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August 2012

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A message from the Founder I will continue to stand for the right even if I stand alone, even if family and friends forsake me, and even if the world is against me, I will stand for the right until the day I breathe my last breath for I have no fear of death because I have found my reason for living! Many persons have their own understanding and concept of what is right and what is wrong but I honestly believe that there should only be one consensus when it comes to domestic violence and abuse, especially child abuse. And that consensus should be that it is WRONG! I believe in God and I believe in his word and no way in the word of God does Jesus Christ condone child abuse, if Christians truly read the word they would realize that even Jesus himself rebuked the Apostles when they tried to hinder the children from coming to him. I was truly applaud when I heard a few people who claim to be Christians say that they would not attend a Symposium which dealt with abuse because God was not in it, because Christians should not take Gods precious time loaned to them to attend such things, they went on to say that time is too short and Jesus is soon to come and Christians should not get themselves side tracked with these things, because it was prophesied that these things will happen and nothing we do can stop it. At times like these I fully agree with anyone who says they do not want anything to do with Christians because many Christians are their own worst enemy and the upholders of some of the basest, sick, dark, deluded, and criminal acts of crimes being perpetuated in this world. Many profess Christians are disgracing the character of God in the earth and causing many to blaspheme the name of God because they are inept to really handle the various social issues of life and they have their heads 4


stuck in the sand and their buts in the air while they sing Jerusalem is my home, while they chant we are marching to Zion. What HYPROCRISY! What total abandonment of the sacred trust which God has given to his children to uphold, the word says “Sigh and cry for the abominations done in the land but more so in the church” I now realize why the word says “More so in the church” for many churches, synagogues and places of worship are stinking with hate, bitterness, domestic abuse, rape, human trafficking, child abuse, modern day slavery, bullying, envy, jealously, backbiting, un-forgiveness, fornication, adultery, pornography, lust, avaricious behaviour, and all the things which the darkness of this world delights in and what stinks before God is the fact that they come into the sanctuary and profess to lift holy hands and call the sacred name of Christ. While they have the audacity to stand in the holy place and pass judgements on many who they are not in favour with, they have the boldness to stand in the holy place and encourage children to remain distant from parents, husbands to abuse their wives, and young people to marry every Tom, Dick, Jane, Mary, and harry because they say “It is better to marry than to burn” so forget about counselling and seeking parental advice and approval let us marry them because they are burning in the flesh for sexual pleasure and so they open the flood gates to all type of lascivious behaviour, divorce, misrepresentation of the sacredness of marriage, and unhappy marriages while they have the boldness to stand in the holy place and encourage their membership not to speak with those whom they think is not of God. Today I say that such holy places are not holy and that the Devil has found delight in their worship and praise and the eyes of God are turned away as their corrupted sacrifices go up only to be penned in the book of death not the book of life and the unseen watchers are looking on with disgust. 5


I boldly declare and have been saying the following for years “I am not a Christian! I am a child of God, I am an obedient believer in the word� for the word Christianity has a bitter and distasteful taste in the mouths of many, when ministers can encourage their members not to attend any symposium or conference which brings education and speaks out against abuse, then I boldly declare that such ministers are in full partnership with the DEVIL and are supporters of every evil act of abuse and all those who listen to such counsel have formed allegiances with the darkness of this earth. The time has come where every government in this earth should pass laws which mandate every minister to attend a one week course workshop twice per year, and at the end of the workshop a test should be given to see how much they understand and are willing to speak out against this evil crime of abuse which literally kills and if they fail the government have the right to revoke the license. The time has come where every government in this earth should pass laws which mandates that three times a year an educational workshop which deals with abuse should be conducted in churches, and every minister, lay minister, elder or any person who holds any type of office in a church should attend a course workshop once per year. The word speaks about the ministry of reconciliation and healing but many ministers are teaching separation and destruction by their wilful actions of encouraging their members not to support this cause because of their own personal grievances or lack of education then they encourage abuse and the killing of children, women, and men. For this month of August and every month after I encourage you to speak to your minister, speak to your elders, speak to the men and women’s fellowship, and to speak to one brother and sister at a time let your church be a beacon in your community let it be a house of refuge to the abused and hurting, let your church be truly a house of praise and worship. 6


Church should NOT! Be a place to encourage abuse and hate! Save our children 7


When a little girl needs a man’s attention When does that become a sin? When she needs a hug And he says “lay on the rug” When she cries and begs And he says “spread your legs” And she is left to wonder why She cries a tear She lives in fear Who will ever comfort her And just hold her near. By Terri Lanahan 8


Contributing Writers

Photographer of all local images

Sherna Benjamin

Vanessa Kent Of Upright Productions

Terri Lanahan

Artist

Gillian Henriques Cross Over at Eagles Point Debbie Naylor Cox Maureen Lasher Lela Albert Healing Gods Men Dr. David A. Crenshaw Alicia Kozakiewicz Angelica Harris Rachel Grant Julie Federico Paige Walker Dr. Mary Jo Odomdull Andrea Cargill-Blair Valarie Long Ed Eberly Tyreca Ewing Rachel Newman

Michal Madison

Editors Sherna Benjamin Michal Madison Natasha Bain And team

On the Cover The Alcia Project Page98

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August What’s in THIS ISSUE A message from the Founder.…...………………………..………………4 When a Little girl needs a man’s attention …..………..………………...8 Hers To Treasure ……....……………………………………………..…20

Articles Overcoming Abuse and Hurt ..…………………….…….…………….. 34 Living with Demons.………………………….…………...……………42 The Home Poem………………………...…………………...………….48

Featured story Micheal Castaldo..………………………………...……... 54

Articles Healing Gods Men...……………………….......................……………..60 Healing and restoration from Domestic Abuse .………....……………...70

Priceless Advice from Dr. David A. Crenshaw Should I Be Worried? Understanding My Child’s Anger …….74 10


The Hope of Survivors Clergy sexual Abuse Awareness ……………....82 Art of Michal Madison …..…………….……………………………....84

Featured story The Alicia Project ….…………………………………......98 Second Chances …………………………………….…..114

The Coach is in with Rachel Grant Learning to Trust …………………………………...…..118

Julie’s Corner Julie Federico and Ending Child Abuse…………………124

Article The Broken Road……………………………………...130

Missing Children and Adults Missing Children…….................................................………...136 11


Moments of Grace and Reflection Beating the Bully………………………………......…………………..152 Hope for the Broken hearted .……………..………..…………………154 He did it all for you ………………. ………………...………………...156 God is Faithful . ……………………………………...………………..158 A Cry of Anguish becomes a Song of Praise ...……...………………..159

Dear S.B ……………………………………………………………….162

The Reading Corner Recommended books for reading ………………...……………….…..168 O.A.B.I Voices United Radio Network ..……………………………...178 Openings ………………………. ..…………………………………...185 Healing from Childhood Abuse ... ..…………………………………...186

Website: www.oabivoices.org Radio Show: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/oabivoicesunitednetwork Contact us: Email: oabi@oabivoices.org Send Articles to: articles@oabivoices.org 12 Information: support@oabivoices.org


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HERS TO TREASURE The year 2010 must have been the worst year of my life. I went through trials in every area of my life, and anything that could go wrong went wrong that year. It was through these trials that I found my love for writing again and began to write poems, articles, plays and just about anything I could get my hands on. It was not until fall of 2010 that I was invited to write devotionals for Sister in Christ Women’s Fellowship, a Facebook ministry page that had about 40,000 followers at the time. The then leader of the page saw a poem I wrote and thought I would do well at writing devotions for the page. I took up the challenge, though I never wrote a devotion in my life. I knew that I wanted to write in ministry for God in order that I could help women who face daily challenges like the ones I had been facing. Within month of being on Sisters in Christ, I took up leadership of the page along with Toshana N. Sledge, and we now have a following of over 126,000 women. One year later in November 2011, Hers to Treasure, my first Devotional Journal was published. One of the devotional writers of SIC, Tina Turner, suggested we compiled our devotions into a book. I was in the middle of my first fictional Christian book but gladly placed it aside at the idea of my work reaching far beyond the pages of Sisters in Christ, to help so many others that need it. I took on the challenge, all the while praying that “Hers to Treasure” would extend into the far corners of the earth, blessing, teaching, equipping and bringing light to women all over the world. As for the name of this inspiring book! The Lord burst it on my spirit while sitting around my desk one day thinking what I would call my book. Since Hers to Treasure has been published it has inspired me in such a way that I opened the company ‘Hers to Treasure’ along with my husband Oliver Henriques. 21


Our desire is to help women understand the value God places on them, how much they are treasured and how much they should treasure themselves. I hope everyone that reads this article see it fit to get a copy this Devotional and Journal, which can be found at http://www.hers2treasure.com/ httbook.php . It is truly life changing, and I guarantee you at the end of reading it your walk with God will never be the same. You will want to make Christ your closest friend. This book is not just a Devotional but a daily journey that will take you in the very presence of God and make you desire to stay there forever. Gillian Henriques Author/Speaker/Playwriter www.hers2treasure.com info@hers2treasure.com

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Human trafficking is modern-day slavery,

This publication was made possible in part through Grant Number 90XR0012/02 from the Anti-Traffickin 32 the responsibility of the authors and do not nec Human Services (HHS). Its contents are solely

Refugee Resettlement, or HHS.


and it’s happening right here in the United States.

