainwashed though, and I almost did throw it all away. The only way out was being fired...... I thought that was the end.
But.....all this did was set me up for even more danger.
While attending post-secondary, I stumbled upon an older handsome boy in my class who took me under his wing. On the surface, it was the best time of my life. I made a load of new friends, was wooed upon, and felt more accepted than I had been in a long time. But behind closed doors, it was a completely different story, It was at the hands of this boy that I lost my virginity - in the form of rape. This occurred more times than I can count. No one ever questioned my bruises or timidness. I never spoke out about it. I lived in a constant state of shame and fear of both allowing this to happen to me, but also what everyone would think of me. The abuse continued for an extensive amount of time in all forms - physical, emotional and mental degrade, taking all money I earned, starving me, and treating me like I was a slave. I knew that this was wrong but something told me that I couldn’t escape. It took some close people physically removing me from the home we shared to temporarily remove me from the abuse. Sadly this did not end it and things got worse. The brainwashing had me still being manipulated and controlled, so much that I was convinced to move to a new city and tell no one where I went. This was so he could simply once again have control. This lead to another year and a half of abuse where I was physically beat daily, to a point of near-death multiple times. He was in the same program as me, worked at the same places as me - all so that he could maintain his control. So many people saw what was happening, heard the screams but did nothing.
This is where my story took a turn. Somewhere inside me, it told me this was enough. One late afternoon, I had the courage to sneak out a window and try to seek help. I didn’t know where I was going or if I was going to find worse trouble in a big city, but I was determined to not die. This is where I stumbled upon a Women’s shelter. I was scared but I knew that this was a place that would be able to help me. I was welcomed in with open arms, provided some warmth in the form of compassion and someone to just let out all my feelings to. They offered me more than I could ever imagine in the form of support. It was with the guidance I received that I was able to get the courage to call my family and close friends and tell them where I was, and to find a way to get out of the place I was stuck in. It was the first step of breaking my chain of fear.
I would like to say that after this, everything started to get better, but that is not my story. I was enrolled in school, so I still saw my abuser every day at school and he made sure to still in ways try to manipulate me. I was determined to make something good of the situation of being in the big city- and I did - I completed by studies and moved out of the area as soon as I could.
even with the arsenal of information and guidance that I had gathered from the shelter, I still endured multiple situations wherein a male would take advantage of me and enforce abuse of some form on me - it was a vicious cycle.
it took my best friend great effort to pop that bubble of fear and pain. They opened my eyes to the realities of my life and what I had been allowing to happen to me. I slowly came out of the fog, started to piece together why I had allowed myself to be abused by so many people and not fight back. I contacted the shelter I had first visited and was directed towards multiple programs that allowed. me to filter through my experiences and begin to heal. I learned more about my recessed mental illness, about my personality type, and essentially how I needed up trapped in these situations. If it wasn’t for the women’s shelter, I would have either ended up dead or be still on the wrong path in life.
I still am growing and working through the everlasting effects of the abuse, but I also found my light. I was lucky enough to get married, secure a career and have a spunky little girl of my own.
in short, I want to raise funds for CAWES so that more women and their children can be offered that same feeling of safety I received, the same kindness, and the same guidance out of the storm. I want to represent the survivors of abuse, to show those suffering that there can be a beautiful future on the other side. I want to be a role model for my daughter and to show her that no form of abuse is ok and there is always someone who will take care of her if she falls into a trap as I did.
To those who are victims or survivors of abuse, let me be your representative and let me trash my beautiful dress to represent each of us letting go of the pain, the fear, the anger, and the hurt. Let it all out and be washed away with the water and into the dirt of the earth rid your heart of the darkness.
This is my healing, but also my way to try to help someone else not have to live through what I did.
This is me setting the example for my young daughter.
if you feel compelled to, I would appreciate your help in raising funds for CAWES and help me to raise as much money as possible to trash the heck out of my dress and keep this critical faction running.
Thank you for allowing me to share my story with you.
God bless <3
*** Please note that if you choose to donate to indicate that the donation is for the Trash Your Dress for CAWES - for bride Jennifer McFadden so that your donation will count towards my totals. ***