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The Voice for Adult Survivors of Child Abuse

Jan.–Mar. 2012 $5.00

Stalking Awareness

Stalked

Perseverance Personified: Tony Renfro

Which One Are You? ShadowBlindness

Ashley Bellasano: Can You Hear Me Now?

Her Cries Were Not Silent, Yet

NO ONE LISTENED

Love

What’s Witchcraft Got to Do With It?


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w w w.Th e

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Table of Contents

Features 12. Love: What’s Witchcraft Got to Do With It? 18. Shadow Blindness: Which One Are You?

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What You Expect 6. Mission 8. Outspeak 9. Winsome Revelations 10. Tell Your Story 14. Health & Wellness 14. Unspeakable Things 15. Speaking Tall 16. Speaking of Gifts 20. Talk of the Town 22. On A Lighter Note 22. Sponsor List 23. Sponsor Spotlight 27. Survivor Resources

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OUTSPOKEN The Voice for Adult Survivors of Child Abuse

OUTSPOKEN Magazine was created by divine inspiration for the adult living in the aftermath of child abuse.

Our Mission We believe in truth that will make you free. We bring awareness to the truth of the long-term, often lifelong effects of abuse. We believe in placing blame where it rightfully belongs, not for condemnation, but for accountability in effort to break the abuse cycle. Facing the truth of the abuse that happened is the first and most important step towards recovery. We believe that every life has a purpose; the abused one who was cast aside, ridiculed, and overlooked, as well as the abuser who might have acted out what was done to them. All are made for a reason. We believe each person is directly connected to natural God given gifts, woven into the fibers of each of us when we were originally formed in secret in the image of God. Therefore, we strongly support using our gifts to help in the healing of battered emotions and recovery from life failures. We believe the gifts we were given will make room for us in the marketplace and will provide for us both spiritually and materially. We believe the use of our gifts to glorify God, to bless others, and to bring prosperity. We believe the use of our gifts will help bring us back to our original self: the self that thrived before abuse interrupted our development. We believe anyone can accomplish great things with just a little support and we believe we have been called to offer some of that support.

Subscribe Today Support Survivors

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Outspoken Magazine


OUTSPOKEN The Voice for Adult Survivors of Child Abuse

Subscribe Today

STAFF Winsome Alexander Publisher/Editor-in-Chief Reda Jones Business Manager Rita Jackson Executive Assistant Ryan Husch Graphic Designer Scott Boden Senior Photographer

CONTRIBUTORS Andrea Porter Stalked Dr. Mellanie Bullock, Ph. D. Love In Action Christina L. Turner Shadow Blindness

OUTSPOKEN Magazine is a quarterly publication by OUTSPOKEN available in both print and digital formats. Publication of advertising contained therein does not constitute endorsement. Signed columns are the opinions of the writers and not necessarily the opinions of the publisher, advertisers, or their agencies. All copy is protected and cannot be reproduced without the express written permission from the publisher. Copyright 2012

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Subscribe for a year to OUTSPOKEN Magazine for $20.00 Your subscription helps change the lives of abuse survivors. www.OutspokenMagazine.org

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OUTSPEAK

/ Reader Feedback

The layout and presentation are outstanding! Your designer did an excellent job! O. What we’ve learned is that conditions don’t always have to be just right before stepping out to in faith accomplish a task. With the goal in view, commitment to the mission of service, willingness to learn from mistakes, to endure the ridicule and persevere, each step brings our dream closer to reality. We Just keep putting one foot before the other and vow to never stop until we make it. To do this work, you have to be genuine. You have to be able to get dirty. Your work is in the trenches, not in the spotlight. That’s what I appreciate about you and OUTSPOKEN. O. Yes indeed brother, you get it. I’ve been called to be a missionary, an advocate for the weak and wounded, not a celebrity, not an idol. It’s never about the activist but the cause for which the activist fights. Ms. Winsome, you have such a genuinely sweet, giving spirit! O. Some are rich in tangible comforts that currency affords them, while others are materially poor. In these last days when so many are heartless and selfish, my heart continually breaks for the suffering of humankind. I dream about all I could do for others if only the resources were available to me. Then, there are those who have so much more than they will ever need but are so concerned with how to keep it and gain more, that they don’t think about those who have not. Perhaps if I had plenty of money, I too, might

be too preoccupied with things and not care as much to advocate for the abused. God saw fit that I should be lavishly endowed with compassion, and deems this greater than anything else. So now, who’s really rich and who’s poor? Incidentally, my compassion is my favorite thing about myself. It’s how I even learned to respect myself as worthy to be loved. May I encourage you to love more; help bear someone’s burden (Galatians 6:2). Share the little you have and be nice. It’s called love and it is the greatest gift of all wealth (1st. Corinthians 13). Your magazine has inspired me and I would like to collaborate with you on some projects. O. Correction: OUTSPOKEN is not MY magazine. It’s for survivors of adversity, it’s for all of us who know what it’s like to be rejected, misused, and beat down. It’s so regular everyday folk can be recognized for their sacrifices, hard work, humble contributions and courage to hold on past hope. If you think it’s mine, I say it’s yours as well. Girl!!! My advertising looks FABULOUS!!!!!! O. Yes, it does! Woman of God, I’m praying for you. Your work is not in vain… God is with you and all will be well. O. All the sacrifice is worth it if we only help one. Thanks for your prayers and encouragement. Sis, you don’t have natural children but your reach is vast. You are making a difference. O. Impossible to do without you. Thanks for your support.

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Winsome Revelations Perseverance— continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition. “We rejoice in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:3-4 Born in 2008, with nothing but a vision and a word, OUTSPOKEN Magazine has since come a long way. When I heard it, I asked God, “A magazine? What do I know about publishing a magazine?” After dismissing all my excuses, some of which were the same as Moses’s, my right mind was restored and my answer became ‘’Yes, Lord.” Equipped with gifts, revelation, and purpose, certainly it was going to be smooth sailing since God was at the helm. Surely, His calling and putting me to work on His mission meant all our needs would be miraculously met. Boy, was I in for a surprise! After all, when He gives a vision, He supplies provision right? Apparently, perseverance is one requirement for this mission and one I urgently needed to practice. Previously, every time a challenge presented itself, I’d give up, walk away in frustration, then complain that God wasn’t blessing me. With a new understanding of past failures, turning my life around meant beginning to do the opposite of what I once did. Feeling blessed to be a chosen survivor…√ Learning to use my own gifts …√ Unearthing secrets…√ Releasing guilt and shame, being able to share my testimony…√ Getting past my fear of public speaking …√ Working hard…√, and much more… √. But commitment, patience, bearing difficulties calmly and without complaint, (perseverance) is literally a trip for me. But it’s not even about me. It’s about bringing to light a spirit that thrives in darkness which He hates passionately; Abuse. It’s what He wants to use my story to accomplish in the lives of millions of abuse survivors. It’s how He wants to be glorified as He brings us out of captivity, cleans us up and relieves our pain with healing. It’s about restoring His called back to our original anointed identity, along with the gifts He gave us to accomplish His purpose in the earth. So the words of a song He had me play over and over again, came back to me, “If I told you what I required of you, will your heart and soul say yes? Your spirit still say yes?” YES… Shekinah Glory. Going in, I knew God was with me but what I was having the most trouble with was His pace. We have been taught to wait on God to do great and mighty things for us but what He taught me was that He cannot do the things I can do. Everything He does through me requires my cooperation. I believe He has already blessed me with success and everything needed to complete His mission, so I’m not looking for a blessing. It’s already laid up for me. However, if He is to guide me to the success He has purposed for me, I have to persevere. Destiny has a lot to do with it, but so do you. You have to persevere, you have to insist (Andrea Bocelli). Building an organization for the purpose of healing the wounded is a lifetime of compassionate and disciplined service. The foundation has to be carefully laid, the plans have to be worked and reworked until codes are met. Errors have to corrected, momentum and motives have to be checked from time to time, and, most importantly, the team has to be on one accord. This means frequently submitting our plans to God for approval and direction. Despite arduous challenges, set backs, disappointments, embarrassment, judgment, misunderstandings and rumors I am committed to see the fruit of the mission. We give thanks to God for He is just plain good! We thank our fellow visionaries who so willingly advertise, donate, subscribe, or otherwise support our efforts. Together we touch countless lives, so let us continue together to “Be strong therefore, and let not our hands be weak and slack, for our work shall be rewarded.” (2 Chron. 15:7) Our 2012 goal is simply, perseverance…