National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) 1-888-3737-888 email: NHTRC@PolarisProject.org TOLL-FREE | 24 Hours/day, 7 Days/week

WHO ARE THE VICTIMS? Victims are forced to provide labor or commercial sex, and can be: • U.S. citizens or foreign nationals • Men, women, or children

WHERE DOES HUMAN TRAFFICKING HAPPEN? Human trafficking can happen in many situations, including in: • Commercial sex industry (street prostitution, strip clubs, massage parlours, escort services, brothels, internet) • Factories (industrial, garment, meat-packing) • Farms, landscaping, or construction • Peddling rings, begging rings, or magazine crews • Private homes (housekeepers, nannies, or servile marriages) • Restaurants, bars, and other service industries (nail or hair salons)

Call to report a potential case, get information or resources, request training or technical assistance, or receive referrals. FOR MORE INFORMATION: www.TraffickingResourceCenter.org

ng in Persons Division, Office of Refugee Resettlement, U.S. Department of Health and

33 cessarily represent the official views of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division, Office of


Overcoming Abuse and Hurt By Crossover at Eagles Point During seasons of drastic transition when walking through separation from an abusive or controlling relationship, staying grounded in deep connectivity to God is all the more vital. It’s like holding on to the anchor of the ship that won’t sink, but may be tossed strongly by the waves of the storm all about. You will have to go out to the deck sometimes, but you stay holding onto the rope of the anchor the whole time. Despite the far superior posts, blogs and entire Facebook pages dedicated to this very topic, I thought I’d at least add some additional encouragement as notation on this blog site. The first thing I want to do is simply come alongside you and let you know it’s going to be okay. I definitely know there’s a lot going on under the hood emotionally. Just do your best to keep out of the crossfire. Don’t get into wars of words. That makes everything so much worse and counterproductive, and then you have to mop up that along with dealing with enhanced negative emotions that result. When the weight of sadness descends, don’t fight it. Let it help you to the floor. When the crossfire of torment and attacks surround you, drop prostrate immediately. Don’t keep your head up in the line of fire. Lay low, rest extra, seek God in quiet surrender, and stay there until the storm clears and a Hand from another world lifts you up. I read poignant comments recently with respect to overcoming abuse. One read as such: “Emotionally abused partners tend either to take on the criticism and rejection of their partner or former partner, or may be in constant turmoil, wondering things like, ‘Am I as bad as she makes me out to be, or is she impossible to please?’ ‘If I’m as incompetent as he says I am, maybe I can’t make it on my own.’ 34


“Most victims of emotional abuse come not only to blame themselves for all the problems in the relationship but also believe that they are inadequate, contemptuous, and even unlovable.” This aspect of recovery goes so easily under the radar and isn’t ever addressed because the one who has been abused is so focused on just healing from the immediate wounds, the pain, the hurt of rejection, and other intensive aspects. All the while, this undertone persists throughout subsequent singlehood and future relationships. This is going to take time to come through, and that’s okay. It will feel awkward, like you’re learning to walk all over again. You will feel a little kiddish…these ‘baby steps’, as some of them refer to it as, may seem juvenile or silly, and you’ll be tempted to say ‘forget it’ and try to just go out there like nothing has happened. But you have to be patient with yourself. Be good to yourself. Be gentle, and take time to relearn the value and preciousness of who you are, and the one who loves and adores you so dearly. Re-establish yourself worth and dignity. Come to your baseline identity, who you are, your heart, your dreams, and the One who made you. Let this be your new home base, and operate from here…even well into your healing and recovery. Don’t come away from here. You will be more than surprised at the transformation that takes place on other levels as the mending of your heart and soul takes place. Along with this, as you reintegrate into areas of sociality, you may feel vulnerable and exposed, like everyone’s watching and sees your awkwardness. Remember, though, since people often don’t really see us, or much care if they happen to, for who we are or what we’re dealing with when we step out, the vulnerability is more with ourselves than with others. 35


So it’s almost like we are getting to know ourselves, getting reacquainted all over again, with the ends of liking ourselves, and embracing and eventually loving ourselves for who God made us to be in spite of our imperfections and experiences…very similar to the process of developing a genuine friendship with someone else. And don’t be discouraged when it feels like your progress is slow in your recovery and healing. Remember, progress is often more permanent, more steady, and easier to register and adapt to when it’s slow. The change taking place is more rooted, more surefooted, which makes it easier to absorb and accept the new you that you are becoming. Allow God’s love to love you by being good to yourself and accepting His truth about you, and don’t be afraid to allow that personal fellowship, even when it’s just you, getting to know yourself and enjoy yourself again. You’ll discover treasures that you had long forgotten or never knew were there, right there, within you all along. Grace and abundant peace, beyond your will to endure, be yours now, and persistent in your journey. Below is a list of ways in which you can connect with the author Blog Site Facebook Twitter

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Living with Demons Written by Debbie Naylor Cox As victims we all lived with our abuser’s demons. As survivors, we still all live with our abuser’s demons everyday. I believe everyone has demons In their past to some extent. Anyone who lives through any type of abuse , and survives it, has many demons from their past to deal with in their lives and from what I’ve seen, heard and read, these demons don’t just go away. In fact I have yet to meet one survivor of domestic or child abuse whom claims that their demons of their past are totally gone. I believe personally that the scars of such abuse heal but do not fade away completely. I believe I will carry these scars with me for the rest of my life as will my children from growing up in a home environment where there was abuse. What I do know is that the scars do fade with time. How can we manage living with these demons in our heads? I think first we have to acknowledge they are there and face them so that we can realize just what we are dealing with. We have to realize that the hell we have endured was in fact real but that we have left it behind us now. We have to realize that it is no longer a part of our daily world and we must tell ourselves that we will never fall into the hands of an abuser again! My personal experience early on was a mixture of emotional and physical abuse. The emotional abuse slipped in on me very quietly so that I wouldn’t notice. I was manipulated for years living in a constant state of confusion, fear and doubt. 42


I was yelled at, cursed, called ugly names, controlled emotionally, dragged through the house by my hair, backhanded across my jaw, food smeared into my face, shoved and choked. And always left to wonder “what did I do to cause this?” Because I was always manipulated into believing it was all my fault. I lived in this world for over 35 years total before finally one day I realized it wasn’t me at all! I thank God everyday for allowing me to finally see the light, to see the abuse for what it was and to finally have the strength to say “NO MORE ABUSE!” I have been living abuse free since June 7, 2011. I wish it had been many years sooner so that my children would not have had to endure all that they have and I had not wasted most my life away living with an abuser’s demons. But I am thankful that I am out and free now from the chains that held me down for over 35 years of my life. Do I hate my abuser? No, I do not although as with many other survivors I went through a short time of hating and resenting. The secret to taking that first step to freedom is forgiving our abusers. We must forgive in our hearts to be set free. That will open us up to a whole new world of personal happiness and allow us to love and trust again. I am personally still working on the trust issue but I know that it will come. I have been doing online advocating for a year now. I am a poet, writer and most importantly I am a SURVIVOR!. I have written a blog to share parts of my story in hopes that it will help others to understand what victims do go through and to help victims and survivors pick up the pieces of their lives and move on. I am also writing a book, ’Living with Demons’ by Debbie Naylor, that tells my complete story and points out red flags and signs to watch for. It will also show the after effects of abuse in the lives of those that have lived in one home with domestic abuse. 43


The utmost important objection to all I am doing is to help others by spreading awareness. It is essential to get the word out to our society just how common domestic and child abuse is and how it has lasting, damaging effects on us all as a society in whole. And I would like to think that my efforts will help other victims whom are still trying to find their way out of the darkness come to terms with what they are dealing with so that they too can step into the light and claim their rainbow! You can connect with Debbie via Facebook Facebook

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The Home Poem By Maureen Lasher

Year after year and day after day, You stay with a man who gets in your way. He crushes your heart to a fistful of powder And blows it away and laughs a little louder. Did you marry this man? Why did you do it? Pressure, because he told you to do it. See, I know, I live there myself Waiting to be taken down from the shelf. The children, the children, it’s always the kids, At least that’s the reason that’s easy to give Why you stay and stay, your life passed away To shadows and places and shades of grey. But your so young, so young and so free, Don’t you want to be who you want to be? A beautiful woman, inside and out At least to everyone that you see about. But who are you really? Do you even know? I thought I did, many years ago. It feels good to just be myself It’s OK to come down from the shelf. A friend is what I long for, a friend is what I need, A friend to love, yes love, even me. To have fun, to laugh, to just be a kid, To work hard and feel the satisfaction it gives. An honest day, a clean, open life I’m so happy, now here comes the knife. Take it and take it and take it again. Are you sure this will ever end? 48


What do we wait for? Why do we hope? Surely there’s more than this very tight rope. Give out all our gain and hope it comes back. Yeah, it comes, with a chop in the back. I think, is this really happening to me? Can I deny the reality I see? A circle, a cycle, a tormenting wheel. Does anyone really care how I feel? I care, be tough, be strong, don’t feel, Don’t cry, do your work, stay busy, appeal To him once more, stand up to the wall. Kick it real hard and maybe it will fall. No, not today, today there’s no way. Oh, well, I tried-and it all goes away. He’s gone, there’s peace, Glory is in sight! I love my home, I love my life. Maybe I really am a bad wife? No, not me, think this through, think it through. The words that hurt, they stick like glue. But they’re not true, what’s a person to do? I’m on my own, I’ll figure it out. First things first and then have it out. Take care of yourself, trust in your heart, Do what you can and the sea will part. The answers will come, don’t you love the truth? A gift for my children, a word for the youth. Daddy, a name they need to call, He’ll be there, he won’t let them fall. 49


The children, the children, it’s always the kids, At least that’s the reason that’s easy to give. I don’t know, don’t know, never did. That’s the easy way out, I learned as a kid. Love isn’t easy, that’s what they say. Be tough, be strong, you’ll find a way. So tired of trying to figure it out. Full cycle around, around and about. Let it go, think of others and deal with the pain. After all, no pain, no gain. Strength gives you joy and joy gives you strength And that’s OK when you’ve gone the length. Mo – January 1998

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Micheal Castaldo

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Not often do I meet a perfect gentleman who leaves a lasting impression on my mind and heart, however I found of late that I am being introduced to some wonderful men and before the minds of many begin to run in a different direction let me clear the air, I am speaking about men who are passionate about bringing peace, joy, and love to the world, men who are using their talents, resources, and their voice to heal individuals and broken families. I was introduced to Micheal Castaldo a few months ago and instantly I knew that this was a man of passion, character, honesty, purpose, and inspiration. What also caught my attention was the fact that Micheal is from Italy and for those who really know me would begin to smile when they hear “Italy�. Micheal has the voice of seven Angels combined and I was completely sold out when I listened to Micheal sing Hallelujah! I share with you the article which was published in, Inside Milton Magazine about Michael Castaldo the man, the misic, the entrepreneur, and activist. ~ Sherna Benjamin

