Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Blessings Of Surviving Incest

"Every experience, no matter how bad it seems, holds within it a blessing of some kind. The goal is to find it."

I do believe this. I would never wish that another human being experience the abuse of incest that I went through and I know that without my own experiences, I would not be who I am today. I would not have the strength, courage or compassion that I have today. I would not have the ability to offer hope to other survivors. I would not have the wisdom of surviving that I have today. I would not have the stubbornness that refuses to give up even on the hardest of days.

"I Regret 

Nothing in my life
even if my past
was full of hurt,
I still look back & 
It made me who i am 
                 as shared on Facebook

Here is my response to reading the above quote:

I love who I am today. Without the incest, I have no idea who I would be today. I have chosen to take the bad and turn it into sometime good - a me that I can be proud of - full of love and compassion for my fellow human beings. My strength comes from surviving what I experienced as a child. My courage comes from facing my fears and, believe me, they were many more than people looking at me today can see. My compassion for myself and for others comes from my past hurts. I don't want anyone else to hurt like I once did and for those who are hurting today, I can honestly say, "I know what that feels like." 

I expect honesty out of myself and anyone that I trust because as a child there were so many lies from the adults in my life. Once you have earned my trust, I trust you completely. If you betray that trust, I will walk away and not look back. 

Helping other survivors and sharing my story is the best way I know of to bring good out of the abuse.  Being able to help other survivors to heal brings meaning to my life. I have met some of the most amazing people because of becoming an advocate for children and other survivors. 

My world today is rich with friendships and family that I love. Many of those friendships are because of my advocacy work. I love you all. You inspire me to never give up and to keep taking the next step forward in whatever direction it takes me. I know that I am not alone. Neither are you.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Incest, Healing And Moving Forward

I was in a conversation on Facebook a few days ago that stemmed from the following quote by Dr. Steve Maraboli. Here is the quote:

unless you let go,
unless you forgive yourself,
unless you forgive the situation,
unless you realize that that situation is over.

Here is what I said when I posted this quote on my Facebook page.

"For small situations, you can move through to moving forward pretty quickly. As an incest survivor, the process of moving through the feelings, forgiving myself and my abusers, letting go of it all has been a lengthy process that has taken years. There were many people who told me to move on, let it go, before I was able to. The truth is that letting go can take a long time sometimes. Talking about it, writing about it has brought it out into the open and out of the darkness of silence and abuse. In talking about it and healing my issues, I refused to be a victim any longer. Today I am moving from survivor to thriver and that is a very good thing."

Someone told me it takes courage to not let the incest define me. I do use the label of incest survivor in reaching out to others and in sharing my story, but I do not define myself as what happened to me as a child. I am so far beyond being that person that was molded by the hurt, the abuse and the betrayals. Working through the issues from the incest does not mean that I am stuck. I am moving forward, even today, years after starting my healing journey. Anyone that knows me well knows how far I have come from who I used to be.

I don't see myself as stuck in the past. I use that past to help others and I am still moving forward in my life each day. Child abuse has been ignored for so long and the only way that I see to stop it is to openly acknowledge it and to educate others. Instead of being silent about my own past abuse, I use it to let others know that they are not alone and can also heal. It is through silence that child abuse has been allowed to continue and flourish for so long and become an epidemic in our world.

Someone suggested to me this week that writing and talking about the incest can keep me trapped into identifying with the past situation and keep me stuck in my story. She suggested that I close that book and that I write a whole new story.  

Why would I want to disconnect from who I am? My story is a big part of who I am. My life is a story of success and others have told me, of inspiration. Why would I not want to share that with others who are hurting and think they can't ever get over it. I know that they can, with time and effort on their part. Sometimes you have to hurt enough before you are willing to move forward.

Incest isn't all of who I am. Everything that happens to me affects who I am. I don't know who I would be without the incest. I don't ever intend to shut up about incest and how it affected me as a child. 

If we don't educate people, who will. The child molesters will continue to abuse more children. Abusers thrive in the silence. They count on the silence of those that they abuse. They count on the subject to continue to be taboo in society. The silence gives them free reign to do what they want. I refuse to be silenced again.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Sexual Assault Awareness And Child Abuse Prevention Month: From Tracie

One of the many blogs that I subscribe to and read is called from Tracie.  This week, I read, a little late maybe, Tracie's blog article from April 6 called "Get Involved In Sexual Assault Awareness And Child Abuse Prevention Month - April 2014". The article has some great information about sexual assault awareness and child abuse prevention. Thank you Tracie for the links, information and history about when April became the designated month to spread information about sexual assault and child abuse. I am glad that we have a month for drawing attention to these important issues and we need more than just one month out of the year. Thank you to all of the Advocates like Tracie who are doing their part in educating others. Here is the link to the article. 

