Monday, December 31, 2007

A Grateful 2008!

Every time you praise something, every time you appreciate something, every time you feel good about something, you are telling the Universe, "More of this, please. More of this, please." You need never again make another verbal statement of this intent, and if you were allowing your cork to float -- all good things would flow to you.

Excerpted from a workshop in Silver Spring, MD on Saturday, April 19th, 1997

All Is Well

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

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



Sunday, December 30, 2007

Combating the Inner Critic

eleanorquote-1Realistically, we aren't going to heal and go through the rest of our lives without a bad day. Money is going to get tight, the kids are going to act up, people are going to be rude, and your computer is going to crash. What do you do when life hits you hard and it seems like there is no relief in site?

We all have voices inside of us. One of them is, what my therapist calls, the inner critic. That is the one that tells you that you are worthless and that you can not do anything right. We also have a voice (or light)  inside of us that knows that the world is not out to get us. The part of you that understands that you are not to blame for what others do or things that have been done to you.

Healing isn't about changing reality. It is about finding the voice inside of you that reinforces healthy thought patterns. For some of us that voice may be small and hard to find. For others that voice is easy to locate. The more that you strive to hear the good things your mind has to say the closer you will be to hearing that voice all the time.

When your inner critic starts to talk make a conscious effort to find your true voice. Look for the light inside of you. Breathe and listen to the positive things you already know about yourself. You don't have to believe them at first. Just look for them and repeat those positive things over and over until the inner critic gets a little quieter.  Taking the time to nurture the light inside of you helps you to realize your potential and leads you toward living a joyful life.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Books for your Libraries!

For the centers out there who have libraries - I have just cleaned out my bookshelves and I have a pretty nice stack of some really good books on trauma. If you have a library in your center and want my personal collection please donate shipping costs to the donation button to the right and me at about your center. Thank you for having a library for survivors!!

Happy New Year!!


Friday, December 28, 2007

Breaking Through Mother Issues

Conversation goes like this:
"I just can't believe she is that way. How could she leave her little daughter? I mean, he rapes her, does all this abusive stuff, and she leaves me with him. And actually had to idiocy to say to me that she thinks she could have been conscious enough to pick up on abusive energy around men. Oh really? Please! I was 2 and a half! I really think she tells herself these stories in her head, the way it was, like she was not making a clear choice to be selfish. She threw me away. Somehow she always justifies herself to herself. But there is no justification for abandoning your child. And no justification for continuously making your selfishness someone else's fault. My want for a "mother" has been an infection in my wound.
You know, maybe I am asking for too much from the wounded, BUT I want her to be stable, not perfect, but stable, in all respects, financially grown up, emotionally grown up. Be someone I can look up to! Be mature and expressive, be eccentric too, but be appropriate, be healthy, have your shit together, create a life that allows you to be available, put others first, reach out, let the walls down, be positive instead of so dark, so complaining, so negative, so immature, so focused on yourself."


I say, "I just want her to walk in to my home like a thousand mothers do, bags in hand, maybe Old Navy bags, maybe Lord and Taylor, either way, well put together, healthy and fit, stable inwardly and out which you can't fake, interested in us and the boys, nurturing, all of this and maybe holding a Starbuck's even!! I just have this image of this woman who is not who she actually is. I mean, if that were actually her, she would be a whole different person. I want this person.....who is she if not my mother? How many therapists and friends have said to me,"She has never been a mother to you." So sad, and so true. Never. So who is this person I have seen in my mind?
"That's You."
He then begins pumping his fists victoriously, so hilarious. He hit that one on the head!
Perfect example of how healing yourself of mother and father wounds is not what we so often think it is-we think it means changing them. It's not. That's not the definition.
My response to him having this insanely amazing insight:
"WHHHHHHHOA. That's Me. "
And my soul began to see, the person I am envisioning is actually me.
Can I get a hell yeah?!
Parenting Victory!!
(How about the Spongebob Victory Screech!!)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Evolution Is Happening!!