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CELEBRATING OLIVE YOU WITH CROONER & CONNOISSEUR Michéal Castaldo "Life is not a cup to be drained, but a measure to be filled." This is Michéal Castaldo's approach to his music, his work, his passions, and his life in general. The Calabrian born, Canadian-raised, and now New York City resident is a celebrated international Classical-Crossover artist. He is also an olive oil aficionado and expert, and a dedicated unofficial ambassador—as he puts it—for the region of Calabria, Italy where he was born. Michéal Castaldo loves sharing the very best Italian music, the freshest olive oil from his family's groves, and a stay at his family's enchanting villa, Villetta Mimma Vittoria, named for Michéal's mother. To spend time with Michéal is to drink in all the things that go with "La Dolce Vita," the sweetest life imaginable. La Dolce Vita should definitely include a copy of Michéal's recently released album, aptly titled Olive You, which features classic Italian songs to feed the heart and soul. How did Michéal develop his expertise in music? Like all good stories, his began with inspiration, the support of a strong family, and mentors whom he credits for teaching him the many facets of developing his talents and running his music business. "People have layers, like an onion. Talent isn't about high notes and low notes, but instead how deeply you get into the lyrics," says Michéal. His story's layers are a rich palimpsest. Michéal's grandfather moved to the US in 1896. Back then Michéal says they were all leaving Italy; historians refer to them as birds of passage—migratory labourers—to save money, with plans to return to Italy. His great grandfather did just that, working as a labourer building the New York City subway system, and then before returning to Calabria purchasing the family's olive grove estate. . 56


Michéal was born in Calabria—the tip of the boot in Italy—but his family moved in the 1960s as part of a large wave of immigrants to Canada. They settled in the St. Clair & Dufferin area of Little Italy in downtown Toronto His Italian roots were and are a major influence. Compared to other Italian communities in the world, his Italian roots weren't lost in assimilation. CHIN, the local multicultural radio station was playing all the time in his family home. He listened to the best Italian compositions, stating that the heyday of Italian music was the 1960s and 70s. Canadian multiculturalism encourages immigrants to maintain their heritage while also being Canadian. This kept Michéal close and connected to his heritage, the language and the music he loved so deeply at an early age. He began singing in church, and as a large personality and extrovert from a family of equally big personalities, Michéal was encouraged by his parish priest and his immediate family to stand out. They highlighted his talents, and he was taught to speak up, to speak his mind, and to avoid blending in. Michéal says he enjoyed the attention and then as he grew up, he soon realized music was a great way to get girls! He went to Italy in 1971 with his mother and sang for relatives. On this trip, his uncle took him aside and told him to study if he was serious, and talked about learning the language of music. This lesson stuck with Michéal and he knew then that he wanted to make a living at music, to express himself through music, to feel empowered and to learn. He began studying voice with Maestro Pisapia a protégé of the great Italian operatic tenor, Enrico Caruso. Maestro Pisapia was stern, had a great attitude, and taught Michéal breathing exercises, Neapolitan songs, and the art of Bel Canto. Michéal's passion for dynamic Neapolitan songs that require breath support and a broad range prompted him to learn to play guitar, piano, even some trumpet. 57


He attended the Berklee school of Music for four years studying everything from arrangement, composition and music production to management, and developed lifelong friendships and relationships from his days at Berklee. His mentor Ann Ruckert advised Michéal to go to New York City. On July 4 weekend 1986, Michéal's departure from Boston and his arrival in New York City were both heralded with fireworks thanks to the100th birthday of the Statue of Liberty. Michéal jokes that he thought it was all for him! Through a friend who was dog sitting, he stayed at the penthouse apartment of the great Leonard Bernstein in the famous Dakota building. Later that year Michéal was one of two tenors chosen to play at Carnegie Hall for a show headlined by Mel Tormé. Michéal developed the confidence to make a living at music, often doing commercials, pitching his reels and working as a session singer. He graciously comments that the ups and downs all added to his story. "All those struggles make you who you are, and motivate you to continue on doing what you're doing." Michéal lives his life passionately, with a strong emphasis on knowledge and experience. He has very intentionally become an expert regarding all his passions—his music, his family's Olive Oil estate, and his Calabrian heritage. Michéal Castaldo's latest release, Olive You, is available for purchase at Amazon, or iTunes and is carried in select stores in Italian neighborhoods throughout the USA & Canada such as E.Rossi & Co in Manhattan’s Little Italy. Michéal will be performing at Festa Italiana Milwaukee, WI July 19-22 for details go to www.festaitaliana.com. Michéal will also be performing at Festa Italiana in Rockford, IL August 3 - for details go to http:// www.griaa.com. 58


The 23rd Annual Italian Food & Heritage Festival at DelGrosso’s Amusement Park in Tipton, PA will feature Micheal Castaldo on Sunday, September 23rd – for details go to http://www.delgrossos.com/events.html. “Save the Date” Sunday September 30th to hear Micheal in concert at The Little Theater, St. John’s University Queens NY Campus, starting at 2:00PM. For more information and tickets contact Professor Joan D’Andrea at 718 990-7541. To learn more about Michéal and to find a list of his upcoming shows, please visit his website at www.michealcastaldo.com.” Written By Stacey Newman Photos by Mark Kopko

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Healing Gods Men By Healing Gods Men

Email: healinggodsmen@gmail.com There is a large number of persons who will not accept the fact that men are also victims of abuse, however the research is there and the living evidence are the hundreds and thousands of men who are abused and are being abused but remain in silence because of fear, shame, and society judgements. Because of the pressure of society men are less likely to talk about the abuse they suffer behind closed doors, as they were taught that they must be macho, they must not speak of pain, they must not cry, and if attacked they must fight back and win. Why because they are MEN! So the male victims of abuse continue to hold the pain of their abuse and inwardly they are sinking in a quagmire or emotional turmoil and pain, outwardly their lives may seem great as they continue to mask their pain using various outlets but sadly their pain bleeds through another outlet. Many male victims are left in a lonely place they may have many acquaintances and seem popular and have it all together but they are so lonely and not only lonely but they are also alone, for they are emotionally barren and confused as the people whom they have to love they also fear, those whom they promise to care and protect are their worst nightmare. How can a victim love their abuser while pain and torture is being inflicted upon them, how can they respect mummy and daddy when they are being abused and sexually violated by them, how can they maintain their promise to love and cherish that spouse when the blows and stinging words are hitting them like a cannon let loose. 60


We have a generation of damaged men on our hands and it is our duty to begin to heal Gods men, the time has come for advocates to take a balance approach to advocacy against abuse, the time has come for society to stop stigmatizing the male victims of abuse, male victims of abuse are not homosexuals, they are not weak, they are not sissies. Male victims of abuse are just that VICTIMS and they are damaged and need to be healed. The time has come for us to embrace our men and let them know that we are here for them and we will support them and not judge them, we will work with them for their healing and not against them for their destruction. Where is the public outcry when our men are battered and abused? Where is the public outcry when our men are raped? Where is the public outcry when our men are trafficked for sex and sold in the brothels? Where is the public outcry when fathers and mothers are physically, sexually, and emotionally abusing our men? Where is the public outcry when spouses are using our men as punching balls and as verbal dart boards? In a recent study on emerging attitudes and patterns of domestic violence, Glasgow University found that of the 200 women surveyed, 60 percent said "it was acceptable for women to hit their husbands" while 35 percent admitted assaulting their partners and a total of 8 percent admitted to physically injuring them. 61


Although physical abuse is considered the most obvious form of domestic abuse, emotional abuse by way of insults, intimidation, and other methods can be more devastating than physical abuse, because it is difficult to prove and therefore hard to stop. What can we do to help heal Gods men? We need to show them love, appreciation, and acceptance. We need to teach our men that it is okay to cry as crying does not make you less of a man but in fact brings out that quality of inner beauty and strength. We need to encourage a balanced advocacy where advocates with the same passion will condemn the female perpetrator of abuse the same way they will condemn the male perpetrator of abuse. We need to have more support groups and support base for men to seek confidential help and support to be able to live beyond abuse and experience a wonderful life. We need to STOP judging men who have been abused We need to stand with our men and say “Enough is Enough�.

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Healing and Restoration from Domestic Violence By Lela Albert Years of restoration have taken place in my life, I am totally amazed at the power of God’s healing and the way in which he chose to heal me and restore me. So much has happened to me since I divorced Dan back in 1998. Life was a world of lies, deception, manipulations, control and power of his cycle of abuses, being unreal with never knowing what would happen next. It is not that way anymore, life has changed for me, living abuse free for over 13 years now, and it’s a new life, a new beginning, and living in sanity! Priceless peace, joy, happiness, and freedom! Living an ‘abuse free’ live is truly living now. I feel a sense of normality of living like the rest of the world who has never been abused. That life of abuse was damaging, so very deep and intense periods of insanity, loss of hope, living in fear, and was being someone slave to their abuse. Here are some ways that I started to heal and be restored from living in Domestic Violence.

The Big Decision When did the restoration start? That is something I would often think about years later after the divorce. When does one believe that there are on the road of recovery? For me, I must look at the decision to actually divorce my abuser, Dan. That one decision would affect the rest of my life for that moment on along with my two children. How would this decision affect my life? Upon making the decision to divorce, I had many other decisions to make about how to remove myself from the abuse. 70


The divorce was only the legal avenue, but there was the spiritual, emotional, but mostly the physical removal of myself from the abuser. The process will take time over the months of filing for divorce, but I did physically remove myself from Dan. He remained in the marital home and the children and I lived at my parent’s house. The spiritual and emotional detachment would come over a period of time. I was involved with Dan for 17 years, endured the good, bad, and the ugly with him, it would take time to release the emotional bonds with him.

Removing Myself Since Dan remained in the marital home, I sought out refuge at my mom’s house with our two children. I was recovering from surgery and being at mom’s after the hospitalization was so refreshing for me. I had finally realized that living in an abuse free environment at moms was the greatest gift that I received. It woke me up to reality, making me look at the deeper issues presenting themselves. I prayed and sought the Lord’s guidance. So on November 19, 1997, I made a call to Dan, we had a conversation and I told him honestly how I felt and that a separation was needed due to the ongoing issues of abuse, lack of him taking care of himself and his not working which was causing major financial strain. This decision was another part of the restoration process of taking care of me and the children. I finally made a decision for myself, one which would lead to another major decision later. I would file for divorce after a short separation period.

