Survivor & So Much More *First Posted 4/21/2014*

I am alive, happy, productive and helping other Survivors. I’m very blessed. My childhood and teenage years were so difficult I truly believed suicide was the only answer. My first attempt was at 9 years old, I took all the pills in my dad’s medicine cabinet. I got a buzz then my stomach pumped. Suicide was always on my mind since the abuse was every day. If it wasn’t physical abuse, it was constant mental abuse by my mother. At the same time, I saw my mother physically and emotionally abused by my alcoholic stepfather. At 13 years old I left my abusive life behind. It sounds great but you are so wounded you don’t want to look anyone in the eye, they may hit you or call you names. My mind stripped down and filled with trash, my mother took every drop of confidence I had. Over time my confidence grew and I started building who I am today. I did get called names and had a couple good fights. Sounds like any teenager trying to spread their wings. I have many unresolved emotions, responses, and fears. Who doesn’t? What I can say for sure, I’m a survivor and so much more. Survivors have to dig really deep after being kicked down. It took years for me to discover what I liked and longer to get over my fear of failure. My mother told me I was stupid all the time. I know better […]

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Johnathon’s Story

RAINN “I’ve been told my entire life that it was impossible for this kind of thing to happen to me.”  Johnathon Cassidy was sexually assaulted by a stranger he met while at a local bar. The perpetrator put a date-rape drug in Johnathon’s drink, sexually assaulted him in a car, stole his personal belongings, and left him unconscious at a bus stop. “When I was raped I was 6’4” and 220 lbs. I truly believed that I could go anywhere I wanted and no one would bother me—I’m part Samoan, I’m hefty, I wear cowboy boots that make me even taller—I was the defender. Everyone always said ‘Go with Johnny, you’ll be safe with him.’ I’ve been told my entire life that it was impossible for this kind of thing to happen to me.” A week after the assault, Johnathon told his best friend at the time what had happened. He reacted in an unsupportive way, making it seem like the assault was an inconvenience because it happened at their favorite bar. He told Johnathon that he wanted to go back to the bar and pressured him into returning. “I was too ashamed to say I was afraid to go and I didn’t want to make my friend feel awkward. So I went back. It was a horrible experience, and to this day he doesn’t realize the impact his response had on me.” Meet Johnathon 5 words that describe me: Creative Adventurous Determined Sarcastic Optimistic […]

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Update from MaleSurvivor Board of Directors

Dear Friends, I want to thank you on behalf of MaleSurvivor, our Board of Directors, our staff, our members, and the thousands of survivors who visit our website and frequent our Discussion Forum and Chat Room. Your stalwart support as an Advisory Board member facilitates our ongoing efforts to remain the premier place of learning, sharing and healing for male survivors across the country and abroad. The Board of Directors […]

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Bloques de carreteras en la vida

Todos golpeamos las carreteras en la vida, algunas semanas duraderas, otros años. Para sobrevivir a la paliza que tiene que permanecer centrado en los pasos hacia adelante, incluso los pasos nano están avanzando. Tuve la suerte, el abuso, el trauma y el odio propio comenzaron cuando era muy joven. Crecí oyendo lo estúpido que me convencí de que era verdad. […]

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Sexual Assault of Men and Boys

Why doesn’t Sexual Assault of men and boys receive equal, mainstream media coverage as Women? We have to help change to allow healing. Sexual Assault does not discriminate! Joyful Heart Foundation partnered with 1 in 6 to create awareness and initiatives creating a safe environment to discuss trauma with peers. Please check out both organizations for support or how you can help volunteer today.  M […]

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Definition of a “REAL MAN” is changing for the better

Last week, Joyful Heart released our latest research report, “Defining Manhood for the Next Generation: Exploring Young Men’s Perceptions of Gender Roles and Violence.” Funded by the Verizon Foundation and conducted by GfK Custom Research, the research examines young men and boys’ perceptions of norms around masculinity, gender equality, and sexual violence and the male role models who influence those views. The report is now available on our website; I hope you will read it and share it. The good news is young men surveyed in the study unanimously agree that “real men” treat women with respect. However, many young men agree with outdated and dangerous societal norms—and far too many of them refuse to push back against these norms. Changing these views about gender, gender roles, sex, and sexual assault present our biggest challenge to catalyzing a cultural shift. Men and boys play a critical role in the movement to end sexual and domestic violence. While deep cultural change cannot happen overnight, it cannot happen at all until young men stand against outdated, sexist beliefs about gender and violence. Over the next few months, Joyful Heart will use these findings to create educational materials promoting aspirational, authentic, and intersectional views of healthy masculinity. Best regards, Sarah Haacke Byrd Managing Director Joyful Heart Foundation

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Nacional Online de Asalto Sexual

La Línea de Ayuda Nacional Online de Asalto Sexual Gratis. Confidencial. Segura. Chat AhoraLa Sala De AyudaLlame al 800.656.4673 La Sala de Ayuda Converse con otros sobrevivientes del asalto sexual en un espacio seguro y confidencial entre las 7 p.m a 9 p.m. tiempo del este, todos los Miércoles y Sábado. Línea de Ayuda Online RAINN ofrece apoyo gratuito las 24 horas al día, 7 días por semana para los sobrevivientes de la violencia sexual y sus seres queridos. ¿Cómo es el consentimiento? – Cuando usted está comenzando una relación sexual, el consentimiento se trata de la comunicación. Y se la debe tener cada vez. ¿Qué es un kit para casos de violación? – La evidencia de ADN en un crimen como del asalto sexual, se puede recolectar en el lugar de los hechos, pero además se puede recolectar de su cuerpo, su ropa y otros artículos personales. Planificación de la seguridad – La planificación de la seguridad se trata de pensar en las formas que puede permanecer segura(o) lo cual también puede disminuir el riesgo de perjuicios en el futuro. Consejos para los sobrevivientes sobre los medios – Los medios de comunicación pueden ser una gran herramienta para aumentar la concientización pública sobre la violencia sexual, pero también pueden presentar retos para algunos sobrevivientes. Después de un asalto/abuso sexual – Es difícil saber qué hacer, qué sentir y cuáles son sus opciones después de un abuso sexual. Ayúdele a ese ser querido – No siempre es fácil saber qué decir […]

