ישר כוח (loosely translated as "May You Have Strength") - SupportTheSurvivor.org provide Jewish survivors of sexual abuse with peer-to-peer support and resources to heal from the horrors of their abuse.

לֹא תַעֲמֹד עַל-דַּם רֵעֶךָ

Sunday, February 10, 2013

What If


What If
by Asher Lovy

As a child it seemed like there were two different people inhabiting my mother’s body, the woman who loved me and cared for me, and the woman who had a problem that had occasionally to be dealt with. They were completely different and diametrically opposite entities and to me the distinction was very clear. I took one with the other because it was worth it to me, because despite her transformation for two months out of every three years, no matter how unstable my mother got, I always knew that she cared for me. Even in the throes of her wildest manias, she always managed to make it clear that I came first. 

However all of this flew out the window that Friday night, when the transformation became permanent—when Jekyll became forever Hyde. For several months I was unable to remember any of the good times we had shared together; none of the ups, just the downs. The long conversations on a Friday night or Saturday afternoon, doing homework together on a school night, or spending a month’s worth of money on a nice restaurant we really couldn’t afford. There were  many good times, but for almost a year I could remember none of it. Even now it’s a bit fuzzy in my mind, and I don’t think I will ever recover those memories. Truth be told I’m not sure I want to. I haven’t spoken a word to her for close to four years. 

A while back she said something that almost made me burst out laughing. She told me that if I didn’t forgive her she wouldn’t attend my wedding. I’m not at a stage in my life where I think I’m ready to marry, but the idea of her attending any wedding of mine has always worried me. I don’t know if she realized it, but that threat was like a dream of mine coming true. I don’t see myself forgiving her anytime soon, but I think it would be a bit tragic to lose all the good times I had as a child. It would mean that my entire childhood was just one colossal disaster, which it most definitely was not. 

My mother’s breakdowns seemed like a price to pay for her at the time, almost like a membership fee due to the children with mothers club. One month of discomfort and two months of separation for three years of togetherness seemed fair. Looking back now, was it all worth it? That’s an interesting question. My mother once told me a few years ago that when she was first hospitalized and I was taken in by my grandparents, my grandfather tried selling me off to another family for a million dollars. I’ve given a lot of thought to the ramifications of that possibility over the past year, because it touches upon another question I’ve been thinking about for a while: Knowing everything I now do, having experienced everything that I have over the past four years, and having learned everything that I learned, would I, given the opportunity, go back and make sure that the sale actually happened, thus changing the course of my life, or would I stick with my life as it is despite all the crap I’ve lived through. Many important historical figures, from great kings, warriors, and royalty, to civil rights activists, innovators, and our greatest thinkers experienced extreme hardship which shaped and molded them into the people they were. Some people, when faced with challenges, fold rather than rise, but those who do overcome are tempered by the flames of their own personal baptismal fires. 

Pondering this question always brings me back to The Matrix when Morpheus offers Neo a choice of red or blue pill. The blue pill offers Neo the status quo—remaining in the virtual illusion known as the Matrix where ignorance is bliss and perception is the only reality. With the red pill, as Morpheus so eloquently put it, “you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.” The movie casts the question as a no-brainer: Neo must destroy the system imprisoning the minds of humanity and lead the charge against the machines who are farming people for their energy. But upon further examination one may realize that the question isn’t that simple. 

Simulism professes the belief in the distinct possibility that we are all living, not in an actual physical world as is conventionally believed, but in a virtual universe simulated by a higher civilization. According to the Simulation Hypothesis, which, according to people who ascribe to its premise, is becoming ever more plausible as our technology becomes increasingly more advanced, we may very well be the simulations of a higher, more technologically advanced civilization. As an idea it may almost seem credible especially given our forays into the field of artificial intelligence. Just spend a day or two playing The Sims. But once one grants the possibility that we may be simulated, what’s to say that the civilization simulating us isn’t itself simulated. In fact, if true, Simulism changes everything we believe to be true. Who’s to say that there is in fact a God who created the world. And why should a man not kill his fellow man if all we are is a stream of binary data floating somewhere in the ether, and can be restored with the push of a button. Does free will even exist? Is there such a thing as original though? 

While there are numerous quacks, crackpots, and pop-philosophers that actually spend time pondering this grand “what if” conspiracy theory, the truth is that the answer isn’t really relevant. My usual response to people who broach this subject with me is something along the lines of “Run into a wall. Did it hurt? Shut up.” In other words, my perception is my reality and therefore, if there is indeed a race of machines imprisoning my mind in a pleasant illusion of reality to distract me from the fact that they are only keeping me alive to harvest my energy, it’s completely irrelevant because to me, perception is reality. But then again—what if it isn’t…And that is what the question of “What if” means to me. Because while “what if” may be irrelevant, people, myself included, spend a lot of time thinking about it. 

