Monday, December 31, 2007

A Grateful, Happy 2008!!

Today's Daily OM:
December 31, 2007
Loving Presence
Surround Yourself With Love

In our everyday life we are surrounded by a variety of people. Some of the people we deal with on a daily basis are a joy to be with, and their loving presence nurtures and encourages us. Others may have the opposite effect, draining us of our energy, making us feel tired and exhausted. Our well-being can be easily influenced by those around us, and if we can keep this in mind, we will have greater insights into the quality of our social interactions and their energetic effect on us.

Once we think more deeply about the people we interact with, it becomes easier for us to work toward filling our lives with people who help us cultivate healthy and positive relationships. Even though it might not always seem like we have much control over who we are with, we do. The power to step back from toxicity lies within us. All we have to do is take a few moments to reflect on how another person makes you feel. Assessing the people we spend the most time with allows us to see if they add something constructive to, or subtract from, our lives. Should a friend sap our strength, for example, we can simply set the intention to tell them how we feel or simply spend less time with them. We will find that the moment we are honest with ourselves about our own feelings, the more candid we can be with others about how they make us feel. While this may involve some drastic changes to our social life it can bring about a personal transformation that will truly empower us, since ! the decision to live our truth will infuse our lives with greater happiness.

When we surround ourselves with positive people, we clear away the negativity that exists around us and create more room to welcome nurturing energy. Doing this not only enriches our lives but also envelopes us in a supportive and healing space that fosters greater growth, understanding, and love of ourselves as well as those we care about.

No matter where you are in your life, on your journey, whether embarking on that single step Lao Tzu speaks of, or heading up the spiral again, praise yourself, make a Gratitude List, and start with YOU. Praise that you have hands to type and a brain to think so that you can be a part of this movement. Be proud of the fact that you survived what happened, that you are breathing, that you are where you are no matter how much further you have to go. Just sit and say thank you. Then list everything else you can think of to be Grateful or. Not just thankful, thankful is one thing, but deeply grateful for, that feeling of vital resonance in the soul. Spend one day focusing on all the good you can see in your world. A glimpse of a flower, sunshine, birdsong, your smile, your heart beat, anything.

I am grateful, joyously grateful, for life herself and all that inhabits her.

Much Love to ALL.




Friday, December 28, 2007

Resources updated - WSO

(Wo)Men Speak Out has updated the list of resources on our main page as well as added a resource list specific to mental health.
Please feel free to email us your suggestion or comment on this page for us to review.

Art as Therapy

The purpose of art therapy is much the same as in any other psychotherapeutic modality: to improve or maintain mental health and emotional well-being. Art therapy generally utilizes drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, and other forms of visual art expression.

As children, drawing and art in general is something that is fun and creative, carefree. As child victims of abuse, many of us were unable to express ourselves honestly out of fear of ridicule or sharing our inner world with those who may harm us. As adult survivors of trauma, we can now reclaim the gift of art to help us work through memories or as a release from the everyday world into a safe place we create for ourselves.

One doesn't have to be an artist to draw. You simply have to be open to whatever comes out and replace negative language with positive, loving and learning as you go. For me, drawing was an a positive outlet as a child. I haven't drawn in years and don't consider myself an artist, but that doesn't mean I can't still draw whenever I want to! The truth is I love to color and will be purchasing a pile of coloring books because I'm starting to love my inner child and giving her the things she asks for that are safe and fun for both of us. In listening to her, I am respecting myself.

Respecting yourself means taking care of yourself. Perhaps drawing can be part of your routine, an outlet for creativity. I would encourage everyone to give it a try. You never know what you may find and who knows, just might like it!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Tending the Wound

For anyone experiencing Holiday Fallout, I wanted to encourage you (and myself )to tend the wound left by the sword if it hurts. My wound was infected for a long time, self abuse through drugs, smoking 2 packs a day, acting out, you name it. When it hurt then I ran to one of those standby behaviors. I just did not know what else to do and my early environment laid that track down for me. Everyone around me acted out sexually, used drugs, had awful self esteem, and the plague of denial which is still in effect to this day. So now, when the wound hurts, even though I am on the healing path, I have to accept that it will hurt from time to time. Which it does. Even my PHYSICAL cesarean scars still twinge and hurt if I push on them a certain way, like doing the rocking horse in yoga, BUT.....

