No more suffering in silence
After being molested as a child, Laverne Rosita Davis was almost silenced by shame.
She didn’t feel she had the courage or confidence to speak up about what had transpired. There was even some fear that she might be judged by others in the community.
But after confronting some of those issues in counselling and finding strength through her faith in God, Ms Davis decided now was the time to speak up.
Her new book Do You Know Who You Are Sitting Next To? outlines her own personal journey from being a child victim of molestation to an adult learning to heal from the scars left from the abuse.
She hopes the book will empower others and help them to see they’re not alone.
“A lot of people are not aware about what’s going on or want to stick their heads in the sand when it comes to molestation,” Ms Davis explained. “But it’s here and it’s real and we don’t want to face this.
“I wrote this book to help anyone who is struggling and can’t talk about it and needs help. I want people to know they can get through this and shouldn’t let their molesters define who they are.”
Ms Davis was just seven-years-old when she was first molested. The pain from the traumatic experience led her to make a series of bad choices later in life, she said.
Some people criticised her for the behaviour, but didn’t understand the hurt that was causing it.
However after reading the book she hopes people will start to think and empathise before they pass judgement on others.
“I want people to consider things like ‘Is there someone in my life who I might be judging who is going through something like sexual abuse?’ Or ‘could it possibly be there’s a molester that is sitting next to me at the office or wherever’?
“That was really powerful to me because there were times in my life that people didn’t understand my behaviour, but they really didn’t know why I was acting that way.
“And sometimes you don’t know why you are [acting out] yourself, so when I was able to talk and be open about my experiences and go through the process with my faith it helped a lot.
“Today I stand by the verse in Philippians 4:13 ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’.”
It took three months to formally write the book. A lot of the material was taken from a lecture she did in Trinidad back in 2010.
During that presentation she revealed her story to a wider audience using a pseudonym, her middle name Rosita.
Then during the last part of the lecture she revealed she was talking about her own life; many people were shocked.
Ms Davis, a volunteer for local sexual abuse awareness charity SCARS (Saving Children And Revealing Secrets), got another push to share her story while training with the local non-profit organisation.
She realised that many things she went through are common with victims of sexual assault.
“That’s when I knew I had to write it,” she said.
The author believes there are still many people afraid to speak up about abuse they suffered; some because it was at the hands of a trusted friend or family member.
But her new book might start a wider dialogue on the Island, she said.
“We can’t stop anything 100 percent but we can make people aware and go put boundaries in place.
“So it’s comforting knowing it’s not just me talking about it, there’s an organisation like SCARS working towards educating people and that’s powerful because it has taken so long for this to happen.”
Ms Davis’ book will be available for sale at Caesar’s Pharmacy for $25. Anyone interested in copies of the book, can also e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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