A couple of years ago, I attended a women’s conference in Dayton, Ohio called the Tell Your Story Conference created by Chandi Rae. One of her speakers was a woman by the name of Jasmine Frazier. This was the first time she was telling her story publicly and I couldn’t believe what it must have been like to walk in her shoes as a child sexually abused by her stepfather.
After the conference, I reached out to Jasmin and asked to interview her for and in-depth story for The Weight She Carries. When I listened to her tell me her story during our interview, I was amazed by her strength, wisdom and grace, and how she has been so intentional about her healing process.
She talked about the internal conflict within her as a child when the only man she knew as father abused her trust.
The critical moment
What I want to focus on about Jasmine’s story today was a critical part of her healing journey – when she finally told her mother about the abuse she had endured for so many years at the hands of her stepfather. Her mother’s response surprised Jasmine.
“When I told her what happened, I didn’t get the reaction that I wanted. I wanted to see anger, I wanted to see rage, but instead all I got was silence. She was just shaking her head and cursing to herself. To this day, my mother and my abuser are still married.”Jasmine Frazier
It can feel deflating when we open up to someone and don’t get to the reaction we expected. Especially when the person we are vulnerable with has the power to advocate for us and demand justice. We lean on them hoping they will take up our cause and fight for us when we don’t feel empowered to fight for ourselves. We hope that what we say will lead to some form of change; and when it doesn’t, it hurts.
In her story, Jasmin went on to explain why she believes her mother reacted the way she did. I admire Jasmin for giving her mother such grace at what had to have been an excruciating time.
So, what do we do when we don’t get the response we hoped for?
- Accept the fact that some people do not have the emotional capacity to help you the way you would like. They may love you deeply but not have the ability to give you what you need. Give them grace. You don’t know what they may be dealing with themselves. Their own issues may hinder them from being there for you in a way that you had hoped.
- Focus on your part. By opening up, you gave them the opportunity to help you. If they choose not to act on the information you have given them, that is a decision they will have to live with. Take pride in the fact that you were brave enough to speak your truth. You did your part. Stay focused on the things that are within your control.
- Let God have the final say. There is nothing that escapes God and even though it may not look like it, God has a way of working things out for our good. Trust him to be your advocate. We many not always find what we need from the people we expect it from, but God will send help through someone else.
Read Jasmine’s story below and tell us what some of your takeaways are!
Vimbai E. is a writer, journalist, ghostwriter and the founder of The Weight She Carries. With hundreds of articles publishing online, in print and for broadcast, her love of language and storytelling shines through every piece of writing that bears her name.