I think mine feels better today because I refuse to pour salt in it by not resting, by yelling at myself in my head about my family of origin (Why can't they change, Why do I not inspire in them the change I want, Why this, why that..), or by being generally critical toward myself. Today I woke up and took the bambinos for a walk. I do not feel like running today. I am going to allow myself to not run.
My intention today was for them to get some fresh air and let them get their ya-yas out, and for me to inhale some of mother nature. Mama Earth is my elixir for all things. I just feel naturally pulled outside when upset, unbalanced, sick, whatever the case may be. I feel so much better after going out with my little ones in the woods. I had dreams about my horses all night, riding them and one was very upset(symbolic), and my Uncle and Aunt made an appearance as well. This is my father's brother and his wife and children. I loved and adored those babies when I was a teenager-the oldest was born when I was 15. In cutting ties, I lost those girls. And my horses. In my dreams I am fighting with Aunt Denial and Uncle Minimizer. I see the oldest girl under some kind of saran wrap. I think I was trying to remove her. My dreams are always taking place on that damn farm. Parts of me feel like they are still there. In the form of my equine counterparts. I woke up feeling like the dream was actually happening, on some level it is, but anyhow, I had to really rein myself in this morning. (That shit is like a vortex sometimes.) Deep breaths, easy on the coffee, good veggies, long walk with beautiful children, lay down and read while the boys play a new game, and allow the feelings to float around while I rearrange my head and plant myself firmly in NOW. When I was a little girl I took such comfort in the woods and in animals. No matter where you live, try to have animals and nature in your life.

Today I am saying more affirmations than usual, drinking Yogi Detox tea with the intention of cleansing my emotional field(my emotional field is full of lavender blossoming, by the way) and when I get that heady feeling or anxiety feeling, I stop what I am doing, lie down, and breathe. Right now my kids are getting ready for their lavender oil sea salt bath. So to decompress from the holidays, do your affirmations, detox with tea and salt baths, set your intention to "heal", and get a healthy dose of nature! This is tending the wound.

Love, SES

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

D.I.D. Blogs

Today, I have been doing a lot of research on line to follow up with survivors who inquired to resources for D.I.D.

Connecting with other survivors is so important in healing process as it helps in coming to terms with and flourishing in, what I call, "ones creative processes."

So, to all of our readers and friends who have emailed, let me say "You are not alone!" and there are a lot of very cool, creative and awesome bloggers out there, to share with and learn from.

Below is a list of blogs and sites that I think are good places to start.

Jigsaw Analogy
An Infinite Mind
A Safe Place
Multiple Reflections
John Michael's Blog
Keepers Corner
Beautiful Dreamer
It Takes A Village
Shadow Monsters and Fairy Gifts
D.I.D. Blog
Living with MP
Pilgrim's Journey
Roses On The Moon
My Dissonance
Life Spacings

For all the newbies, welcome! Here's our D.I.D. Youtube video for recap.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Buddhist Magazine Publishes on Retreat Discrimination

Freedom To Sit: Welcoming People Labeled with Psychiatric Disabilities at Buddhist Retreats
by Will Hall

Turning Wheel: A Journal of Socially Engaged Buddhism, Publication of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship Summer 2007

For complete article, click HERE

Do something: Click HERE

Sunday, December 23, 2007

WSO Podcast - Self care and the holidays!

WSO Podcast - Self care and the holidays!

CLICK HERE for our first podcast. We wanted to test the waters, before the radioshow so we did! Have a listen. Share your thoughts. Let us know what you think!


WSO Advocacy Radio

What is WSO Advocacy Radio?

(Wo)Men Speak out has been approached by an internet radio broadcaster to start our own WSO radio. As you all know, we have both a video series on youtube (WSOtv) and a Monthly Minizine that touches upon issues of rape, sexual assault and gender violence in the community.