The Divorce A major part of the restoration process when the time of the actual divorce, August 26, 1998. This day was proving the release of the legal part of the relationship, but more important, the emotional release I felt that day. 71


Finally I felt a great inner relief of knowing the divorce was final and legally binding and that part of my life was finalized. This day prove to be a step of major closure in ending an abusive relationship. Now I could move on leaving the divorce part behind me but knowing that I would be dealing with ongoing post-divorce issues of visitations, sale of the house, and Dan’s continued unstable behaviours including harassments. The actual divorce from start to finish lasted a total of 8 months of all types of craziness, one legal issue after another, ongoing abuses, harassments, stalking, and more related to our children with visitations. Very hard to heal from anything at once that was done before I had filed for divorce. Yet, I was on the road of recovery even when it did not look at way at times; in God’s timing. It’s been 14 years since the divorce, this decision proves how healing and how free I am today Being legally divorce from an abusive husband is healing of itself, but more so, morally and spiritually free from the evil of abusive behaviours. This divorce set me free and it’s a continuous process that will go on for years and years. The best decision made for me and my two children, the evils of abuse are strong but God’s love is stronger than the evils of abuse, my life belongs the Lord, may His will be done.

Educating Lela In the fall of 2009, 11 years post divorced, I started a new journey in my restoration, in a very powerful way. I had applied to Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, at the end of June of 2009. Three weeks later, I received my acceptance letter. After finalizing paperwork and picking classes in August, in September of 2009, I started my educational journey which will end in May of 2013. During this time period; I have completed 16 courses with a GPA of 3.26. Something to be proud of, but the journey is not over, I will be graduating in 2013 with a BA in Criminal Justice. 72


Presently need 8 more credits which are two courses, with an internship at the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, Mays Landing, NJ, in the fall of 2012. Some of the criminal justice classes that I have taken, has given me closure and healing due the subject matter of study. One cannot measure personal growth, but truly my healings were unexpected because I was in the classroom for educational growth. Having the ability to concentrate and learn without pain and anxiety when learning about things that have previously harmed by is amazing called; Healing and Closure! The educational part of my life has brought to a level of understanding about things that have happened to me, thus bringing greater healings. One of my classes was ’Family Law’, bringing my understanding of how the family court system works including divorce. Going to college gives me the opportunity to do greater advocacy work on the professional level, with my desire to work for a non profit organization. For now I will remain doing my ‘volunteer’ work for organizations like OABI.

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Dr. David A. Crenshaw earned a Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis, MO. He is a licensed psychologist in New York. Dr. Crenshaw has the distinction of being Board Certified in Clinical Psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP)and a Fellow of the Academy of Clinical Psychology. He is a Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor by the Association of Play Therapy. He is listed in the National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology. He is Past President of the New York Association for Play Therapy. His memberships have included the American Psychological Association, the New York State Psychological Association, and the Hudson Valley Psychological Association. Dr. Crenshaw has served on the Legislative Committee of the New York State Psychological Association. Dr. Crenshaw is in private practice since 1977. In addition, he has been the Clinical Director, Director of Training, and Director of Internship Training at the Astor Home for Children in Rhinebeck, NY; on the staff of hospitals and schools; faculty member at Southern Illinois University, University of Missouri, and Washington University; and a consultant at Bard College. Besides numerous articles in professional journals, Dr. Crenshaw is the author of several books: "Bereavement: Counselling the Grieving throughout the Life Cycle" (now in its third printing); "Engaging Resistant Children in Therapy: Projective Drawing and Storytelling Techniques," and two books (he co-authored with John B. Mordock, Ph.D., ABPP to be published by Jason Aronson in 2005), "Understanding and Treating Aggressive Children: Fawns in Gorilla Suits" and "Handbook of Play Therapy with Aggressive Children." He is featured on a videotape "Grief: How to Help Children Feel, Deal & Heal" containing practical advice. Dr. Crenshaw's play therapy and projective techniques using drawings and storytelling and puppets are especially designed for defiant, oppositional, and aggressive children. 75


Frustrated by the challenges of helping defiant, oppositional, aggressive children? Dr. David A. Crenshaw shares successful techniques he has developed during more than 30 years as a clinical child psychologist.

Chronically angry children may look like strong, fearless gorillas on the outside. Inside, they are like fearful, wary fawns at the edge of the woods. They crave contact with others, but fear being hurt again. They may have been hurt by loss, whether by divorce or death, and are struggling with grief. They may have been hurt by violence and abuse. Perhaps, they never had a secure family life to develop trust early on. The art of healing fawns in gorilla suits requires not taking their anger personally, but realizing anger is how they protect themselves. They hurt deep inside from invisible, yet very real wounds. To help such children feel safe, become trusting, and deal with intense emotions, Dr. Crenshaw developed special play therapy techniques. He teaches his techniques to clinicians, school personnel, and others who work with angry children. 76


Dr. David A. Crenshaw is a highly credentialed and respected clinical psychologist, who is Past President of the New York Association of Play Therapy. He has dedicated his career, Center, books, videotape, projective techniques, and leadership to helping aggressive children. He and his Rhinebeck Child and Family Center, LLC are available for: Child and Family Therapy  Consultations  Training  Presentations  Workshops Broadcast and Print Media Interviews 

Mailing Address

Office Address

P.O. Box 286 Rhinebeck, NY 12572

23H East Market St.Rhinebeck, NY 12572

Phone: (845) 876-3400

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Should I Be Worried? Understanding My Child’s Anger By David A. Crenshaw, Ph.D., ABPP

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“He is usually a caring and sensitive child, but when he explodes in rage he is like a monster.” The frustrated mother was describing her 8-year-old son Michael, a second grader who is liked by his teachers and his classmates — except when he has a “meltdown”. During a meltdown, Michael is like a different child and it is scary to the other children. Both his parents and teachers are worried. Michael is typical of children who display a pattern of impulsive-reactive aggression as described by psychologist Ross Greene in his book The Explosive Child. These children acquire various diagnostic labels when they are evaluated by mental health professionals — ADHD, Oppositional/ Defiant Disorder, or Disruptive Behavior Disorder. As Greene explains, however, the two primary features shared by such children, regardless of diagnostic labeling, are low frustration tolerance and inflexibility. These children are not exhibiting a character flaw or a moral weakness, but simply manifesting subtle neuro-developmental deficits related to difficulties in emotion and impulse regulation. Until neurological maturation enhances the ability of these children to self-regulate in a more reliable and consistent manner, they tend to be overwhelmed by their strong emotions and often experience emotion in an all-or-none manner. Either the child feels nothing at all, or experiences anger as red-hot rage — with nothing between. In other words, they have not developed the capacity for modulation. Greene advocates an active teaching approach, which I strongly endorse.

Tools for Modulation Verbal mediation is a crucial tool for modulating anger. Children who have developed the capacity to identify, label and verbalize their feelings are more skilled at modulating emotions. Children have to be taught a language for their feelings by parents and teachers, as they tend to have significant difficulty finding words to express their emotional states. 79


A respected colleague explained that children who are aggressive tend to experience emotion “like a wind blowing through their system.” In other words, the feelings are non-descriptive and undifferentiated, leaving kids unable to identify or share them. Even highly verbal children often have a limited vocabulary when it comes to emotional states. One of the most effective interventions for a child who explodes in rage is to teach her/him an expanded vocabulary for dealing with feelings. The vocabulary should include not just “angry” and “mad”, but words that capture the various levels of intensity — such as “irritated”, “annoyed”, “furious”, and “enraged”. This approach is based on the technique of scaling. For children who do not know how to modulate their anger, teaching them a vocabulary that expresses degrees of intensity helps them understand that emotions do not have to be experienced in an all-or-none way. Another way to convey the concept of scaling and degrees of anger is through the use of an anger thermometer like this one:

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Anger Thermometer The child can be helped to find words to express anger at a low level (blue zone), at the mid level (yellow zone), and at the high level (red zone). This tool can be used to help children process anger after a situation that has triggered a meltdown. Parents and/or teachers can not only help children find words to express their anger in each zone but can teach problem solving skills that play a crucial role in developing selfregulation. Children can be asked, for example, what choices they might have for expressing low level anger if they notice they are only irritated or annoyed. Obviously, if children don’t notice the signs of building anger until it is in the red zone, their choices are going to be limited because for most kids it is too late. When they reach the meltdown point, they are unable to reason or to think clearly, and at that point, all the parent or teacher may be able to do is to try to keep the children safe. It is helpful to focus kids on the early signs of anger build-up. Do they notice their voices rising, their hearts racing, the clenching of their teeth or fists? The earlier these signs are noticed, the more likely it is that children will be able to head off a meltdown. Since a sense of personal control is important to children, it can be helpful to frame early detection skills as ways they can maintain control of their anger. The self-calming skills often cited by children as helpful are: 1) walk away; 2) use distraction to get your mind off it: 3) count to ten; 4) take three deep breaths; 5) use coping statements, like, “I can handle this,” or “I am in control here”; 6) rationalization statements, like, “I didn’t want to go to the party anyway”; and 7) displacement into physical activities like a vigorous game of basketball with friends.

Additional Tips for Parents and Teachers 81


Perhaps the most effective way parents and teachers can help children develop constructive ways to express anger is to set a good example. If a teacher or a parent is always yelling, it will be hard to motivate the kids to work on their own anger management issues. Conversely, if we model remaining calm even when under stress, and demonstrate that there are constructive ways to cope with the inevitable frustrations that arise in daily life, children will want to imitate such behaviors and eventually, if they are attached to us, will internalize adaptive coping behaviors. We need to be careful about the way we think and talk about anger in children. Even the most furious, enraged child is not angry all the time. Some children are angry at home, but not at school — or vice versa. Some kids only become aggressive if they are humiliated. If we think of kids as monsters or demons, they have an uncanny way of living up to our expectations. It is helpful if we can identify the triggers and the specific contexts that lead to meltdowns and then help the child be aware of these triggers and ways to cope when provocations are unavoidable. If the child’s rage poses a risk to others or her/himself, a mental health evaluation by a licensed psychologist, social worker, or child psychiatrist experienced in problems of aggression in children is recommended.

