I Am Not A Whore!
By Rae Lewis-Thornton
May 20, 2011
This piece originally appeared in Rae's blog, Diva Living With AIDS.
I am not a whore! But it's true, I've been having sex almost as long as I've lived. I broke my virginity when I was 13, which was a decision I made based on what I thought I knew was the best decision for me. It was a totally wrong decision based on faulty information.
I am not a whore! But at 6 years of age I was raped repeatedly ... And my rapists names changed over the years, but the rape remained the same ... And by the time I was 9 years old it was common for me to wipe blood and semen off my 9 year old vagina.
I am not a whore! But by the time I was 18, I knew that I knew I could please a man in bed and I took some misguided pleasure out of that fact.
I am not a whore! My decision to break my virginity at 13 was connected to my rapes from ages 6-9. You see, I was taught by actions and deeds from the men in my family that this is what you do for love. This is what you do when you love someone and when you have a "special" relationship.
I am not a whore! Simply because my mother called me one to justify why she remained in a relationship with a man who was grabbing my breast. Her low self-esteem fueled my low self-esteem.
I am not a whore! As a woman I was taught by society that I must find the right man to love and protect me ... No matter how successful you are, your life is not complete without that man!
I am not a whore! I used to believe that the love of a man was the best thing since sliced bread. But then I learned that bread molds ... And in the end self-love was the best love.
I am not a whore! I used to believe if I choose wisely, i.e., rich, accomplished, fine, educated, Christian, it would keep me safe. In the end, I learned that the only thing that can keep you safe is you ...
I am not a whore! But I used to think sex was love.
I am not a whore! But I used to think that chemistry with a man was friendship.
I am not a whore! This was faulty thinking ... based on information I convinced myself was true to justify what was untrue.
I am not a whore! I was actually 29 years old when I first understood that what I thought was "normal" behavior was not. I remember it as if it was yesterday. I said to my therapist, "I've always been this sexual person. I've been having sex since I was 6 years old." And she said, "Rae, how does a 6 year old have sex with a 20 year old?" I cried for two weeks for me ... The woman who had no idea that all these years she had been raped and not just having sex.
I am not a whore! It took almost another 15 years to cry for the little girl who never knew what it was to be a little girl.
I am not a whore! But it took even more years to actually learn what healthy behavior was.
I am not a whore! But it took even more years after I learned what healthy behavior was to actually practice healthy behavior.
I am not a whore! It took a desire, years of prayer, therapy and practice to actually be healthy.
I am not a whore as I move into this second phase of my life! At 49 years of age as of this Sunday ... Getting ready for my next half century, I know for sure, that I am bigger than any label society can ever give me.
I know for sure that I not only know better, I can actually do better ... And I do!!
I know for sure that my life and self-worth is greater than any man. And, I prefer to be alone then to give up my self-worth ever again. For years it was taken. And then for years I gave it away ... But I have it back now and no one will ever run away with my stuff again.
I am not a whore! But a wonderful child of God! Shaped in God's perfect image ...
Post Script: I hope and pray that what you think you know is truth ... Otherwise, faulty information will leave you wounded and broken ... Don't explain it away ... Don't make excuses.. Face it on it's face value ... The Bible says, "The truth will set you free!" This I also know for sure ...
Rae Lewis-Thornton Speaks
Rae Lewis-Thornton is an Emmy Award-winning AIDS activist who rose to national acclaim when she told her story of living with AIDS in a cover story for Essence Magazine. She has lived with HIV for 27 years and AIDS for 19. Rae travels the country speaking and challenging stereotypes and myths about HIV/AIDS. She has a Master of Divinity degree and is currently working on her Ph.D. in Church History. Rae has been featured on Nightline, Dateline NBC, BET and The Oprah Winfrey Show, as well as in countless magazines and newspapers, including Emerge, Glamour, O, the Oprah Winfrey Magazine, Jet, Ebony, the Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune, to name a few. She earned the coveted Emmy Award for a first-person series on living With AIDS for Chicago's CBS News.
Rae is an active user of social media -- read "Long-Term HIV Survivor Discovers the Power of Twitter," an article on TheBody.com about Rae's social media activities.
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