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Stalking Awareness Stalking occurs when a person intentionally and knowingly engages in a behavior that is directed towards another person that would cause a reasonable individual to fear for his/her safety or the safety of the immediate family. Most victims are females being stalked by males. Two main types of stalkers are: • Simple Obsession Stalker. This type accounts for 75-80% of all stalkers. This is usually a person who is unable to let go of a prior relationship. • Love Obsession Stalker: Here there was no previous relationship between the stalker and victim except in the stalkers fantasy. His delusional thought patterns urge him to live out his fantasies when the victim does not follow the plan. There are some common characteristics shared by many stalkers. These personality traits can be seen as signs of potential danger: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Jealous in nature Obsessive and compulsive Falls in love at first sight Extremely manipulative Very self-centered or arrogant Not responsible for own actions or feelings Controlling Socially inadequate or awkward Sneaky Will not take no for an answer Violent mood swings, especially between love & hate Often of above average intelligence Tremendous sense of entitlement Does not cope well with rejection Confuses their fantasies with the reality of the situation

Many stalkers are former intimate partners or casual dates of the victim and the threat of physical or sexual violence is often implied or clearly stated. For this reason, rape crisis centers and domestic violence shelters will often be called by stalking victims for assistance. Advocates will be most effective if they stay current on the anti-stalking laws and can adequately provide information to victims who are experiencing this unique brand of terrorism.

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Source: SETX Crisis Center Advocate training manual Volunteer at your local crisis center.

Building A Prosecutable Case There are ways that a victim can improve her/his chance of a prosecutable case of stalking. It generally involves meticulous documentation. This thorough paper-trail will assist law enforcement in presenting a solid case for possible prosecution. The following steps are concrete ways a victim can strengthen a case against a stalker: • Have a thorough understanding of your state’s antistalking law(s). • Keep detailed records of all encounters. • Keep a personal copy of all applicable police reports. • Make sure all law enforcement jurisdictions in your area have copies of the reports. • Report every incident, every time. • Keep all potential evidence, no matter how seemingly insignificant. • Stay in constant contact with the detectives assigned to your case. • Save all forms of communication. • Use Caller ID or Call Trace (if available in your area). • Ask anyone who has had contact with the stalker to provide documentation as well. • Obtain a Protective Order (if being stalked by a former intimate). • Videotape the stalker in the act (if safe to do so). • Contact a victim’s advocate group for support & assistance.

Stalking is a very dangerous and damaging type of victimization. It can leave the victim feeling extremely vulnerable and fearful, even without overt threats to their personal safety. It is best to treat all incidences of stalking seriously, regardless of how mundane the situation may seem in the beginning. Like other types of intimate violence it has a tendency to escalate in frequency and severity.

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Stalked

/ Tell Your Story

by Andrea Porter She pulls the curtains, covering the glass sliding patio doors, and then lowers her voice. “I don’t know who might be out there listening,” she whispers, before continuing her story. Questions regarding this peculiar behavior immediately arise in my consciousness but I don’t ask audibly. I’m learning not to draw conclusions too soon, knowing that mysteries will be revealed in time. It’s marvelous how the creator fashions each of us with such fascinating quirks. Besides, if she wanted me to know the whole story she would have told me. On subsequent visits to her home, she repeats the same peculiar behaviors. I’ve come to learn some of her habits and pet peeves. My new friend appears to have OCD tendencies about cleanliness, neatness and order, so I bear with the fact that she keeps her draperies drawn at all times, covering the windows and double checking to make sure all doors are securely locked. Time would tell if this hyper vigilance about her privacy is just a part of her perfectionist personality. Who could possibly be listening outside and why? And what if they are? I inquire silently. Our conversations are completely benign. It wouldn’t even matter if someone heard us. As interesting as all this seems to me, my questions never become vocal. Several weeks pass by and I receive a text, which from my experience sounded like a friend in need. She won’t go home if her husband is in the house. She’s calling around for a reasonable hotel room for the night. “Where’s the baby?” I asked. “I have him with me?” “Before you confirm a hotel room, would you like me to go by the house to see if he has left?” There is no car in the driveway when I arrive at the house and although I cannot quite reach to see in the garage windows. I assure her the coast is clear and she reluctantly agrees to come home. There are wood chips on her kitchen floor and the door shows obvious signs of someone having broken in. “She makes a weary comment about her husband having done this before and if he’s not in the house, she was certain he would be in the backyard waiting for her. No way, I thought internally. She peeks out the side of the draperies and quickly pulls back. Grabbing the baby, she attempts to leave the house but he catches up with us. She asked him quietly and controllably to leave,

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she was through for the night, tired and wanted to go put the baby and herself to bed. He paces back and forth between us. I’m stunned, witnessing this craziness. Alarms go off in my head. I texted a briefing of the situation to my best friend so he would be aware in case things escalated. From watching shows like SNAPPED, I’ve learned not to underestimate a person’s ability to go violent at unsuspecting moments. I try talking to him and manage to lure him outside. She closes the garage door and I carefully make my way to my car just so I would feel safer talking to him in case he went off. I get a shocking snapshot of the mess of thoughts running around in his head. After much cajoling, careful to remain calm while appearing to be empathetic to his senseless, demeaning ranting, I convince him to give her tonight so she can gather herself together and be better able talk to him the next day. I offer to get some belongings he wanted for work in the morning. She sees me coming and opens the door for me. I wish she hadn’t done that. If she had kept the door locked when he approached, I would have understood. He tells her he would like to come in and get some clothes. Making mental notes, I observe she has been blessed with the gifts of poise and composure. There is no hint of the anger, frustration, weariness, or fear on the inside of her. This is the type you keep your eye on because when they lose control, it can be deadly. He moves slowly from room to room pretending to be gathering stuff. She once again calmly asks him to leave, at which point, he locks himself in the bathroom for at least twenty minutes then, soon thereafter leaves. I return to my car so jealousy that I could stay and he had to go, would not trigger another spiteful reaction. He speeds off up the street and disappears only to swing right back around and pull into a driveway a few houses away, linger there a few seconds then leave. She begins to open up the following day. He watches and follows her. He drives over the neighbor’s lawn to the back of the house and laywaits her in the dark. He broke in when she refused to give him back his key after the last time he left. He cuts utility wires, and steals little things from around the house just to let her know he has been there.