It's occurring to me as I go on about my day that this movement, this searching and finding process, this healing and rebirthing, all of this that we are conducting and comitting to is really an EVOLUTION. We are leading the way! It's a movement, a new awareness, a new age, and it is definitely an EVOLUTION. We are healing ourselves, helping one another heal, and erradicating incest and sexual abuse. We as a society and as human beings had to either self destruct or transform. Our children, our communities, our countries, all self destructing as a direct result of trauma. We may not have all realized this, en masse, but a few of us have, the microcosm of healers and word-spreaders and light gatherers that we are, we have known it in our blood and the spark of Angela Shelton has lit us. I really just had to say this tonight..This is so important because it is truly evolution happening! The macrocosm will be a healed world, and I am so grateful to be at the forefront of all of this with you all!
Love SES

Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.
Henry David Thoreau

Tending the Wound

For anyone experiencing Holiday Fallout, I wanted to encourage you (and myself )to tend the wound left by the sword if it hurts. My wound was infected for a long time, self abuse through drugs, smoking 2 packs a day, acting out, you name it. When it hurt then I ran to one of those standby behaviors. I just did not know what else to do and my early environment laid that track down for me. Everyone around me acted out sexually, used drugs, had awful self esteem, and the plague of denial which is still in effect to this day. So now, when the wound hurts, even though I am on the healing path, I have to accept that it will hurt from time to time. Which it does. Even my PHYSICAL cesarean scars still twinge and hurt if I push on them a certain way, like doing the rocking horse in yoga, BUT.....
I think mine feels better today because I refuse to pour salt in it by not resting, by yelling at myself in my head about my family of origin (Why can't they change, Why do I not inspire in them the change I want, Why this, why that..), or by being generally critical toward myself. Today I woke up and took the bambinos for a walk. I do not feel like running today. I am going to allow myself to not run. My intention today was for them to get some fresh air and let them get their ya-yas out, and for me to inhale some of mother nature. Mama Earth is my elixir for all things. I just feel naturally pulled outside when upset, unbalanced, sick, whatever the case may be. I feel so much better after going out with my little ones in the woods. I had dreams about my horses, riding them and one was very upset(symbolic), and my Uncle and Aunt made an appearance as well. This is my father's brother and his wife and children. I loved and adored those babies when I was a teenager-the oldest was born when I was 15. In cutting ties, I lost those girls. And my horses. In my dreams I am fighting with Aunt Denial and Uncle Minimizer. I see the oldest girl under some kind of saran wrap. I think I was trying to remove her. My dreams are always taking place on that damn farm. Parts of me feel like they are still there. In the form of my equine counterparts. I woke up feeling like the dream was actually happening, on some level it is, but anyhow, I had to really rein myself in this morning. (That shit is like a vortex sometimes.) Deep breaths, easy on the coffee, good veggies, long walk with beautiful children, lay down and read while the boys play a new game, and allow the feelings to float around while I rearrange my head and plant myself firmly in NOW. When I was a little girl I took such comfort in the woods and in animals. No matter where you live, try to have animals and nature in your life.
Today I am saying more affirmations than usual, drinking Yogi Detox tea with the intention of cleansing my emotional field(my emotional field is full of lavender blossoming, by the way) and when I get that heady feeling or anxiety feeling, I stop what I am doing, lie down, and breathe. Right now my kids are getting ready for their lavender oil sea salt bath. So to decompress from the holidays, do your affirmations, detox with tea and salt baths, set your intention to "heal", and get a healthy dose of nature! This is tending the wound.

Love, SES

Monday, December 24, 2007

Joy Gigging!!


Angela Shelton on Maddness Radio!

The latest episode of Madness Radio interviews Angela Shelton, an

Listen to this episode:

download episode directly:

For more info:

Madness Radio is produced weekly at Valley Free Radio in Northampton MA
by the Freedom Center and Icarus Project, peer-run mental health
communities. Join the growing numbers of stations nation-wide
broadcasting this vital and unique voice!

