Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we are going to discuss 18 year Lena Strickling, who recently had a very important interview with the YouTube channel ‘Collectively’ that you NEED to watch. Now before you click away, Lena isn’t a celebrity, model, or internet star. She’s a cancer survivor who recently used her wish from the ‘Make-A-Wish Foundation’, to raise awaness about a topic that A LOT of people face (and no it’s not cancer). I thought that this was such an amazing thing to do (because seriously how many of us would be completely selfish with our wish…exactly basically all of us would). Please read on, because this is a story that we ALL need to hear. Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
Lena is a recent survivor of Hodgkin’s lymphoma (she has been cancer free since April), and although she’s had to endure 15 rounds of chemotherapy, and is currently going through menopause at the tender age of 18, she used this article to discuss another issue that plagues way too many people. Lena is not only a cancer survivor, but also a survivor of sexual assault. Lena said that she was sexually assaulted by her father for as long as she can remember, and it became a everyday by the time she was 6 years old. This is an unthinkable situation for anyone, let alone a child of just six years old. The legal age of consent in ohio is 16, just like it is in many of the other states too, and if anyone is found to have sex with someone who is younger than 16, you could be considered reckless. As well as this, you will be violating the law in this particular state. Unfortunately, Lena’s emotional and physical trauma didn’t stop there. She said that he would even assault in her public by putting a blanket over her so no one else could see. Lena eventually told a friend what was going on after she took a DARE class at the age of 10, and learned why what was happening to her was wrong, and what it was called. Lena later told her mom through a letter, and her mother called the police who convicted Lena’s father and sentenced him to prison ( where he was diagnosed with schizophrenia with religious delusions). One of the things that I found most heartbreaking about this interview is when Lena says that “Cancer never bothered me at all, versus with sexual abuse it’s like that happened and it’s still haunting me.” (check out Lena’s interview below
Unfortunately Lena isn’t alone, because according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), one in five women will be sexually assaulted and 44% of sexual assault and rape victims are under 18. Lena said she wanted to tell her story, so she could help other people suffering from sexual assault, and also to explain why she feels it’s so important to educate kids about sexual consent from a young age. Lena has said that talking about her past has helped her to begin to move on. Lena did have some words of encouragement for sexual abuse victims that I wanted to share with y’all, “everybody has a right to talk about [how] they feel,” “Be proud of yourself, and stand up for yourself and don’t change your story and don’t back down because people don’t believe you. Just keep going. Don’t let anybody knock you down.” It’s just so amazing that someone who has been through so much would use their 1 wish to try to help others, so they don’t have to endure what she did. Truly inspirational!