I’ve been struggling since going to jury duty the other day with the idea of labels. Specifically, of labeling myself a “domestic violence survivor” and a “rape survivor.”
Right now, I’m not sure if those labels are helping me or hurting me, and I need to make a decision about this topic pretty quickly.
Because I’m debating whether to become a public speaker on domestic violence, with the aim of educating women’s groups — and men’s, too, if I can — about what domestic violence really is and the cost to society and to women’s power in society.
I think I can help people. My book is helping people — at least, I think it is. People are finding it and buying it, which feels really good.
But it’s a whole different thing, putting myself out there in person, even if I use a pseudonym or just give my real first name. It means that I’ll have those labels on me, labels I worked for a long time to keep secret from everyone but my family, who knew the truth about my life.
I’m so much more than those labels. I know that now. I’m actually a real human being, with desires and dreams and goals I’m pursuing every day, now that I have accessed them and know what they are. I’m not sure if I want to use my voice any louder than having written the book, when it comes to domestic violence, marital rape and child sexual abuse.
At the same time, I know that I could use my writing and speaking skills in a powerful way.
I can’t ignore this internal dilemma, because it won’t just go away. I will need to make a decision. Soon.