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. 💛💛💛
I survived a brutal rape by a serial rapist at 15-years-old. My rapist, told the bystanders that it was a ‘domestic issue.’ I pleaded with them to help me yet they all watched me get raped. The rape was a defining moment in my life.
I enlisted in the United States Air Force (USAF) at 18-years-old. While overseas in the USAF, I eloped and married. My husband eventually became abusive. I filed for divorce from him after a year of separation.
Later in life, I found myself in another abusive relationship. I fought through the disappointment when the courts failed to hold my abusive boyfriend accountable. He continuously violated the protective order and stalked me at my place of employment and my home.
Through all of the trials that I faced, my faith never wavered. I separated from the USAF with an Honorable Discharge. I founded The Next Chapter, Corporation, a 501c3 non-profit, dedicated to empowering victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. I launched my second business, Success Creators to provide coaching for individuals and business development. Once I opened that door to healing and wellness, the doors opened for me to follow my passion and to help others.
A poster from a social media group recently asked, “on a scale of 1-7 what are your beliefs according to the Dawkins Scale?” I thought initially, “why is this today’s discussion?” I’m definitely a 1, I believe strongly in God and know without Him I am nothing. I’ve survived so much trauma in life: CHILD ABUSE, RAPE, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, and WAR. It’s because of God’s grace that I survived and turned Tragedy into Triumph!
There have been multiple times when I questioned God and asked why He would allow so much hurt in my life? After I was raped at the tender age of 15, I turned away from God for the first time. I’ve learned without God as my center, my life spirals out of control. Sure I could have chose to hate God and hate those who hurt me. Instead, I chose love. One day at my lowest point I literally dropped to my knees and prayed. I asked God to use me as his vessel to help others heal.
Once I FINALLY started living my life God’s way I’ve been abundantly blessed. I started my non-profit “The Next Chapter,” to provide much needed resources to survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. I recently co-authored a book with my Veteran Sisters titled “Camouflaged Sisters Presents Behind the Ranks Vol I,” to share our stories. I joined my Veteran Sisters who are “Own Our Way Up,” and “Brown Girls Syndicate” in two Mastermind Groups to push our businesses, professional and personal lives forward. Finally, I launched two of my newest ventures “Simply Ebony” my lifestyle blog and “Success Creators” to help others discover their pathway to success. Everything that I have accomplished in life is because of God’s Grace.