Text Reprinted with permission of Westchester Parent Magazine (Feb/06) Photos were not part of original article. http://www.childtherapytechniques.com/mychildsanger.htm http://www.childtherapytechniques.com/

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Dear Friends, The day has arrived--it's the 2nd Annual Clergy Sexual Abuse Awareness & Prevention Day, an event being celebrated throughout the month of August. Clergy sexual abuse is a prevalent problem in every denomination around the globe and one of The Hope of Survivors' primary goals, beyond providing support to victims of sexual abuse by anyone in the role of spiritual authority, is raising awareness of the issue and educating clergy, church members and the public at large. To celebrate this Clergy Sexual Abuse Awareness & Prevention Day initiative, several events are planned during August, including: exhibiting at the ASI Convention in Cincinnati, OH; meetings to be held in Romania; conducting a Hope & Healing victim's conference in Omaha, NE; and much more! Be sure to check the calendar for more details. This is a collaborative effort between many organizations and individuals and we invite you to Get Involved! God bless you, Samantha Nelson Vice President

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At the age of 13, like many young girls, I was a bit shy, very naïve and like all adolescents, I was curious. The advent of the Internet allowed me access to a world for which I was unprepared. As a result, I was groomed, lured, and abducted by an Internet predator whom I believed was my best of online friends. During the 5-hour ride, imprisoned in his car, I tried to concentrate on how I was going to get away. Could I fight him? No. He was 300-plus pounds to my scrawny 86. Could I grab the steering wheel and run the car off of the highway into a ditch? Probably not; that only works in the movies, right? Would I be able to reach one of the many call boxes and call my parents? There were a million thoughts going running through my mind but I was determined to do one thing: stay alive. I knew that this monster was going to brutally murder me, I just didn’t know when. My only option was to stay alive long enough for my parents to find me. It’s impossible to put the fear and pain I felt into words. He held me captive in the basement dungeon of his Virginia home, raped, beaten and tortured, chained to the floor with a locking dog collar around my neck. My degradation was shared through streaming video with his online cronies. I was not fed until the fourth day of my captivity as he was informing me that, “I’m beginning to like you too much, tonight we are going to go for a ride.” Until this moment I had it in my mind that if I just did as he commanded - no matter how painful, disgusting or humiliating - I would survive. 100


With that first bite of food, I knew that this was my last meal; that he was going to kill me. I knew that I was as good as dead. At this point, I decided that I would fight and do whatever I could do to get away. I accepted that it would likely kill me. I promised myself that I wouldn’t go down without a fight. Though I did not realize it, statistically, I was already dead. I wasn’t aware that 74% of stranger-abducted children are murdered within the first three hours. And so, I lay there in that house, terrified, thinking of how I would fight but fearing in my heart it would likely be a futile attempt, when I heard banging and crashing on his front door and men screaming, “we have guns!” These men broke down the door and rushed into the house. I assumed he sent people to kill me or the house was being robbed by thieves who announced themselves loudly. I rolled under the bed dragging the chain behind me, as I lay hidden from those who had surely come to hurt me even more. Someone shouted “movement!” and the next thing I knew a man stood before me his firearm fixed and ready, demanding that I put my hands up. I remember meekly trying to put them up while still covering my nakedness. It wasn’t until he turned around, and I saw those three most beautiful letters in the alphabet “F B I” that I knew that I was saved. They cut the chains from around my neck and set me free. They gave me a second chance at life. 101


The streaming video had become my saving grace. Fearing repercussions, one of his online “friends” contacted the FBI though he had little information to share regarding my whereabouts. He did have one crucial piece of information: the monster’s screen name. With that screen name, Internet Crimes Against Children task forces, specially trained, multi-disciplinary Law Enforcement, was able to use the Patriot Act to gain access to his IP address, which allowed them to trace the physical address where I was being held. My rescue was a miracle – a million to one shot - which I fully attribute to their excellence. In the months that followed, I came to realize that rescue is not necessarily recovery. Many facets of myself had been lost, damaged, destroyed. Mistakenly, I also carried a lot of guilt. On one hand people were continuously telling me that it wasn’t my fault, that I was the victim. I understood that they were trying to be helpful, but it felt like they were trying to convince me because it wasn’t true. On the other hand, many people were also downright vicious. Their implication was that I deserved what had happened to me. It’s especially difficult when it comes to blame in the cases of Internet Luring victims. Lines of culpability become blurred, as Internet predators often don’t kidnap the child from their home; instead they will lure them outside thus placing them in a vulnerable position. It wasn’t until nearly five years after my rescue, as I was filming an FBI training video, I truly realized that I had nothing to forgive myself for. I had learned just before the camera rolled that my beloved grandmother had just passed away. 102


This new grief somehow allowed me to sit down in front of the cameras and tell my whole story in a new way: from point A to Z. Listening to myself finally allowed me to hear the truth. Afterwards, I walked up to my mother and said, “This truly wasn’t my fault. I was just a little girl. This man was a cruel monster. This monster tricked me. This man used me.” There is no singular method to heal after you have been hurt. Each story of sexual exploitation differs but we all feel pain, which, while it may have diverse origin, is no less valid. Some survivors may feel that they need to quickly re-enter their daily routine; that to hurt is to be weak. I say, if you have been hurt, it is okay to let yourself not only feel the pain, but to take the time you need to establish those patterns which will enable you to first cope, and then, ultimately, to heal. The support you can get from therapy and from other survivors can be amazing. For example, I wasn’t aware that I would suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I knew that I would have nightmares and that things would be different but I didn’t know just how difficult it would be, or how to effectively deal the pain. I was very lucky to have my family to support me and pick me up when I fell down. My advocacy truly helped me to heal. I soon found that speaking out strengthened me. Abuse leaves a hole in you. You can fill this void with anger, dugs or promiscuity or you can fill it with good works. Sometimes, teaching others is the best way to learn. 103


When I was 14, my father came to me after speaking with Pennsylvania’s Air Search and Rescue group, and said that, if I was ready, he had an opportunity for me to use my pain to save others from what I had gone through. Before my very first presentation, he sat me down and said “Alicia, you’re not going to know the difference you make because it’s preventative. Since you’re saving kids from being hurt, you’re not going to be able to measure the difference you’re making. Are you okay with that?” Of course! My goal was - and is - to save children from being hurt like I was – plain and simple. Over the years, though, I have gotten so much positive feedback from children. They crowd around me after a presentation, eager to share that they’ve changed their minds about meeting someone or that they have been hurt by someone and they now know that it isn’t their fault. I have received many letters and emails detailing how my story helped them. I have no regrets about speaking out; I know that I have made a difference. Speaking out has proven to be cathartic for me. After my recovery, I found it very difficult to tell people what happened to me, and boy, did everyone ask. Law enforcement, media, friends, peers, neighbors, strangers in the supermarket, everyone had questions and worse – accusations. It was empowering to share my story on a platform that would stop another child from being hurt and so the Alicia Project was born. I feel that I was rescued for a reason and this is it. 104


When I first started speaking out, I was uncomfortable when children would ask me if I chatted online or if I was a part of a social network. Though of course I eventually had to re-enter the Internet generation, it wasn’t until I was in college that I felt it wasn’t hypocritical. I realized that I am an adult, and the Internet isn’t all bad. There are so many wonderful activities that can be done to nurture creativity. It allows us to reconnect and keep in touch with our childhood friends. As with most things in the world, there is an evil side and we have to recognize it so that we can put up guards against it. One of the most important things for children to take from my story is that this can easily happen to them. I show them a chilling photo of me at age 13. This photo was taken a few weeks before my abduction, I am sitting in front of the computer and I am wearing the same outfit I had on that fateful night. It shows a perfectly average, gawky 13-year-old kid. I tell the groups that I speak to that if this girl came in and sat in the room, they wouldn’t think she was weird or that something bad would happen to her. Fact is: she would blend right in. If it can happen to me, it can happen to any child and it has. Many children have been hurt and many more will be. That’s why we must educate them and make them aware of the dangers out there so they can steer clear of them.

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My advice for their parents is to avoid the modern focus on becoming their child’s friend. Lay down the law in your home. Enforce it. Additionally, adults need to be aware that today’s media content has created a generation of highly sexualized children who are out of control. Parents must educate themselves on Internet safety because they are the first line of defense for their children. I have shared my story in schools, conferences, houses of worship and the halls of congress. I’ve presented to children, parents, teachers, law enforcement, anyone who will listen to me about Internet safety. I have participated in Internet Safety films for the FBI, the Office of the PA Attorney General’s Operation Safe Surf, the PA Cyber School, the Pennsylvania Center for Safe Schools, Enough is Enough, and the A&E Biography Channel, among others, as well as being the subject of an award winning Internet Safety documentary for PBS, "Alicia’s Message: I’m Here To Save Your Life." My story and mission have been featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show, as part of Internet Safety programs across the nation, and internationally in a number of publications including People and Cosmopolitan, in the hope of raising awareness. Collaborating with four other young survivors, I coauthored an OJJDP publication, “You’re Not Alone: The Journey From Abduction to Empowerment,” a survival guide for returning abductees. I’d like to take the Alicia Project global as this is an issue that affects the entire world. It is the “world wide web”, after all.

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In 2007, I testified before Congress for The Protect Act. The Protect Act is an appropriations bill that federally funds the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task forces. Alicia’s Law is the stateside version. It funds the local ICAC.

There are nearly a million known people creating and sharing graphic sadistic child pornography online. Statistically, 1 out of 3 has a child being harmed inside the home. Those 300,000 children could be rescued from the hands of monsters if the funding was there. Alicia’s Law provides the dedicated stateside funding for training, technological gear and the boots on the ground to save these children. My mission is to see it successfully passed in all 50 states. Your support for these laws is sorely needed. Please contact your legislators today. We all need to make it clear that our children’s safety should be their priority! 107


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Please go to www.facebook.com/AliciaProject for more information regarding Alicia’s mission.

More information about Alicia's Law

Not One More Child PSA

You're Not Alone: The Journey from Abduction to Empowerment

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SECOND CHANCES BY ANGELICA HARRIS Š Angelica Harris July 31, 2012 Second Chance is a gift A place to find hope among despair And seek to mend the broken soul Second Chance is a gift A place to pursue an adversary Take no prisoners- -charge on! A Second chance it a gift A place where you can revisit a Dream thought lost in the dust A Second Chance is a gift A Place where doubt can be Washed away, and self esteem restored A Second Chance is a gift A place where pain is no longer held Binding us unimaginable anguish A Second Chance is a gift of Faith, when all is lost and nothing Seems to be going your way A Second Chance is a gift When no one thinks you are worth A damn, yet deep within YOU Do!! A Second Chance is a gift One that comes around When we need it most A Second Chance is a gift From those who believe in you So take the new path and rise anew.