Sunday, December 23, 2007


There is a lot of talk this week about remembering to take care of yourself during the holiday season. Some survivors don't even know what it means to care for themselves. The idea that their needs and feelings are important is a foreign concept. Healing is about taking baby steps toward the light that shines inside of you and then revealing your light to the world.

One of the first and most powerful things that you can do for yourself is to make sure your self talk isn't negative. We can all be our own worst enemies. I have found that self affirmations help me through some of my toughest times.

Yesterday I spoke to a friend about what kind of affirmations we use to keep us going. Here is a few:

  • lipstick on the mirror that says, "I love you....squish!"
  • putting a card in the mail to yourself
  • using a mantra like, "I am special" or "I am beautiful"
  • combating the negative thoughts with opposite affirmations like, "I am important" or "what I say/think/feel matters"

All of those things are true about you! You just have to take hold of it and make active steps toward believing that it is true. Whichever one you pick by using affirmations you are taking the first steps toward getting rid of that inner voice that tells you that you don't matter.

I am wishing all of you a happy and safe holiday season!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Making Memories

The above is my new way of holding myself as a baby, me holding me.

Making memories is the order of the season! Each new positive thing we do at this time and all year round is what I call a positive trigger. Do new and joyful things and remember as you do them, I will remember this next year/later and be filled with positivity, warmth, and love. Make memories you will savor. Create experiences that make you and your inner child smile. If you are a parent, make a list of what you would have loved during the holidays as a child. My list includes love, safety from sexual torture, and a mom who did not leave me. I did not get those things, but as a mother, I can give them to my children. I already have! Pat yourselves on the back if you have too, parents. Holidays are a wonderful opportunity to solidify charming and love-filled memories, especially if you are a parent. When things feel triggery, picture yourself as a child and then hug and hold that child. Look at your children for cues on how to be, how to simply be here in the now for brand new experiences. Each year is another year further away from the abuse and further into our own lives. What freedom! Take lots of baths, with sea salts and essential oils, take your vitamins, get some good exercise, stretch or do some yoga, meditate or pray, watch movies, hug your pet, get a massage, get a new haircut, dance, put on some John Coltrane, watch the squirrels, listen to some groovy jazz or hip hop, take pictures of your new life, have your feelings and accept them, keep going, I will see you all after the holidays!
Love and Light, SES

Friday, December 21, 2007

Remembering Yourself During the Holidays

We spend so much time during this season thinking of the wants and needs of others. We try to balance our obligations and our desires. This year, I have decided to do two things for myself.

1. I am sending myself a Christmas card! I am reminding myself that I am a lovable and valued person! (it's above... click to enlarge)

2. I am gifting to myself! Lots of people are using the paper and plastic this week to purchase, purchase, purchase! Yet, I am going to make something for myself. I think that oftentimes we forget to take care of ourselves, especially this time of year. So... I am creating coupons for myself to put in my stocking that I can "cash-in" if I feel overwhelmed or just REALLY want to enjoy my day off (-ha!) or need to take one. I am writing coupons for little things like a hot bath, an hour of meditation, a dinner for one, ice cream, a phone call to a friend I have neglected to keep in touch with, a cup of tea, or taking the time to pre-order Angela's new book (click to order).

3. Ok! So while writing this, I thought of a third thing. I am going to take my calendar and mark one day during each month in it that is going to be MINE to do what I want despite the desires of others... I think I just picked my New Year's Resolution!

Singing Joy in the Face of Craziness!


Obligations to others AND to ourselves

Everyday I receive a an email that gives me something to think about. Often it is exactly what I need to to hear. I received this one this morning and felt that it is appropriate during the crazy holiday season that has snuck up us again. It all boils down to making sure you are taking care of yourself.

