Friday, June 12, 2015

Beyond Resolve

It has been a difficult few weeks since my last post.

It is hard for me to, at this point, push past certain inviolable facts. It has been such a freeing process allowing myself to be vulnerable and finding strength, which I have so often failed to have myself, from others around me.

I thank-you. All of you. For your acknowledgement and your supportive words. Each and every person who has publicly or privately told me they hear me. That they are listening.

I remind myself -  life continues. I exist. My feelings are true, my reactions are mine.

I understand lately, now, more than I ever have, how affected I have been.

How undeniably broken I have been.

The resolve I felt and the courage it took to speak out about my own sexual assault freed me from years of carefully built omissions.

I have, in the last few weeks, found a more genuine self. Not only do I embrace the light I have within myself, but I am learning - ever so slowly, to embrace the dark.

For who am I without the darkness? Feelings of anger, discontent - they have been there all along bubbling under the surface. Action and reaction. Yet, it is only now that I can truly embrace my self - all of myself, that I have been able to face each emotion and accept them as my own.

This shift has allowed me to challenge myself.

It has allowed me to love myself more deeply than I ever thought possible.

Through your acknowledgement, I have been renewed.

It feels so very very good to be heard. 

Saturday, January 31, 2015

My Story



--> I was reading an article, online, about another woman who has recently spoken out about her abuse at the hands of Bill Cosby.

I scrolled through the article and at the end came across the comments.

"Why go to a movie with a married man " said one commenter.

"The timing of her disclosure makes me skeptical " said another.

"Don't tell me she didn't know what she was doing " another berates.

"What is the point of bringing it up now if the statute of limitations has passed " accuses another.


The comments continue further down the page. The more and more I read the sadder I feel.


How can we possible expect victims of abuse to speak out if we belittle them when they do? 


How can we create an open conversation where people are supported for taking the brave step of speaking out when they are criticised: from what they were wearing to who they were with – even how long they took to speak out.

1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men will be sexually abused in their lifetime.
(aic.gov.au)


This culture of accusation only perpetuates the silence victims of abuse struggle with. 

Abuse is not straightforward. It is not a case of A to B and then to C. Everyone’s circumstances are different, everyone has a different journey to travel. A different story to tell.

Recent statistics state that 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 7 boys will be sexually assaulted by the time they reach 18. ( aic.gov.au )

You are more likely to be abused in the first 18 years of your life than the other 70.

You are also more likely to be sexually abused by someone you know. In fact 90% of abuse victims knew the attacker and in most instances the crime was committed in their own home or in the home of a close relative or friend.

'An understanding of child sex offenders, based on the available evidence, is critical if child sexual abuse is to be prevented and responded to in effective ways.' (aic.gov.au)

Child sexual abuse is any sexual act or threat to a child or young person under the age of 16 that causes them harm or causes them to be frightened or fearful. 


From my own experience - from when someone I knew attempted to groom me and then sexually assaulted me, on more than one occasion, at the age of 13. Through to the first time I told someone at 16 I was abused and beyond into adult hood I have heard similar words from many, often with well meaning intentions, but nevertheless a hugely misguided understanding of the depth and severity of the emotional wound and subsequent scarring on this, my own journey of survival.

I have been told:
" If it was me, I would try and forget it."

I have been told:

" I hope one day that the saviour can help you ...hand it over to the Lord and move forward."


I have been told (on asking for support): 
“If I have to”

Worse than these sentences which reverberate around the inside of my skull, taunting me and quashing my self worth, telling me that I should be further along in my healing or - not need healing at all. Worse than the depression, the anxiety and the subsequent PTSD is the deafening silence, which occurs after the “advice” is given.

The judgement hangs in the air like a stifling hot day with no wind, the air barely breathable. 

Moreover, the only truth about it is that it is more a reflection on the critic than on the aspirants themselves.

If victims of abuse are to feel validated and heard. If we are to feel loved and supported. .. If you would like to know how to help us feel safe.


Simply, just, listen.



Friday, January 09, 2015

The yearly fraction


Another year and another quarter!

Last quarter we had the opportunity to read 4 fantastic books !

Read my review of each one here:

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

The Immortal life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

All The Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld

All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience by Neal A. Maxwell





This quarter the books for book club are as follows:



Non-Fiction



In 1989, the Berlin Wall fell; shortly afterwards the two Germanies reunited, and East Germany ceased to exist. In a country where the headquarters of the secret police can become a museum literally overnight, and one in 50 East Germans were informing on their countrymen and women, there are a thousand stories just waiting to get out. Anna Funder tells extraordinary tales from the underbelly of the former East Germany - she meets Miriam, who as a 16-year-old might have started World War III, visits the man who painted the line which became the Berlin Wall and gets drunk with the legendary "Mik Jegger" of the East, once declared by the authorities to his face to "no longer to exist".




Classic




Oscar Wilde's tale of a Faustian pact in Victorian England, "The Picture of Dorian Gray" is a both a slow-burning Gothic horror and a brilliant philosophical investigation of youth, beauty and desire. Enthralled by his own exquisite portrait, Dorian Gray exchanges his soul for eternal youth and beauty. Influenced by his friend Lord Henry Wotton, he is drawn into a corrupt double life; indulging his desires in secret while remaining a gentleman in the eyes of polite society. Only his portrait bears the traces of his decadence. "The Picture of Dorian Gray" was a succes de scandale. Early readers were shocked by its hints at unspeakable sins, and the book was later used as evidence against Wilde at the Old Bailey in 1895.





Fiction





Ninety-five days, and then I'll be safe. I wonder whether the procedure will hurt. I want to get it over with. It's hard to be patient. It's hard not to be afraid while I'm still uncured, though so far the deliria hasn't touched me yet. Still, I worry. They say that in the old days, love drove people to madness. The deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don't.


They say that the cure for love will make me happy and safe forever. And I've always believed them. Until now. Now everything has changed. Now, I'd rather be infected with love for the tiniest sliver of a second than live a hundred years suffocated by a lie. There was a time when love was the most important thing in the world. People would go to the end of the earth to find it. They would tell lies for it. Even kill for it.





Spiritual





Twice in the final years of his life, Elder Neal A. Maxwell told a grandson of Henry Eyring's, "You need to write your grandfather's story."
This is that story of Henry Eyring, perhaps the Church's most acclaimed scientist. It is a book about science and Mormonism, written to be easily understood by newcomers to both subjects. It demonstrates why one of the Church's highest-profile intellectuals was also one of its humblest believers. In fact, this story of Henry Eyring shows how intellect and belief go hand-in-hand and how simple, faithful people can change the world.