When I set out on my journey to be somebody that made a difference, I took the little girl inside of me, held her hand and brought her along for the ride. I was a victim of child sexual assault for a long time. That moment I held my own hand is when I became a survivor. The thing that came to me late last week is that I don't need to be a survivor for the rest of my life. So what label will I wear, and who's hand will I hold?
Being the victim, you could only imagine the horror that I faced, and faced for many years. Finding my voice allowed the horror to end, and for me to start a new life beyond the child suffering at the hands of abuse. From the victim I fought and I built courage and strength I didn't even know was humanly possible. I became Blease, not the name I was previously known as when I was a victim. With my mums help I carried her father's name with pride and love. I was just part of her from that moment, no part of him. That in itself was strength. Although it was the steps it took to become that name that the strength came from. Every single step was built from me. Every single step I took forward to fight him in court, to fight to have my own identity with a new name, to make the step to leave all of my friends and family to be free and safe was from my steps alone. From my own strength. Because I chose to be strong and to have courage to be free.
I am not sure this is making sense, however I have come to realise there is so much more than being the survivor of sexual assault. You could almost say I have had an epiphany. But for me it is just another step in my life for being more than what he ever believed I was.
Today I spoke for an hour about me, about what I believed, and what I have come to realise in the past week. Today was massive, huge, enormous.
Today I became me. I moved away from the title of survivor of child sexual assault. In the past week I made the decision that I cannot live in fear. I cannot allow him to have that hold on my life. I don't want to be afraid of the dark. So I made the choice not to be. Easier said than done, it has taken time, not an overnight achievement. And I have no doubt there will be times when I am scared. However I choose not to be. I am allowing myself to have the courage to be myself. To live a life where I am free, and able to help others.
I am Hayley Blease, an advocate of what you can become if you believe in yourself. Don't give up believing that one day you can be more than what you thought you were. Believe that you can have awesome, and completely deserve awesome, because you too are awesome.
Now that is what Be Brave is all about. I cannot wait to grow more as I take more steps into achieving what needs to be achieved to make our world aware and safe. I don't need to hold my own hand anymore. I want to be the person that holds hands, and makes a difference to another life other than my own.