Continued on… Pg. 25

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Love:

What’s Witchcraft Got To Do With It? There was a time in my life when out of control. With no guidance in my life —and the presence of emotions tumbling around inside me, the most intense of which was a yearning for love, acceptance and understanding—I became foolishly hooked on psychics. I had become manic, worrying about a man who was, as usual, no longer interested me and once again I was facing rejection. With no constructive skills to deal with the pain I turned to a psychic found in a magazine and called her for help, paying her by the minute on the phone. She told me not to eat any red meat for three days and to go to bed earlier at night; she was going to get me the man. “Are you sure?” I asked her. “Yes,” she assured me, “I’m going to put him in your dreams.” I burned candles all day and night until Georgie asked, “What’s with these candles you are always burning?”

as you rely on the advice they give you, while living your life off what they have told you. Survivors, this is a good way to open doors up to the devil for him to come in and begin to wreak havoc in your life causing all kinds of spirits to attach themselves to you and bring destruction to you. Please whatever you do— avoid all involvement with astrology and the occult. The chaos is just not worth the lying thrills and parasitic spirits you end up wrestling with; don’t do it. I fell madly in love, or so I thought, with a certain man. My attraction to men physically, spiritually or especially sexually was confused with love. So though my idol—tall, dark skinned, somewhat nerdy and emotionally unavailable to me—would not have been thought attractive to most, I loved him… I thought I loved him before I met him. Then the Savage Garden

Listen to me, sisters & brothers. You cannot make someone love you.

I don’t think it ever occurred to him that I might be dabbling in sorcery but I stopped burning them in his presence after he asked me that. At a certain crisis point, a long time friend took me to her own psychic; a dread locked Jamaican guy in the Bronx. “My feeling is that in two years time you gonna meet somebaddy, an’ di year afta dat; Boom! Di ring! Two children!” I still don’t have any children, nor a ring on my finger. I thought the lady in White Plains must have been OK because she did not charge much for her readings and when she told me I had the white lights of Christ around me, it wasn’t hard to believe because I remembered a vision where Jesus showed me myself standing in a bright light. But I am still waiting for my husband who supposedly has salt and pepper hair and is a bit older and who is so very nice. Then there was the obsession with the 1-900 phone psychics; possibly a hundred of them when the addiction was full blown. I do not want to encourage any one of you to go seeking advice from the occult. It is wicked. It is enmity to God and it will destroy you

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/ Feature Article By Anonymous

song, “I knew I loved you before I met you, I think I dreamed you into life…” hit the air waves, I thought it was surely a sign—for how could they be singing the very same lyrics I had thought of in the recesses of my own mind? My sister friend gave me a book called Sister You Deserve Good Love after she asked me why I loved him and I couldn’t think of a reason. She tried to counsel me about how real love comes and what it looks like. “He is just someone my spirit has chosen to love,” I asserted. That was true. I chose to love this man using the limited information about love that I had at the time. Listen to me sisters and brothers. You cannot make someone love you with witchcraft. You cannot catch or hold someone with witchcraft. Forget it! God said he would confound the predictions of sorcerers and he meant it (Lev. 19:26). He brings their soothsayings to shame (Deut 18:9). Avoid with all your might any involvement with witchcraft. All it does is open a door of destruction in your life. You enter Satan’s territory and he is a formidable foe. His M.O. is more

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/ Feature Article deadly than the life of a gangster. Once you enter the camp, he is not about to let you go without a violent fight as his is aim is to kill you rather than release you. So now, to get free, you have to overcome some harsh trials which you created for yourself while serving him. Understand that this is what you do when you become involved with witchcraft, you are serving Satan. I realize that those times I resorted to witchcraft for comfort and help I had turned my back on you, my creator God, and sold out to Satan. How could I have been so bewitched? Thank You, Father God, for salvation and mercy and the blood of Jesus!

People! I burned that candle and watched and waited for the image of my lover to appear but all I thought I saw was the mixture of the colors of the wax and oil in the bottle that looked something like Satan. Now when it got to that point, I got scared, realized I was doing wrong and threw the rest of the candle away. While the candle had been burning, phone calls to the man became frequent just to check up on how the spell was working. Meanwhile, the chamomile tea was giving me sweet sleep every night. Since I was not familiar with chamomile I wasn’t aware of the tranquilizing effects of it. Her instructions called for a strong concentration of the herb and I boiled it a little extra every night just for good measure. You see, I wanted to hold this man really good. I did not want to have to look for love anymore. I was a love junkie in need of a fix.

Again, I panicked as the spirit of rejection overcame me and I called a random psychic from the classifieds who would work with me over the phone to help me hold the man I loved. This lying, wicked devil woman led me to a website. After viewing that site I should have run, but Satan already had his grip on me. Satan meant to destroy me using my desire to be loved. Watch your desires carefully; they can open the door for the devil. See the movie Devil’s Advocate. I called up the woman and proceeded with the business of trying to catch this man. By this time I was acting in the rage of Satan. Love had turned to rage. The thought process being, “O yea, so you don’t want me? I’ll show you. You will want me. You will be helpless to resist me. You cannot just use me and discard me. I’ll show you.” That’s desperation you experience when you don’t know that Jesus loves you and the heart of God beats rapidly with love for you every time you breathe. Here’s truth for you survivors, so now we can stop the madness.

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Continued on… Pg. 25

OUTSPOKEN MAGAZINE presents

2nd Annual Survivors Conference 1st Annual Awards & Fundraising Brunch THE

Meanwhile, the lying psychic told me to send her two extra large Ralph Lauren polo shirts. I couldn’t decipher the necessity of the shirts to the spell, but I so desperately wanted the love of that guy I would have taken the chance to get them if I had had the money. What I was able to do though was send her my last $70.00 for the other part of the spell which included a candle I was to burn and some love tea I was to drink before going to bed at night. Now check out this lying foolishness… The woman sent me loose chamomile herb with instructions for making the tea and told me to only drink it right before going to bed. She said she had written the man’s name on the candle and that I would see his image in the bottle as the candle burned.

Even with candle burning in the background, my man was as always, indifferent towards me on the phone but I thought he was somewhat more pleasant on this particular call. We got around to talking about him not seeing anyone and I hung up feeling like there might be hope because he actually asked how to reach me at the school... like maybe the tea and the candle were working. I called him the following night and left him a message when he did not answer the phone. Well, the next day I received a message from him, asking me to return his call. I waited till after class and everyone had retired to their rooms so I could use the

Honoring Survivors of Abuse and Our Supporters

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APRIL 28

2012 TEN AM

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Love In Action

/ Health & Wellness

by Dr. Melanie Bullock, Ph. D. February is the month that we have dedicated to the celebration of love and relationships. Most often we think of demonstrating how we appreciate and love others, or how others will show how much they love us. Unfortunately, seldom do we think of demonstrating appreciation for ourselves! For many, especially for survivors of abuse, self-love can be a difficult and challenging process. However, it is important to remember that appreciating and valuing yourself is critical for self-care, self-respect, and healthy living. Take time this month to explore the relationship you have with yourself. Make a list that acknowledges your strengths and victories! If you have a tendency to only see negative aspects, make a commitment to list a positive for every negative statement. Make a date with a trusted friend to work on this together; helping each other if you struggle with identifying your strengths and valued qualities. As part of this journey, you will be aware of parts of yourself that you dislike and reject. Reach out to a trusted friend, counselor, or spiritual leader to work

Forget Witchcraft

on having compassion and acceptance of these elements. What we often discover is that these rejected pieces serve as self-protection or are the scars of survival. Learning to accept ourselves fully is a challenging task, but one that will lead to a happier and healthier future. Love is truly an action and not just a feeling. Choose to love yourself, right now, just as you are! So much easier said than done! To help you move towards self-acceptance try one or more of the following actions. • Create sticky notes that you put on your mirrors, kitchen cabinets, doors, car dashboards and so on that are acknowledgements of your strengths and successes. • Post quotes from scripture, poems, stories, movies, or songs that are meaningful, encouraging, or uplifting to you. • Act as if, is a therapeutic process where you act as you wish to be until it becomes who you are. In AA it is called fake it till you make it. This process is really about Continued on… Pg. 24