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I Am a Kid and Something Happened

Presented by RAINN I Am a Kid and Something Happened Tell Someone. If somebody touches you in a way you don’t like or touches an area covered by a bathing suit, tell someone you trust. Say no. If somebody wants to hug you, kiss you, or touch your body, you can always tell them no. It’s not OK for ANYONE to touch […]

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Teen who says Anthony Weiner sexted her shows her face for first time

The teenager whose online relationship with Anthony Weiner threw Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign into a tailspin is revealing her face for the first time. In an interview that will air in full on Monday, the teenager told Inside Edition how quickly the messages she exchanged with the disgraced New York congressman turned lurid. Read: Sydney Leathers Weighs In on Weiner’s Latest Scandal: ‘He’s Quite the Egomaniac’ […]

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Police say Delaware man raped girl 250 times over 5 years

Dreamtime-header tree

Delaware police say a man repeatedly raped the same girl 250 times over the course of five years. 41-year-old Richard White Jr. was recently indicted on 11 counts of second-degree rape, four counts of sexual exploitation of a child and possession of child porn. Police detail that the raping started back in 2012. https://www.aol.com/article/news/2017/09/08/police-say-delaware-man-raped-girl-250-times-over-5-years/23201925/

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35 Year-Old Woman Sexual Assaults a 10 Year-Old Boy

News stories on Adults sexually assaulting children are on the local news weekly. I don’t know how we protect our children from predators traumatizing our children. MILWAUKEE (WGN) -– A 35-year-old Wisconsin woman is accused of drugging a 10-year-old child’s slushy and sexually assaulting him. Tara Gotovnik has been charged with first-degree sexual assault of a child and delivery of a […]

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Understanding Your State Law on Rape Kit Reform

END THE BACKLOG is an initiative of the Joyful Heart Foundation to shine a light on the backlog of untested rape kits throughout the United States. Our goal is to end this injustice by conducting groundbreaking research identifying the extent of the nation’s backlog and best practices for eliminating it, expanding the national dialogue on rape kit testing through increased public awareness, engaging communities and government agencies and officials and advocating for comprehensive rape kit reform legislation and policies at the local, state and federal levels. We urge you to learn more about the backlog, where it exists and why it matters. We invite you to take action and support efforts to test rape kits. Help us send the message that we must take rape seriously.  Survivors’ Voices Drive Rape Kit Reform in Texas Today’s guest author is Wendy Davis, former Texas state senator and founder of the advocacy organization Deeds Not Words. Here, she discusses the rape kit reform laws she sponsored in the Senate and addresses the need for survivors’ voices to drive policy solutions. I first started working on the issue of sexual violence in 2009 while serving in the Texas Senate. A representative from the state’s forensic lab came to my office, sat down with my staff, and laid out their belief that we had a significant number of untested rape kits sitting in law enforcement evidence rooms across our state. At this point, Illinois had already […]

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Keep Students Safe From Sexual Assault & Enforce Title IV

Change.org Petition   Ask Betsy DeVos to keep students safe and enforce Title IX This petition will be delivered to: U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos Senator Lamar Alexander The current Administration is planning to weaken the enforcement of Title IX, a move that would be devastating for students especially those who are LGBT and of color. Survivors and our allies across the country are coming together to ask Education Secretary DeVos to listen to survivors, keep students safe, and enforce protections Title IX has long provided. Join Know Your IX and End Rape on Campus and ask DeVos to commit to the following : Maintain the Department of Education’s guidance documents clarifying schools’ legal responsibilities to prevent and address sexual harassment under Title IX Continue to recognize preponderance of evidence (i.e. “more likely than not”) as the appropriate standard of proof in campus sexual harassment investigations; Maintain federal transparency in Title IX enforcement by continuing to publish lists of schools under investigation for Title IX violations and those who have claimed religious exemptions allowing them to discriminate against LGBT, pregnant, and parenting students DeVos will have the power to enforce Title IX protections and ensure that every student is able to attend school without fear of violence. It’s up to us to make sure that she does. Mahroh Jahangiri Executive Director, Know Your IX https://www.change.org/p/dearbetsy-keep-students-safe-and-enforce-title-ix

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Male Child Sexual Abuse and Homosexual Confusion

Blogging started as a coping mechanism to grieve my Granny. Spending years writing about how my grandparents unconditional love saved me from myself. Before long my post centered more around my traumatic background, it was seamless not a conscious decision. I have learned everyone’s trauma is different, even when they appear the same. I knew nothing of men’s sexual abuse. Five years ago I met several male friends who were sexually assaulted as children and adults. None of my traumatic experiences prepared me for how different boy’s and men process sexual assault. To all the Men Survivors of Sexual Assault, please know you are loved and supported by those without understanding the pain and trauma inside. You are loved for who you are. I found this video on YouTube by Mark Sanford. I don’t know him and not endorsing in any way. I am acknowledging his trauma, the pain and deep emotional suffering he went thru. Honestly, I don’t know if the video will help anyone. Please know I’m committed to learning all I can about Male Sexual Assault because I care. I know the pain of dragging the self-hatred around for years. If the video is crap please tell me, I learn from feedback. Share what’s helpful, thought-provoking or out of left field. I’ve been asked to write for Men’s Movement, http://www.mensmovement.com  an organization supporting men’s mental health and personal development. Please check out their site. Soon to come a […]

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Have You Noticed My Twitter Feed Recently?