There used to be a show on TV called Lie To Me which told the story of a psychologist and deception expert, Dr. Cal Lightman, who specialized in the study and interpretation of micro-expressions, or tiny, fleeting facial twitches which bespeak a person’s true emotions despite his best efforts to hide them. His interest in the discipline started after his mother’s suicide. To quote Wikipedia, “Dr. Lightman was driven to study micro-expressions as a result of guilt over his mother's suicide. She claimed to have been fine in order to obtain a weekend pass from a psychiatric ward, when she was actually experiencing agony.” A short while after her suicide he acquired a video of the interview where she was evaluated by a psychiatrist who then declared her eligible for her furlough. After watching the video countless times, he began to notice that although she seemed to be smiling, her eyes betrayed the tiniest hint of pain, and had that been noticed before she left, his mother would never have died. Lightman then went on to open The Lightman Group which used the science of micro-expression to help law enforcement capture and prosecute criminals. 

In one episode, to demonstrate his ability to a stranger, he warns his co-worker against ordering a hot dog from a local vendor. When the vendor gets annoyed at him for ruining the sale, Lightman asks him if he had been to the bathroom that day. The vendor reached up to scratch his neck, which Lightman then informed him meant “yes” despite the vendors assertions otherwise. Imagine possessing such an ability, to be as close to omniscient as humanly possible! It seems at once tantalizing and terrifying; however there is no question that it is an astounding ability. While the show was fiction, it was based on actual science and data. But while Lightman was possessed of this ability due to circumstance, assuming he were a real person and not a fictional TV character unavailable for question, would he choose his mother over his ability, or would he leave the past for the past and live his future as he was? 

I know that I see the world differently as a result of my life and hardships. To be honest, I enjoy seeing it as I do, but it’s not always easy. I sense pain more acutely, I empathize more strongly with others who are in pain and at times it overcomes me. I’m more sensitive to others’ emotions, and it is both blessing and curse. I worry about things that no one else ever sees. I feel guilty about things over which I have no possible control because I know that aside from me, there are not many who see what I see as problematic. It’s a burden. So would I choose to bear it again given a choice, knowing all that I do now—would I take the red pill or the blue pill—I honestly have no idea.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Who Am I?

                                                      WHO AM I?
                                                       by kolrina

I often wonder who I might have been minus child sexual abuse. Perhaps it is a futile question since I will never know what was behind the door I didn’t choose or more aptly, behind door that didn’t choose me. Most often it doesn’t make a difference. We unwittingly exchange one reality for another and usually there are several costumes to try on that fit us comfortably.

But occasionally we experience something or go down a path that alters us forever. When the alterations improve our appearance, we look back fondly at the transformative moment. We bask in our makeovers and if we are particularly spiritual or God aware, we talk in hushed tones of Divine intervention, angels, miracles, or the tingling sensation that we are not alone on our journey.

But how do we view the horrors and disasters that have shaped our lives? At first, many of us work around them. With enough strength and gumption, we sidestep the unfortunate experience and even console ourselves that it could have been worse. We search for others who have suffered more than us and count our meager blessings. Yet in the back of our minds, we ask, what if?

What if I hadn’t been molested as a child? Would I have been a gentler, more compassionate person had I not had to put up a wall-no a fortress- behind which I could hide from future pain? Would I have been able to meet people more graciously and create a support system to help me cope with the inevitable difficulties life delivers us all, instead of going it alone? What would my life have looked like without a lifelong obsession with weight to distract me from the more devastating story of sexual
abuse? Is my spirituality and faith based on sincere principles of religious doctrine, which support my true self, or am I always looking for absolution from the perceived uncleanliness and shame that I inherited from the abuse? I wonder whether the woman looking back at me in the mirror is some made up character that evolved out of disaster and despair, or is she authentically me? I wear a costume that has been tailored to fit the person I have become, but underneath I wonder, who am I?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

One Survivor's Response to Manis Friedman

[EDITOR'S NOTE:  There has been a lot of buzz surrounding the uncalled for and insensitive comments by Manis Friedman, a renown Chabad personality, about sexual abuse and sexual abuse survivors.  One of our forum members took the time to contact Friedman directly.  Below is the exchange that she has shared with us.  We will post any subsequent messages.  The video of Friedman can be found here - http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=7dc_1359441068]
_____________________________________