"We all encounter obligations in life, from spending time with family and friends to being present at important functions in the lives of the people who form our community. Many times, the obligations are actually fun and fulfilling, and we want to be there. At the same time, we all sometimes experience resistance to meeting these obligations, especially when they pile up all at once and we begin to feel exhausted, longing for nothing so much as a quiet evening at home. At times like these, we may want to say no but feel too guilty at the idea of not being there. Still, our primary obligation is to take care of ourselves, and if saying no to someone else is what we have to do, then we do not need to feel bad about it.
There is a skill to balancing our obligations, and it starts with simply becoming aware of our schedule. We may notice that three invitations have arisen in one weekend, and we know that we will pay energetically if we attempt to fulfill all three. At this point, we can take the time to weigh the repercussions of not going to each event, considering how we will feel if we miss it and how our absence might affect other people. Most of the time, it will be clear which obligation we can most easily let go and which one we simply can’t miss. Sometimes we have to miss something really important to us, and that can be painful for everyone concerned. At times like this, reaching out with a phone call, a thoughtful card, or a gift lets people know that you are there in spirit and that your absence is by no means a result of you not caring.
Meeting our obligations to others is an important part of being human and not one to take lightly. At the same time, we cannot meet every obligation without neglecting our primary duty to take care of ourselves. We can navigate this quandary by being conscious of what we choose to do and not do and by finding concrete ways to extend our caring when we are not able to be there in person." courtesy of

Thursday, December 20, 2007

How do you get out of the Holidays if your family is nuts?

This is for those who want to avoid the family...


I am a Survivor

This is from Ophelia and is a perfect example of using your pain to create something positive.

Where can I get help?

Here is another question posted to the SM.

Where can I go to get help? I have no money/insurance to get help.I live out in the middle of nowhere. How do I find support and resources?

I am listing the link for the RAINN search for local rape crisis centers. Many crisis centers offer free services for therapy, education, advocacy and crisis assistance. Many of those that don't offer free services do offer them on a sliding income scale. I go to school in far west Kentucky and EVEN in that part of the country there are services available. I hope this helps!

OH! And don't forget anywhere you can call 1-800-656-HOPE to get info about services close to you or for crisis assistance 24/7.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Is it okay to express myself and get mad?

Video thumbnail. Click to play
Click To Play

This is a video about how abuse is an epidemic and silenced because the offenders are those you know most of the time. And it is okay to be mad about and express yourself. You get to Joy, but expressing your anger can be a huge part of the process. In this video I am referring to Jane but it can be applied to any story. I filmed this awhile ago but it is still very relevant.

