Brooke's Story

Twenty-nine years ago, in a country halfway around the world, I was raped. Until now, only a handful of people knew. I was very young, very scared, and never reported it. I wanted to just go back home and leave the experience behind me. If only it were that easy- it took a whole lot of therapy to get to a point of no longer being consumed by that night. And yet despite that all that work to rise above the trauma, I stayed silent.

I stayed quiet not out of fear of my attacker; I was lucky enough to be returning home shortly thereafter and didn’t have to live in fear of running into him again. I chose to remain silent because I knew I would be perceived as a victim, and the thought of being looked at that way for the rest of my life repulsed me more than the act itself.

I saw how that played out in my high school, and later in college. Whispers, rumors, girls who stared at the floor as they shuffled from class to class. I didn’t want to be pitied, to walk with shame on my face, to always be seen as A Girl Who Was Raped. Why should I have to endure a lifetime of being stigmatized? If I just went on like nothing happened, life would be good.

When allegations rose against Bill Cosby, many asked why some of the accusers had not come forward for decades. It caused me to see how my own silence has contributed to rape culture. Not only did it allow my attacker to get away with his crime (and potentially attack other women), it left other survivors to stand alone. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy: people stay silent because there is a culture of shame, yet the more we stay silent, the easier it becomes for people to get away with rape. Can we change this? Maybe we can, if we erase the stigma and stop defining and viewing women and men by their rape. Maybe then we will see reporting rates increase, and an end to rape culture.

Which is why, twenty-nine years later, I am giving back my silence.

I am not my rape. It is one of a million memories I carry with me, and does not define who I am. Please don’t give that night more power than it deserves. To those who know me, don’t let this change how you view me.

I am a mother.

A wife.

A lawyer.

A friend.

A daughter.

A sister.

An aunt.

An occasional blogger.

A curator of black cardigans.

An unrepentant F-bomb dropper.

An enthusiastic cook of meals my children refuse to eat.

A budding surfer

A sleep-training ninja.

A serial houseplant killer.

An underachieving Pinterest addict.

I am all of these things, but I am no longer silent.



I am a woman of faith… I think Jesus is pretty cool. I study the bible. I love my neighbor as myself. With that being said, the past election had me in a tizzy. I have been utterly disappointed and disgusted at numerous social media posts, by many people who claim to profess the same Christ that I follow. I have seen everything... from photos of dismembered, aborted babes splattered across my Facebook page, to images that painted Hilary Clinton as nothing short of a she-devil. To be honest, its sad and it does not represent the Jesus that I know. This post is addressed to two people:  the people who profess to know Jesus and those who may not. This post is not about the candidates or our now president. This is not about political parties, nor who I wish would have won. This post is about honesty, kindness… understanding… and demonstrating love… not hate… 

Dear “Christians”, 

Do you know who you follow? Do you know what you follow? Do you truly study your bible? One of my favorite scriptures is 2 Corinthians 5:20, where we as Christ followers are referenced as ambassadors. (20Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ: Be reconciled to God.) What is an ambassador? An ambassador is a representative of someone or something. By definition, we are then, representatives of Christ. Therefore, when people see us, people should then in turn see Jesus. They should see Love.… the compassion of Jesus. Which leads me to my other question… Dear “Christian,” do you know who Jesus was? Jesus was kind. He was understanding. He hung out with the outlaws and sinners of the time. He gathered twelve misfits to be his disciples. He stood up for the down and out. He broke the law and healed on the Sabbath, because he cared more about people and their condition than He did for enforcing rules. He called out judgment and put people in their place when it came to doing so to others (the woman caught in the act of adultery) He couldn't just  sit there and let a woman die at the hands of men who were flawed themselves (John 8:7 They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” 8 Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.”)  

He called people to look at their own stuff, before brandishing a flashlight on other’s issues. My Jesus cared about people. He was loving. In fact, the only times you see Jesus really "setting it off," were in scripture involving the religious know it alls. Jesus was a revolutionary. He questioned the idea that the  law trumped caring for the needs of your brothers and sisters. I believe Jesus was a feminist. He cared about equal rights. He included women in his ministry, and bucked against gender roles.  Please note that the first preacher of the gospel, was a woman. He cared about women. He cared about people. I doubt if Jesus were here, that he would post photos of aborted babies on his social media page. That’s not who he was. Just like the woman caught in the act of adultery, he would show compassion and love. I know many women who have had abortions. Not one of them has said it was easy and that they were super excited about it. It’s hard and it sucks. You have no clue why someone would chose to end a pregnancy. Truth is... it's not for you to know OR understand... However, compassion is needed. Love is needed. Dear Christian, please be aware that while you are wagging your finger at people regarding issues in which you may not relate, you may be condemning the very person who is standing next to you. Truthfully, we all have our stuff… issues… What if your “stuff” were splattered across someone’s Facebook page? What if your "stuff" were the very thing that became part of someone’s political agenda and their ticket into the White House? 

Dear Church, what are you so afraid of? In the 1960's the church led the charge on Civil Rights. Where are you in terms of civil rights for all? Where are you in terms of immigration and aiding the refugee? Where are you? I am convinced that if this were the 1960's  and if it were up to the present day church, segregation would be alive and well due to the timidity of the church. This is unfortunate and sad. Dear church, do not say that you are pro life and yet, there is radio silence when those same lives are gunned down violently by law enforcement. Dear church, don't you dare fix your lips to utter the words that you are "pro-life," when you do nothing to make sure that people in your American backyard have access to clean water. You are not pro-life...You are pro birth. There's a huge difference. Dear white church, please know that when racial chaos is happening all across America and there is no mention of it in your pulpit, your black congregants absolutely take notice. Your silence is deafening. In fact, it screams loud and clear, how little we matter to you. 

Being a person of faith, means that we have the ability to heal... to love. Many wars were started in the name of Christ. I truly believe that if Christ were here, He wouldn't be for any of it. I'm convinced that He would push the boundaries, being more like the revolutionary and rebel that He was back when He walked this earth. He would care about Black lives. He would care about women’s rights. He would care about the poor. He would care about Native Americans and clean water. He would care about immigrants, refugees searching for safety and freedom. He would care about gay people. He would care about Flint Michigan... simply because He loved people. I often wonder who would be included in Jesus' current day motley crew. Would it be the dude from your local pot dispensary? Would it be the girl from the strip club? How about the "crooked" politician? I also wonder, would He be fascinated at how He’s depicted to look like Brad Pitt. I think He would find that pretty ridiculous. One of my favorite scriptures is Psalms 145:17, (Everything God does is right- the trademarks on all His works is love…”  I believe that this scripture acts as a checklist for everything that we do. Is it right? Is it trademarked in love? 

Lastly…. Dear person who may not know Christ. I am sorry. I am sorry for this poor representation What you have seen is not who Jesus is and/or was. Unfortunately, what many of you have seen from those claiming to represent faith is hate, anger, and prejudice hiding behind a political agenda. This is not Christ, or His love. This would be people, per usual. I pray that at some point, you come across sane, beautiful people of faith that truly represent not only what would Jesus do, but who He is…