This particular opportunity will be listener based in that we will touch upon issues directly related to what they listeners want to hear. In other words, you have a voice in the content.

The subscription fee for listeners is 99cents per month, to tune into a 24hour loop. We will update the station pod casts weekly and feature musical artists who directly support anti-violence initiatives in their communities.

So, why pay to be able to listen to WSO Advocacy Radio?

- You, the listener have 24 hour access to our podcasts.
- You, the listener have direct input in the content.
- We will feature advice, survivor-experience, guest pod-casts. musical admissions, live broadcasts as well as events, community input and more.
- The radio broadcast is exclusive to subscribers as the numbers are limited.

So, how do I subscribe?

Through paypal!

Pay $11.88 for the entire year.

Our larger objective is to reach a point where WSO Advocacy Radio is free to all listeners and this will become possible with sponsorship in the future. For now however, we feel that the message is important that there are enough advocates to support an independent station. This is an excellent opportunity to gain a larger community involvement which will eventually allow the issue of rape, sexual assault and gender violence to get noticed.

WSO Radio will begin as soon as we have confirmed the first 50 listeners.

So, please support us.

Place your subscription today for the new year, for yourself or a loved one. Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

I am a Survivor montage

This was an especially difficult montage to create as it holds many images that are triggering for me. Be forewarned that survivors may be affected by the pictures used in this montage. Despite it's affect, I feel it is important to add these personal pictures and elements to allow the viewer into part of my world. I hope you can appreciate it and take something positive away from it's viewing. Please visit our website for more:

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Holiday Musings from the Psyche of Sarah Elise

JOY is alive and well in the here and now. The above shot is moi and my husband the delicious human being that he is.

First picture is of me with my youngest son. The second is of me with my first born son, who opened me up in so many ways. Fritz pictured above. My horse. I am unaware of how he is doing these days as I do not speak to the incest family. In the here and now, joy is doing a dance.

Oh boy, here come the holidays...In years past the PTSD would be stirred up like a sandstorm. It gets easier as the years go by, thankfully mainly due to the healing effect of my family, my kids and husband. We have a clean slate with which to begin our nouveau familial style. I love my boys and husband so much. I feel that they inspire me and bless me...not just in the usual ways, but when I feel lost in the past, they bring me to center and keep me going just by being themselves. This is one of the ways motherhood and partnership heals me.

When one of them has a need, or a want, as they do a zillion times a day, I am snapped back into here and now. The here and now, this has been my focus. I tend to criticize myself and tend toward perfectionism in myself that I would never expect of anyone else. Perfectionism is a synonym for masochism, and self sadism. I feel so grateful for my family, and for surviving the trauma of my mother abandoning me, and my father raping me all those years, not just sexually but emotionally and spiritually. When I met my husband, I was in an unhealthy place, still tied to the blood family on my father's side. I was self destructive. The sight of him was like a reflection, and the image was of safety, goodness, love, and family. As the horses once did, Troy reflected my innate goodness back to me and I him. Wow. What a gift.

It was a momentous milestone for me to break away, ignoring the drone of bad advice and misguided emotional "support", telling me to come home and live there and be close. Be close. The incest web. I said no thanks to that and stayed with the man I would marry and become a mother with. It was very hard as the family, as most dysfunctional families do, knew how to manipulate me. I really left home in 99, I just kept going forward, years passing, rising like a phoenix. Very daring for me. The one thing they really had to wield were the horses. I began riding when I was 3. My horses gave me a sanctuary, they loved me unconditionally. They were magical. As I grew my grandmother, my father's mother, was "grooming" (interesting choice of words, huh?)me as she put it, to take over the family business. I elected a very different path and the shit hit the fan. Both my grandmother and grandfather tried making me feel so guilty if I ever desired anything outside of the horses. This was sacrelige! Of course I did desire other things, especially my own interests as most teenagers do, but their guilt worked.