Holiday Musings from Sarah Elise

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

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

Oh boy, here come the holidays...In years past the PTSD would be stirred up like a sandstorm. It gets easier as the years go by, thankfully mainly due to the healing effect of my family, my kids and husband. We have a clean slate with which to begin our nouveau familial style. I love my boys and husband so much. I feel that they inspire me and bless me...not just in the usual ways, but when I feel lost in the past, they bring me to center and keep me going just by being themselves. This is one of the ways motherhood and partnership heals me.
When one of them has a need, or a want, as they do a zillion times a day, I am snapped back into here and now. The here and now, this has been my focus. I tend to criticize myself and tend toward perfectionism in myself that I would never expect of anyone else. Perfectionism is a synonym for masochism, and self sadism. I feel so grateful for my family, and for surviving the trauma of my mother abandoning me, and my father raping me all those years, not just sexually but emotionally and spiritually. When I met my husband, I was in an unhealthy place, still tied to the blood family on my father's side. I was self destructive. The sight of him was like a reflection, and the image was of safety, goodness, love, and family. As the horses once did, Troy reflected my innate goodness back to me and I him. Wow. What a gift.
It was a momentous milestone for me to break away, ignoring the drone of bad advice and misguided emotional "support", telling me to come home and live there and be close. Be close. The incest web. I said no thanks to that and stayed with the man I would marry and become a mother with. It was very hard as the family, as most dysfunctional families do, knew how to manipulate me. I really left home in 99, I just kept going forward, years passing, rising like a phoenix. Very daring for me. The one thing they really had to wield were the horses. I began riding when I was 3. My horses gave me a sanctuary, they loved me unconditionally. They were magical. As I grew my grandmother, my father's mother, was "grooming" (interesting choice of words, huh?)me as she put it, to take over the family business. I elected a very different path and the shit hit the fan. Both my grandmother and grandfather tried making me feel so guilty if I ever desired anything outside of the horses. This was sacrelige! Of course I did desire other things, especially my own interests as most teenagers do, but their guilt worked.
I miss those horses. In 2004 I had to walk away from them, and one special one in particular. I chose my baby, my husband, their lives and mine over the horses. Over the family, over the pull of the incest web. In 2004 I even cut ties with my grandparents for good, filed a rape report against my father, received flowers from Eve Ensler, and began examining my relationship with my mother. The year of emancipation. My breaking away from them and thus the genesis of my breaking the cycles really began years earlier, in my mind. I was digging out of prison, misguided at first, in that I tried escaping through drugs and unhealthy relationships. I guided myself into the realm of true escape after I grew tired of hurting myself for things someone else did to me. I put myself first. My own mother never put me first, she left me with my father. My heart felt like it was being mutilated when I thought of my child ever feeling that. Over the years I have stayed in touch with that pain, and the pain of my father's abuse. It has kept me more empathic. Somehow she, my mother, lacked that fierce maternal bond. I was attached to both of my parents deeply, as children are. I am also incredibly bonded to my kids. My husband thinks I am more bonded to them and in touch intuitively with them than anyone else on earth. I love that he thinks that and am proud that I am!! Not apologizing for my goodness folks. Not gonna play it down either, I am a pretty great mama!
I give them what I never had. I feel the enormous ache and grief over my own losses as a child, I vow every second of every day that not only will I NOT repeat things, I think of what I WILL do. What can I add? Asset based thinking here, what can I give, not just what can I avoid doing. I can make a conscious effort to show my love and manage my anger and model healthy things for them. I add cafe dates, volunteering at my son's school, I teach them to be aware of mother earth and all her creatures, I honor their innocence and vow to protect it no matter what, I watch them grow and learn and try to appreciate the challenges they present me, like being more patient. Watching them safely develop and explore their bodies and express their emotions so freely is amazing and challenging. I was never allowed to feel my anger or even my joy fully. Especially not anger. Oh hell no, no anger for Sarah. And joy stifled by the always present threat of things falling apart as they so often did with my dad. He could never deliver a promise, hold down a job, keep a stable home for me. I remember when toys had to be brought back because he could not afford them. I still struggle with letting my hubs go out and shop for me at the holidays. I freeze up and feel like I am 7 again, walking through K&B, trailing my dad as he walked up to return gifts. John Lennon played in the background, singing about so this is Christmas, and what have you done? He promised a house and a dog, a job that he would keep, a mom for me, he promised to not touch me there anymore. All broken, all broken. I chose my husband because I knew that he would never do such things, although the sick little girl inside of me wanted a jerk to replay trauma with. As for the past, the holidays I think of them. All of them, horses, people, red velvets ribbons. Are they ghosts? I don't know. William Faulkner said "The past is not dead. In fact, it's not even past. " Interpret as you will, but it's all about tending the wounds and simultaneously living in the here and now. We used to decorate their stalls with stockings and wreaths and we had parties for all the clients. People came and brought gifts and food, we even had a costume contest for the HORSES!! I miss so much their soft faces, their whinnies, their cantering up to me, the smell of the barn, like cedar and shavings... and I miss being so good at something. (I won all kinds of awards all of my life, equestrian success was a huge part of my having any self worth.) I love Angela's metaphor, though it is more literal than metaphorical for those of us who have experinced abuse, of the sword of trauma piercing us. I remember thinking to myself about five years ago, this is like an iron maiden. I feel like I am in one of those iron maidens, knives coming from every direction. Horrifyingly accurate. It is like a sword, all of it, not just being raped. Not being protected, no armor. The armor should have been my mother, my grandparents. My uncle and aunt who chose denial. The sword is out and now we tend the wound. I am tending the wound. Part of tending the wound so it does not get infected is acceptance of what was and cultivation of hope for what NOW can be. NOW, the reality is that as a parent I must accept that I AM good. I must accept that goodness. It is so hard to accept our own goodness at times. I can not explain why my mother and father, grandparents and uncle did not see my goodness and honor it as I do my children. Blinded by their own unhealed wounds, enormous gaping wounds infected with drug addiction, emotional numbness, denial, inability to protect the vulnerable ones, and fear. Infected and blinded.
It was what it was. I am who I am today and though a part of me still needs to cry, rage, and ask questions, thats part of what helps me walk solidly on my healing path.
In the meantime, in the now, I am creating, with my husband and family, joyous, grateful, creative and impassioned energy for our new family tree. I know the reverberations will be felt into the next generations, and the little girl I was will feel the ripples too. I invite her to be here now, now and always.
Let's all invite our parts, our little ones inside, to come and be here with us now. They are waiting for our love and safety so they can leave the dark rooms, where they have been alone and crying, and come into the light where they belong. We can parent them now. If you are not a parent, you actually are a parent, because we all have inner children who need love, they are all the children we once were at certain times. The traumatized ones need us. And we will rise up like the phoenixes, and be here for them now. Namaste and Love to All~S