/ Unspeakable Things

By Anonymous

Use prayer and the holy word of God, and plain old common sense. The name of Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the blood of Jesus is all the help you need for lifes’ challenges. As for love, you must learn to let Him love you until you are emotionally and spiritually ready for a mate. Until that time you must stop fighting to make something out of nothing. Stop forcing someone to love you but wait for the one who is anointed to love you. When that one comes, it won’t matter what your weight is, what your habits are or what you have or don’t have. Although there might be little harmless acts of persuasion we can use with spirit filled wisdom to either accelerate or solidify a union you don’t have to resort to trickery to snare love. If that love is for you, it will be yours and if it’s not, there is nothing in the world you can do to make it so. If this were not so I would surely have the love

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of my biological father today. As for those of you who married mistakes or were someone’s mistake, I pray healing and restoration on your behalf. I am sorry your quest for love led you to desperate choices and I am so very sorry that you are not happy. But now, reevaluate acknowledge The Lord in your situation and He will direct your next move. I love you, the hurting and Jesus loves you too! Love- a basic human need Survivors of abuse search for love because it is such a basic human need that if not met especially in childhood, a sensitive person can become preoccupied with finding love, being accepted and cared for. We can become so desperate to fill that need we will stop at nearly nothing to have love; it’s just as essential as food and covering. We instinctively pursue clothContinued on… Pg. 26 ing for our bodies when we

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The Unknown Survivor

/ Speaking Tall

By Anonymous

Most people think that once the victim leaves the abuser and moves on that they are well… for lack of a better word, healed. Sadly, this is not true. The victim will always have flashbacks that appear at the most unlikely moments and in the most unlikely places. It is almost like being back from combat. In fact, it is a war of sorts.

need to leave the state and reinvent themselves in a new place.

Once the victim is no longer surrounded by the abusers she has to learn a new way of life. This makes her even more vulnerable. It is comparable to being a child again learning how to take care of one’s self. She has been isolated for so long that she has forgotten how to make real friends, keep a good job, take care of herself. She depended on the abuser because they built that wall of isolation around her.

Next comes the mental housekeeping that must be done. The victim has to dig deep inside her mental state and examine herself. She must come to grips with the fact that she didn’t make the abuse happen, and it is not her fault. She didn’t create the monster the abuse is. She also must learn that no matter what poison he tries to fill the childrens’ heads with, she is not at fault. Sadly, the abuser loves to play this game especially when the victim leaves.

She is in uncharted waters, can be, and is often hurt even more by those who take advantage of that defenselessness. Men can sense this fragility and they will prey on her and use her to their advantage. They use the lines I will never hurt you; You can Trust me; I will never do to you what he did. Those are the classics. However, in reality, they do. When she becomes too clingy and too dependent on them, they bail, the reason: they really only wanted her for a short time. They didn’t want all the baggage. They didn’t want to help her heal. They wanted to use her for their own selfish motives. The sad part is the victim equates physical attachment with emotional attachment. So she is hurt again. Some women never ever become able to recover and to lead productive lives. They go from man to man looking for that which they can’t find. What they haven’t learned is that which they seek in within themselves. They don’t need that reassurance from someone else. They don’t need to be “loved” to be healed. They just need to look within. The first step toward healing is to find something that is enjoyable for the victim. It could be going back to school, starting a business; it doesn’t matter what as long as it is something that will help the victim heal from within. Sometimes they might even

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The second step in healing is to leave behind all the old friends that you and he had together. There are too many painful memories which resurface when those relationships are continued. Along the way, the victim has outgrown those friends on many levels.

The victim has to understand that he has lost control and will use every tool at his disposal to get her back. She must be always on her guard, and pay attention to not only what is said, but also what is not said. One of the last steps for the victim is that she must learn to love herself. She must understand that she is a good person, that she has much to offer and that she can not only survive, but become productive, and finally that she doesn’t have to depend on anyone to complete her happiness. She must learn to be happy within herself with her successes and with her world. No, we as victims are never healed completely but we can learn to put the past where it belongs, know that it can’t be changed, that it is very much a part of who we are, and that we can be better, stronger and more productive because of it; not in spite of it. •• Here is the perspective of a survivor who shall remain nameless. This person has achieved much success to the point of now Speaking Tall; however, it is obvious that she still has a long way to go. Considering this piece, how do you respond to this continuing cry for help? What would you add to their suggestions for coping with life after abuse? What might be missing from our sister’s recovery plan?

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Perseverance Personified: Tony Renfro

/ Speaking of Gifts

by Winsome Alexander

We caught up with Tony Renfro of Second Chance Auto on a Friday afternoon. Our appointment had been squeezed in between important business meetings and for this we were grateful. Talking with Tony, marks one of the most unexpected blessings for me personally, since OUTSPOKEN was born. His story is one of a kind of faith that reminds me of Abraham and I walked out of his office more determined than ever to press on with OUTSPOKEN Magazine despite the arduous challenges. Take note survivors, this is a remarkable example of faith, determination, prayer and steadfast belief in a dream. This is what Perseverance is all about! Soon after we sat down with him we realized we were in the presence of a very deeply spiritual being. We were rapidly engaged in soft spoken, reverent recollections of the prayer, strength and endurance required of him to get a new business off the ground with limited resources. Mr. Renfro, born and raised on the West side of Beaumont, Texas, had retired and was ready for a new chapter in life but he would surrender his entire agenda to God, for he dared not proceed without Him. His daily prayer for several months was, Lord, what will you have me to do next? He knew he was supposed to be in business ownership, but should it be a restaurant or what? While anxiously awaiting an answer that seemed long delayed, his wife continually offered encouragement. “God will show you what He wants you to do,” she’d say.

rejected. Curiosity prodded him to schedule a viewing of the place and upon entering it with the owners, again Tony thought, no, this can’t be it. For one the place was a horrible mess and would cost too much to renovate. He couldn’t even imagine how it could be made usable. But as much as he disliked it, and fleetingly imagined people ridiculing him for it, he prayed, Lord, if this is you and this is the place, make it plain to me; let me have it. But if it’s not, Lord, I ask you to block it. His answer came when the owners explained, that many a potential business people had approached them for the site but they never approved any of them. And now they were eager for Tony to have it. Convinced that he had found the place, his attention turned to how to remodel it. The building had been destroyed by a hurricane. It was run down, and overloaded with junk all the way to the ceiling in parts. Boarded up and abandoned, it had become an offensive community eye sore. That unmistakable musty odor characteristic of old neglected, seriously water damaged buildings (his facial expression clearly communicating the extent of the damage hung in the air.) Old tires, trash, corroded metals and thick dirt was everywhere. Walls clearly had to be torn down in parts, floors and ceilings had to be repaired… Being a man dependent on God, Tony prayed, God I have no idea how to turn this dump of three car garage and old service station into usable space again. Lord, I’ve followed your

Finally, he heard God ask, “What gift have I given you?” Truth is, God had already answered but Tony was resistant, for surely God was not guiding him back to an industry he had just left. He reasoned with God. God, we are in a recession. People are losing businesses, homes, families, some committing suicide, how could you want me to open a dealership now when larger corporations and dealerships are depending on the government to bail them out? “But God never allowed me to get caught up in the recession frenzy,” said Tony. “He bailed me out!” Tony chose to trust God and began a search for a car sales lot so, He prayed, Lord, show me where you want me to set up shop. His current location was one of the earliest that caught his attention, but having thought, No God, that’s not it, his search took him all over the city and repeatedly led him back to the location he had formerly