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The Coach Is In With Rachel Grant

“The Coach Is In� is our newest monthly Colum added to the magazine get great advice and support for Rachel Grant who is the owner and founder of Rachel Grant Coaching. Rachel is also a Trauma Recovery & Relationship Coach. She is also the author of Beyond Surviving: The Final Stage in Recovery from Sexual Abuse. With her support, clients learn to identify and break patterns of thought and behaviour that keep them from recovering from past sexual abuse or making changes in their relationships. Rachel holds an M.A. in Counselling Psychology. With this training in human behaviour and cognitive development, she provides a compassionate and challenging approach for her clients while using coaching as opposed to therapeutic models. Rachel is a member of the International Coach Federation & San Francisco Coaches. 118


Learning to Trust Yourself & Others by Rachel Grant

Learn to Trust Yourself While this article addresses the difficulty of learning to trust for adult survivors of child abuse, the ideas can be helpful for anyone who struggles in this area of life. Many survivors struggle with trust. It is not surprising given that our fundamental trust in another person was shattered as a result of abuse. In fact, it is hard for some survivors to remember ever trusting anyone. When I first thought about trusting others, I felt a huge knot in my stomach. I did not want to rely on the integrity or character of another person, which is part of what it means to trust. After all, I had relied on the character of someone, and he abused me. I also had a very hard time having “confident expectations” that people would not always leave, let me down, or harm me. I was in a terrible loop of being out to prove that no one could be trusted, and I was succeeding. There are a couple of layers involved when we think about trust: Defining trust, trusting ourselves, trusting others and determining who is trustworthy, and, the biggie, embracing vulnerability (don’t worry, I’ll be writing about that in a few weeks!). For today, we’re just going to think about trusting ourselves. As we think about trust, we often focus on determining if a person is trustworthy or not. To be sure, this is very important. However, trusting yourself is actually the first step and more critical than learning to trust others! 119


If you do not have the confidence that you can make good decisions, judge others with wisdom and clarity, and set the boundaries that are necessary when others violate your trust, then thinking about trusting others will prove to be an empty and meaningless endeavor. To begin trusting ourselves, we need to figure out the answer to one very important question: I do not trust myself because … Once we identify the beliefs that are holding us back from trusting ourselves, we then need to do the work to challenge these beliefs. As in all things, start small. Setting a goal that focuses on just one area where you want to begin learning to trust yourself is a good place to begin. I also encourage you to read more about challenging false beliefs directly using a few simple steps. Too often we strive to be open to others, to trust, but find ourselves pulling way, making a mess of things, or being hurt by our choices. If you find yourself over and over again struggling to trust others, it’s possible that your focus needs to be shifted from outward interactions to inward reflection and growth. Being grounded in who you are, confident in your ability to make good decisions and to set and keep boundaries is a critical path towards trusting others. Next week, I’ll share with you some thoughts on defining trust in a new light and learning to trust others. REFLECTION  On a scale of 1-10 (1 never; 10 too easily), how would you rate your ability to trust yourself?  

In what areas of life do you trust yourself to make good choices? In what areas of life do you doubt your ability to make good 120


Learn to Trust Others Now, let’s turn our attention now to trusting others. You may still have some work to do to trust yourself, but there is no time like the present to begin transforming your relationships! For me, the impact of not trusting others was that I walked around guarded all of the time. It was as if I was operating behind this piece of gauze; I remained fuzzy to others and others remained fuzzy to me. I was never able to experience real connection or intimacy. To move us along towards breaking out from behind our walls, veils, protections, let’s start by simply exploring what it is you think it means to trust someone in the first place. One of the biggest mistakes we make when determining who is trustworthy is looking for the qualities in others that we ourselves lack. Let’s say, for example, that we have a very hard time getting projects done on time. This is a quality that we would say a trustworthy person would possess. So, when working with others on a team, we label the person who is able to get things done on time as trustworthy. Nevermind the fact that she cheats on her taxes. The point is, we are so focused on the qualities that we lack that we misjudge the character of another person whenever they possess those qualities. As a result of abuse, our “trust meter” is a bit off balance. We have either tilted way over to not trusting, trusting too easily, or remain apathetic about it – never really connecting or pushing away others. So, how can we give our trust meter a tune up and rebalance it? First, we need to challenge our general understanding of what trust is. Regardless of what you have thought it means to trust, I want you to try on understanding what trust is in a new way. 121


Trust is not about judging the character and quality of another person.  We do not come to trust a person as a whole.  Rather, we come to trust the person to honor a specific commitment. No one is 100% trustworthy. 

Remember the example of the team member who finishes her work on time, but cheats on her taxes? She is completely trustworthy when it comes to completing tasks on time. She is not trustworthy when it comes to dealings with the IRS. For any given person, there is always some commitment we can trust, but there is always another we cannot. This is why trust is not about judging the character or quality of a person, but rather judging the character and quality of the commitments you can trust the person to honor. When relating to others, we seek to know the difference between commitments likely to be honored and those not likely. We want to understand what sorts of commitments they follow through on more often than not and hope that these line up with what is important to us. This will vary by person and by commitment. I may have a friend who I can always trust to keep her commitment to spending time with me and another who doesn’t, and yet they are both trustworthy friends! Our job is then to decide whether or not to trust someone by considering their behavior and speech as signals of their beliefs, values, and intentions, which are all indications of what commitments they are willing to keep, for how often, and for how long. Keep in mind, that behavior is a much better indicator than what people say. Oh, and the bad news is… There is no such thing as a 100% trustworthy person, which means there is no guarantee that people will not let us down, hurt us, or behave terribly. 122


But, the good news is… We do not have to judge the person as a whole and give them a badge of trustworthy honor. Instead, we can determine which beliefs, values, and intentions are priorities and judge to see if the person can commit to those things. You see, trusting another person is not about saying “You’re good, you’re safe” – it is about saying, “I know that, in these areas, I can count on you, and I acknowledge and understand the areas where I can’t.” If we continue striving to prove that someone is “good”, then, as soon as they show a flaw, we will cut them off, deem them untrustworthy and continue our cycle of being closed off and disconnected. REFLECTION 

On a scale of 1-10 (1 never; 10 too easily), how would you rate your willingness to trust others? What has been the impact on your life of not being able to trust others? I can trust myself if I keep my commitments to … even if I am unable to commit in other ways. I can trust a person if they keep their commitments to … even if they are unable to commit in other ways.

Website: www.rachelgrantcoaching.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/CoachRachelG FB: https://www.facebook.com/RachelGrantCoaching

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Julie’s Corner By Julie Federico I am passionate about saving children from childhood sexual abuse. It is my life work to educate children about abuse prevention. This work began in August of 2007 when I wrote my first children’s book. I wrote Some Parts are Not for Sharing as a child’s first book on body safety. I wrote it after years of hearing stories from children who were not protected by their family. Without this important information your children are at risk of being victimized. With this information your children will be empowered, safer, informed and educated about sexual abuse. There is no greater gift a parent can give a child than the gift of what to do if someone is touching them inappropriately. Without the shame and silence child abuse evaporates. Giving your child a voice gives them power. When children speak up about the abuse, the abuse stops and help is found. Unless the caregiver or parent blatantly ignores the child’s voice, they are rescued. I want to inform children everywhere that their body is their own. I want them to be protected. I want them to “Tell Today and Get Away.” Thank you in advance for reading this book to your children. To read or order Some Parts are Not for Sharing visit www.juliefederico.com This book is also available in Spanish and Kindle versions. The target age range for this book is 0-7 years old. There is no greater gift you can give your child than the gift of safety. Please do not be silent on this issue, please educate and protect your children or the children in your life. 126


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THE BROKEN ROAD By Paige Walker I receive a whole lot of emails and I take my time and read through every one and also respond it may take some time but I do it, because I believe if someone has taken the time to write to you then they deserve an answer. When I received Paige email I had to take in the information which she was sharing not only with me but with the entire world, I had to applaud her courage and bravery, as a mother it is never easy to deal with sexual abuse. Paige story is one of courage, faith, love, and support for her daughter and every other mother who’s daughter was sexually violated, I read the first few chapters of her book and I had to hold back the tears, especially when her daughter disclosed to her mother that she was being abused. When Paige daughter said the words “Mummy do you still love me?” my heart was filled and then I could no longer hold back the tears, I advice every mother to get the book “The Broken Road” ` Sherna Benjamin “My name is Paige Walker; I am a Registered Children's Nurse, single mom of an 11 year old, living in Auckland New Zealand. Sexual abuse is undoubtedly every mother’s worst nightmare, I would like to share my story with you as I think you might be interested in this as its written from a mother’s perspective and mothers need healing and support too. Three years ago I found out that my daughter then only 8 years old had been sexually abused by my best friend’s husband. I took it to court and won our case, but he was given special consideration and only received 12months home detention as he was 63 years old, as they said he wouldn't cope with a jail sentence. 134


As a survivor (MOTHER) I decided to write a book of my experience as I felt it was important that the trauma pain and suffering mothers go though is validated and given a voice. My book details the affect Sexual Abuse had on me, but it is also designed as a self help/tool for new parents trying to find their way through this ordeal as I did as it includes a detailed list of organisations affiliated with child sexual abuse for easy access and help. By creating an awareness of my book my passion is to highlight the traumatic affects of abuse and help break the silence on Sexual Abuse as it is rapidly becoming a worldwide epidemic and it needs to be addressed especially here in New Zealand. “THE BROKEN ROAD” by Paige Walker is a moving story of a mother's strength and courage as she dealt with the betrayal, anger and trauma from the sexual abuse of her daughter at the hands of her best friend’s husband. It moves through the emotional journey of her need to seek revenge and justice but instead found acceptance and forgiveness of her daughter's perpetrator. ” ~ Paige Walker Purchase the book is available from: Amazon Barnes and Noble Xlibris

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Beyond all Odds the Determination of a Mother’s Love We are happy to announce that Kristi Deann Merrill, has been rescued by a very special team of individuals who have made it their duty to help families who’s children have gone missing especially when human trafficking may be involved. Bryn M. Barton never gave up on her daughter and as any mother she fought and kept hope alive believing in her heart that Kristi was alive and they would be reunited as a family. Bryn is now doing all she can to help others and educate others about the evils of human trafficking and to show that human trafficking can happen to anyone, even writing this sends chills up and down my spine and my stomach turns. No person should have to endure the pain and torment which this family has gone through, no child should have to endure the pain of being trafficked, our prayers go out to this family and especially to Kristi during this time of her healing. To all those who gave their support to this family during and after the ordeal may you never stop showing your love, support, and sending encouragement to this family, for the healing process will be a long one but we know that it shall be a victorious one. Ms. Barton we here at O.A.B.I. Salute you for your determination, dedication, faith, unwavering prayers, and persistence that you must bring your daughter back home where she belongs, may you continue to fight for other young women who have been taken captive in this evil trade and may your story give inspiration to many others who may have lost hope.

