Does My Abaya Offend You?

Let’s reflect on this. This picture is from the “Glow Photo Series: Philly Edition.” I purchased my Abaya in preparation for the Dubai Blackout trip last year. When I wear my Abaya I feel beautiful. I feel empowered. I feel LOVE.

Wearing my Abaya is a personal tribute to that little black girl lost that finally found herself. At 14-years old when I was raped I had on a similar outfit. It was Forest Green. Loose fitting. Long and flowing. Oftentimes when Rape victims share our stories the first question is: “What did you wear?” It’s classic “victim blaming.” The assumption is if you wear certain clothing (short skirts, tight jeans, revealing clothes, etc.) you are “asking to be raped.” This is FALSE!!! The truth: Rapists Rape. It doesn’t matter what you wear. Time of day. What you look like or any of the many assumptions people come up with to victim blame and shame. Unfortunately people still ask intrusive questions and think this way. If you do it please stop asking these questions it’s extremely offensive and insensitive. 😔😔😔

I’ve periodically posted pictures in my Abayas of various colors. I love the way they flow and enjoy the vibrant colors. Each time I post I get comments or inbox messages saying: Why did you wear that? You look fat in that garb. 😑 Are you Muslim now? 🤔 I’ve even been told I can’t dress and need a fashion consult because of my Abaya. 😫 It’s a shocking what people freely feel the need to say. It’s rude and offensive.

I proudly come from a predominantly Islamic family, it’s a large part of Philadelphia and our history. The Nation of Islam is very prominent in my city. I’m Christian. I’m troubled that it concerns others so much what religion I am or what I wear. Why? Why is it necessary to comment on someone else’s attire? Does my Abaya offend you? Are you uncomfortable that I’m comfortable being fully clothed in my garb? I love who I am and what the Abaya represents: Beauty, Confidence and Love. 💛💛💛

The Day I Decided to End My Life

I’ll never forget the day April 5, 2012 was the day I decided to end my life. I decided on this day to end my Air Force career. I was suffering from chronic health issues and was facing an uphill battle in the military with my First Sergeant. We were friends previously and she said to me: “I’ve never seen you this sick before.” At the time she was going out of her way to make my life miserable because she didn’t understand “why” I was constantly sick and in the hospital. I would ultimately undergo surgery for a Gall Bladder Removal, Appendix Removal, and an Uterine Myomectomy to remove Endometriosis and Fibroids. If you have experienced any of these at one time imagine suffering through it in the course of a year. I was tired and felt like my body was failing me. God had other plans for my life and sent the Chaplain to intervene when I wanted to give up on life. The Chaplain prayed over me and immediately I felt a sense of relief. Chaplain Burrell saved my life.

By July 2012 I opted to separate from the Air Force and start a new life. I had no idea what was in store. But God! I landed by first job post-Air Force after my first interview. The job doubled my Air Force salary. Since then I served as a political consultant on multiple campaigns, established a non-profit and for-profit business, and landed a highly coveted government position.

You can’t tell me GOD is not real HE intervened when I thought it would be best to end it all. I’m forever grateful to Chaplain Burrell for being called by God to pray over me. In that moment he transformed my spirit. I share this not to play victim or for sympathy but to give HOPE to others who may be in a dark place. Don’t give up. Keep pushing. God may close many doors in your life. It’s not the end it’s the beginning of a new journey. Move forward. Trust God.

~Love, Simply Ebony