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Outspoken Magazine


/ Speaking of Gifts “As for naming the business,” Tony continued, and at this point the OUTSPOKEN team knew what he would say next and so we chimed in with him… Lord what should the name of this business be? Tony knew that it had to be a God-given name, so he waited patiently for the revelation. On a business trip, while driving along I-10, he noticed a billboard that read, God gives a second chance. Like a bolt of lightning, it instantly hit Tony what he would name his new dealership; Second Chance Auto Sales. Tony said, “The name simply conveys the message that God specializes in second chances and I’ve learned this first hand. He is able to do all things. This is my second chance.”

guidance so far, now give me a vision of what this place should look like, for I cannot imagine where to start. That very night Tony received a dream in which the layout of the new place was revealed to him. On awakening from the dream he quickly got a pencil and sketched the design he saw in his dream, making note of the partition of the rooms, the layout of the furniture down to the color scheme. “You’re looking at my dream right now. Every wall, this office we’re sitting in, the colors are all details I got from the vision God gave me,” he explained. He knew he was being called into business but he was repeatedly denied funding. No one would give him a loan. No banks, no credit unions. No way could he continue without funds, but he determined that (Credit Union Name withheld) was not his source; God was. His father came to his rescue and it soon came to open his doors. But a very deep burning desire to establish an LED sign to advertise his business met with opposition. Research proved that the sign was much too expensive for a brand new business to invest in. Even more daunting, Tony had learned that no one in town had the type of signage he wanted because it was prohibited by City Ordinance. Having prayed, Lord, if we are to have this sign, show it to us. God’s strange answer was, “Put me first!” That word translated into instead of erecting a sign to advertise your sales and special deals, put Me on display. With that, Tony pressed city planners and was granted approval to install his LED sign. He got the sign and dedicated it to God, decreasing so God could increase. Rather than advertising cars, Tony I displayed scripture or Godly encouragement on his LED sign. This had never been seen in this City before.

Outspoken Magazine

So far in this story, we’ve learned that Tony had to, by faith, overcome several road blocks that could have prevented his progress and shut him down at any time. But by faith he pushed through. He was now able to open his doors for business, display his sign and add a few cars on his lot. His expectation was soon customers would come, buy and trade cars, and he’d be officially in business. But Tony was about to suffer the greatest test of his faith yet. For months, he waited…and prayed…and waited… fearing he had made a mistake but continuing to pray… and wait. He showed up for work every day, hopeful that would be the day he would be rescued from overwhelming anxiety. One of those who had stopped by to look would surely return to make a purchase, he hoped. Many a night he went home despondent. “But I’m thankful everyday for a praying wife,” Tony said. “My wife is my best friend, my soul mate, [my] business partner, who lifts me up when I am down. She is a strong believer who never wavered as every day she encouraged me. ‘God will come through,’ she’d say. ‘He gave you this dream, He will come through; He never fails.’ ” Continuing his story, Tony told us that while waiting and praying, “it grew very dark for us. We were by then completely broke and would surely have to walk away if something didn’t break soon.” Employees walked out on him because he was not able to pay them. Friends disappeared; they’d lost hope. Only Rev. Simeon remained. Rev. Simeon assured Tony that he’d stay. He believed God and believed in Tony’s dream. “He is my Nathan,” Tony stated with obvious gratitude. Months passed by as day after day, the two men continued to sit together, hoping and praying and waiting. “On a particularly difficult day for me, I was just sitting there in the office with my head hung down like this.” He bowed his head low to demonContinued on… Pg. 26

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Which One Are You? Shadow Blindness in Reality

/ Feature Article

by Christina L. Turner

What is it about human nature that causes Shadow Blindness to the reality of abuse of other humans? Let me explain to you the meaning of Shadow Blindness. Shadow Blindness is having the ability to see clearly while denying the reality of what is being seen. We are very eager and determined to protest and protect the rights of animals, ranging from baby seals to dogs. We run public campaigns, create foundations and quickly give the offenders of animal cruelty swift justice. However, when abuse is about our kind; the little girl or boy who lives next door to us or the teenager who always has their head hanging down, we as a people turn our heads. We don’t call the local news centers to have them investigate the screaming and late night shrieking of our neighbor’s pain. We don’t march in front of the domicile of a known abuser or child molester with picket signs exposing acts of human injustice. We ignore and refuse to have open discussions in the places where people mostly frequent, such as churches, community centers and other places where the offender and the victim usually are in the same place at the same time, to invoke conviction and healing. What is it about the abuse of another human being that makes others who see the injustice become silent or have Shadow Blindness? As I was having this discussion with my family one day, it became apparent that those who live in Shadow Blindness fall within these categories: Category I You have been abused and are being abused today - If you fall into this category, I understand you may feel stuck. You’re stuck in not telling someone about the abuse due to imagined consequences. You may believe reporting the abuse to someone who may be able to assist you will put not only yourself in danger but the one (s) you love in danger as well. You may also believe that people would look at you funny or with disdain because you “allowed” someone to hurt you. You somehow think what happened to you was your fault and you work hard to hide the secrets to avoid the guilt and shame. You may also be feeling that if you began speaking about the abuse it would

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bring up the “bad” memories of what happened so you decide to “forget” and let sleeping dogs lie. So, you pretend to “not remember.” Category II You are the abuser and you don’t want to stop - If you fall into this category, you desperately need immediate help. You believe you have “entitlement” to do what you do. You believe that it makes you powerful and in control of everything. You also believe that the person you have or are victimizing “deserves” what you have to offer. Some of you may even believe you are supplying a need in a neglected child. You mistakenly think you are providing the affection so intrinsic to a child’s healthy emotional development. You may even justify the inappropriate attention as love and you will tell the child you love him or her. For others of you, your thought process is more sinister. There are no boundaries between you and the ones you are destroying. Why should you allow someone to mess up what you so desire to do? In your mind, they will get over it. Category III You are ashamed and hiding the fact that you abused in the past - If this is you, hopefully you have come to your senses enough to realize you were wrong. Misinformation, circumstances or an out of control sexual demand for gratification led you to act out on a child. Only now are you clearly understanding how you have destroyed a person’s life and now possibly your own. But now, what do you do? Do you confess to the one/ones you hurt and ask for forgiveness? Is this a problem for you still, meaning do you still feel the urge to molest or abuse in any way? What will be the consequences of you taking responsibility to get yourself some help? Category IV You are close to someone who’s been abused or being abused today but refuse to get involved - If you fall into this category, you are just as guilty as the abuser. You have allowed him/her to take the “right” to live life in the pursuit of happiness Continued on… Pg. 28

Outspoken Magazine


National Statics on Child Abuse for 2011 Ages When Abused

Reported Child Abuse Cases 100000

36,131 13 to 18

53,932 0 to 6

80000

60000

51,196 7 to 12

40000

Step-Parent 6,911 0 Sexual Abuse Physical Abuse Parent's Children participated in forensic interviewing Partnerat a Childrenʼs Advocacy Center Relation to Victim 20000

Age of Offender Under 13 7,911

Other Relative

13 to 17 11,973

18+ 75,829 Source: National Children’s Alliance Outspoken Magazine

Parent's Partner 9,623

StepParent 6,911

Parent 38,585

Other Relative 23,763 Other Known Person 27,365

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Ashley Bellasano: Can You Hear Me Now?

/ Talk of the Town

By Anonymous

If you ever question the validity of OUTSPOKEN Magazine, here’s one reason it is necessary. Survivors of abuse need to know that they are not forgotten, and they are not alone. Hopelessness breeds in isolation and one common thread among survivors is aloneness. Survivors think it’s their fault they are misused so they hide their original self behind shame, guilt, anger and confusion. Many turn to drugs, crime, illicit sex, or fall prey to re-victimization, underachievement, and mental illness.

impacted by the suffering of the abused? Abuse, is no less than violence. It is an attack on a person’s soul with the aim to destroy. That is exactly what neglect, rape, verbal and physical abuse does to victims. It destroys the person one was originally created to be. Without intense intervention, persons affected have an unimaginably difficult time navigating the complexities of life afterward and might never return to pre-abuse state.