Mushka:
I haven chosen to speak to you in the most direct way possible about the attached video of you, Manis Friedman discussing or more so laughing off and shoving abuse under the rug. I found what Rabbi Manis Friedman has to say to be very inconsiderate of all the survivors of abuse out there.  They are going through hell and back and or have gone through hell and back and all that's said is get over it? Abuse has major affects on people and this video is very discouraging to survivors of abuse to come forward and deal with the issues that come as a result of abuse and especially when its coming from Rabbi Manis Friedman who so many people look up to and respect, it makes it that much more discouraging to survivors of abuse. abuse is nothing close to diarrhea, its much worse and the affects it has on a person can be detrimental. Feel free to respond.


Their Response:
 Thank you for reaching out and asking. The best thing would be to come to a live lecture and to ask your question to Rabbi Friedman directly. 

I'm sure you already know that Rabbi Friedman has helped literally thousands of people that have been molested and abused so what he says about the topic must be taken with consideration

thank you
Zalman

Mushka:
Helping many who have been abused does not make what he said right. He is looked up to by many people in the Chabad community and the Jewish community at large and I think an apology to survivors of abuse is in order here and to all. He cant just laugh about it and compare it to diarrhea or the after affects to a bracha achrona. This not only minimizes the abuse and the affect of the abuse, it also is discouraging to survivors of abuse and doesn't educate non survivors of abuse to respond to abuse properly, if anything it teaches them to minimize it and in a sense shove it under the rug as if its not big deal and is just like everyone else. There is no empathy in this video towards survivors of abuse and if anything it just scaring survivors from coming forward and getting help because one of the most highly regarded rabbis is publicly minimizing abuse and its affects and survivors of abuse need to come forward and deal with there abuse. this video is uncalled for no matter how great Rabbi Manis Friedman is. I WOULD LIKE TO SEE A PUBLIC APOLOGY IN WRITING OR IN A VIDEO TO EVERYONE AND ESPECIALLY TO SURVIVORS OF ABUSE.



[Update 1/29/13, 7:00 PM - We are told that Manis Friedman will be speaking in NYC tomorrow and that someone will be approaching him and speaking to him about the video.  Will will update you as to a response.] 

Monday, January 28, 2013

DEAR JEWISH COMMUNITY, WHAT DO YOU SEE?

Dear Jewish Community...
by Getting Stronger



Dear Jewish community, What do you see?

Do you see my three earrings, or do you see me?



Dear Jewish community, What do you see?

Do you see my nose piercing, or do you see me?



Dear Jewish community, What do you see?

Do you see my tattoos, or do you see me?



Dear Jewish community, What do you see?

Do you see a girl with exposed skin, or do you see me?



Dear Jewish community, What do you see?

Do you see a boy with no tzitzis, or do you see me?



Dear Jewish community, What do you see?

Do you see a girl with a skirt too short, or do you see me?



Dear Jewish community, What do you see?

Do you see a boy with an uncovered head, or do you see me?



Dear Jewish community, What do you see?

Do you see a girl in pants, or do you see me?



Dear Jewish community, What do you see?

Do you see a boy with no peyos, or do you see me?



Dear Jewish community, What do you see?

Do you see my cigarettes, or do you see me?



Dear Jewish community, What do you see?

Do you see my physical scars, or do you see me?



Dear Jewish community, What do you see?

Do you see my emotional scars, or do you see me?



Dear Jewish community, What do you see?

Do you see someone "off the derech," or do you see me?



Dear Jewish community, What do you see?

Do you see someone "falling through the cracks," or do you see me?



Dear Jewish community, What do you see?

Do you see another "lost soul," or do you see me?



Dear Jewish community, What do you see?

Do you see "someone to be pitied," or do you see me?



Dear Jewish community, Have you ever asked yourself why?

Why can't the police be told of suspected crimes, and to us you turn a blind eye?



Dear Jewish community, Have you ever asked me why?

Have you ever asked me why practically every night I cry?



Dear Jewish community, Have you ever asked yourself why?

Why do you protect sexual abusers, but the victims you terrify?



Dear Jewish community, Have you ever asked me why?

Have you ever asked me why I'm not a "good" girl or guy?



Dear Jewish community, Have you ever asked yourself why?

Why do so many horrific evils occur, and the perpetrators crimes you just cover up and deny?



Dear Jewish community, Have you ever asked me why?

