Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Abuse (9), advocacy, bravery, clean slate diaries (4), courage (6), dignity (6), domestic violence (8), empowerment (2), Healing (12), heart (4), hope (4), Incest (6), inspiration, isolation (4), light (6), loneliness (4), love (11), male abuse, minority women (2), peace (10), Rape (14), Relationships (5), Sexual Abuse (11), Sexual Violence (6), support (8), Survivor (11), Syracuse (4), victim (4), Victory (4), Violence (4), voice (5), whole (4), Women (11), wounds (3), young women (7) | March 27th, 2013
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Angelique Kidjou, Carrier Dome, Compassion, Dave Matthews, David Crosby, His Holiness The Dalai Lama, Holy, John Lennon, love (11), One World Concert, peace (10), Phillip Phillips, sacred (2), Syracuse NY, Universal Love, Whoopi Goldberg, World, World Harmony Productions | October 10th, 2012
Top Ten Best Moments from the One World Concert at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, NY last night:
1. Best Overall Moment: The Sound of The Dalai Lama laughing!
2. Hearing the compassionate, heartfelt message from The Dalai Lama!
3. Watching the Entire Group of Performers singing my most favorite song “Imagine” by John Lennon ON HIS BIRTHDAY to The Dalai Lama!
4. The Camera shot of Dave Matthews tapping his foot while singing – nicely done, Mr. Cameraman!
5. Natasha Beddingfield TOTALLY rocking out to “Unwritten” – Totally!
6. Just hearing David Crosby sing and jam to anything was amazing – he could have just stood on stage and done nothing and it would have been fine!
7. Getting an upgrade to our seats at the last minute!
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: abortion, Abuse (9), clean slate diaries (4), cny (7), community (6), empowered, heal (2), hope (4), pregnant, Rape (14), republican, senate nominee, Sexual Abuse (11), strength (8), support (8), Survivor (11), todd akins, victim (4), Violence (4), voice (5), Women (11) | August 20th, 2012
I was raped when I was 19 year’s old.
I became pregnant from being raped.
I had an abortion as a result of being raped.
Today of all days, I boldly admitted this. Today, I was unapologetic and unafraid. Today, the comments made by Republican Senate Nominee Todd Akins that “Victims of Legitimate Rape Don’t Get Pregnant” were heard around the world and because of the blatant ignorance of his remarks, I reiterate:
NO ONE except an actual rape survivor can comprehend the horror and terror of being raped.
I am personally offended by the way politicians are using rape, and abortion in the cases of rape, as a discussion platform for election with no regard to how their comments impact actual survivors.
Why are rape survivors treated as if this horrific act deserves no sensitivity, respect or dignity? Why is this issue and the choices surrounding this issue thrown around with no regard to the hundreds of thousands of us who have actually been victimized and had to make these excruciatingly difficult choices?
Try living with the fact that while you slept soundly, you were overpowered and violated in a way that is only experienced in the darkest, cruelest of nightmares. Then after trying to push that horror of epic proportion out of your mind and your life, you come to the realization that it’s not over: you’re pregnant from the rape.
The punishment a survivor puts themselves through is bad enough: the shame, the guilt, the fear and self-loathing are intense and constant. It’s like chains are bolted instantly to your ankles the second the terror begins and you spend a lifetime trying to overcome this violation of not only your body – but your thought process as well. No one gets to casually and irresponsibly comment on that – No One.
The Speakers Bureau at The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) contacted me to schedule an interview with Metro New York, a newspaper that publishes in New York City, Philadelphia & Boston. The article made the front page of the national online site. People like Senate Nominee Todd Akins and those who support this biologically uninformed and denigrating thought process should not be allowed anywhere near the decision-making process for the rights of people of this country.
It’s this insensitivity to rape victims on a national platform that propels me to use my voice and speak out in support of survivors everywhere … and I assure you I won’t stop until this madness ceases.
A lot of times we do things – unconsciously or consciously – but may never be fully aware of the impact our actions actually have on others. Here is an example of one of those times that powerfully impacted my life.