18 year old Ashley Bellasano, for years felt trapped in sexual abuse. Although she was vocal about her suffering, she felt like no one really heard her. No one cared enough. Ashley lost all hope of ever obtaining justice and made a decision to take her own life to end her pain. Ashley was truly a victim of abuse and sexual assault. Her last thoughts were to make herself an example of what can happen when sexual assault and abuse is ignored. Sadly, there are millions more grappling with this same issue and feeling just as isolated as Ashley did. Truly, it is shameful that a person has to pay the ultimate price of suicide for a wrong done to them. And sadly, we don’t seem to care enough. Who continues to weep over the tragic circumstances of Ashley’s fate? Who mourns for millions of abuse survivors who have thought about or attempted suicide when the pain, the shame, the sense of worthlessness becomes overwhelming?

Knowing what we know now about abuse and the after effect, I pray we will all become more vigilant of our environment so we can more quickly recognize abuse and its aftermath. Let us be more open to listen and talk about abuse. Be mindful that the person you are aiming to build a relationship with, young or old, might have an abusive past that now shapes their personality. Let each of us find a way to reach out to someone in such pain. Volunteer, at your local crisis centers, shelters, and other community agencies to help victims and survivors heal. Donate gently used clothing, household items, cleaning supplies, and cash to the various resources listed here in OUTSPOKEN Magazine. Start abuse awareness ministries in your churches. Advertise, subscribe, donate, to the efforts of OUTSPOKEN. Join us! We can each do something to make life more bearable for someone else. One can’t do everything, but if everyone does one thing, everything will get done.

Most survivors or victims of abuse remain silent. Ashley on the other hand had been complaining for several years. On the day she took her life, she tweeted 144 times, detailing years of sexual abuse, and forced prostitution. Her pleas for help went unheard until it was too late. How is it we are not

In remembrance of Ashley we will be collecting above mentioned items for victims of abuse. Don’t wait! Get involved in eradicating abuse today. For more information on how you can help, call 713-445-6880. ••

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Outspoken Magazine


Other Global Statistics on Human Trafficking Known Person

$32+

Billion per Year

2ND

THE

L ARGEST GLOBAL CRIMINAL INDUSTRY

12OLD YEARS

(AVERAGE AGE OF ENTRY INTO HUMAN TRAFFICKING)

80%of victims& are 50%MINORS 42% WOMEN of victims are WOMEN

GIRLS

of those recruiting victims are

Source: United Nations Office on Drugs & Crime

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On A Lighter Note Two antennas met on a roof, fell in love and got married. The ceremony wasn’t much, but the reception was excellent. A man walks into a bar with a slab of asphalt under his arm and says: “A beer please, and one for the road.” I went to a seafood disco last week, and pulled a mussel.

What do you call a fish with no eyes? A fsh. There was the person who sent twenty different puns to his friends, with the hope that at least ten of the puns would make them laugh. No pun in ten did. I went to buy some camouflage trousers the other day, but I couldn’t find any.

Sponsor List

The following names have kindly donated to help make a difference for survivors:

For All Occasions Rentals • JoAnn Boutte • Proctor Mortuary • B.J. and Tonya Bailey & Family • Evangelist Millard Clay of Richmond, CA • Kelvin Earl Jackson • Toiy Jackson Jr. • Toiy Jackson Sr. and Rolanda Jackson & Family • Annie McCaskill • August & Judy Semien • Earna Greene and Cornie Richardson • Lawrence and Willie Thibodeaux • Omega Woods and Da’Quayulon • Marva Jackson • Joe and Shenequia Deal & Family • Cheryl Underhill • Sutherland’s • Tommy Guillory Do you want to become a sponsor? Contact us at

WA lexa nder @O ut spoken Maga z i ne.O rg 22

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Southern Delight Restaurant

/ Sponsor Spotlight

by Rita Jackson

Each quarter, OUTSPOKEN will conduct a drawing of all sponsors for a complimentary write up. Southern Delight Restaurant, owned by Floyd Dixon was this quarter’s winner. SOUTHERN DELIGHT RESTAURANT Hi! I’m Rita with OUTSPOKEN Magazine. I must say I thoroughly enjoyed my interview with Mr. Dixon as he and I were once classmates. We were first referred to the restaurant by a coworker and since have enjoyed many a meal at Floyd’s and can attest to the love that goes into every aspect of Southern Delight Restaurant.

Though Floyd didn’t know anything about cooking, he hired great cooks such as his mom. “The trials one must face to maintain a business, provide excellent customer service and even being told you can’t make in a black community can be overwhelming. However, after 19 years I’m still here.” How did Southern Delight get its name? No particular reason, says Floyd. Just being in the south with the spicy and soul food for me was a delight, henceforth; Southern Delight. ••

Floyd Dixon grew up in Nederland, Texas. A 1963 graduate of Hebert High School, he attended Lamar School of Technology, was employed with Texaco refinery until he retired after 35 years. He found himself with too much time on his hands and boredom set. He was sure he did not want another nine to five sort of job, but not knowing what to do with his time became a nerve-racking period in his life. Long before any thought of business, Floyd had purchased property on the corner of Washington Boulevard & Iola. As time passed by, the land just sat there and nothing would satisfy the need he felt to be productive until one night in a dream, God gave him the vision of a restaurant. That dream was fulfilled with ownership of two restaurants. While traveling to Houston he came across a mini type fast food building fully equipped everything he needed to start a business in Beaumont if placed on the land he purchased years before. Southern Delight was a reality again. Several years later a deck was added to the single frame building however due to the southeast Texas climate the deck was enclosed into the very beautiful family oriented building we enjoy today.

SOUTHERN DELIGHT RESTAURANT 3175 Washington Blvd. Beaumont, TX 77705

Phone: 409-840-5026 Sun. 11am–3pm • Sat. 11am–5pm • Mon.–Thur. 11am–6pm

Coming Soon to Southern Delight by popular demand… Breakfast!

Outspoken Magazine

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Continued from Pg. 14 :: Love In Action

how you turn patterns of thoughts and behaviors into habits. • Counter negative self-talk with positive mantras. For example, if a recurring belief for you is “I am unlovable” then make your affirmation something like “I am lovable and capable of loving”. (Young, 2010). • Keep an appreciation journal. Each day acknowledge events, actions, thoughts, and feelings that you appreciated or are thankful for. Include at least five things that you appreciated about yourself. • Treat yourself when you have met a goal no matter how big or how small. Acknowledge that you are worth the time and money to treat yourself to flowers, chocolate, pedicure, or a trip to the salon. Spend time with a friend seeing a show, walking at the beach or park, or whatever you find uplifting. • Learn to forgive yourself when you make a choice that you latter regret. No one is perfect! • Believe in yourself! You have already proven that you are a survivor and you can make it and become the person you wish to be. We often think of Valentine’s Day in regards to our relationships with romantic partners. When we believe that we “must” have a partner to prove that we are loveable, we are setting ourselves up for unhealthy relationships. Identify what is important to you in a relationship and refuse to accept less just to be in that relationship. Take time to reflect on your

Anti-Stalking Law In Texas In March 1993, Texas’ first anti-stalking law was passed. Unfortunately the language of this law was later deemed unconstitutionally vague by higher courts. The very first bill signed into law during the following legislative session was a more strict version of the same anti-stalking legislation. The newer antistalking law (Penal Code 42.072) became effective on January 28, 1997. This law forbids the following actions by stalkers or others (s) who act on his/her behalf: On one or more occasion, following; placing a person under surveillance; making threats; restraining; confining; or engaging in behavior or threats that can cause the victim to fear immediate or future injury,

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relationships with others. Acknowledge the relationships in your life that are positive, encouraging, and supportive to you. Be aware of those who: • Only call you when they need something • Never have time to listen to you • Leave you frustrated or depressed, or • Dismisses or belittle your experiences (Domar & Dreher, 1994) I have known too many people who will stay in an unhealthy and ultimately harmful relationship, just because “something is better than nothing”. Perhaps one of the most powerful ways you can demonstrate love, appreciation, and respect for yourself is not to allow others to take you for granted or treat you with disrespect! I encourage you not to just focus on February 14th this year, but to devote the entire month to committing to acts of self-love and appreciation. Take time from your hectic schedule to do something that you enjoy and that demonstrates how much you value yourself!