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Kristi Deann Merrill, has been rescued

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Beating the Bully By Andrea Cargill-Blair Andrea is Jamaican and worked as a Human Resource Manager, Counselor and held other Managerial positions. The first six years of my life was very abusive and violent. My mother was an alcoholic; and my father was a womanizer. My mother broke my heart when she abandoned me at age six. At age 8 I was adopted by a Christian couple. This was my turning point. After 1 year, I gave my heart to Jesus. It is the best decision to date. I had great anger issues and was out of control. I studied psychology to understand the reasons for my anger. I began helping children with similar issues, while going through my own healing process. My troubles did not cease. I got married and my husband cheated, while I was pregnant. That gave me diabetes, high blood pressure and eventually a heart failure. My unborn child died at 8 months 2 weeks. I too went to death's door. Now, I am not working; but My God supplies ALL my needs. I have learned to forgive my parents, my husband and the woman he is with. I still remain a friend to my husband even though he is still having an affair with the same woman who I allowed to cause me great pain. This is the power of forgiveness! What comes to mind when you hear "Beating the Bully?" REVENGE perhaps? It is never a good feeling to be habitually intimidated by someone who seems STRONGER than us. I was a bully from the age of 7-12 years old. I would beat/fight boys and girls at school; not caring about the consequences. I was an ANGRY child! WHAT STOPPED ME was a boy who obviously had greater anger issues SLAPPED me in the face so hard, I saw "starlight’s! I was "beaten;" and from that day forward my life changed. 152


I became so ladylike. A HARD HIT sometimes can be a "wake up" call. There are many who have been beaten by ABUSE/VIOLENCE. In situations where you constantly beaten; the question you may ask; 'What have I done to deserve such cruelty?' Dear reader it's not your fault! There is HOPE for you, through Jesus' finished work on the cross. Your tears, pain, bruises, hopelessness are all known to God. You can beat the Bully that hold you captive. We call this Bully SIN! God's word says in Psalm 18: 48 He delivereth me from mine enemies: yea, Thou lifteth me up above those that rise up against me: Thou hast DELIVERED me from the VIOLENT MAN. Dear reader, when you know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour there is NOTHING that He can't do for you. What doubts you had about your life where things seem IMPOSSIBLE God, can make the impossible, possible. Jesus also knew the pain of abuse, rejection and He was beaten. He never gave up. He forgave and showed mercy and compassion (Psalm 30:5, 34: 18). It was Love for you and me and the entire world. DO YOU WANT FREEDOM? You too must forgive those who hurt you. It is not easy; but it is possible. Jesus said the Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the POOR; He hath sent Me to heal the Broken-hearted, to preach Deliverance to the Captives, and Recovering of sight to the blind, to set at Liberty them that are BRUISED. DON'T BE FOOLED by the devil. He wants you to believe you can't be healed, but he is a LIAR, THIEF and a DESTROYER. Are you using a stimulant to NUMB your pain? Stop for a moment and THINK; Yes, THINK! You are most valuable to God. He loves you. Failure can be turned around; and you can ride out the storms in your life. There is NOTHING too hard for God to do. Jesus took our place, He endured the spiting, jeering, plucking of His beard, and those nails in His hands and feet. His blood was shed for the remission of our sins. He wants to give you Peace. DO NOT BE bullied by past and present circumstances. SWITCH roles by BEATING the Bully. 153


Hope for the Brokenhearted By Valarie Long Valeria Long is the Worship/Vocal Director, at Christ Church, Columbia Station, Ohio; Co-Owner, Tri-Long Productions, Medina, Ohio. Valeria is married with one son. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18). There are moments in each of our lives that are hearts become broken. Our hearts can be broken by life circumstances, broken by people, broken by our own choices. But the Word of God, in which true hope can only be found, states that the Lord is close to we who are brokenhearted. Let’s define brokenhearted. “Having the spirit depressed or crushed by grief or despair”. Has your heart been crushed? Are you in despair? Do you believe the lie that there is no help for you in your situation? Take hope my sisters and brothers! There is a God that says this to you today: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). Our Lord is closest to YOU now, in your broken heartedness, and He is making a way of deliverance for you. Know this: The Lord is not a man that He should lie, nor the son of man that He should change His mind (Numbers 23:19). Does He speak and not act? Does He promise and not fulfill? His Word declares it and His Word never fails!! Cry out to Him, wait for Him and His answer of deliverance. IT WILL COME. The Lord is close to you in your broken heartedness, near to you in your despair, present in your time of trouble, and Hallelujah, will never leave you or forsake you. 154


Father, I thank You for each one who has read these words that came from Your love letter; the Word of Hope, the Bible. I pray that you will look down with mercy and compassion and remember each soul that cries out to you in their despair and broken heartedness. I pray that you would bind up the hearts that have been reduced to fragments and answer their cries. I pray that You would make it evident that You have been present in each of their pains and sorrows and I pray that You would do what no one else can do‌SAVE THEM. In Jesus Mighty and Matchless Name.

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He did it all for you By Ed Eberly The first truth that you must believe is that the Bible is speaking to you personally; Jesus went to the Cross for you. If you were the only person, He would have done the same, He loves you and you're special to Him. Jesus came to destroy the works of Satan which are the evil and negative things that have come into your life to destroy you (1 John 3:18). Satan uses people to hurt you, but you are not battling against flesh and blood, but evil forces, rulers of darkness, and spiritual wickedness Satan is the enemy that causes all evil on the earth, he's the problem. In ourselves we can do nothing, that's why Jesus came to set us free by His Power. The first step to our freedom is to repent of our sins, and ask God to forgive us of our sins and receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. We then become heirs of God's Promises through Jesus Christ to provide all of our needs on earth, and to live a godly life. You're God's property and your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. He wants you to have an abundant life while on this earth and give you a mansion in Heaven, and be with Him when you leave this earth (John 14:2). You might say, “I've been too bad or too evil�. Apostle Paul wrote more than half of the New Testament and was the chief Apostle after his conversion, and said that he was the chief of all sinners before his conversion. Mary Magdalene was a prostitute, who came to Jesus, got saved, and was in the inner circle of Jesus and the Apostles. God is a God of the impossible that chooses those that the world looks down on, and makes something beautiful out of them if they allow Him. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. 156


No one has been too bad or an outcast of society, that God won't raise up and make their life beautiful. Let Jesus have your life and He will make something beautiful out of you. Ed was born and raised in Chambersburg Pa. My wife and family moved to the Carolina's in 1986. We currently live in Rock Hill SC. My wife of 45 years as of July 8th, and I have 3 children, 9 grandchildren, and 5 great grandchildren and 1 due in December. Ed founded and Pastor several churches, and until recently he assisted as an associate to another pastor to help build his church. He is currently an Evangelist, author, and writer

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God is Faithful By Tyreca Ewing Tyreca Ewing enjoys teaching English as a Second Other Language to adult immigrants. She is currently pursuing her master degree in Elementary Education from Grand Canyon University and a pre-k special education assistant. I will love You, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies. (Psalm 18:1-3) In the past nine months, I have lost two close love ones. It has been a very difficult year for me. I had days that I wanted to walk away from everything. I had days that I did not want to get out of bed. I wanted to drop out graduate school. When I read this scripture, I start crying out to God for help. I felt God’s presence and he strengthens me. I prayed to God to be my shield to protect and keep me. The Lord is our Keeper. Some nights I would cry out to God to deliver me from tormenting thoughts. Like David, I now rejoice when I call upon the Lord and he saved me from everything that tried to destroy me.

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A Cry of Anguish becomes a Song of Praise Dr. Mary Jo Odom-Dull Lord where are you? Have you left me alone? I have been calling out your name day and night and still do not feel your presence. I am awake all night talking to you even in my dreams I am looking for you and calling your name. I know the heaven is where you dwell on your throne and I have screamed your name. Stories of your greatness have been passed down from generation to generation, for you are the only God my family knows and praises. Testimonies were given during dinner and at night praise and thanks. I am the lowest of all of your creation, and people take delight in reminding me everyday how I seek your face and I am a fool. People say I am worthless and you will never save me but as I turn to walk away. I am reminded that only you my God could have created the legs to walk away, I look at my hands and I am reminded that it was you who pulled them through the birth canal, it was you who protected me, it was you who ensure I provisions were made for my hungry stomach, it was you kept me safe from harm, and I am now sadden because I miss you and your greatness. My problems are growing and I fear you have removed yourself from me, for you are the only one I know, and it you that I cry out to for help. My enemies grow stronger everyday and I am there target. I am weak, out of energy and desire to live, I am road kill left on the side of the road to die. My enemies are so confident in my demise they have arranged a party in celebration and in that party they have plans to wear my clothing as a sign and form of celebration. Heavenly father take pity on me, examine my heart, see my pain, for I am weak and alone, without anyone to help. Save me heavenly father, allow me the glory in bragging about your greatness, and honor. 159


Let me dance in front of my enemies praising you. Give me the chance to let them know that I serve an awesome God, let me invite them into the temple and remind them of the grace you have shown my family for generations. Allow me to remind them that you do not neglect and abandon your servants, and you answer them when they cry out for help. Show them that your servants do not worry about what to eat, where to sleep, clothes to wear, and a portion of what is given is also used as a sacrifice of praise and thanks because I know your servants will prosper. Lord, let the world know of your greatness and grace. You are God and God alone, for there will be a day when all knees will bow in reverence to you. I thank you in advance for your greatness, provisions, safety, grace and mercy. I trust in you for you are a God that cannot lie. For you have given me peace and happiness my all powerful, all knowing, God of sunsets, rainbows and love Dr. Mary Jo Odom is CEO and President of Vesicle Learning Inc., mother of two sons, Christian and Secular Professor and Radio show host of Dr. Odom-Dull tower of grace and compassion radio show. An author of Mother’s Love, First Christian Diversity Newsletters, and Heaven Is Not Segregated: The First Christian Diversity workbook. She is an honors graduate and has a BSBA in Business Management and BSBA in Human Resource Management, Master in Education (MAED) and Four Graduate Certifications in Leadership, Human Resource Management, Diversity Studies and Counseling and PhD in Training and Performance Improvement with a specialization in Diversity and Globalization also she holds certification in Six Sigma "Yellow, Green, and Lean/DFSS Belt

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Dear S.B, What motivates you to continue with this cause against Abuse? J.P ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear J.P, What motivates me is the fact that domestic violence and abuse is still prevalent in the world, children are still being hurt and killed, women are be damaged for life, what motivates me is the fact that men still remain silent about their abuse and they are an emotional wreck and it is harder to fix broken individuals. 