  I hit the jackpot and can’t wait to share with you.       Have you peaked at my Twitter timeline lately?  My passion has changed from Rock Stars to Support Resources, from Charities, Organizations and OutReach Programs who support the issues closest to my heart. The mix includes resources for PTSD, Sexual Abuse of Men and Women and Mental Health, Child Abuse and Physical Challenges. I follow 40 Charities, Organizations and Survivors. There is a learning curve, I will share thru post once comfortable how support services are delivered.  I hope you will take at look at the retweets, conversations and resources on the Twitter feed, updated daily. Once confident my understanding of the group/mission,  I’ll share via post. When possible, I’ll ask a few questions and ask them to talk about the who, what, when and why. One of the few lessons learned in Journalism class. In sixth grade I set a goal to work as a Photo Journalist for Life magazine. Tossed aside when I turned down a scholarship and passed on college. Men’s Movement has asked me to write for them, my pride bubbles over. At 53 the opportunity is far greater than Life magazine, now defunct.   Everyone I’ve talked with seems genuine, in a few short weeks I have over 100 followers, many of which have visited my site. Taking my Advocacy work to Twitter looks like a good decision. I’m interested in your ideas and […]

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Former Vanderbilt Football Player Found Guilty of Rape

By Tim Ghianni | NASHVILLE, TENN. A Tennessee jury on Friday found a former Vanderbilt University football player guilty of raping an unconscious female student in a teammate’s dormitory room in 2013. The Nashville jury found Brandon Banks, 23, guilty of aggravated rape and aggravated sexual battery after deliberating for about 15 hours over two days. The case stoked simmering concern about sexual assault on college campuses by athletes. Banks faces at least 15 years in prison, Assistant District Attorney Roger Moore told media. Sentencing will be Aug. 18. “We are very satisfied with their verdict,” Moore said. Defense attorney Mark Scruggs did not respond to a request to comment. He was quoted by The Tennessean newspaper as saying that Banks was “shocked but understands that this is only the first part of this process. There’s a lot more to do from here on.” Teammates Brandon Vandenburg and Cory Batey, two of the four former Vanderbilt football players charged in the case along with Banks, were found guilty when tried together in January 2015 but a mistrial was declared. Batey was later retried, convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Vandenburg was found guilty in June 2016 and sentenced to 17 years in prison. A fourth player, Jaborian “Tip” McKenzie, who testified against his three teammates, has yet to stand trial in the case. The players used cell phones to record their crimes, and those videos – shown to […]

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Male Sexual Assault-Road to Recovery

Mens Health Month RAINNEWS June 2017 Men and boys who have been sexually assaulted or abused face the same mental and physical effects as other survivors. Cultural stereotypes about men and how they portray masculinity can sometimes feel toxic to male survivors, adding additional challenges to their experience. Recovering from sexual assault or abuse is a process that looks different for everyone, and it’s important to support a survivor, no matter their gender identity. Focusing on self-care after a sexual assault is a vital step toward recovery. Sexual assault can affect the physical and emotional health of a survivor, so it’s important to address both components of self-care. Should a victim choose to seek professional help, therapy can provide a space to openly discuss their thoughts and experiences. One out of every 10 rape victims is male. It’s crucial to remind male survivors that they are not alone and share the services available to help them through their recovery. Survivors can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline 800.656.HOPE (4653) or visit online.rainn.org to be connected with local sexual assault service providers in their area. RAINN also partners with 1in6, an organization dedicated to helping men who survived unwanted or abusive sexual experiences in childhood. If something happened to you, know that you are not alone and help is available. This Men’s Health Month—and all year round—join RAINN in supporting all survivors. https://www.rainn.org/news/male-sexual-assault-road-recovery Thank you for reading. RAINN is an excellent Sexual Assult resources for men […]

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I keep Moving Forward: *Not allowing My past to Chart the Future*

“If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.”    Maya Angelo I am a Survivor My grandparents unconditional love pulled me from the abyss. After years of Therapy, I have a clear heart, no anger or self loathing. Not forgiving….forgetting, to allow myself to move forward. Over the years, people brought sunshine into my life. You were like Angels dropping in when I needed a push or pat on back. My mother and stepfather physically and emotionally abused me until 12 years old. My stepfather beat my mother almost daily starting with hitting her head side to side down the hallway, the hallway ended at my room. Everyone in the house lived in hell, I got an extra dose. As a small girl, I dreamed my father would save me from the traumatic abuse. The dream was over, he started sexually abusing me as a child. It was innocent at first or so it seemed. At 12 years old I moved to my father’s. It’s impossible to wrap your head around sexual abuse at any age. In 1992 my father committed suicide. Estranged since my teens, we talked several times before his death. He called delusional and paranoid. Saying someone was tapping his phone. He told me about committing suicide, I told no one. The news devastated Granny her only child was dead. With a closed casket service it’s hard to reconcile death when you can’t […]

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Howard school staff, mental health experts weigh in on suicide depiction in Netflix series

Andrew Michaels Contact Reporter Howard County Times The Netflix hit series “13 Reasons Why” has the Howard County school system, and schools in neighboring counties, warning parents about the show’s graphic depictions of teen suicide, rape and bullying. At the same time, many are saying the show opens a doorway into conversations on suicide and other “uncomfortable” topics. The streaming service’s show caught viewer attention nationwide after its debut in March. The show follows the story of high school student Hannah Baker, who commits suicide and leaves behind 13 cassette tape recordings for her peers, who she said contributed to her decision to end her life. Based on a 2007 novel with the same title, the graphic depictions in the 13-episode show – rated TV-MA for mature audiences only – raised concerns among mental health experts, educators, parents and youth. Efforts against the show include that of Oxford High School students in Michigan, who started their “13 reasons why not” project, discussing their uplifting stories about getting help during tough times every day throughout May. Three episodes feature explicit material, such as rape and suicide, and have “viewer discretion advised” warnings. In a statement earlier this month, Netflix said that they added more warnings before the first episode, following critic response. Original messages before the graphic episodes also reemphasized its content. After becoming the “most tweeted show of 2017,” according to Variety, “13 Reasons Why” was renewed for a second season, to […]

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Everyone Suffers in Abusive Household

Original post 3/2014 Everyone suffers in an abusive environment. Our house was always in chaos. An alcoholic stepfather who abused my mother and a mother who abused her daughter. There were three other children in the house who saw the abuse, heard the screams and threats. I used to think the victim was the only person with scars. At 9 years old I survived almost daily beatings by taking drugs, plenty of alcohol and trying to kill myself. It never occurred to me my brother suffered from witnessing the abuse. My brother’s scars are from seeing our stepfather beat our mother. Dragging her down the hall beating her head from side to side. Putting a knife to her throat saying he would kill her. Most of their fights ending in front of our bedrooms. We had front row seats to hell. My mother abused me, the methods escalated as I aged. I heard stories of abuse as early as six months old. I don’t think my mother was trying to kill me. She’s like the women on the news who allow their kids to die. She didn’t push my head under the water but would have crocodile tears if I drowned accidentally. One weekend driving back from Houston we passed the exit to my mother’s house. I had strong emotions about my brother not me. I didn’t understand the emotions. It hit me like a train, my brother was not […]

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How Many Untested Rape Kits Does Your State Have?