•• Melanie Bullock is an Assistant Professor in the Counseling and Development Program at Lamar University. Her clinical experience includes working with adjudicated youth through Texas Youth Commission, with victims and perpetrators of relationship violence, and in the clinics at the University of North Texas. Dr. Bullock’s research interests included relationship violence, working with at-risk youth, and technology in counseling. She has served as President of the Texas Association of Counselor Educators and Supervisors and has held board positions with the American College Counseling Association, Texas College Counseling Association, and Chi Sigma Iota. Dr. Bullock has presented on various counseling related topics at state, national, and international conferences.

death, or damage to his/her property. Threats and/or actions conveyed either directly to the victim, or through family or household members. The first stalking conviction is Class A misdemeanor, with a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $4000 fine. Any subsequent convictions are third degree felonies and can carry a penalty of up to a 10-year prison term and a $10,000 fine. Stalking can be incredibly difficult to prove. The advocate can provide valuable information on developing safety plans for potential staking victims, as well as helping a stalking victim build a prosecutable case. One method for building a stalking case is to keep a journal of stalking incidents, including dates, locations and witnesses. ••

Outspoken Magazine


He leans up against the exterior walls and windows, listens to her conversations, stores the information, then repeats to her what he had heard. Once he even hid under the bed waiting for her. I’m in shock as I listen to all this and I know she is not safe. She’s unaware of the psychology of stalkers and she insists he is not violent. “But this might be the beginning,” I said. I refer her to the local crisis center. Continued from Pg. 11 :: Stalked

Her divorce is in progress and the stress of it all is wearing on her. He follows her everywhere. He shows up at her friend’s house insisting on coming in. He had damaged her brand new car. He uses his desire to see the baby as a ploy to make contact with her. This man who has never connected with his child, does not know how the baby eats, did not acknowledge the baby’s birthday but periodically shows up at the baby’s sitters as threat of what he could do to make sure she hurts. He’s called her friends, business associates and officials he thinks she might be dating to scandalize her. He texts and calls her incessantly. He sends her naked pictures of himself. He shows up at church and sits on the same row as she and her boys. In a meltdown yesterday, she admitted to feeling trapped and is scared all the time, even in her home.

Continued from Pg. 13 :: Love

phone in the hall so we would be undisturbed for as long as we wanted to talk. I thought, “My spell must be working for him to call me!” When he answered the phone, my hopes were dashed. “Why are you still calling me?” he demanded. Too stunned to comprehend what he was saying, I frantically tried to convince myself that he wanted me to say, “Because I still love you and I want us to be together.” However, what he bellowed next told me he meant for me to know we would never be together. “Don’t call me anymore, my girlfriend is here!” My question came almost like a reflex, “Didn’t you tell me two days ago that you didn’t have a girlfriend?” As soon as I said that, he hung up the phone. No self control and no self esteem compelled me to call him again a couple weeks later only to find his number had been changed. I can say today that I am sorry that I put that man through that mess and I hope he is in a happy and fulfilled relationship, preferably gloriously married and doing well.

Outspoken Magazine

She’s fearful of coming home to find her place robbed or worse, him waiting there for her. He removes and replaces items around the house just to let her know he was there. He rings the doorbell and leaves, knocks on the windows, waking the baby sometimes. She has nightmares and wakes up checking the house when she knows she already locked up everything. Why don’t we call the police, you ask? We have. We do, almost daily. What do they do? You would not believe what has to happen before they can pick this man up. She understandably feels foolish and like a crazy person for calling the police constantly, but I remind her that at least the calls create documentation. “What good are documentation and cell phone recordings if this man lays hands on me or my child?” she asks cynically. I agree with her. We both feel helpless as we realize we have little choice but to wait for this man to either hurt her or her children or get tired of the games and give up. It’s clear to me that certain laws need to be revised to better protect victims of abuse and I vow once again to take action to make a difference regarding our understanding and handling of abuse. ••

Our relationship hadn’t always been so messy. We started out normally, had deep long talks on the phone for hours, shared loving respectful times but with interference from fake friends and my erratic behaviors I soon made a mess of it all. Sensing the shift, I was too messed up to break free. I became my worst whenever the men I cared about wanted to leave me. It was almost impossible for me to bear the rejection; it hurt more and more each time. Lord, forgive me for working that wickedness toward your son. I pray you cover him now with your cleansing blood. I release him from any hurt he inflicted on me and whole-heartedly forgive him. I know he never meant to hurt me at any time, that he even tried to help me walk away with my dignity but I was too unwell to accept what he could clearly see; that I was not the one for him, that I needed help and he did not want to add to my pain by playing me. So now Lord establish a hedge of protection around him and his family now and forever more, amen. ••

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Continued from Pg. 17 :: Perseverance Personified

strate his posture the day he almost lost all hope. But he had to rise up after a while because a man he had never seen before had just driven onto the lot in a brand new Hummer. To his amazement, the man said he’d just recently bought that Hummer and he didn’t like it. He implored Tony to take it; he didn’t want it. That encounter yielded a profit for Second Chance. “It was a miraculous transaction that led to another that intersected another, then another. Little by little, financial miracles materialized before our eyes.” They had money in the bank. They could make payroll and, “We have never stopped since then. Success did not happen overnight for us, but more like 2 and a half years. Business is good for us now. “These cars are being sold. We have been enjoying a steady flow of business. In fact, at times we were outselling major dealerships in town. We’re doing well enough for me to begin preparing for my next assignment.” Again, Tony Renfro is praying for God to open doors for him to do real ministry. “I am preparing to walk away from the daily grind of the business to a life of ministry for God. I’d like to spend more time with family, my wife and eight year old. I long to be able to visit the sick in hospitals, join various community organizations, get involved in their meetings, planning activities and be a part of helping to make things better for others.” In closing Mr. Renfro recalled, “there have been other obstacles. Lies and rumors momentarily make their rounds and die off because we have made God our foundation. This is really God’s business. We just get to be stewards. We consider this ministry. God is using 2nd chance to bless His people. Each customer is a soul we

can nourish and God gives them favor here. We want the people who have always dreamed of owning a nice car, such as a Mercedes or Jaguar to be able to get it here. Customers will remark that they don’t even know why they come here. We pray with them, and share a word of encouragement with them. It is not unusual for a motorist to pull over on the highway and call to ask us to pray for them. “My daily prayer now is, Lord; bless me to be a blessing to others. God gave me the gift of car sales and business management that I can use to bless people. He appointed me to this so if I can make someone smile, it is a joy to me. And there is no color or race preference here. We are all God’s children. We want to provide with real help in acquiring the desire of their hearts, regardless of color, or race or culture.” Tony Renfro’s regular place of Worship is Cathedral of Faith, with Pastor Delbert Mack. To repair your broken lives, Survivors, it is imperative that you embrace very closely your God-given gifts. There is no way to fail when you are purposely using the talents God placed in you. How could you? He is glorified when you show off His gifts to you. You are in direct connection with Him as you study, practice and perfect your gifts. But the gifts are not meant for you alone. When you don’t seek to use your own gift, not someone else’s, you must be aware that what you do with your gift was meant to honor God, provide for you, and bless others. If you reject your gift, you are denying your neighbor of its benefits. Do not neglect the Gift that is in you… ••