I miss those horses. In 2004 I had to walk away from them, and one special one in particular. I chose my baby, my husband, their lives and mine over the horses. Over the family, over the pull of the incest web. In 2004 I even cut ties with my grandparents for good, filed a rape report against my father, received flowers from Eve Ensler, and began examining my relationship with my mother. The year of emancipation. My breaking away from them and thus the genesis of my breaking the cycles really began years earlier, in my mind. I was digging out of prison, misguided at first, in that I tried escaping through drugs and unhealthy relationships. I guided myself into the realm of true escape after I grew tired of hurting myself for things someone else did to me. I put myself first. My own mother never put me first, she left me with my father. My heart felt like it was being mutilated when I thought of my child ever feeling that. Over the years I have stayed in touch with that pain, and the pain of my father's abuse. It has kept me more empathic. Somehow she, my mother, lacked that fierce maternal bond. I was attached to both of my parents deeply, as children are. I am also incredibly bonded to my kids. My husband thinks I am more bonded to them and in touch intuitively with them than anyone else on earth. I love that he thinks that and am proud that I am!! Not apologizing for my goodness folks. Not gonna play it down either, I am a pretty great mama!

I give them what I never had. I feel the enormous ache and grief over my own losses as a child, I vow every second of every day that not only will I NOT repeat things, I think of what I WILL do. What can I add? Asset based thinking here, what can I give, not just what can I avoid doing. I can make a conscious effort to show my love and manage my anger and model healthy things for them. I add cafe dates, volunteering at my son's school, I teach them to be aware of mother earth and all her creatures, I honor their innocence and vow to protect it no matter what, I watch them grow and learn and try to appreciate the challenges they present me, like being more patient. Watching them safely develop and explore their bodies and express their emotions so freely is amazing and challenging. I was never allowed to feel my anger or even my joy fully. Especially not anger. Oh hell no, no anger for Sarah. And joy stifled by the always present threat of things falling apart as they so often did with my dad. He could never deliver a promise, hold down a job, keep a stable home for me. I remember when toys had to be brought back because he could not afford them. I still struggle with letting my hubs go out and shop for me at the holidays. I freeze up and feel like I am 7 again, walking through K&B, trailing my dad as he walked up to return gifts. John Lennon played in the background, singing about so this is Christmas, and what have you done? He promised a house and a dog, a job that he would keep, a mom for me, he promised to not touch me there anymore. All broken, all broken. I chose my husband because I knew that he would never do such things, although the sick little girl inside of me wanted a jerk to replay trauma with.

As for the past, the holidays I think of them. All of them, horses, people, red velvets ribbons. Are they ghosts? I don't know. William Faulkner said "The past is not dead. In fact, it's not even past. " Interpret as you will, but it's all about tending the wounds and simultaneously living in the here and now. We used to decorate their stalls with stockings and wreaths and we had parties for all the clients. People came and brought gifts and food, we even had a costume contest for the HORSES!! I miss so much their soft faces, their whinnies, their cantering up to me, the smell of the barn, like cedar and shavings... and I miss being so good at something. (I won all kinds of awards all of my life, equestrian success was a huge part of my having any self worth.) I love Angela's metaphor, though it is more literal than metaphorical for those of us who have experinced abuse, of the sword of trauma piercing us. I remember thinking to myself about five years ago, this is like an iron maiden. I feel like I am in one of those iron maidens, knives coming from every direction. Horrifyingly accurate. It is like a sword, all of it, not just being raped. Not being protected, no armor. The armor should have been my mother, my grandparents. My uncle and aunt who chose denial. The sword is out and now we tend the wound. I am tending the wound. Part of tending the wound so it does not get infected is acceptance of what was and cultivation of hope for what NOW can be. NOW, the reality is that as a parent I must accept that I AM good. I must accept that goodness. It is so hard to accept our own goodness at times. I can not explain why my mother and father, grandparents and uncle did not see my goodness and honor it as I do my children. Blinded by their own unhealed wounds, enormous gaping wounds infected with drug addiction, emotional numbness, denial, inability to protect the vulnerable ones, and fear. Infected and blinded. It was what it was. I am who I am today and though a part of me still needs to cry, rage, and ask questions, thats part of what helps me walk solidly on my healing path.