Advocates For Sexual Assault Who Drive Change End The Backlog is a program of Joyful Heart Foundation, a national non-profit organization founded by actress and activist Mariska Hargitay with the mission to transform society’s response to sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse, support survivors’ healing, and end this violence forever. Over the years, however, we have begun to see progress. Increasingly, states and local jurisdictions are beginning to recognize the value of testing rape kits. They are starting to count, track and test the untested kits in their facilities, and they’re seeing powerful result.  What do we know about the rape kit backlog & what’s being done to end it. Explore our interactive map: http://www.endthebacklog.org For example, in New York City, where there had been a backlog of 17,000 untested rape kits before eliminated in 2003, city and law enforcement officials enacted a policy and developed a system to test every rape kit. The city’s arrest rate for rape has since jumped from 40% to 70%.”Joyful Heart now provides us with expertise, guidance and a national perspective. They are helping to find ways to secure the funds needed to test the remaining kits and ensuring that all efforts to end this atrocity, is an important project under the direction of Joyful Heart foundation. – Kym Worthy, Wayne County Prosecutor The federal government estimates that hundreds of thousands of rape kits sit untested in police and crime lab storage facilities across the […]

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A Mother’s Guilt

      Daughter My Birthday wish for You I hope that every candle brings a new wish. I hope the Smile that lights your face stays there all year-long. I hope everything  you’ve dreamed it will come true. I hope you know how much I love You and how proud I am of you. Happy Birthday With So Much Love. Card from my Mother You can’t give back what you took from my life. Xx  M

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Twenty Minutes of Rape

Information provided by RAINN SHARE THIS ARTICLE: Twenty Minutes of Rape June 22, 2016 “I so admire this woman, who had the guts to expose what she is going through and share it with the world.” Representative Cheri Bustos (D-IL) offered these thoughts on a night when a bipartisan group of 18 members of Congress stood in solidarity, each reading parts of a victim impact statement written by the survivor of a brutal sexual assault that occurred on Stanford University’s campus in 2014. The story has resonated around the world. In March of 2016, 20-year-old Brock Turner was convicted of three felony counts: sexually penetrating an unconscious person with a foreign object; sexually penetrating an intoxicated person with a foreign object; and assault with an intent to commit rape. Despite the finding of guilt and the brutal details of the crime—which involved a college party, an incapacitated and unconscious victim, and bystanders intervening when they discovered the victim behind a dumpster not far from campus—Judge Aaron Perksy decided to impose a sentence of only six months. This sentence was far less than the six years recommended by prosecutors, and only one-quarter of the normal two-year minimum sentence. Persky avoided minimum sentence by finding that “unusual circumstances” existed. The short sentence shocked many, as did a statement written by the perpetrator’s father defending his son’s “20 minutes of action.” Bringing national attention to the case, CNN anchor Ashleigh Banfield spent more […]

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Brock Turner Gets Six Month Jail Sentence For Sexual Assulting Unconscious Woman..Rape is Rape

I’m sick to my stomach after reading how Brock Turner serves only six months in jail for Raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster. If you think raping is okay, you need help. The Judge is accountable for the low jail sentence.  Rape is Rape.  Xx  M The Stanford Survivor Has a Name. It’s “My Hero.” JUNE 10, 2016 | BY MAILE ZAMBUTO | FILED UNDER JHF BLOG > OUR ISSUES SEXUAL ASSAULT IN OUR WORDS FROM THE CEO I first learned about Brock Allen Turner’s sentence for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster on the Stanford University campus at the time everyone else did: last weekend. As the coverage was unfolding, I was with Mariska, members of our Joyful Heart Foundation staff and volunteers filming a local series of our NO MORE PSAs for Hawai‘i Says NO MORE. From morning into the night, we gathered at the Hawaii News Now studios in Honolulu and what we saw during the filming was brave, strong, and compassionate person after person, standing up for each other, for the people they love, for their partners, wives, husbands, children, neighbors, friends, mothers, and fathers, for people they’ve never met, for themselves. They were standing up to say NO MORE to the beliefs and attitudes that misplace blame on survivors, excuse those who cause harm, and allow institutions to look the other way. And outside of that room, the same thing was happening. […]

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Child Marriages, life of beatings and Sexual Assault by husband

  When I was 14 years old, I was kidnapped for a marriage to a much older man, as depicted in the film Difret. On the day I was abducted, I was raped by my would be “husband.” I knew I had to fight back and escape the first chance I got. I was taken to a hut and locked up. When I received another visit from my abductors I saw my chance. When he was suddenly called away, he left his gun leaning against the wall and the door unlocked. My father had taught me how to fire a gun, so I took it and ran. When he and his friends chased me, I shot him. It was the most terrifying, horrible ordeal of my entire life — and I’m one of the lucky ones. I was accused of murder and after 2 years in the courts, the judge ruled that it was, in fact, self-defense. My trial led to a re-examination of this tradition and the Ethiopian government is now working to end child marriage and female genital cutting by 2025. In addition, the African Union recently launched a campaign to end child marriage across the continent. I am now dedicating my life to working on this issue and to give voice to the screams of unheard rural women and girls. I don’t want to see the same story happen to any more girls. And yet, it still is. […]

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What’s Love Got To Do With It?

