We all possess courage, some display it more than others, but it runs through us all. The difference is a lot of us tend to let it lay dormant; we smother it with an array of other virtues that are far easier to muster, or worse, we allow our vices to intimidate courage through the use of fear. The Oxford dictionary defines courage as the ability to do something that frightens one, or strength in the face of pain or grief. We have all at some point in our lives demonstrated acts of courage, some were small feats, others tremendous, nevertheless they were all acts of courage in the face of fear.
As a child I was courageous, reflecting on it now, I called on courage for that first leap into the water, a night with the light off, even the first day of school. All events I am sure you can relate to, however my most significant act of courage as a child, some won’t.
I remember the feeling of uncertainty to the act; I was virtually unaware of its meaning. Still, I could sense its evil. The abuse had occurred several times, on many different occasions, with every account, I gained a greater insight into what this person was and how they thought. I started to identify the cues, breaking the code to help protect others and myself. I got to know it so well that I was able to ensure I was the only person hurt.
The day I discovered what I was suffering was wrong was the day a giraffe spoke to me. I remember him as Happy Harold. However, his name is Healthy Harold. Healthy Harold was a toy giraffe, big though, that travelled around schools as part of the Life Education program in Australia. On that particular visit, I remember the van going completely dark, with little lights shining on the roof that resembled the night sky, I also remember Healthy Harold telling me the following jingle “my bodies nobodies body but mine, you touch your own body let me touch mine”. That day I saw the universe and also became aware of child sexual abuse.
I kept the truth to myself for a while, thinking and doubting that what was happening was wrong. I was that scared of nobody believing me that I devised a plan to leave no doubt in anyone’s mind. As a child I decided to let it happen again to prove that it was happening, I would also lie to this person, convincing them that I wouldn’t tell a soul. That is until I got back to so-called safety. I knew it was going to happen again; it was just a matter of when. Throughout all of this abuse I was a victim, until that day, that day I was in control and that day I became a survivor. I let it happen again, as planned, and again I swore not to tell a soul, the memory of that lie is still so vivid. My courage wasn’t needed to deal with the abuse or to tell someone about it, the courage I needed was to lie. The fear I faced that day was lying to this person’s face. I had to hold a poker face against a monster; I was that scared of not being able to sell my lie that it took every ounce of courage I had. Sold it like a boss.
It disgusts me that any human regardless of age should have to face this evil, however unfortunately it exists. I don’t want you to take away from this how awful it may have been or that it should have never happened, it did. It does. What you can do for me is understand that we are all born with courage, and a lot of other virtues, they run through us and may just need waking.
Whatever it is you fear you have the courage to face it, believe in yourself and your plan.