In the meantime, in the now, I am creating, with my husband and family, joyous, grateful, creative and impassioned energy for our new family tree. I know the reverberations will be felt into the next generations, and the little girl I was will feel the ripples too. I invite her to be here now, now and always.

Let's all invite our parts, our little ones inside, to come and be here with us now. They are waiting for our love and safety so they can leave the dark rooms, where they have been alone and crying, and come into the light where they belong. We can parent them now. If you are not a parent, you actually are a parent, because we all have inner children who need love, they are all the children we once were at certain times. The traumatized ones need us. And we will rise up like the phoenixes, and be here for them now.

Namaste and Love to All~S

Monday, December 17, 2007


I needed a pep-talk today. The holidays are always difficult and I refuse to let them get me down. So, I am sharing with you my pep-talk, just in case you need one as well.


Stop and take a look around you. Most people in this world are content to stay right where they are with their relationships, careers, and happiness. Not you – you are out there finding inspiration. You are reading, and researching ways to make you and your life better. That is so impressive and confirms that you will excel in life. People admire people like you.

Acknowledge how far you have come. There are so many others that have been abused that never had the strength to move on and search for happiness. (We continue to hope and pray for them.) You have found your strength inside of you! One bad day, or month, doesn’t mean a thing. A lifetime of fighting and winning the battle is the true testament to your resiliency.

And lastly, you are beautiful. Yes, you really are! Your belief in life and in yourself shines through the clouds that haze our vision. You continue to grow yourself because deep down, you know you are worth the fight.


Stay Strong!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

What is Normal

Recent events in my life have led to one word being brought up quite a lot; normal. There was an issue I needed to make a decision on but I was feeling confused. I didn’t feel like I could make a decision until I knew one thing; are my thoughts, feelings, and ideas about my situation normal or do they stem from the cynical survivor part of my brain? How do I trust what I am feeling when I can’t decipher the origin? I asked close friends and my therapist this question. My therapist told me I was acting normal for a survivor. That didn’t make me feel better. My best friend brought up the question, “what is normal anyway?”

What is normal and why do we strive so hard to become it? It’s the feeling of not being normal that drives us to therapy. It’s the feeling of not being normal that makes us hate our bodies, damages our self esteem, and causes us to settle for less than we deserve.

The definition of the word means “conforming to the standard or common type.” Who decided what the common type was? Many different groups have their own idea of what their common type is, what is their normal. Some religious groups think people who don’t believe as they do are abnormal. Some cultures think a woman working is abnormal. Some people think having only one wife abnormal. Your childhood experiences can impact your idea of normal.

I realized this quest of mine to make a normal decision was fruitless. I needed to first figure out what my idea of normal was. The normal that works best for my life within my belief system. I also needed to learn to accept that my definition of normal and how it relates to my life will be ever changing as I progress through the healing process and journey though life. I must be willing to accept this change and the new normal, and not fight against it.

I have also realized, no matter what, I will always be abnormal to someone. That is okay too because being abnormal isn’t all that bad. After all, the world has been changed by the non-comformists, the abnormals. Think about where we would be if we never challenged the norm. It is how growth happens.

Ask the question.

Something that we hear a lot from loved ones of survivors is that there is a large variety of resources for survivors to reference, but fewer that help loved ones to get a handle on what has happened and what they can do to help.

There are a number of ways in which family and friends can support an adult survivor of rape, sexual assault and gender violence:

* Listen in a way that supports and validates the survivors’ feelings.
* Let them know that you believe what they are telling you.
* Make yourself available for the survivor.
* Encourage survivors to seek help.
* Let survivors disclose details of the abuse at their own pace.
* Ask survivors what they need from you to feel safe and supported.
* Take care of yourself and get help if needed.
* Educate yourself on recovery issues. See suggested reading for a list of literature to assist you.

Admittedly, there are a lot of questions that arise when someone in your life is trying to work through their trauma. Sometimes, the things you say or do, though well intentioned, may not be appropriate or helpful to the survivor.

I have read a number of books as a survivor and as an advocate in the field. Some of which we recommend on our site.

For more information, please visit our resource page:

If you have additional resources, not yet listed please let us know. We will do our best to review them and if appropriate, add them to the list.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Days like this...