Original post 5/2014 We do things for people we love not for those who do not deserve love. I woke today with a tug, my introspective mood. I save difficult post for days like this. It’s not depression or sadness more logical than emotional. Dissociation is a conversation my therapist and I have talked about for 15 years. When I talk about child abuse at the hands of my mother and stepfather my mood is flat. One of the ways I survived was putting each memory in a box to deal with later. After awhile some memories fade. Other’s are  yearly reminders. My mother still sends Birthday and Christmas cards. About 15 years ago she sent a Birthday card triggering the last blow. She basically said “I’m not the only person with problems get over it.” Nothing ever changes, everything is about her. I had not thought about my mother yet would send thank you notes for Christmas gifts. I didn’t think about it, just on auto pilot. This Birthday card was different, it pissed me off almost to almost losing it which I rarely do. I took the card to my next therapy appointment. I sit down and Diane knew something was very wrong. I handed her the card and the inscription written in the book. Diane was a cool therapist, she knew me well. She could tell the anger was building and ask what was my next step. I […]

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Andy Warhol’s “So Sweet” *Live For Today*

Original post 5/2014 I had to buy this Warhol because it was the complete opposite of my childhood. I saw the happy little girl and thought about me in kindergarten. She’s carrying a bag of candy and a good report card, again not me. What makes it so special is my mother told me I was stupid all the time. I began to believe her. You look in the corner and see “So Smart”, words I love to hear. I wasn’t stupid, just carrying a heavy load. No kindergartener can handle the burden of that secret. Warrior

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Do you know me at all?

Original post 3/2014 It’s been an emotional month with thoughts of my father’s suicide and writing about him for the first time. I never grieved my father, the emotions caught me by surprise. It’s been very confusing because my father was one of my abusers. I am having health issues which is stressful. The Black Dog has come to see […]

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Brother witnessed Child Abuse of only sister * Everybody Hurts*

Original post 3/2014 Everyone suffers in an abusive environment. Our house was always in chaos. An alcoholic stepfather who abused my mother and a mother who abused her daughter. There were three other children in the house who saw the abuse, heard the screams and threats. I used to think the victim was the only person with scars. At 9 years old I survived almost daily beatings by taking drugs, plenty of alcohol and trying to kill myself. It never occurred to me my brother suffered from witnessing the abuse. My brother’s scars are from seeing our stepfather beat our mother. Dragging her down the hall beating her head from side to side. Putting a knife to her throat saying he would kill her. Most of their fights ending in front of our bedrooms. We had front row seats to hell. My mother abused me, the methods escalated as I aged. I heard stories of abuse as early as six months old. I don’t think my mother was trying to kill me. She’s like the women on the news who allow their kids to die. She didn’t push my head under the water but would have crocodile tears if I drowned accidentally. One weekend driving back from Houston we passed the exit to my mother’s house. I had strong emotions about my brother not me. I didn’t understand the emotions. It hit me like a train, my brother was not physically […]

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I almost Killed my Father

Original post 4/2014 I’m writing the post with the outcome first. It made sense to me when reliving it. The tides turn It’s beyond comprehension why my probation officer saw hope in me. I gave her no reason, I had lost hope in myself, in life for that matter. I didn’t speak one word to her for seven months. I attended weekly meetings for possession of a handgun. I was a bad ass in my mind. I had to see a psychiatrist several times. I was smarter than my age at 12 years old. The psychiatrist asked me how many children I wanted. Without blinking I said none. “I wouldn’t take a chance on beating my children”. She said statics show abused people are less likely to abuse their children. I’d been sexually abused and beaten all my life. Stats meant nothing to me. The State wanted me in a boot camp type facility. My probation officer fought hard to find a less destructive facility. She felt a boot camp style would make me worse. She was right, I was wound very tight. If I can plan my father’s death what stops you from hurting a stranger. My grandmother knew about a convent that was for bad girls when she was younger. My probation officer Ruth Barrier agreed it was a better environment. I might reform in this setting. The down side, it cost $2,000 a month back in 1975 and my grandparents […]

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College Campus Sexual Assaults *Colegio Campus Assults Sexuales

RAINN  Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network Help is available 24/7 through the National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-HOPE and online.rainn.org, y en español: rainn.org/es. Survivor Spotlight: College Campus Sexual Assault (August 10, 2015) — Ti’Air was happy that someone she met a few years ago reached out to help her through the process of moving to a new university campus, where she was beginning to study for a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering. “He was very friendly and helpful. We talked every day,” she says. “But suddenly, he became extremely flirtatious and aggressive.” One night, he invited her to karaoke. He took her back to her home at the end of the night, and when they arrived at her apartment, he raped her. Although Ti’Air reported her rape to her university and the police, the case did not move forward. She channeled her frustration with this experience into founding a student group on campus. “The reason I started Students Against Rape and Violence (SARA V) was due to the lack of resources I found on my campus to help me cope,” she says. Ti’Air hopes SARA V can be a vehicle of change by educating students about sexual assault and providing a safe space for peers to share their experiences. Ti’Air says there were a number of challenges she faced after her sexual assault. She had trouble focusing at school, developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and faced harassment from friends of her […]

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TLC to air new documentary "Breaking the silence" about child sexual abuse

(August 13, 2015) – TLC has announced plans to air “Breaking the Silence,” a new documentary about child sexual abuse. The documentary will include interviews with members of RAINN’s Speakers Bureau and offer a look inside a Darkness to Light prevention training workshop. The program will air on Sunday, August 30, at 10/9c. RAINN and Darkness to Light are partnering with TLC on a multi-platform campaign to combat child sexual abuse in the U.S. Later this month, TLC will begin airing public service ads featuring the National Sexual Assault Hotline. Breaking the Silence will feature interviews with people impacted by sexual abuse, including Traci Lee and her daughter, Ter-rae Lee, who received help from RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Hotline. “I was sexually abused by my father from the age of 11 until 13,” said Ter-rae Lee. “With the support of RAINN, I gained the courage to extract a telephone confession from my father as the district attorney’s office silently listened in. This call led to my father’s conviction, allowing me to feel safe for the first time in years.” The program will also include the story of survivor Erin Merryn, who has led the campaign to pass Erin’s Law, which requires schools to educate students about sexual abuse. To date, 26 states have passed Erin’s Laws, and the U.S. Senate last month passed a bill to encourage the remaining states to implement such programs. “We are grateful to the survivors of […]

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Randstein nominated me for Once a Victim Now a Survivor Award

