Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Monday, March 21, 2016

Article on Sex After Rape

I was really excited when the non-profit organization Honey contacted me asking if I could write something on intimacy after experiencing rape. It took me several weeks to ponder and understand how to write the piece. I was definitely inspired and am thankful for how it turned out. I am so grateful for the opportunity!
We waited until our wedding night to have sex. I dreaded that moment for months. I was so afraid my body would become frozen as it had with my rapist.
You can read the article here.

Monday, March 7, 2016

The Making of "I am Enough"

In 2014 I approached Sharon Hopkins about helping me write a song. I wanted something that was mine, that reflected the truth of healing from rape and also was something I could sing a long to in order to find strength. She was excited to help share her talents with me.

We sat down and I gave her lyrics that I had written, and it became clear to both of us that I knew very little about lyrics. I quickly researched lyric meter and beats within a song. I learned a lot.

Some of the original lyrics:

I can’t live knowing what was taken

My heart has been strained, it’s now past breaking

What did I do to earn all this pain?

Body and soul used for another’s gain?

Covered by my tears, can’t even breathe

I’m held under by the horror I’ve seen

But I’ll close my eyes to stop the tears

Kneel, calling for help to push back my fears


I am one, but I am all

I’m not alone, I will not fall

Doing everything I can

So it will not happen again

There’s arms of love to hold me secure

Heavenly Power to guide me when unsure

There is a light in the tunnel

An end to the twisting funnel

There’s no more time for me to self-blame

I need to survive the terrible pain

To confront the truth and help it end

Or I know it will happen again

Please don’t let it happen again

Sharon then created a beautiful piece from what I had written, but after sharing it with others there was a problem - it didn't really truthfully reflect what healing was like. It was then that I realized that I wasn't "healed" from my rape experience that occurred a decade before, I had only been hiding it. I put the song aside and focused on me. It was the beginning of a huge healing journey, it's been incredibly painful but absolutely worth it.

In December 2015 I saw an add for the Utah Dance Film Festival and felt very strongly I needed to enter. I was completely baffled. What song would I use? How would I shoot it? How would this happen? It became very clear within a short time that I needed to finish the song had been working on, shoot the video and turn it in.

Sharon and I got together and updated the song with the lyrics changed to more adequately reflect the truth of what this process has been for me. The memories and pain haven't been taken away, but I have been strengthened through my faith in God. You can purchase the song here. (50% of the proceeds go to Helping SAVE)

Final Lyrics

I am Enough
By Hailey Allen and Sharon Hopkins

I can’t breathe knowing what was taken

My heart has been strained past breaking

How can I live with all this pain

Body and soul used for another’s gain

I have learned that I'm enough
I am of worth to God above

I won’t back down, I’ll take a stand

Doing everything I can

No matter what they say or do

Wrong is not right 

And God, He gives me strength to fight

My thoughts return and I'm in pain
Knocked down and broken again
But I can’t live like this
No, I won’t live like this
I get off the floor
And I cry out, I cry out
I’m in pain
I can’t take it
I won’t make it
God please take the memories away
I'm in pain
I can’t take it
I won’t make it
Oh God please take it away ….

I have learned that I'm enough
I am of worth to God above
I won’t back down, I’ll take a stand

Doing everything I can

No matter what they say or do

Wrong is not right 

And God, He gives me strength to fight

I have learned that I'm enough
I am of worth to God above
I won’t back down, I’ll take a stand

Doing everything we can

No matter what they say or do

Wrong is not right 

And God, He gives us strength to fight

I talked to Tyne Crockette who is Director of the Utah Dance Film Festival and she offered to help me. She waved the entry fee and gave me suggestions of what programs to use to shoot and edit the film. She even found a friend of her's to dance in it.

We scheduled the shoot date for a Saturday at 4:30pm. That morning I got a call from Tyne that the dancer we had scheduled had become very ill and couldn't come. Without hesitation we both knew it would somehow happen. We moved the shoot to 5:30pm and Tyne's friend Vixy got her message for help and arrived straight from work. She had no time to hear the song or prep, she just did it. And it was exactly what we needed.

It was my first time writing a song, directing a video, filming and editing. It was such an incredible experience! I learned so much and loved working on something that came from me. The end product I love and was overcome with joy as I saw it on the big screen at the festival.

So many incredible people came to support me and Helping SAVE. I am so thankful!

The cherry on top was winning Audience Choice!
It was such an incredible experience and I am already looking forward to next year! So many people helped to make this happen and I am very grateful to each one of them! Thank you for helping my dream come true and supporting Helping SAVE!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Song Suggestion: Tainted by Kaylie Stewart

In the song "Tainted" by Kaylie Stewart she describes some of the feelings I have been wrestling with lately. I believe that there is something wrong with me because of what was done to me. It doesn't matter how many times the logical side of my brain tries to tell me that it's not true, it's a fear I carry with me. I am afraid that people can look at me and see that I was raped - that I am forever tainted.

It was really nice to hear a song that accurately reflected my feelings without trying to make them go away.

"You are going to leave her with those agonizing permanent scars
Did you ever think about the devils you would leave in her head"

The inner shame after rape and abuse is real. And yes there are times I would rather keep silent because if one more person blames me for the horrible things that were done to me, I don't think I could take it. No one deserves to be raped. Not even a rapist. No one.

"She knows she's never going to be the same
But she don't testify because she doesn't want to be the one to blame"

I'm grateful for this song and especially the last line: "And she's not going to give up the fight."

You can listen to a sampling of the song here. Or purchase it here.

What did you think? Did the song reflect some of your experience and feelings?

Monday, February 1, 2016

Song Suggestion: Beautiful, Not Broken by Kaylie Stewart

I found out about Kaylie Stewart through some inspired events and meetings. I messaged her on Facebook after learning she is a survivor herself of sexual assault. From what I heard, her latest EP (mini album) describes her healing process. After messaging with her I purchased her EP from iTunes and I loved what I heard.

The first song I listened to was "Beautiful Not Broken." In general I hate songs that are positive about overcoming trauma, and from the title that's what I figured this song would be. But I was wrong. She recognizes life can never be the same after violence against a person, however it doesn't mean you are forever broken. I love the lines:

"The cracks become our stories written underneath our skin
Dress your cracks in gold, you're beautiful not broken"

You can listen to a sampling of this song here. Or purchase it here. After my rapes and abuse I know that I can never be the same again. But that's okay, I can take this opportunity to grow through the pain. As she sings:

"Don't be afraid to open up and feel the pain
Embrace the beauty of the gold that glistens through your veins."

That is what I pray for every day. To be better tomorrow then I am today, to help someone else...

"You were born with the strength to fall and rise again."

Did you listen to her music? What did you think? What songs touch you?