There are days when what we are doing seems like baby steps in a world owned by giants.

Sometimes, not hearing from people or seeing their reactions can leave you feeling like maybe you just aren't reaching people. It can be disheartening, overwhelming. It can leave you feeling hopeless. Then there are days like today.

We received an email from an Advocate all the way from Bangalore, India named Nazu.

Nazu came across our blog and took the time to write us and let us know that our site is one that will be added to the "Askios" network to refer people to. Nazu is a survivor-advocate who created the site in order to provide resources for survivors of childhood abuse, and also network and connect with activists in India and other Asian countries, who work in the field of child sexual abuse.

We also received an email from a survivor who has yet to break their silence publicly. Someone who just doesn't feel that he is ready to speak out for fear of not being believed, for being blamed for his abuse. The social and familial stigma is just too great right now, but knowing that WSO existed was enough to reach out, in an email and let us know that there is comfort in knowing that he is not alone. Thank you for that email.

When I read these emails, I felt like the world got a little smaller and that we really are making a mark, reaching each other, across all barriers.

Today is a small reminder, that you must never lose sight of your goals. That there will be days when you feel like it's too big a feat, too difficult a task. It's in these moments that you must ask yourself "If not you, who? If not now, when?"

Never. Stop. Talking.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Race to Stop the Silence, April 08

A few years ago, I found myself in Washington, DC for the 2rd Annual National Race to Stop the Silence. The whole trip was an awesome adventure and I was able to meet up with some amazing, like-minded survivor-advocates, activists and community members who truly wanted to put an end to the pandemic of abuse. It was here, that I had the privilege of meeting Pamela Pine, the woman behind the organization and in charge of planning next year's 5th Annual Race at ANACOSTIA PARK. For those of you in the D.C. area, or for those who want to fly out, I would encourage you to participate. Stop the Silence does great things, one of which is providing a place where silence is broken. For more information on this event, please visit:

For further information, e-mail: - tell (Wo)Men Speak Out says hello!

Cafepress Sale!

Free shipping on all CafePress stuff for a limited time!

Go buy your WSO merchandise before the deal ends and SEND US YOUR PICTURE! We'll put it in the Minizine!!

A portion of your purchase goes back to WSO initiatives.

Click here for store!

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a humanitarian catastrophe

The epidemic of rape and sexual violence in the war-torn country of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a humanitarian catastrophe.

The urgency of the crisis cannot be overstated. Take Action >>

The physical and emotional harm these women and girls face is staggering, and they rarely find the medical and psychological care they so desperately need. While the perpetrators of these horrific crimes move with impunity to their next victims, whole communities live in constant fear of the next wave of violence.

The International Violence Against Women Act (S.2279) would significantly increase U.S. commitment to ending gender-based violence in the DRC and around the world. By passing the IVAWA, we will take a significant step toward addressing this type of violence in the DRC and other crisis regions around the world.

Tell the Senate to pass this legislation immediately! >>

Thank you from my heart for responding to this humanitarian catastrophe.

Monday, December 3, 2007

A crime is a crime

I want to take a moment to say thanks for having me here. I hope you find my blogs worth your reading. Comments are always accepted and appreciated. Thanks so much and now on to the business at hand.

I live in Orlando and there is a story here causing quite a debate. When I first heard it on the radio, I thought I must be misunderstanding something because it didn’t make sense to me, some parts actually infuriated me. I was in the middle of writing a post on the paper’s site when I thought this would the perfect entry for my new blog. I have included the link if you want to read it the full article.

A woman was arrested on capital rape charges after a tape of her raping a five year old boy was found by a garbage collector. She was immediately charged and confessed to the crime. She was found guilty by a jury and went on to sentencing. Sounds like an open and shut case, right? Well, wrong!