At 10:30 PM on April 27th – the night before The Clean Slate Diaries – I received a telephone call. I was busy preparing for the event and missed the call, so before I went to bed, I listened to the message. A very frail voice spoke feebly and hesitantly. It was a woman who had read a promotional piece on the event called “Dan’s Story” – an adult male survivor of child sex abuse by his football coach. She wondered if the event would be something that women could also attend if they had a similar experience? I could tell in her voice that she needed to be at this event so I called her back – it was 11:30 PM.
She answered the phone and we spoke for about a half hour. She told me that at 10 years old she was abducted and victimized by an older man she didn’t know. She managed to escape his grasp and ran into a nearby field and hid for what seemed like hours. When she could no longer hear his boots circling the brush around her, she walked out into the road and was picked up by a loving couple who could see something very violent had happened. They brought her home and explained to her parents how they found her. She also told her parents what happened, but they didn’t believe her. They never called the police. They knew what happened, but did nothing. So for the next 55 YEARS she kept this secret. She didn’t tell anyone. She didn’t tell her husband when she got married. She didn’t tell her children why she was so protective of them while they were young. And she didn’t seek counseling or support or healing for this vicious crime against an innocent child. She didn’t tell anyone … until April 27th, 2012 at 11:30 PM.
She told me. And she told me because of the courage of Dan who shared his story in the newspaper. She told me because Sean Kirst from The Post Standard thought it was important enough to do a feature story on The Clean Slate Diaries event. She told me because I, too, was silent for over 20 years before I started speaking out about my own rape, about the extremely high incidence and silencing effects of sexual abuse, and because I started The Clean Slate Diaries.
Five minutes into the conversation, I begged her to come to the event. I said I would come pick her up if she needed a ride. I asked her to tell the first person she saw to find me the minute she got there. I prayed that night she would come and that this event and the people there would help her find the healing she so importantly deserved. She came and I recognized her immediately. She was less than 5 feet tall and seeing her frail frame – I instinctively wrapped my arms around her, wanting to hug her forever. She brought her daughter with her who seemed to be in shock from trying to process this information that had just been revealed to her. They both went into our Resource/Advocacy Room, and there, were lovingly allowed to begin the release of some of the pain and emotions of the last 55 years.
Everyone who comes to The Clean Slate Diaries receives an index card that they can write something on they want to release or let go of from their past – to help formulate a new perspective for the future. It’s a way to wipe the slate clean and begin again. At the closing ceremony, we burn these cards in the fireplace to symbolize this release and beginning anew. This almost 70-year old, frail little woman wrote these words on her card:
“I’m Gonna Make It”
As I observed her process of tossing the card gently into the fireplace, waiting for it to catch fire and then watching deliberately as it burned to ash, the tears streamed down my face. This woman – by almost all accounts – was going to her grave with this incredibly dark secret. The courage of those who spoke out transformed her to a place where she actually believed she deserved healing….an opportunity to release the weight of a lifetime of guilt and shame and possibly find a way to let it go. To somehow right this wrong that had been done…..to heal her life and regain a sense of freedom and purity….even at almost 70 years old she fought for a sense of wholeness and restoration in her life!!
THIS is the reason why I created The Clean Slate Diaries. THIS illustrates the importance of our mission to bring healing light to those who wait in the darkness. Some people can’t find the words themselves to seek the healing they deserve and desperately need. But when they see others who are visible examples of overcoming this type of trauma – even if they are complete strangers – they somehow find the power to reach. And in doing so, the healing begins.
I am so grateful I was chosen to participate in the beginning of the healing transformation process for this gentle soul – a healing that continues through the compassionate work of our local women’s shelter, Vera House. Her courage and bravery at almost 70-years old will be forever etched into my heart and soul.
Through this process, I meet so many individuals who inspire me beyond words, along with the insight into how far-reaching speaking out about my story truly extends.
And because of her courage, my new inspirational friend and I are having lemonade and cookies at her home this weekend … and I can’t wait to see her!
In solidarity, love & peace ~