Dear Brown Girls Who were Sexually Abused
by Mia Dunlap
Dear Brown Girls,
I failed you. When I kept quiet about the times my cousins touched me because we were playing “house” and I was the mother even though I was 6 (7 and 8) and they were 13–17. I failed you when I waited 20 years before I told my mom. And when I was 13, the 27 year old drug dealer lured me into his car, making me think it was my choice because he asked and I said yes — I was silent for 12 years to follow. I failed you because I wanted to be called “strong” and “good” and admitting I got tricked made me feel weak and bad and dumb. I (thought I) couldn’t afford to be seen as “bad” or dirty” or “wrong”… I’m sorry. I made this apology to myself already and today I want to make it to you, too, for the unintended impact. I now know that strength doesn’t mean silence. And going forward, strength is not only crying for you, not only standing for you, not only speaking up in spaces that would otherwise silence me, but also doing the most revolutionary thing — to LISTEN to you… and hold space for you, space that I didn’t know how to hold for my little girl, the inner me. Dear brown girls, you count. Your voice does, too. You are still magic. You are still amazing. Even with wounds. Even with stories. You matter.
A healing sister