Why would I, the victim, make up stories of sexual abuse? Why would I lie?



- A Jewish survivor of sexual abuse in the Orthodox Jewish community

(The last section of this poem was sadly inspired by the Weberman case in Williamsburg.)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Dear Judge Ingram

Dear Judge Ingram
by rachelib

[StS.org Forum member rachelib shares her letter to Judge Ingram regarding Nechemya Weberman's sentencing, scheduled for Tuesday, January 22, 2013]



Honorable John G. Ingram,
New York State Supreme Court, Kings County
320 Jay Street, Room 24.83
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Re:       Sentencing of Nechemya Weberman

Dear Judge Ingram,

I’m writing to your honor as a concerned USA citizen currently residing in the UK, as an orthodox Jewish wife and mother, as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, and as a fellow human being.

I followed this trial with great interest as I fervently hoped for justice to prevail.

I experienced many intense feelings:

Admiration to a fellow survivor for the sheer guts it took to give her testimony.

Excitement at the silence about abuse in the Jewish community broken by the publicity of the trial.

Gratitude to Charles Hynes, the Brooklyn district DA, for his pursuit of justice.

Deep disgust at the youths who allegedly took photos and intimidated the victim and her family.

Concern for the victim’s parents, whose business has been boycotted, whose relatives were expelled from the community schools, who are facing cult-like pressures financially, spiritually and psychologically.

Anger and helplessness upon hearing that the community’s leader, the Satmar Rebbe, called the victim a “whore” in front of thousands of his followers. So deep was my anger and shame, that my own PTSD symptoms came back to haunt me. For example, when I see a Satmar-affilated Jew , I cringe and feel defensive and worthless. After all, if he hears I’m a fellow victim of sexual abuse, he will likely brand me a “whore”, too.

I feel that my ultra-orthodox community has not yet learned its lesson from the guilty verdict for Weberman. I witnessed some ultra-orthodox Jews in Manchester, UK, where I live, saying things like:

“But there were no eye witnesses”

“Weberman , he did nothing. She is nothing, garbage, a goy (non-Jew)”

“We will give money to support Weberman’s defense”

“She is a wicked moser (informant), a liar and a crazy woman”

“I will happily trust Weberman to watch my kids”

You see, your honor, our community still has a long way to go to educate, understand, learn lessons. On one hand, victims are still not believed and respected. They are harassed and defamed for seeking justice. On the other hand, alleged and convicted child molesters are respected, supported,
trusted and revered.

Community members fail to see that it is the very charisma and respectability for which they respect Weberman, that helped him get away with sexually abusing clients for years.

70 years past the WW2 holocaust, and our community is still recovering from the terror and death it endured. The Jewish community still believes that it is “us vs. Them”, that authorities cannot be trusted. That any bad publicity will deeply harm the community.

They need to understand that the authorities are to be respected and to be liaised with. After all, the saying in Ethics of Our Fathers is: “if not for the fear of authorities, man will swallow their friends alive”.

Here we have recognition from our Sages that it is necessary to turn to authorities when people in our community are harming one another. But, trapped in the trauma of the holocaust, the fear and the hostility are turned against the victims who dare besmirch the community’s reputation.

It is time for our community to make amends, to apologise, to support the victims.

Because there is one more feeling I’m experiencing these days: hope.

I hope that Weberman’s sentencing will send the right message to his cult-like community, who are still making massive PR efforts on Weberman’s behalf.

I hope that Weberman’s other victims will find the courage to come forward.

I hope that the victims won’t be harassed and shamed.

I hope that molesters will not continue to shelter in their community’s embrace.

That when the hidden abusers hears Weberman’s sentence, it will make their think twice before grooming their next victim.

That orthodox Jewish abusers will feel a hint of the fear and the shame that they inflict on their subjects.

And that survivors like me will stop living in the shadow of silence and abuse.

Yours sincerely,

[Removed]

[Removed], UK

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My Experience with Advocacy

My Experience with Advocacy
By Asher Lovy

Advocate. Noun. As defined by Oxford: A person who puts a case on someone else’s behalf. There is a legal concept in monetary halacha called Zachin l’adam shelo b’fanav, that you can acquire something for a person without his knowledge or presence, and that something will legally be in his possession. This only applies, however, if the acquisition is for the benefit of the intended recipient; if, however, the acquisition does not benefit the intended recipient, or harms him, then the acquisition is invalid and it is not his. As I understand advocacy, the intended functions are similar. You are acting on behalf of a survivor who either cannot or will not, due to situation, circumstance, or lack of means, in their best interests, whether that means arranging therapy, or doctor visits, securing legal representation, helping them navigate the labyrinthine justice system, or just being there for them when they have no one else. At least that’s how I understood it.