Thank you my friend Randstein A special thank you to Randstein for nominating me the Once A Victim Now A Survivor Award.  Randstein is a good friend, always happy to help, writes the most fantastic stories. His short stories give you plenty to think about. Randstien’s blog is hyperionsturm.wp.com. He’s a founding member of survivorsbloghere.wp.com I’m glad to have met him, my life has expanded. This award is for those who have gone through mental illness of any kind, abuse, trauma, and especially PTSD. The Rules: 1. Thank the blogger that nominated you 2. Nominate 5 – 10 bloggers to pass the award to 3. Post 5 questions for your nominees to answer (you may use the same as these below) 4. Inform your nominees and post a comment in their blog to let them know they’ve been nominated Questions: 1. In what ways do you feel that blogging can help people with psychological trauma or mental illness? I think writing can help in many ways. It’s perfect outlet to share, work thru pain and trauma. Blogging provides support from people who are a few steps ahead. The experience of putting your pain in a post can give a feeling of success. Writing thoughts down can help you see what needs more work. Posting takes a load off, no matter how small. We gain confidence one step at a time.   2. How has blogging helped you with your healing, or your personal journey? I started […]

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Care of the Adult Patient after Sexual Assault *NEJM Report*

New England Journal of Medicine Care of the Adult Patient after Sexual Assault Judith A. Linden, M.D. N Engl J Med 2011; 365:834-841  September 1, 2011DOI: 10.1056/NEJMcp1102869 This Journal feature begins with a case vignette highlighting a common clinical problem. Evidence supporting various strategies is then presented, followed by a review of formal guidelines, when they exist. The article ends with the author’s clinical recommendations. The author, Judith A. Linden, M.D. has written one of the most comprehensive medical reports on the care needed after Sexual Assault. The report is quite long, I’ve included the link. www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMcp1102869 If interested in receiving their newsletter www.nejm.org XO  M

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Throw Back Thursday *Memories…Good Times…Regrets*

When introspective, I fall in to music. Music defines a time and space. The memories are not all good, many are from rough times in life. No one knows what each song means to me or why, the answers locked away. A  favorite U2 song is ” Running to Stand Still”. Etched in my soul, reflecting on my life.  Pull up a chair or lounge with a lover, Enjoy the beverage. I would pick a Merlot to relax and take in the moment.    XO  Warrior 

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Throw Back Thursday *Clapton Cocaine, Zeppelin Rock & Roll*

A couple music favorites from my wild child days. By 12 years old I already lived a lifetime, the drugs probably kept me alive. Read my About Me page and you may agree. I would break a kilo of marijuana down to four finger bags in a couple of hours. Using old fashion sandwich bags, just roll and lick to seal.  My 21-year-old boyfriend was a dealer and we would sell kilo in two nights. This became our Friday ritual every two weeks. There is a long story behind how a drug addicted 12-year-old missed out playing with Barbie’s. I had Angels guiding my path.   XO Warrior

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Covenant House Keeps Homeless Kids Off The Streets

Help us get homeless kids off the streets. Your action on Change showed sex trafficking victims that they are not alone. In fact, they have an important new ally. Some experts estimate that every year, 100,000 children — many of whom are homeless — are forced into prostitution in the United States. They have lived through unspeakable pain, and have nowhere and no one else. But they do have Covenant House… and now they have you. At Covenant House, we provide vital shelter and lifesaving support to every kid who shows up on our doorstep. Working in 27 cities across 6 countries, we reach tens of thousands of kids in need every year by getting them off the streets and into the safety of our shelters. How we reach homeless kids Raising community awareness Searching for kids in the most dangerous parts of town Creating change at the local, state & federal levels Visiting schools to promote prevention 36,154 kids were saved last year. Just like you, we believe that every kid deserves a safe place to live and the support and resources to build a future of love, hope and success — no matter who they are, where they’re from or what they’ve been through. In the coming months, our kids are going to need your support. Whether it’s helping to get legislation passed or making sure we’re prepared for extreme weather and other emergency situations, you can protect […]

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DA Fred Bright Responds To 14 year Old Charged With Prostitution

Response from DA Fred Bright April Childs Watkinsville, GA Jan 26, 2015 — Here is the response from DA Fred Bright concerning this case. “We fully recognize that the 14-year-old child involved is a victim. Our office does not arrest individuals and was not consulted about the case initially. From the time we first received this file, we expected no active prosecution against her and our only goal has been to obtain counseling, treatment, care, and protection, which she is now receiving. On December 1, 2014, we, along with the child and her lawyer requested, and the Juvenile Court Judge agreed and signed an order to hold her case in abeyance. That order means that her case is automatically dismissed upon successful completion of treatment, counseling, and care. These services will hopefully rehabilitate her so that she can get the help she needs. We have reviewed the matter and met with the law enforcement officers from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Eatonton Police Department who conducted the investigation. The State is prosecuting the adult defendants for statutory rape and related charges when appropriate. The cases against the adult offenders are expected to be presented to the next Grand Jury in Putnam County scheduled for March, 2015 for indictment. We hope these prosecutions will protect her and other youth of our communities in the future. Yesterday, I spoke to the Attorney General and his specialist in Human Trafficking, who will […]

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Throw Back Thursday **Pink Floyd, The Allman Brothers and American Indians** A Strong Message of Survival

The Pink Floyd video brings thoughts, dreams and surviving to mind. I fly in my dreams and have for as long as I can remember. Watching the guy get the courage to fly is like our internal struggle to survive. Survivors continue to battle the struggle, the difference is they have learned to fly. The other message not lost on me is the American Indian appearing, building his confidence to fly. I am Cherokee and would have liked to fight their battles. Everyone has a story. If you are lacking confidence to jump the last hurdle, you’re in good company. Survivors dedicate themselves to helping you fly. There’s a line in Seven Turns on the Highway, Love Is All That Remains The Same. It reminds me the journey never ends, we have to keep living. By living we are going to hit unexpected turns. When we have the right people in our life, they take the journey with us. Surviving is a life long learning experience. Personally I love watching the American Indians dance, wondering what the dance means.   XO Warrior  

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Steubenville High School: Remove Convicted Rapist From Football Team**Is Football More Important Than Gang Rape?**