Please share this information with all of your family and friends.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Learning To Love Yourself Enough And Health Issues

The following quote comes from Lessons Learned in Life, a website that I just subscribed to because I love the quotes that they share. 

"Learn to love yourself enough so that when someone enters your life that treats you negatively, you can stand up for yourself and have the strength to let them go. You can learn that it is okay to say no to anyone who is not willing to treat you with the love and respect you not only want, but also deserve. Have the courage to walk away from anything that does not serve you well. Search for your highest good."

Here are my thoughts after reading this quote.

This is such an important lesson to learn. So many struggle with this one. You deserve to be around people who treat you with love, kindness and respect. That will only happen if you treat yourself with love, kindness and respect first. I do believe that we teach others how to treat us by the way that we treat ourselves and by what we allow others to do. When you love yourself and treat yourself with love and respect so will others treat you that same way.

Another quote that I love comes from Brene Brown and The Gifts of Imperfection and says, 

"I will talk to myself the same way I talk to the people I love."

Loving yourself means taking care of yourself and putting your needs before the needs of others rather than at the bottom of the list. This is a lesson I am still working on learning. Sometimes in your search for the approval of others, you take on too much and at some point your body says no to what your mind won't say no to. Sometimes you stretch yourself too far and stress finally causes your body to collapse with a headache or heart attack or pneumonia or cancer or some other disease or illness that tells you to stop, that you are taking on too much.

Some of you know that I have been dealing with headaches on an almost daily basis since last October or longer. Over the past several months, I have been to several eye doctors to see if my blurry vision could be the cause, had a small precancerous growth discovered and removed from my left eye and this week was told that my vision is very good for a diabetic. I have an issue with dry eyes that may be causing the blurry vision but not the headaches. 

I have been to my regular doctor and had an x-ray done of my sinuses to see if that could be causing the headaches and nothing showed up on those tests. Next, I had an MRI and an MRI Contrast done with everything appearing normal. 

So I am now working on reducing my stress levels which is what my regular doctor thinks is the cause of the headaches. I am working with a meditation CD that is specifically for releasing headaches and stress. I am taking short breaks away from the computer during the day and taking off nights and weekends except when I am doing my writing here. I am playing music and singing more often. Those both help me to feel great when I do them. 

The doctor wanted me to take Lexapro, an antidepressant, for about a month to see if that would help with the stress. I looked it up and talked to the pharmacist about it and decided not to take it, for now. I don't like the dangerous, possible side effects. Except for the headaches, I like my health where it is right now. I don't want to be a guinea pig for the drug companies, not with all of my drug allergies that I already have from the past. 

I went to the health food store and asked for a recommendation. I am taking L-Theanine for mental calmness and relaxation three times per day to see how that works. I also have a friend who is a Wellness Counselor that I will see soon and will ask for his recommendation. Herbs and homeopathy do not have the harmful side effects of so many of our modern drugs. 

I want my headaches gone and I want to keep the otherwise good health that I have. I will keep you updated with any progress that I make over the next month. If you pray, I would certainly appreciate being included in your prayers. Thank you, in advance.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Child Abuse Prevention And Awareness: The National Center For Victims Of Crime

Because it is still Child Abuse Prevention And Awareness Month and because this is information that we all need to be aware of, I am sharing three links for articles from The National Center For Victims of Crime in this blog post.

Effects of Child Sexual Abuse on Victims @

Grooming Dynamic @

Reporting on Child Sexual Abuse @

Do you know anyone who needs this information? Please share this important information. If we want to stop child sexual abuse, then everyone needs to know the signs of child abuse, the effects that the abuse has on children and adult survivors too. Do you know what kind of things to look for in a child molester as he/she grooms your child and you too? How do you go about reporting a possible child abuse case? I hope that someone finds this information useful.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Child Abuse Prevention And Awareness: What Can You Do?

Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted, the indifference of those who should have known better, the silence of justice when it mattered most, that made it possible for evil to triumph."           ---Haile Selassie

Thank you to my friend, Faith McDaniel, another Advocate for children and survivors of childhood sexual abuse, who shared this quote recently on Facebook. 

This article came about because of a person on Facebook asking the question (paraphrased) what can just one person do to stop child abuse. His comment was that child abuse is so big, how can one person make a difference. Here is my answer to him.

You begin with one day at a time, one child at a time, and one survivor at a time. If you continue to do nothing as previous generations have done, nothing changes. 

I am proud to be in our generation which is no longer being silent about the abuse we have suffered from and through. I am proud that we do have a voice and aren't afraid to use it. One day we will stop child abuse in all of its ugly, evil forms, but we won't do it by remaining silent and afraid.

Any start is better than no start at all. Instead of the question, "What can we do to stop child abuse?" bring it down to the question, "What can I do to stop child abuse?" Make it personal. Make it real. 