I first got involved in the (pardon the term) “abuse community” following my own abuse. After publishing an article in Ami magazine about my story, I decided I had to get more involved. I begun by writing the manuscript for a book I’ve since shelved, but that wasn’t enough. So I started volunteering at Our Place, a drop-in center for at-risk kids. Mind you, “at-risk” in this context does not mean at risk of going “off the derech;” at-risk means at risk of dying from drug overdoses, drive by shootings from angry drug dealers, winding up in prison for theft, assault, or even murder. I started my work there with a head full of idealistic notions of kiruv and self-improvement. I was going to help kids with the benefit of my experience and solid grounding in hashkafah. I was going to help kids with the backing of a community that must care enough about their kids, a community that if asked for help would surely respond enthusiastically.

I remember the first time I was painfully disillusioned of my notions of community and support from our leaders. I was talking to the owner of Our Place, asking him if perhaps we could get a few gedolim to support us, help us raise much needed funds. He laughed at the idea and told me that he had approached many rabbonim and had gotten responses varying from “I’m sorry, I can’t” to “Get out, your organization is terrible.” When I started telling people that I worked for Our Place I got mixed responses, too. Some people commended me for my selflessness and desire to work with such difficult people; others told me that we were encouraging the problem; that we were helping kids go off the derech, helping them get addicted to drugs; that we were not doing enough to ensure that otherwise good kids weren’t negatively influenced and sucked into street life. Despite my best arguments, they would not hear reason. I gave up on them.

Slowly I began to give up on more and more of my community. First I lost faith in the leaders, and then in the administrators, and then in the people themselves. Here were kids, most of whom were victims of some kind of abuse, kids who had begged for help but were thrown out of yeshivos for their efforts, kids, some of whom, whose lives are so bad, and homes so abusive, that they would prefer to sleep in homeless shelters rather than go home--or a park bench if a shelter wouldn't have them. Kids whose situations were created, exacerbated, and maintained by a community I had believed in. Kids who had been abandoned and driven from the community. And we were their last haven. We were the only people willing to give them help. The funny thing is, that the community welcomes back our success stories with open arms (providing they wear black hats and sit in kolel for the requisite amount of time).

So I got used to the idea that I was alone (barring one small oasis) in a community that would never accept me. No one would ever accept me for who I am with my history of abuse and what it did to change me. And then I stumbled across a forum for Jewish survivors of abuse. Given my history, I joined. At first when I joined I didn’t really think I needed a support group; as far as I was concerned I was healed. I joined in a support capacity, figuring that I could do for them what I had done for Our Place. I later realized just how much help I really needed and they’ve really helped me along in my healing process. About two months after I joined, I started getting more involved in people’s lives on the forum. If there was a problem someone needed help with, I made myself available to do what I could.

As I started getting involved in more and more of these cases, I started to explore the world of advocates, advocacy, and awareness. It seemed incredible at first--a world of people who openly acknowledged their pasts, who owned their pasts, people who were passionate about helping survivors, and put their livelihoods and reputations on the line to do what they can for another human being, frum or not. There were websites listing names, photos, and information on known sex abusers, and offering support to their victims. Organizations that held events for survivors where they could meet and have fun and find acceptance among similar people. People who were willing to tell their stories publicly, to go on TV despite all the communal pressure to stay silent, to protest outside a DA’s office or internet asifah, or fundraiser in Williamsburg. People who didn’t care about the pressures of shidduchim, or kibbudim in shul, or what Chatzkel would tell Yankel in the mikvah about him. Heroes.

My world went from a place consisting of everyone else and Our Place Island, the only place I would be safe, to an ever expanding utopia of survivors and advocates, all living harmoniously, all there to help one another. If we ever had a problem, the advocates were only a call or email away, ready with all the help we could need. But there was a pin for that over-inflated bubble. The pop came when I heard a certain advocate make a rude comment about a female survivor’s ass and what he would like to do with it. Another came when another advocate encouraged a very impressionable survivor to extort her abuser, despite the statute of limitations being up. Had she gone ahead with his plan, her abuser could very well have gone into his local police precinct, told them that he had sexually abused her twenty years prior and that she was now extorting him by threatening to out him, have her arrested, and gone home scott-free.