TRIGGER WARNING: This petition pertains to the sexual assault of a minor. “I feel that he’s earned a second chance.” That’s what Steubenville High football coach Reno Saccoccia has to say about his decision to welcome convicted rapist Ma’lik Richmond back to his team. The facts of the Steubenville rape case in 2012 were already horrendous. A teenage girl was repeatedly and publicly sexually assaulted by boys on her school’s football team. Pictures and video were taken and the victim was shamed on social media. Coach Reno Saccoccia allegedly tried to cover up the crime and continued to let the perpetrators play on the team even after it became clear that they had committed these acts. This case was a clear-cut instance of rape culture, where a community prioritized the success and protection of its football team, and dismissed incidences of rape under the guise of ‘boys will be boys.’ Now, Ma’lik Richmond – who was found guilty of raping a minor while she was unconscious – is out of jail and and Coach Saccoccia has put him right back on the Big Red football team. While he was never charged with attempting to cover up the crime it’s clear that Saccoccia still doesn’t understand the seriousness of his players’ crimes. In his words: “[Richmond’s] one of 55 players that are in good standing with their teammates and their coaches.” This cannot be tolerated. We as a nation are tired […]

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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Announced The New Policy For Players Who Commit Domestic Violence **VICTORY**

This is an update to Change.org petition to Stop Violence Against Women, from woman who started petition. Victory Today NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced a shift in the NFL’s policy regarding the punishment of players who commit domestic violence. Players will be suspended for six games for the first offense and indefinitely for a second offense. I’m thrilled that the NFL listened to the fans and I’d like to thank everyone who signed my petition and all of the journalists who continued to follow this story. The NFL has finally taken real action on domestic violence and it’s because we stood together and said this simply isn’t acceptable anymore. This is a huge moment of recognition for survivors and their advocates and it came about because of people like you who were willing to take a stand. Thank you for using your voice to make change. We at WordPress must leverage the NFL’s decision to make our voice heard on all petitions regarding Violence Against Women. The NFL is setting the tone for change. Please go directly to Change.org and look under Domestic Violence to see active petitions. I will keep you informed as they roll across my desk. So proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with you.  M

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Funding Update for Rape Kit "End The Backlog" FY2015

A Step Closer to Landmark Reform  Today, we have moved one step closer to achieving landmark rape kit reform. This morning, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved $41 million in its FY2015 Commerce, Justice and Science spending bill to address the rape kit backlog. The Senate’s actions follow on the heels of last week’s vote by the House of Representatives for this historic level of funding in its new spending bill. The new program will provide communities with the vital resources they need to help end the backlog at law enforcement agencies throughout the country, with a focus on investigating cases and re-engaging survivors in the process. As we begin the final push to ensure this funding is passed by the full Senate, we urge you to join the thousands who have already taken action and made their voices heard.Write to your Senators and urge them to support this funding as the bill moves through the Senate. Send your letter here. Thank the members of the Senate and House Appropriations Committee leadership who prioritized this funding. Share your tweets here. Help spread the word about the rape kit backlog and our efforts to end it with your community. Get started here. Funding for comprehensive rape kit reform sends a message to survivors that they—and their cases—matter. It sends a message to perpetrators that they will be held accountable for their crimes. It demonstrates a commitment to survivors to do everything possible to bring healing […]

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Washington Doesn't Want to Talk About Vaginas

Jaha Dukureh is a survivor, driven with incredible inner strength. This article is a great follow-up to the post I wrote on Female Genital Mutilation.  This is the worst form of abuse on children and women. I can appreciate bringing traditions when moving to America. Female Genital Mutilation is a tradition not excepted in America. The violence and violation of children and women is illegal, not a tradition America has ever followed and is inhumane. Most people are not familiar with Female Genital Mutilation, now is a good time to educate yourself and others. Jaha’s clitoris and labia removed and her vagina stitched leaving only a small hole to urinate and menstruate. Sex is very painful.This procedure is Type 3 FGM. It is a long post but please read her brave and motivating story. Please sign the petition on Change.org. She is a survivor and want’s to teach Americans what to do to stop FGM in America. The Futures Without Violence website http://exchange.futureswithoutviolence.org is a great resource to offer support and educate.  From the Futures Without Violence Website. Jaha Dukureh: ‘In Washington, they don’t want to talk about Vaginas’ An Atlanta woman who is a survivor of female genital mutilation is leading a campaign for the US to take action on a brutal practice happening in its own backyard. Jaha Dukureh does not give up easily. When, aged just 15, she was sent to New York from Gambia for an arranged marriage, it looked like […]

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Brave Heart Award

The Brave Heart Mission Statement To encourage all those (men & women) who have been abused (all abuse) to share their hope with others so that they will no longer be a victim but a survivor that knows they are loved.   A Victims Journal nominated me for the Brave Heart Award. There are not enough words to express how helpful, positive and inspiring she is to me. I admire her raw and honest post. The feedback she gives is no less raw. Her sixth sense of knowing when you need a boost or a little prodding helps keep me on track. I feel like she reads all of my post and always has a hug and positive affirmation.  Rules of Acceptance: Thank the person who nominated you. Answer 12 questions put before you. Nominate/award 12 bloggers. Notify nominees/awardees with a link to their blogs on yours. 12 Questions Asked 1.Tell us a bit about your blog. Who designed it The blog is an avenue to tell my story of physical, emotional and sexual abuse. I believe it also serves as a resource for men & women alike. I used a Word Press template and designed myself. 2. What is the title and description of your blog? Looking for the Light is my blog which focuses on my story of abuse  and Mental Illness. 3. Who is your intended audience? Anyone who has suffered trauma. I believe we can all help […]

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Terrorist BoKo Haram and Nigerian Government #BringBackOurGirls

I met two women bloggers living in Nigeria last week while looking for information on the kidnapped schoolgirls. They welcomed me with open arms and were patient answering all my questions. I wanted an understanding of the country in hopes of making sense of almost 300 schoolgirls being kidnapped. Not to mention 1,500 people killed this year by terrorist group Boko Haram. Without knowing the history of the country it is difficult to understand the dynamics, corruption and terrorist groups operating in the country. Nigeria is one of the largest African nations and is Christian and Muslims. I think getting the facts from people on the ground versus me or the media is more important. I’ve included links to the wonderful women who helped me immensely. http://maureenoblaq.wordpress.com http://musingsofahappymortal.wordpress.com ******************************************* Change.org There’s a powerful petition taking off on Change.org and we think you might be interested in signing it: Live link at end of post. All World Leaders: Bring Back Nigeria’s 200 Missing School Girls #BringBackOurGirls. In Nigeria, over 200 girls were recently abducted from their boarding school and plans are reported of them being selling them as brides for $12 each. I am calling on the world to unite and save them. The abducted young girls are being affected by a conflict they did not create, and their voices need to be heard. I can only imagine what these 200 girls have been through, and their government is not doing nearly enough […]

