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My Story, my Responsibility

I have been pondering on how to share my personal experience of abuse, in a way that does not reflect the pain and confusion I had to endure. As a woman I recognize the inner conflict that young girls sit with growing up. The feelings of low self worth, grounded in relationships that lacks skills so important to families (our nurturers and protectors). What are little girls made of, what are little boys made of, sugar and spice and all things nice, snails and puppy dog tails. This picture have become a guide for so many, it certainly did for me; realizing that my fears of acceptance and losing control, was damaging my self esteem and my outlook to life. Being responsible for the choices I had to make was the only way out, instead of focusing on the pain I‘ve had to work through. I took every opportunity I had to go for counseling and held on to a belief system that made sense to me.
My vision is to help young girls assume a fundamental attitude of personal responsibility. I want to achieve this by assisting young girls and marginalised women to develop interpersonal skills which will better their chances for assuming responsibility. Instead of emphasizing what has been done wrong in the past, we should be able to deal with conflicting choices, which affects our existence with a sense of acceptance and autonomy. Educational disparities further diminish women’s opportunity for empowerment. We not only learn from the consequences of our behaviour provided by other people, but from the consequences or feedback we receive from our feelings. The opportunities which were presented to me became beacons of hope, making sense of being raped at age 12, escaping in seeking affections and a sense of love and making bad relationship choices. Support structures became a sense of relief, an awaking of a new day when I realised what opportunities awaited me. Worldpulse like so many other interventions have become a gate way of opportunities for me to share with other women in safe spaces. I’m intrigued by all the people I can connect with and learn from. I want to collaborate to offer an online training service, making available skill sets to women and young girls that will allow them to make informed choices that diminish engaging in self-defeating thinking.

Accessing self-help information, and life skill programmes helped me in overcoming my confusion and offered hope of a “better me”. It didn’t happen without rethinking, questioning and unlearning the feedback of “you not good enough” “you responsible for what happened to you”. This learned behaviour became further clouded in how I perceived the messages I received from significant others in my life. Having an absent mother, made my adolescent years challenging. Constantly, wanting her affection knowing, that should she find out about my walking around, would be disappointed. She must be proud of me, not look at me with disgust? As a child I buried my true feelings, thinking, and acting in ways to gain approval. I became quite good at being alienated from my feelings.

I am stronger now; I can make choices as to how I behave.

One of the main skills in relating to others is the capacity to relate well with yourself.
Though other people and my circumstances may be difficult, nobody can remove the necessity for choice from me or you.

This story was written for World Pulse’s Girls Transform the World Digital Action Campaign.

World Pulse believes that women's stories, recommendations, and collective rising leadership can—and will—bring girls greater access to education which will transform their lives, their families, and communities. The Girls Transform Campaign elicits insightful content from young women on the ground, strengthens their confidence as women, and ensures that influencers and powerful institutions hear their stories.
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Comments

libudsuroy's picture

Such candor and authenticity,

Such candor and authenticity, such self-knowledge and self-acceptance. And the boldness to put forth a vision of the future for yourself and other girls and young women! Thank you so much for sharing your experience.

Blessings,
libudsuroy/Lina Sagaral Reyes
Mindanao, The Philippines

''Every Day is a Journey and the Journey itself is Home.'' (Matsuo Basho)

Aminah's picture

Your story resonates with me.

Dear Myrtle
I find myself in your shoes. Abuse as a child and on top of that bad relationship choices and trying to make things alright, even if the only way is self-sacrifice.
Yes, I have started to realize that changing my behavior, attitude, how I cope - is not going to enough to change my situation. I guess I should be visiting your space more often to see if you have any further wise things to say about coping and breaking free from the dilemma.

Love to you
Aminah

Salaam
Aminah

MyrtleG's picture

Self sacrifice - you understand.

Some say this is not the only way, but I believe by making available what we can is a start to building a sense of community. One brick, tree at a time and hope that others will also help. I'm reminded of the campaign "Each one teach one". the dilemma remains our struggle to overcome for a better/good life. In Faith.

Myrtle Adams-Gardner

Sharontina's picture

Choice!

Yes, Nobody can touch on that choice dear. Its always ours to turn it right or wrong. So let us right the wrongs no matter what difficulties and barriers may come on the way.

Blessings and love

Merlin Sharontina

Thank you for reading my story .It was not easy sharing it with others, after keeping it a secret for many years.

Yes, choice is a personal matter; - but as women, it becomes a collective responsibility.

Much Light and Love

Myrtle Adams-Gardner

Carmen's picture

We are not alone

Myrtle,

You have shared the key to our healing - We are not alone. This was the big awakening for me. When I finally let go of the last big secret the Sisterhood opened up to me.

I was so surprised and relieved to find that other women lived my secret. I began to like myself a little more and come out of isolation. I let other Women embrace me as I turned to embrace the next frightened Woman.

We are not alone. Not in our pain, and not in our triumph.

Thank you so much,

Carmen

Stacey Rozen's picture

Your strength in letting go

Your strength in letting go of the secret hasn't come easily, Myrtle. Know that a caring circle of women is a powerful safety net and we are all here for you.

Creatively,
Stacey

Aurore's picture

So inspiring

Dear Myrtle,

What to say, besides thank you for this piece? It's so well-written and carries so many messages. I like your reflexion on responsibility and avoidance of self-blaming.
Good luck with all your projects for women and girls around you,

Warmly,
Aurore

surfgirl-CA's picture

Paying forward the positive

Your remark "Being responsible for the choices I had to make was the only way out, instead of focusing on the pain I‘ve had to work through. I took every opportunity I had to go for counseling and held on to a belief system that made sense to me." shows great courage. Not only is it difficult to keep to one's belief system in the face of pain, trespass and countering views, but it shows great willingness to heal. Your desire to make something positive of your pain heals you as well -- as you know. You can teach that to others. And when you heal, you also help heal the world. The world needs healing! You probably know the phrase "paying it forward." In case you do not, or others do not, it means to take the love or caring or help given to you and pass it on to others. Without attending to our shared humanity, I think resolution and change can not occur. One of the things I learned from the civil rights movement for African-American rights in the U.S. in the 1960s is that change starts with each of us, individually.

surfgirl-CA --
When we come from the willingness to love, not fear, we will see the best and highest materialize in our world.
Quand nous venons à partir de la volonté à l'amour, pas la peur, nous allons voir le meilleur et le plus élevé se matérialise

MyrtleG's picture

A strong women voice

I am feeling blessed by the thoughtful wishes felt here. Thank you. Young girls need their mothers to be active in their lives. It is easy to blame circumstances but we have to understand how we can go beyond the basics of survival and develop from within with kindness and trust. Sometimes I hear another women voice emerging in my communities, a voice that confirms messages of 'she should not have, what was she doing there, why is she wearing that mini skirt, she was asking for it. 'If we continue to hold conversations that alienate girls from speaking out we saying I'm not 'involved, interested, not her sister,mother. How do we weave ourselves as women working together to uplift, inspire and care? The one minute of kindness starts removing the shame felt. Thank you, womyn. of Worldpulse.

Myrtle Adams-Gardner

MyrtleG's picture

Paying it forward.

Paying it forward.

Myrtle Adams-Gardner

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