Continued from Pg. 14 :: Forget Witchcraft

are cold or naked and a roof over our heads to feel safe and food to save our lives. In the same manner we crave love to save our emotional life and satisfy a fundamental human need and depending on our personalities we look for love and acceptance through various channels and therefore many of us end up in unlawful situations causing destruction to our original life path and trauma to our souls. Check out the prisons, juvenile delinquent centers and homeless shelters and get to the root of the behaviors of these souls and see if there isn’t a disconnect between early childhood nurturing and troublesome behaviors displayed today. Nevertheless survivors, you won’t find love through witchcraft! I recommend you try Jesus. ••

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Outspoken Magazine


Survivor Resources National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) www .T h e H o t l i n e . or g

Grief Share

Safe Horizon Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-621-HOPE (4673) Crime Victims Hotline: 1-866-689-HELP (4357) Rape & Sexual Assault Hotline: 212-227-3000 www .S a f e H or i z on . or g

National Alliance on Mental Illness

Helping your JOURNEY from MOURNING to JOY www .G r i e f S h a r e . or g /F i n d AG r ou p

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children 1-800-843-5678 National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-4-A-CHILD (800-422-4453)

Dedicated to Building Better Lives www .NAMI. or g

Mental Health America Advocate. Educate. Serve. www .NMHA. or g

United Family Service Domestic Violence Services

24 Hours/7 Days a week 704-332-2513

RAINN Hotline 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)

National Adoption center www .A d op t . or g

www .C e n t e r s .R a i n n . or g

National Association for Self Esteem (NASE) www .S e l f -E s t e e m -NASE. or g

Find a Local Crisis Center near you

Grief Support Services

Blessings Family and Children Services

Offering a Community of Understanding www .G r i e f S u pp or t S e rv ic e s . or g

Foster Care

Toll Free (855) 832-4838

Do You Know

of a National Resource for Survivors?

Or even a National Resource that you’ve found helpful?

Email — WA lex a nder @ O ut spoken Ma g a z i ne.O rg

Please include the name of the resource & their National contact info

Outspoken Magazine

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Continued from Pg. 18 :: Which One Are You?

from someone else. In your mind you believe that it would cause family/friendship discord if you got involved. You have vocalized within yourself that eventually the abuser will stop or grow out of this disgusting and damaging behavior against the one you say you love and care about. You’ve listened to the stories of victims, watched tears fall into the ground and heard sobs of agony. However, you do nothing and you say nothing. Still there is another category - Apathy Here is the truth of the matter that we can no longer ignore: Abuse happens each day and it’s happening directly in front of you. Will you become a “keeper of life” or will you continue to be listed in one of the first four categories? To the abuser, it is a high, to the one being abused, it is a definitive low. Abuse will not go away on its own. We have to rise up and take charge to stop it, to dismantle that kingdom of abuse that lurks in the shadows. We, as our brother’s keeper, can no longer sweep what is so very evident under the rug or try to bury it in the ground so we don’t have to see it. It is our responsibility to love our neighbor as ourselves. Just because you refuse to speak up doesn’t excuse you from accountability. Think about that statement the next time someone relies on you to be a listening ear for them. Think about that statement the next time you dare to abuse someone else. Think about that statement when you feel that you cannot allow someone to help you heal. The Activist or Missionary - Those who are touched by the pain of their fellow man and want to do something to help. What can even you do? In this day and time when human life has lost its fundamental value and the love of many have indeed waxed cold; which one are you when confronted with matters of abuse? Is it too much to ask you to subscribe or donate to a magazine/organization whose mission it is to shatter the silence surrounding abuse and provide help and resources to your fellow human? Bear in mind, that this fellow human may be your own child, relative, coworker, church sister or brother. We are not talking about animals here; we are talking about persons just like you who, but for the grace of God, could be in the same depth of bondage. What can you do to help? For the love of God, yourself, and humankind, let’s stop living in Shadow Blindness and save someone’s life. ••

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Order your copy of this brave account of domestic violence on a pregnant woman that led to her murderous decision. A woman wakes out of the abortion procedure only to find that she was more attached to the fetus she once carried than she knew. Now, she apologizes to the spirits of her babies. Ever wonder what side of the pro-life debate aborted babies are on? Consider the conversation of a few aborted babies. They meet like inmates do, but rather than asking, “Why are you here?” they ask, “What were you supposed to do but didn’t get the chance to?” Then, see if you can answer the questions about each of their microscopic personalities. Where Is My Baby? is a must read for anyone ever involved in domestic violence or abortion. Available on

www .O utsp o ken M agazine . com

or at 713.445.6880 $10.00 at Trinity “Power” Church bookstore. 10 IH-10 Beaumont, TX

Outspoken Magazine


Committed Your local crisis center needs volunteer advocates for rape, suicide and general crisis intervention. SETX Crisis Center OUTSPOKEN is in need of volunteers to carry out the mission of preventing and healing victims of abuse. Please call 713-445-6880.

APATHY

Feeling or showing a lack of interest or concern especially regarding matters of general importance or appeal

Indifference

Feeling or showing little or no emotion; impassiveness; a lack of interest, concern, or sympathy

SAFETY PLAN FOR STALKING VICTIMS Early intervention is always best, as waiting tends to intensify the obsession. There are certain prestalking behaviors that generally signal that there may be trouble ahead. At the first sign of discomfort, the potential stalking victim could try to clearly communicate his/her desire to sever all ties with the other person. When attempting to cut off all contact, she may state directly what behaviors she has seen, how it makes her feel, and that she does not want to continue any type of relationship. This can be done in a non-accusatory fashion, firmly, but with plenty of “I” statements. On occasion, despite the clearest message of non-interest, a person will attempt to continue (or develop) a relationship with a disinterested party. This situation can run the gamut from annoying to extremely dangerous. The advocate should never try to minimize the potential risks for the victim. What may seem harmless or inconsequent at first glance

Outspoken Magazine

Community

SETX:

Experience

Jefferson County Employee for 18 years Currently working in Auditing as the Collection Officer

Education

AAS Business Management El Paso Community College (89) BS Criminal Justice Lamar University Certification of Strategic Organizational Leadership Villanova University (07)

Leadership

32 years Military Service Rank of Sergeant Major 2004 Graduate of the United States Sergeants Major Academy Awarded the Bronze Star for service in Operation Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom

Community Involvement

(CASA) Court Appointed Special Advocate, Adoption Council, American Legion Post 817 Lodge 291, G4G Ministry Board Member, Jefferson County Dispute Mediation Center (DRC) Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club, Guide Right Scholarship Foundation, BAC

Capable

may actually become very explosive in a short span of time. Stalking victims should be encouraged to take the utmost caution concerning their personal safety. Stalking victims can be offered detailed suggestions on residential, office and school security. This is true for measures concerning safety in their vehicles and other personal security information. A stalking victim may need to be extra sensitive towards, or suspicious of personal information potentially getting in the wrong hands. Many police departments can offer safety plans to individuals who feel threatened in this manner. Additionally, there are websites that specifically cater to potential stalking victims and offer information and support in this area. Some stalking victims can benefit from protective orders. Fear of the criminal justice system will stop 20 percent to 30 percent of all stalkers. Other victims are in such grave danger that they resort to permanent relocation. There is detailed information available as to the most effective means of accomplishing this fear. ••

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OUTSPOKEN Magazine Jan-Mar 2012