Find one small thing you can do today and do it. Don't just talk about doing it. Don't say you will try. Try gives you a way to do nothing but talk. Do. Then tomorrow do something else. 

Have a conversation with someone about the signs of child abuse. Educate yourself if you don't know those signs. Post something about child abuse on your Facebook page or Twitter to educate others. Education is so important for parents and for children.

If you remain silent, nothing changes. Mentor a child. Give them a healthy role model of what it means to be an adult. Allow them to be children. Listen to the child when they talk to you. Really listen. You may be the only one who does. 

If you suspect child abuse, report it. Tell the agency that you call what you think is happening or what your feelings are. Don't keep quiet because you might be wrong. What is worse is that you might be right and you may be the only hope that child has. If you ask a child if they are being abused and they say no, that child may be too afraid of their abusers to tell you the truth. What does your gut tell you? If you tried to get help for the child and failed, remain a mentor to the child. You may be the only kind and loving adult in that child's life. You may be their lifeline to sanity.

Just think of the changes that could happen and the children who could be saved and protected if each one of us did just one thing each day to change the status quo. We can do it one child at a time.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Child Abuse Prevention And Awareness: What Constitutes Child Abuse?

The following link is to the blog of a friend of mine who is also an Advocate for children and other survivors of child sexual abuse. He may be the first male survivor that I met when I first started out on Twitter. Now we follow each others' blogs and follow each other on Facebook too.

Since this is Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month I wanted to share his article on his blog The Wounded Warrior. The article is entitled "What Constitutes Child Sexual Abuse? I may have shared this blog post before but it is important so I am sharing it again for any who may have missed it the first time.

The article gives a definition of child sexual abuse, examples of what it can look like, and ways to recognize if it is happening to a child that you know. Please read and share this informative article with everyone you know.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Child Abuse Prevention And Awareness: Spread The Word - Knowledge Is Power Video

On Facebook this past week, I met a new friend and Advocate for children and child abuse prevention. I met her through a wonderful and powerful video that she has done to keep children safe and knowledgeable about people who may want to touch their private places. I am going to share the video link here with you. The video is only 4:56 minutes long. I ask that you please take the time to watch it and then share it with anyone you know who has children. Please don't ever think child sexual abuse cannot happen to your children or to your friends' children or in your family. It can unless we give children the power to say no to someone touching their private places and we give children the power to tell and be believed. This video and its message is so empowering to children. The person whose idea and work went into producing this video is Nancy Goode Talalas. I will also put a link to her website in case you want to read the free ebook that was the inspiration for this video. Please support Ms Talalas and her efforts to keep our children safe.
"Spread the Word - Knowledge is Power"  @

In case you are interested in the book that this video was inspired by, here is the link to Nancy Goode Talalas' website.

Sharing this book and video with others is one way that you can stop another child from being sexually abused like I and many other survivors were abused.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Child Abuse Prevention And Awareness Month And NipperCat's Home

I thank God that today in the United States we have a month dedicated to Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness. April is also Sexual Assault Awareness month. Both are important and need to have the awareness of resources and survivors' stories shared. They can be interconnected because if you were sexually abused as a child, you were sexually assaulted or to put it simpler, you were raped. It took me awhile of talking about being an incest survivor because I came to realize that, yes, I was raped by my uncle and then my dad, each time that the sexual abuse happened because I wasn't given a choice, because my innocence was forcibly taken from me. Violence wasn't used like with many rape cases but coercion was. Fear was very much a weapon in the sexual abuse that was done to me as a child. Rage and threats were used to gain my cooperation and silence.

I want to reintroduce you to a survivor friend of mine that I have known since about 2008 or 2009. I met her through her survivor blog which is called NIPPERCAT'S HOME after a loving pet that she once had. Honestly, I don't remember exactly how I found Mary Graziano's blog but I instantly fell in love with the beauty of her words and her soul which shines through her words. Mary shares her story of incest through her writings which often, but not always, flows out in the form of her poetry. The link I am going to share shows one of artist Michal Madison's paintings called "SEEING THROUGH THE EYES OF A CHILD" before Mary shares her thoughts and memories from childhood and then shares Mary's own poem called "Through the Eyes of A Child."  Mary had written this poem sometime ago and recently edited it to change some of the wording. Here is the link:

When I first met Mary, she was telling her story through her blog but she was so shy that I could hardly get a comment out of her when I commented on her blog. I could feel her shyness and sadness through her words on her blog. Her words touched my heart. As a survivor, I felt a connection to Mary through her sharing on her blog. Today I am proud to say that Mary has worked and overcome most of that shyness and has become quite outspoken as an Advocate for children and for abuse survivors. She proudly shares her story today. She inspires me daily with her strength and courage as she works with children and with other survivors. I am proud to call her my friend.

