I think the decision and timing of this news is exactly what was needed for the #MeToo movement. I wanted to share some thoughts in this blog that I also shared on social media the day of this announcement.
I went back and listened to a short video interview with Tarana Burke the founder of the #MeToo hashtag. Her intention when she started using it a few years back was as a response to sexual violence, to encourage all survivors to find their journey towards healing. To let other survivors know their story matters, they are not alone, and to support one another with empathy and kindness.
No matter how public or private your #MeToo declaration was, your story matters. All victims matter. It is time that we continue with the dialog of how to change the paradigm around the issue of abuse and assault. We need courageous people to support each other to do the right thing. Not just one time but over and over. Be a little relentless. That is what it is going to take.
What does that mean? Tarana shared in her video that what is going on is not just an event, but a movement. Just like the healing journey is not just one session, one time with a trusted friend where you share the abuse you suffered. Healing takes commitment, commitment to ourselves that no matter what happened, we need to focus on our strengths and be gentle with ourselves as we create daily practices of residence and wellness to be able to move forward and restore our body, mind and spirit, for the rest of our lives.
That is the kind of relentless energy we need for this movement. We need to normalize the conversation about abuse and trauma. It is taking place all over this country at alarming rates, but until we feel comfortable talking about it openly and with courage, we aren't going to support the millions of victims in this country to come forward because of the fear that speaking up will welcome retaliation and harm to themselves or their families.
There are many reasons why victims of abuse or sexual assault don't disclose or report their abuse. Most do not because they fear that they will not be believed. Many fear ridicule from friends and family. Some have been threatened and some don't even know that what is happing to them is abuse, especially in the case of children, if no one has educated them about their boundaries, safe touch, and the ability to say "no" to anyone that makes them feel uncomfortable. Parents need to empower children with a healthy dialog about rules, consent, and relationships and teach them that no matter who the person is that they are uncomfortable with, whether teacher, coach, friend, or even family member, you will always believe them.
In 2004, after about 10 year of healing, I began telling my story in public, sharing the impact of growing up in a home where I was physically and sexual abused. I'll never forget that "coming out" period. It was painful and there were times when I thought I’d collapse beneath the overwhelming shame I felt inside. I was terrified of what people would think of me if they knew the truth about the abuse I’d suffered as a little girl. For a long time I felt responsible for the abuse, that somehow it was my fault. I now know it was never my fault.
But through the grace of God, I was given the strength and the willingness to push through my fears. Sometimes I think it's because I'm stubborn But I also knew what was at stake. I had finally realized no one was coming to save me...I had to save myself. I was a mom now and I wanted to heal for my child. I had to learn how to restore my broken heart and wounded soul. And no one could do it for me.
As I told my story, I broke the silence and revealed secrets that weren't my secrets to keep. The shame began to lessen. The more openly I talked about it, the lighter and more hopeful I felt. I had so many people reaching out to me, sharing their story. I finally knew I was not alone.
The worst part about my childhood was not the abuse. It was the fact that I had no one to talk to about it, and no one to ask for help. There was no one to support or validate me. Not one person!
After 12 years of public speaking about the issue of child sexual abuse, this experience serves as the foundation for the work I do now. As an abuse survivor coach and support group facilitator, I can listen to the stories of survivors all day long, because I know how important it is to be heard. I know that sounds almost too simple but for an abuse survivor, it makes all the difference. It gives us hope for a brighter future. I model for them how they should be listened to and treated by any caring adult that they find the courage to share their story with.
So when abuse survivors tell you their story, listen with your heart, let them know you hear them, and acknowledge the truth of the injustice. Let them know they can count on you to listen. Encourage them to do whatever it takes to heal, restore, and live a wholehearted life. Healing is possible and they need to know that. There is hope!
If you are reading this and feeling like you don’t know how to be a part of the movement, where to start, or you are looking for a safe place to tell your story, then I'm here to tell you, I can help.
You need support. We all need support. We are all called to do something we have not done before. It feels uncomfortable because you don’t know if you will offend someone just by standing up for a child and another human being. But you got this. The stakes are high. I have offended a few adults along the way but I have protected countless children by doing so. Find your voice no matter how small in the beginning.
Sexual assault and sexual abuse prevention education works! It is actually empowerment training giving you the tools to change your behavior and start to take action. It is time we respect each person we encounter and lead with kindness, curiosity, and courage. Get the education you need to move out of fear and take action. Taking action is the antidote to fear.
Waking up to this news last week made my day. It really made my year! I think we will look back at this year in our history and realize that though it was a hard year, some big breakthrough occurred because of it. There is always a silver lining… I do believe that.
So to all of you silence breakers, Thank You! We did it! Now let´s use this momentum and let’s keep going.
If you are looking for support, here is a link to a closed Facebook group for peer support for survivors of abuse or trauma.
If you are interested in prevention education, please visit d2l.org
Want to be a part of the movement? Not sure where to start? Don’t worry. I can help! Just follow (this link) or call 619-889-6366 to reserve a one-hour coaching session with me ($100). Let me help you with the next step to heal your life or to be a part of a movement. Reserve your spot NOW!
Have you read my bestselling book, “Journey to the Heart”? If you’re ready to heal from the effects of abuse or trauma (depression, anxiety, PTSD, allergies, chronic pain, etc.), this book is for YOU!! You’ll find it at Amazon in paperback (link) or Kindle (link). Enjoy and happy reading!
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