~S.B

Send your questions to voicesunited@oabivoices.org 164


Dear S.b Have you ever had times where you quarrelled with family members? Brown ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Dear Brown,

What a question and the answer to that is yes, there are no perfect families in this world no matter how someone may give the impression that their family is a perfect one it is just an outward show, each family have problems each family may have a degree of overcoming some hurdles but there is always an issue. I have quarrelled with my mother and with my children I believe the hardest is when you quarrel with your children for they do not see what you see and how you are trying to shield them and the love which you have for them but you let go and allow them to make their own mistakes and be there for them to help them up. Oh boy have I quarrelled with my children and I have also shed many tears, I believe this is one reason why so many identify with me and the work which I do for I hold nothing back I do not give the feeling that I am better or that I am more healed, we are all on a healing path for some healing comes much faster than others but the thing is to continue fighting. . ~S.B 165


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“Give me a man or woman who has read a thousand books and you give me an interesting companion. Give me a man or woman who has read perhaps three and you give me a dangerous enemy indeed.” - Anne Rice, The Witching Hour

“To

read is to fly: it is to soar to a point of vantage which gives a view over wide terrains of history, human variety, ideas, shared experience and the fruits of many inquiries.” - A C Grayling, Financial Times (in a review of A History of Reading by Alberto Manguel)

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Beyond the Tears Author Lynn C. Tolson appeals to the reader from the first paragraph of her powerful memoirBeyond the Tears: A True Survivor's Story. Tolson uses creative non-fiction to tell her story, fascinating the reader with metaphor, prose, and poetry. Tolson tells her riveting story in first-person narrative, enabling the reader to instantly bond with her authentic voice. Readers can readily visualize the settings, plot, and characters due to the author's well-developed descriptions and dialogue. This is not an average auto-biography: the book combines story-telling with self-help, affirmations, meditations, and therapeutic concepts. Each chapter begins with a quote appropriate to the content, which gives the reader even more to contemplate. The topics challenge the reader to explore social problems within the context of family relationships. However, Tolson uses her clever wit to offer the reader occasional comic relief. Readers say that they simultaneously laughed and cried on the same page. Some readers say that reading the book literally changed their lives. Readers also say they view themselves and their families with a fresh perspective.

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O.A.B.I.: VOICES UNITED In GLOBAL Unity against Abuse would love for you to join our team of dedicated advocates and volunteers.

Persons to submit monthly articles Photographers Editors Advocates Victims Survivors Authors Researchers Graphic Artist

Send us an email at support@oabivoices.org subject line “Volunteer� stating the position which you are interested in, we are looking forward for your email 185


HEALING FROM CHILDHOOD ABUSE If you are reading this, then you have probably been in some way, a victim of abuse. Perhaps you have been physically, emotionally or sexually abused by your parents, your husband, your partner, your boss … Whoever it was that caused your pain, you are no doubt looking for a way to feel better about yourself and your life. You want to find some hope that the future will be better than the past. Perhaps you have a secret you have never been able to tell. Perhaps you were frightened to say anything for fear of what might happen to you. Many of us feel shame about what happened to us, even though it wasn’t our fault. Others tried to convince us that we were in some way to blame for their actions against us. This isn’t true and never was. It was just the perpetrator trying to give you the blame that was theirs or threaten you into silence. Do you have a secret you don’t want anyone to know? Afraid to tell, but can’t let it go? Secrets eat away inside. They hurt our soul and all the while, We try to hide, From the pain, the shame the blame and the guilt. But our secrets remain and won’t let us be still. 186


Addiction, depression, abuse and more, Debt, adultery and crimes against the law. All hurt us more for remaining hidden, And the truth will eventually out unbidden. So tell your truth and free your soul. Unburden your pain, so you can be whole. Secrets shared free the mind to feel, To make amends or recover and heal. If you have been abused, you have a right to be angry. If you have been abused, you have a right to be scared. In fact you have a right to feel exactly the way you do. Healing from trauma is a journey that lasts a lifetime. Even when you don’t remember the trauma, or don’t regard your experiences as damaging, you’ll find that when you see them through the eyes of healing, that they affected you greatly. When something really bad happens to us, we find it difficult to assimilate that experience as part of ourselves, our memories and our history. Hiding from our memories is often the only way we can survive the devastating experiences of our early life, over which we had no control. When bad things happened, we may have retreated into another world where we could exist without the pain that was being inflicted upon us. Some of us have no memory of the child who felt the pain. Others can’t equate that someone who loved them could possibly do this to them and so have changed the memories.

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What is certain is that until we begin to heal, we are still blaming ourselves for what others did to us and we are still hiding from ourselves because we think there is something wrong with us. Victims of early trauma often minimise or dismiss traumatising events by pretending that they didn’t happen. Others acknowledge the events but take on feelings of guilt and shame. We can only heal from something, if we acknowledge that it happened, and in the case of early trauma, we also need to acknowledge that we were not responsible for it. It doesn’t matter how badly we behaved, responsibility for abuse is always with the abuser. Recovery from abuse is to: Reclaim control - feeling helpless will always leave you feeling like a victim. Seek support - don’t withdraw from other people. Look after your health - exercise, rest and eat well. Stay away from alcohol and drugs. These might provide temporary relief but ultimately increase depression. Let go of the past. This doesn’t mean forgetting or agreeing with it. It means refusing to let your past rob you of your present. Replace bad habits with good ones. We use bad habits as crutches against feeling pain. Be patient. You’ve been seriously wounded. It will take time to let go of the out-of-control emotions, defence mechanisms and warped perceptions. Honour your progress, no matter how small.

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The abuse of children is the exploitation of the attachment that a child has for its caregiver. When damage or injury is inflicted on us by those we look to for love and protection, we have no way to escape from the trauma and it often produces lasting damage. Children who are abused live in an unsafe and unpredictable environment. They were ignored, denied and disbelieved. Abused children often abandon reality and dissociate from their body. They may suppress the actual memories to avoid re-experiencing them. That is how a trigger in the present that in some way reminds them of an event from the past, elicits a reaction that far outweighs the severity of the trigger. As adults, survivors of abuse might become ‘numb’ to feelings as a way to stay in control. They may also not be able to distinguish ‘what was’ from ‘what is’. Adult survivors often avoid intimate connections and anything that makes them feel vulnerable. They are frequently hyper-vigilant, suffer nightmares and flashbacks and may dissociate to such an extent that they develop other personas to mediate between their inner-self and the outside world. They may also resort to alcohol or drugs to numb their pain. If you have survived prolonged abuse, you may well be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Soldiers often return from battle with PTSD, but it is frequently not recognised that long term abuse can cause the same symptoms. It is important to connect with others who have been through similar experiences. It is important for you to know that you are not alone and that others have suffered similarly.

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Above all, it is important not to lose hope. Hope is a place we hold inside. When everything fails, it is from hope we hide. In the darkest moments when all seems lost Hope is what we need to hold onto most. HOPE is the one thing that cannot be taken away, no matter what is said or done to you. HOPE is what will keep you focused on your dreams. HOPE is the ray of light, shining through the darkness. So never give up, because HOPE will always find a way. Rachel Newman www.facebook.com/healingchildhoodwounds

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Human Trafficking Organizations Directory Listing. If you know of any organizations please send us their information at support@oabivoices.org and we shall place them on this directory listing. Doctors at War against trafficking worldwide P.O. Box 681364 Franklin, Tennessee 37068

http://www.doctorsatwar.org/ Doctors at War provides critical medical care to human trafficking victims -helping them recover from the ill health effects of long-term abuse and neglect

888-55-AT WAR (888-552-8927) Polaris Project P.O. Box 53315 Washington, D.C. 20009 Tel: 202-745-1001 Fax: 202-745-1119

http://www.polarisproject.org/ Polaris Project is a leading organization in the United States combating all forms of human trafficking and serving both U.S. citizens and foreign national victims, including men, women, and children.

United Nations Office on Drugs and http://www.unodc.org/unodc/ Crime index.html?ref=menutop Human Trafficing .Org http://www.humantrafficking.org/ Andrea M. Bertone, Ph.D. HumanTrafficking.org Director (Project of the Academy for Educational bertone.andrea@gmail.com Development) Washington, DC

Amnesty International USA 5 Penn Plaza New York, NY 10001 phone: (212) 807-8400 fax: (212) 627-1451

aimember@aiusa.org

The Michigan Rescue and Restore Coalition

http:// www.michiganrescueandrestore.com/ index.html

http://www.amnestyusa.org/our-work/ issues/women-s-rights/violence-againstwomen?id=1108428

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A21 Campaign

http://www.thea21campaign.org/

427E 17th Street # F223 PO Box 7820 Costa Mesa, CA 92627 Baulkham Hills BC NSW 2153 USA Australia Tel: +1 949 202 4681 Tel: +61 2 8985 6819 Fax: +1 949-612-0827

Breaking Out Corp

Email: Info@breakingoutcorp.org Main Number: (866) 224-2888 Fax Number: (866) 323-2649

http://www.breakingoutcorp.org/ index.html

Breaking Out Corporation P.O. Box 29404 Henrico VA 23242

Truckers Against Trafficking

http://www.truckersagainsttrafficking.com/

tat.truckers@gmail.com

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AUGUST ISSUE 2012  

Read about a young woman who beat all the odds and is today working with law enforcement to get a law passed which will protect all children...

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