Sunday, June 23, 2024

3 Shocking Lessons Being Raped Taught Me About Self-Love


*It was 1:00 am, and I was slipping in and out of consciousness. Weak and barely able to stand, I slowly walked the crime-ridden streets of my neighborhood, hoping to make it safely to my apartment.

With globs of blood trickling down my legs, I silently questioned why I had attracted this horrifying experience. My virginity had just been stolen from me, and I felt like my heart had been shattered into a trillion pieces.

Once I made it home, I crawled into bed, and tossed and turned for hours. I contemplated quitting college, because I no longer felt safe. Re-victimized, I had the signs of having PTSD, and was afraid to leave my apartment. Getting out of bed that morning was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. I almost sank into a deep depression, and was contemplating suicide, when I suddenly remembered the promise I made to myself when I was nine years-old.

I told myself that I would not become a statistic, and would be a hero for other people who grew up like I did. Remembering the promise helped me rise above the darkness that was determined to destroy me. Instead of having a pity-party, I used the little strength I had left in my bruised body to get to class and get my life back.

During my Psychology presentation, images of the violent attack and my muffled screams flashed through my mind. Thanks to God, I was able to complete my assignment, but deep inside, I was numb. I had detached from my body and just went through the motions of life. I was never fully present. I just did what I had to do to survive. A few years went by, and I graduated with an M.A. in Communications.

It seemed as though the night of hell had been wiped out of my memory.  It all just seemed like a bad dream that happened to someone else. Then one day, after I ended an abusive relationship, I began to question why I accepted bad behavior, and why I had a hard time loving myself. As soon as I asked myself why I didn’t feel that I deserved love, the image of my rapist appeared. My body began to shake uncontrollably, and my tears fell like a never ending waterfall. I literally felt like my soul was on fire.

As I began to analyze the night I was raped, I began to see the real truth. As my mind traveled back in time, I realized that I had never forgiven myself for being weak. I had been pissed at myself or years for not being able to fight back. For over a decade, I unconsciously punished myself by choosing toxic relationships and minimum wage jobs that didn’t serve me.  Although I dressed well, kept my appearance up, and usually received a lot of compliments, I was on the brink of self-destruction, and had been for years.

Determined to save myself from any further self-inflicted misery, I finally made the choice to forgive myself, and created a new relationship with myself and my body. With guidance and support from my loved ones, my therapist, and God, I came to the conclusion that what I believed about myself after I was raped was all false. I saw myself as weak, and foolishly believed I was not as good as everyone else.

The real truth was that I had been strong all along, because I did not let being raped stop me from graduating college with two degrees, or starting a PR business. It also didn’t stop me from loving people unconditionally. I was a forgiving person who truly wanted the best for people.  As I began to embrace who I was as a person as well as my accomplishments, I began to see myself in a new light, and embraced my inner power.

Although it was one of the most painful, humiliating moments of my life, being raped allowed me to heal old wounds from my childhood that I never knew existed. It also exposed me to my strengths, and allowed me to expose the lies that I once believed about myself. Although I would not wish being raped on my worst enemy, I was finally able to see myself as a victor and not a victim. If you are struggling from past trauma, here are some helpful tips:

  • Your Power Can Never Be Taken Away: Being raped, or dealing with any tragedy, cannot steal your power. Even though you may feel powerless, the truth is that who you are at the core, can never really change. The way you see yourself can change. In order to reclaim your power, you must use only powerful words to describe yourself, choose the best relationships, drop all negativity in your life-including toxic people, and choose non-verbal behaviors that exude confidence.


  • Let Yourself Off The Hook: When painful experiences happen to us, it can decrease our self-confidence, which affects every area of our lives. After going through a tragedy, notice how you feel about yourself. If you feel any shame or guilt, it’s best for you to learn the lessons your pain is trying to tell you, and then let yourself off the hook. Realize that you did the best you could at the time. Begin the work to release your negative emotions, so that you can start to feel more confidence. The Trauma Breakthrough Guide & Workbook: 12 Secrets to Slaying The Toxic Emotions That Are Ruining Your Life, has helpful tips and strategies for becoming more empowered. Check it out here:


  • Self-Love is Always the Lesson: Your most painful life experience can teach you how to love yourself. I used to believe that tragedies had the power to stop us from living our greatness. They can only do that when we get stuck in fear, anger, guilt or resentment. The truth is, it is through our tragedies that we are introduced to our greatest strengths. We don’t know who we really are until we are pushed to our limits.


If something painful in your life has been holding you back from loving yourself, start to do small things that make you feel good about yourself. Self-care is crucial. Treat yourself well by eating healthy, exercising, choosing to be around positive people, and doing things you love to do. When you look into the mirror, tell yourself “I love you.”  At first, you may feel like you’re lying to yourself, but the more you say it and back it up with positive actions, the more you will feel it. Self-love is a commitment we make to ourselves. No matter what happens in our lives, we can choose to use our experiences to bring us closer to love.

Florence Edwards, also known as Coach Flo, is a Certified Holistic Life Coach, published self-help author, publicist, and consultant at Publicity 911. She specializes in helping people all over the world transform fear and anxiety into success, and is an advocate for at-risk youth and former foster youth who struggle with fear and anxiety, loss, and abandonment. Her non-traditional coaching methods help people from all walks of life create greatness from life’s biggest tragedies. Flo has written two self-helps books, Heal Your Anxiety Now!, and The Trauma Breakthrough Guide & Workbook. Flo’s work has appeared in The Huffington Post, Heart & Soul Magazine, BET Centric, Foster Focus Magazine, and many others. Visit for more information.

Contact Flo at [email protected] or [email protected].

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