On the day of sentencing, the judge, not the defense attorney, threw out the verdict and ordered a new trial because in Florida, the mandatory sentence is life without parole. The judge released a statement which in part said:

“The fact that the defendant faces a Draconian punishment for a crime where the victim is alive and apparently living a normal life some eleven years after the criminal act, when criminals who have killed people are released from prison almost daily, makes it even more imperative that the defendant receive a fair and impartial trial "

What the judge is implying and the article is summarizing is that since the child doesn’t seem to remember the rape or suffer ill effects from it, is it really a crime. What kind of rationale is this? Is this the precedent we really want to set? How can anyone say if he will remember the rape down the road, or if he remembers now but is too ashamed to admit it. When I was 16, you would of thought I lived a normal life too. I hid my pain well and the last thing I wanted to do at that age was talk about being raped. Regardless, the little boy in the video deserves justice. Whether he remembers or not, a crime is a crime.

Let's take a moment to examine this thinking a little further. How far can this be taken? If I am drugged or beaten before I am raped and I can't remember the details, does that mean I wasn't raped? If I am in a car accident and the impact erased my memory of the event, does my insurance company not have to pay for the repairs. If I am asleep during a surgery, did the surgery not happen? It is basically the modern day version of, “If the tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it still make a sound.” I say yes and if the child doesn’t remember, it is still a crime. However, unlike the tree, someone was around to hear it. They are called jurors and they saw the video. Now I want to hear the sound of justice.

One last point to ponder, if this child was a 5 year old girl, and the rapist was a 21 one year old male, would there be a discussion at all?

Mike Lew

I had the privilege of meeting Mike Lew several years ago at a conference in O.H.I.O. He is an amazing author and advocate and one of our favorite authorities on the topic of Male Sexual Violence .

Mike wrote our Sept 07 BOOK OF THE MONTH pick: VICTIMS NO LONGER The Classic Guide for Men Recovering from Sexual Child Abuse.

Mike appeared on Breaking the Conspiracy of Silence back in February and we wanted to share this archive with you on the topic of male abuse.

This is a three-part interview:

Secton 1: Mike shared why he prefers to use the term "sexual child abuse" and how he happened to get into working with victims of sexual abuse. We talked about why men don't disclose as readily as women. Click:

Section 2: They discussed the impact of sexual abuse on men, including the issue of male stereotypes and images of masculinity, shame and the assumption that abused boys will become perpetrators. Click:

Section 3: Mike discussed the recovery process for men, including the importance of finding safety, giving up isolation, feeling the pain, making allies and having fun. He stressed that counselors who work with this issue have respect for the client, since that is a major wound for abused people.Click:

Funding cuts have disallowed this amazing radioshow: Breaking the Conspiracy of Silence, to no longer exists. Archives are still available, but our hope is that sponsors will be found in order to get this resource up and running again. If you or someone you know can help, please email Kathleen and let her know that you heard about it from WSO. We love Kathleen!!

Breaking the Conspiracy of Silence is now accepting sponsors and advertisers for the Internet radio show, Breaking the Conspiracy of Silence. For more information and rates contact:

Downsize Your Impact

I'm not sure about all of you, but our passions don't end with abuse advocacy. We believe that everyone and everything on this planet is interconnected and as such we are concerned with all faces of advocacy around the globe.

In an attempt to shed some positive energy and connect with like-minded people, we have created a blog called: Downsize Your Impact. Click HERE to view it and learn more.

Consciousness gives us the ability to see that the suffering of any impacts us all. It's the realization that we are not alone, but interconnected. Downsize Your Impact is dedicated to lessening suffering on earth, through advocacy in all areas of sustainability, to include agriculture, industry, forestry, fisheries, and human communities.

Our objective is to create a positive space where we share healthy ways of connecting with ourselves and others. It is a forum where we can come together and help one another find ways of feeling better about ourselves and moving forward in our healing.

For me personally, being able to help the planet as a whole, in all her facets brings me a greater piece of mind.

We hope that "Downsize Your Impact" is yet another resource on the growing list of resources that will allow you to change the world, one step at a time.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Emotional Heirlooms

Howdy, ya'll. Holiday time is upon us, and I want to remind everyone to look for positive triggers, perhaps even consciously create new traditions that are totally yours and yours alone.