Another link that I want to share with you is of Mary sharing her story on a radio program for the first time where she and her story of pain and healing are the entire focus of the show. At her request and that of Bill Murray who is the show host, I went on as a panel member to show my support of Mary and her sharing. Mary was a guest speaker on the Blog Talk Radio program Stop Child Abuse Now otherwise known as SCAN. I hope that you will join me in listening to the archive of the show at the following link:


Mary has become a very dear friend over the past few years even though we have never met. We show support for each other on a daily basis since we are volunteers in a Facebook group that is a support for members who are sexual abuse survivors in the form of rape and incest and some who are survivors of domestic violence. The group is secret for the protection of its members and the only way to join is by invitation. It is through this group that over the past year, I have come to realize that not all domestic violence causes physical harm. Any time that you live in constant fear in your home that is a form of domestic violence too. Verbal abuse and emotional abuse leave scars that can take years to heal.

Before I end today's article, for any of my friends who aren't on Facebook or Twitter or may have missed my announcements there, my MRI and MRI Contrast tests earlier this last week came out normal. That means there are no physical causes showing for the headaches I have been having since last October. My doctor last week said she thought they were probably stress related so it looks like she is right. As of today, I am making some changes in my life style. I am going to start meditating at least once a day and listening to music and nature sounds on YouTube as I am on the computer during the day. I will start out doing just those things while I consider if I need to cut some more of my hours on the computer. I will also be researching what causes stress and ways to deal with it. I thank you all for your love, patience and prayers of the past few months as I have struggled with this issue.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Are You Happy Or Are You Just Settling?

Someone asked me this week if I was happy or if I was just settling for whatever came my way. After thinking for a little bit here is what I told her.

With my Advocacy work, I am doing what I believe in and that makes me happy. I think most of us tend to settle for what life gives us and waste a lot of time wishing for and searching for, but not finding, the "happily ever after ending of fairy tales. Life isn't a fairy tale.

You make your happiness with your attitude, your mind and your thoughts. Often, instead of looking at what you have and being grateful, you focus on what you don't have. Sometimes, you envy or become jealous of those who have what you want instead of going out and getting it for yourself. 

To make a dream come true takes action on your part, not just sitting around wishing. Be happy while you are searching.  Don't put off being happy for another day. Be happy today by being grateful for what you do have. Make the best out of whatever circumstances you find yourself in. Don't worry about anything. What does worrying accomplish? Nothing, it just brings you down.

Look for the gifts in your day. They are there. Appreciate and value them and yourself. Love yourself. Let go of any self-hate that you may be carrying around. Turn your life in the direction you need to go in. Then take that first step toward the future and your dreams.  (((Hugs)))


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Rainbows In The Dark - Book Review

Rainbows in the Dark: A Journey of survival from child sexual abuse is a book written by two friends Cecibel Contreras and Jack Stoskopf. Both are survivors of child sexual abuse. I have been fortunate to come to know Cecibel and Jack through Facebook sometime in the past year. They are both great advocates for survivors and children. We know each other though the sharing of our stories online and through our speaking out about stopping child sexual abuse. I follow the activities of Cecibel on Facebook almost daily. I don't know Jack as well.

I have a small number of survivors friends whose books I have read and reviewed in the past few years. From each of those books, I am formulating what I want to say and how I want to write my own book about healing from incest. The feeling of triumph over tragedy and the hope that I found in the pages of Cecibel's and Jack's book is the feeling that I want my readers to have when they finish reading my book.

In Rainbows in the Dark, Cecibel and Jack take turns sharing their stories of pain and of healing, of past and present, some in the form of poetry and affirmations or little snippets of advice. I really liked the way this book was written. The thoughts of each of them reminds me of the way that I process my own issues. I look at the lesson before me as it is laid out in my own words and then I look for the gift that comes from the healing. The gift is usually in the form of a new awareness about myself that I didn't have before.

I want to share the words of the authors as they describe themselves in the About the Author on the back of their book because it describes the feel of the book - triumphant and encouraging to survivors.

"About the Author

Cecibel is a triumphant incest and child sexual abuse survivor. More than a mere survivor, she has become a valiant warrior against sexual abuse of children and adolescents. She is the founder of Incest Survivors United Voices of America.

Jack Stoskopf has transformed from a small town country boy and sexual abuse survivor from Kansas to now living in New York City to become a writer and speaker encouraging those broken in spirit and to rise above victimization."

Rainbows in the Dark encourages survivors and tells them they are not alone. The book gives hope, talks about breaking the silence of abuse, and tells how Jack and Cecibel survived their own experiences. I hope you will join me in reading this book.

Here is the link to Incest Survivors United Voices of America for anyone who is interested.