“For me, I always wonder what’s worse: an emotional betrayal or a physical betrayal? That’s a really tough call.” – Hilarie Burton
Often times in life we always hear people say to be careful how you treat other people because you never know what other people have been through. Adriane Lanier decided to share her story of how she overcome certain betrayals in life that no one should ever have to deal with. Her story shows her strength as a woman and just as a human being because sometimes it is not easy to overcome the things we endure in life, here is her story:
Who is Adriane Lanier?
I am JMU double Duke (BBA/MBA) currently living in the DMV working as a Cybersecurity professional. I was born in California and raised in Virginia Beach by two amazing Georgia bred people.
Do you mind sharing about the 3 different incidents you have dealt with throughout the course of your life?
My body has been disrespected in every since of the word. I have been sexually assaulted, molested, and raped by people I once held near and dear to me and strangers. The worst of them all [physically] was when I was setup by a coworker and attacked by 6 grown men. I had unspeakable things done to me and was not sure I would even make it out of there.
How did you handle dealing with all of this?
A lot of days I was literally just going through the motions of life. I felt numb for quite some time. I have had depression, severe ptsd and at one point I was even suicidal (it clearly didn’t work lol). For years I smiled and joked my way through the pain. I kept busy so I wouldn’t have to be alone in my misery and think about it until it became routine and my smiles became genuine again.
Is it possible to take back your life after something like this happens ?
It is definitely possible to regain control over your life, but a strong support system is imperative. Had it not been for my friends and sorors I would have never gotten help. It took YEARS of therapy. I have occasional flashbacks and nightmares, but its nowhere near what it used to be. There are still certain things that can trigger those feelings of fear and discomfort and I don’t think they will ever go away so I do my best to avoid them. My support system was there for me every step of the way to recovery. Discovering I had severe PTSD, facing reality of how damaged I really am, lifting me up when boys would leave me because they couldn’t handle my baggage, praying for me harder than I could pray for myself, uplifting me any time they felt like I was down, keeping me honest and always showering me with positive vibes and unconditional love.
How were you able to gain the courage to now be able to share your story with other people?
My support system has encouraged me to do it for years. I didn’t think my story would impact others, but the more I began to open up to other people I knew, the more I realized that my story can positively impact someone else who is fighting battles nobody knows about. I went from feeling embarrassed about it all to realizing that it was not my fault and I did nothing to deserve any of what happened to me. I got the courage to tell my story because I want women to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel more than I cared to bury this painful chapter of my past.
At this very moment, if you had to choose one person to recognize that has helped you get past what you’ve been through who would that person be ?
Oh man…I can’t just choose one person because there were phases to the recovery and many obstacles. I have one best friend who was there from the very beginning up until my self declared freedom, Crystal Cole. I have friends I have grown apart from, but will always respect how they were there for me when things were at their worst (Aaron Campbell, Charlie Celesia, Kitara McMoore). However, I have met so many amazing people along the way that have helped me so much in so many ways that I could never tell my story and not think of them. When I say I have been blessed with a strong support system, I honestly don’t know what I did in life to deserve such amazing friends but I thank God for them daily (my JMU family – Its like 10 extra people lol).
What keeps you motivated ?
My desire to succeed and leave the world a better place than I found it.
How would you define success?
Success is whatever you want it to be. As long as it involves feelings of genuine happiness in most, if not all, aspects of life, I would call it success.
What is one thing you have accomplished in life so far that you are most proud of?
Learning the power of forgiveness and conflict resolution. For those who know my history and know how rowdy and unforgiving I once was, this was HUGE for me. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. When you carry hate or resentment for long periods of time it can affect your personal and professional growth. Learning to forgive makes handling conflict (personal and professional) much easier.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
In the next 5 years I plan to be a business owner leaving my mark on the Cybersecurity industry while spreading STEM awareness and love to the next generation so they can, too, leave the world a better place than they found it.
What are some things that you have achieved that make you proud ?
I am proud of my career accomplishments, but I am more proud of my personal growth. I never imagined I would have so many amazing opportunities and be where I am in my career at age 29. I also never thought I would be where I am today. I have found myself, I have found my inner peace (and plan to hold onto it with every ounce of my being), I have found self awareness, my smiles are genuine and my happiness is sincere. THAT is what I am most proud of.
What advice can you provide to those who have been raped, molested, and/or attacked?
It is okay for you to tell your story and work towards reaching inner peace and stability, whatever that means to you. While you cannot undo what has happened, you CAN take back your life.There is light at the end of the tunnel. Just know you are not alone and there are plenty of people who love you and want you to know that your life is worth living.
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