When confronted about his advice, he declined to comment. Instead, a friend of his, another advocate, responded for him. She accused us of going after a good man whose only concern was for that girl’s wellbeing. When we told her what he had done, she denied it. He finally joined the conversation and denied it as well. When we brought proof that he had indeed told her that, he claimed she was lying, that she was mentally disturbed, that everyone knows she’s a slut who couldn’t be trusted, and then he revealed personal information about her that he had no business telling us about. When I told him that he should be keeping confidentiality, he said he saw no need and was under no ethical requirement to do so. He clearly did not understand that being an advocate means he is supposed to work for a survivor’s best interests, among which is confidentiality.

When I told him that, his friend joined back in the conversation and asked me who the hell I was. I told her I was a twenty year old survivor who was concerned about the way the duo was advocating for him, she basically told me to shut up, that I was a nobody who had no right to talk to her that way after all she had done for the cause, and that I was a little kid who couldn’t possibly know enough to be qualified to open his mouth on the subject. I then told her that regardless of my age, she and her friend called themselves advocates, and by definition they exist to serve my best interests. If I feel my best interests are not being served, or are being hurt by your actions, I told her, then you are, in fact, by definition, not advocates. I earned the title pompous ass for my troubles.

A while later, I found out about a sexual harassment case that had been brought against a very prominent advocate back in 2002, that had been quashed. Someone had posted about it on a well-known advocacy site, and it confirmed what I had already suspected about that advocate’s character. When I checked back a few days later, the posting had been removed. After looking into it I was told that the owner of the site had been pressured into removing it. I asked around a little about it through some of my other contacts, and they all said they had seen it, but because they didn’t want to cause a fight they kept silent about it. Starting to feel a little like deja vu all over again.

The people I spoke to about my concerns all told me that I had no choice but to take the bad with the good, that they do good work, and that despite the harm they cause to survivors, those advocates mean well. A while back I wrote a piece about the flaws I saw in the advocates and the way they conduct themselves, but a friend convinced me not to publish it. The problems have not gone away, though. In fact, some of them have only gotten worse. I’ve seen survivors intimidated and bullied by advocates who pressure them into going public with their stories before they are actually ready to, or before they’ve started really healing. While it is a terrible thing to pressure someone to stay silent, pressuring someone to come forward before they are ready can be nearly as devastating emotionally.

I’m putting this piece up on the STS blog because I know that none of the other abuse blogs will ever publish something this inflammatory. Sound familiar? I’m reminded of the days when I was shopping around for frum publications willing to publish my articles on abuse, only now the situation is reversed. It’s becoming more and more apparent lately, that we have more in common with our enemy than we would care to admit. The advocates we have, for the most part, are self-proclaimed and uncredentialed. What defines an advocate in the Jewish world is anyone who decides that they are an advocate. Had an interview with the news once? Congratulations, you are now an advocate. Wrote an article? You’re an advocate. I can almost hear Jeff Foxworthy building a routine around this. There is no accountability at all among the advocates, and no one ever hears about the damage some of them cause. No one will, because we’re so scared of losing the little we have that we’re too afraid to speak up when the people who claim to protect us lose sight of our needs.

An advocate works in the best interests of someone else, in this case, survivors. Anything else is not advocacy, it is self-service. There is no place for ego, or self-promotion, or one-upmanship, or selfishness in advocacy. The survivor’s best interests must always come forward. TV interviews and articles are lovely, but what ultimately matters is how many children you protect, and how many survivors you support. If a survivor tells you that something you’re doing is not in their best interests, then you lose the title “advocate” until that’s rectified. There are many good advocates out there who are attuned to the needs of survivors and do listen when we ask them to change. Interestingly enough, though, those people cringe when people call them “advocate.” 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

If you would see me on the street

If you would see me on the street
by want2heal

If you would see me on the street,
What would you see?

An attractive girl dressed so refined.
A confident young woman so defined.

You would see a friend, a listener and a giver too.
Someone who doesn't judge nor stare at you.

Someone who really cares.
Someone who can feel your pain.

I have many talents and much that I can do.
But someone robbed me of my hobbies and makes me feel that there is nothing I can do.

You would not see my pain.
You would not see my tears rain.

I hide myself behind a mask.
To you it may not seem like such a hard task.

But, I am going through torture.
I am going through hell.
I make myself feel all alone, so no one could tell.

I know deep down that I am a good person.
But I tell myself that it is so covered up with sin and soot.
That all that I was, is gone, was stolen and lost.

Who am I really?
I want to love myself dearly.
I want to accept that good within me.
Uncover it and let it shine.
Because there is no reason that I should not feel fine.