My husband and I are doing the tree farm thing with our kids this year. He was raised in a religion that did not observe any holidays, no birthdays, no Christmas, etc. (LAME)

My mother left me when I was 26 moths old. She wanted to pursue her own interests which at the time were a rock band. I was raised by a father who never held a job down, mooched off his parents, who enabled him in every way. He began molesting me as a baby, about one and a half. He eventually kidnapped and raped me in a motel room in New Orleans.

My mother was supposed to come to meet us there, she never came. His family chose denial and I chose emancipation, so I waved bye bye to that freak show for good in 2004. I was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. We likes to get down in Nola. Naturally, I have always loved holidays. Just inherently love celebratory energy. Any opportunity to shake what I got, I shall! Like right now, James Brown is playing, he's singing about his soulful Christmas tree and grooving at Christmas time, and I can barely sit here to type because my ass just wants to shake itself....but I digress.

Troy, my hubs, and the kids and moi were driving the other day, discussing ornaments, the passing of legacies to our children, what if any legacy we have yet to obliterate from our respective childhoods. Most were in need of total annihilation! As we were talking, I said,
"you know, what about emotional heirlooms?" He said, "Oh my god, write about it!"
That's what it's like...we pass down the ornaments, silver, the plates, even the the dysfunction because it seems easier than actually changing things, we pass down habits, idiosyncrasies.

But, I think of what we are leaving our children as more than a legacy. Legacies are a little intangible. What emotional heirlooms will we pass to them? Literally, for each moment in life, what are we passing? What crystallized moments, whether joyous or painful, will we give them to hold? Will we remember that those very heirlooms are going directly to our grandchildren as well? My parents and grandparents on both sides never thought past themselves. Ever.
This has to be done very deliberately. This year, our positive triggers are the tree farm, side-of-the-road apple cider, and lots of groovy Christmas music. Now, the tree farm thing is essential, as I have much trauma surrounding the holidays.

I am creating future triggers, or memories, that will eventually pass into being emotional heirlooms for us and our babies, and their babies too..Screw Santa's list, I have made a list from my childhood, what was good, what was not. When I was little, Christmas was pretty good considering the context, at my dad's folks. I always missed my mother terribly and felt lonesome for that maternal love. I always feared my father's mercurial moods at Christmas. I feared his father for the same reason. Even at my grandparents, it was often like walking on glass. It was up to me to push for the tree, the lights, the merriment. If I had not been so determined to celebrate, I am quite sure no one would have done it. Many of the traditions once held dear in my family unraveled with the years of escalating abuse. It was not very safe to feel merry, for I always knew any merriment was a precursor to violence. Still, I stayed up all night decorating that tree, giving my soul room to be expressed.Yet in the midst of it all I stayed up all night decorating the tree. I loved doing it, me awake with all the animals.

I look at my babes today, and they have a brand new world, a mother who would rather die a slow painful death than abandon them, a father who is healthy, kind, sensitive, a love like no love I ever knew on Christmas and every other day. I am giving myself all things new as well. New heirlooms. New feelings, letting the joy in, relishing it, allowing my heart to be porous so that I may soak it all in. The joy that my children feel becomes my own. . When I see my children happy, free, and safe, I celebrate that with a deep smile, taking the moment home into my heart, and thanking the universe for this life. As we do this in our new family, we heal the children we once were as well, so everyone benefits. Instead of being angry or bitter because we were cheated, we choose to celebrate, and the taste is ever sweeter because of our respective histories.

Here's to new and healthy emotional heirlooms. We may not be able to hang those from a tree, or place them upon a mantle to look at, but they will live forever in the hearts of our children.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Welcome Sarah!

WSO welcomes Sarah Elise to our growing list of contributors for the (Wo)Men Speak Out Blog.

Sarah and I met on the Angela Shelton survivor forum on the days before Angela even knew who I was! Over 5 years later, we are still working our butts off sharing our stories, through out own organizations now, with all who will listen. Some of you may know Sarah as our featured Artist of the Month in the Oct 07 Minizine.

Sarah is truly a bright light. It is with great admiration that we welcome Sarah to our circle of survivor-advocates and look forward to her future posts.

Namaste Sarah and thank you for being here.