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Nigerian Militants Kidnap 250+ Schoolgirls for Slaves or Marriage

Under the cover of darkness Nigerian Militants raid girls school kidnaping close to 300 girls. Some were able to escape yet stranded far from school. Their future is grime, girls as young as 9 years old are sold as slaves or prostitutes. For older girls the future is just as bleak. Girls as young as 12 years old will endure the horrific pain of Female Mutilation before being sold into marriage or prostitutes. International Trafficking is growing and the atrocities against young girls continue. Now is a good time to educate yourself on the complex issues. President Obama spoke out against the crime and Militants responded by kidnapping more girls. As mentioned earlier the issue is complex. This post is a high level overview of the issue. I want to do research, including responses from other countries and more specifically what President Obama has committed to. I received an e-mail yesterday from Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott on International Trafficking that I have yet to dig into. This situation has reached a tipping point for me. I will post a follow up very soon. I’m going to leave you with a quote from Amnesty International. “MY BODY MY RIGHTS” In many parts of the world, poverty and discrimination affect women’s ability to access education and exercise control over their own bodies. As a result, women and girls all over the world are at risk of violence, forced marriage, genital mutilation, […]

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Hundreds of Thousands RAPE KITS UNTESTED

END THE BACKLOG Give closure to Rape victims  Give jail time to Abuser What are we saying to victims? Victims are not important?. Raped at 11 & 12 years old, I didn’t tell a soul. My mother would have beat me silly. Some of you will know this first hand. It takes close to six hours to go through the photos, poking, scraping and prodding of a Rape Kit collection. I hear it’s humiliating and you feel violated again. I don’t have many issues that get under my skin, this is the ONE. How did this happen? Over years the kits collected dust stored at local level without a system to retrieve them. The Rape Kits started crowding out the local precinct storage and shipped to storage facilities and forgotten about. In recent years the money for the DNA testing was expensive and budgets were smaller. END THE BACKLOG has moved mountains in a very short time. Please pass the e-mail around and sign up on website. This is my opinion and not endorsed by End The Backlog. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Dear Friend, We have heard some exciting news and we wanted you to hear it from us first. We also want to ask for your help advocating for change. As you know, Joyful Heart is dedicated to ending the rape kit backlog nationwide. Every year, more than 200,000 individuals report their rape to the police. Almost all are asked to have a rape kit […]

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NO MORE EXCUSES

No More Silence. No More Violence. Tune in for the NO MORE Excuses SVU Marathon This Sunday on USA  The link will take you to information about event and how you can help. There’s an extensive list of resources. Mariska Hargitay who plays a cop on SVU, gives a special address. Mariska started the Joyful Heart Foundation in 2004 with the mission to help heal, educate and empower survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse. NO MORE and End the Backlog are featured programs of the Joyful Heart Foundation. KNOW THE FACTS The next time you’re in a room with 6 people, think about this: 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men experience violence from their partners in their lifetimes. 1 in 3 teens experience sexual or physical abuse or threats from a boyfriend or girlfriend in one year. 1 in 5 women are survivors of rape. 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men have experienced some form of sexual violence in their lives. 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men were sexually abused before the age of 18. Warrior

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Stations of the Cross

This post does not preach or try to convert anyone of any religion. It’s the story of my intersection with the Catholic Church at 13 years old. In my recent post “I Almost Killed My Father” I told of spending a year at a Convent for bad girls. It is here I became familiar to the Catholic Religion. Growing up we did […]

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About Looking For The Light Blog

My mother, stepfather and father abused me until I was a teenager. All the scars hurt particularly of my father who sexually abused me. It’s hard to wrap your head around sexual abuse. My father committed suicide in 1992. It was an extremely difficult time, my grandmother never recovered he was her only child. In my father’s suicide note he wanted me to take care of all the details. Estranged for years but the heart still breaks. Because of the manner in which he killed himself we had to have a closed casket funeral. It’s very hard to reconcile death when you can’t see them. I gave the eulogy however I don’t remember. I struggle with Treatment Resistant Bipolar Disorder and the anxiety it brings. I was diagnosed  at 19 years old struggling for years without medication or over medicated. In 2005 I had the Vagus Nerve Stimulator implanted. The device sends electrical signals to the brain to increase Serotonin. I have taken over 40 prescriptions or cocktails. Some worked for a while then you have to try another mix. I thought the VNS device would keep me on the rails. Naïve thinking on my part. I was not as lucky as many in the FDA clinical trial. I realized the device was like any other prescription and it was another that didn’t work. I’m 50 years old now and the Black Dog drags me down deeper as I age. I’m alive with […]

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Hyper mania allowed me to travel

  I love to travel, my goal is to see the world. When your Bipolar, hyper mania  can make it possible. I was an Executive Sales person, number one in the company and making big bucks. I felt so lucky hyper mania stayed for 10 years. I went to Russia by myself, traveled with my friends to France and the Caribbean.  My doctor kept telling me the higher you go the harder you fall. I didn’t want to give up the person I was. The fall began slowly, I got fired from my job, blew though my savings and filled for bankruptcy. Did I mention a divorce and building a new house. I lost everything. What I lost was not worth the high. All the negative thoughts came back. My life is not as exciting, anxiety kept me in the house. Many days I didn’t get of bed. I’ve been suicidal several times, having 20 ECT treatments in the past 10 years. My husband understands my illness  and often goes on doctor’s appointments. The brain is a fascinating  question mark? I love this photo of Jesus because he carries me often. The photo was the motivation to get out of bed. Warrior

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Free to Fly

My emotions are raw today. It’s 4:45 pm and still in my pajamas. I’m sad and confused. When buried memories bubble up I work hard to lock them back up. I saw the ladybug on the roses, it brought the biggest smile. The excitement was enough to grab the camera. A smile is a great distraction, half a smile is better than none. All I can give is a half-smile today. Guilt took over, guilt tells me I’m lazy and my husband is going to leave me. I know it’s the illness talking but it hit me hard today because I was weak. Melinda

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