Saturday, August 4, 2012

Judo Gold Goes to Kayla

Asalamu Alaykom,

I never thought I would be following Olympic Judo.

As the Olympics came closer, I realized that I really cared about Muslim athletes who were deciding how to observe Ramadan during the games.

Then, I became a vocal supporter of Saudi Judoka Wodjan Shahrkhani and her fight to wear hijab.  Wodjan was to compete in the 78+ kg. heavyweight class.  I'll admit that I had hopes she could win the gold.  Wouldn't that be AMAZING?!

However, I am just as pleased to see American Judoka Kayla Harrison rejoice in her Olympic win.  She is the epitome of, "After hardship there is ease."  When we see the elation on her face, as she holds up the American flag, it belies the fact that she once wanted to die rather than keep on going.

You can read about her journey back from dark days here.

She is a sexual abuse survivor.  She trusted a man to coach and train her but he betrayed her and her family.  He took advantage of her young age and vulnerabilty.  He made her suffer physically and mentally.  He made her weak to the point of hopelessness.  Astragferallah.

Each time I write about sexual abuse I will re-identify myself as a survivor myself.  This isn't to shift the focus to me or to ask for sympathy.  Alhumdulillah I'm fine and that's why I want to once again state that it's part of my history but it need not limit who I am now or who I can be.  If you are a survior, it need not limit you.

I know there are women reading who have thought of dying in the dark rather than climbing out into the light.  It's where Kayla was.  She was so down that she forgot how get up.  She got help.  She got justice.




I am really happy for her.

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