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Greetings to all the lovely folks, my name is Sarah Elise Stauffer and I will be contributing here regarding parenting, motherhood, fatherhood, and breaking the cycle. The picture above is of my youngest son. Yes, you were this precious too! Unbelievable that I was this age when my mother left and my father began sexually abusing me. His reality, as is the reality of my 6 year old, is so opposite, two different galaxies apart. I can not even imagine my husband or myself hurting him like we have been hurt.
One thing that I'll mention, if you are a parent, and you are having difficulty empathizing with yourself or doing inner child work-which is ESSENTIAL in healing yourself and for building a healthy foundation for parenting-a simple exercise is to think of your issue...then put your child in that scenario. It reframes the entire thing and helps you perceive yourself the way you were and are-a precious child who was innocent and deserved so much better! Start looking at yourself the way you see your child/children. You were no less, you were and are deserving of all the love and safety that your own children are worth. Children are really teachers and healers. They come here and trigger us and challenge us and, no, I don't mean to say it's all butterflies and cupcakes. But the healing that parenting can spark is pretty profound.

For now I wanted to introduce myself and say hello to everyone here. I'm grateful to have the oppurtunity to talk about parenting and what we can do to heal and break cycles.

Lots of love to all-Sarah Elise

New from Eve Ensler

Congo Update from Eve Ensler

My Dear Friends,

I have just returned from Congo. I only wish all of you could have been with me to witness this unfolding, to witness this change, to witness women taking back their lives, their rights. Their future. I am so proud of this movement. I see now what is possible in a whole new way.

Rather than writing a full narrative as things are still gathering in me, I wanted to just send you some basic images, feelings, thoughts...

Reunion with Dr. Mukwege of Panzi hospital....delight and joy beyond what I can articulate. The longer I know him, the more I witness his work, the more moved I am and the more I learn. His heart is intrinsic in the creation of his vision.

The land for City of Joy-the land for our village of healing and empowerment is a walk from the Panzi hospital. It is gorgeous, lush green, in a valley surrounded by hills. There will be ten houses for a hundred women, and a central house for cooking and therapy and classes. There will be a huge garden where women can grow vegetables and fruits they can eat and sell.

Standing on that ground I could feel the energy of a village of joy, a village where raped and terrorized women could stand in safety and find themselves and their way....



This holiday season you can help the women in the DRC:

ABC Carpet & Home has created a V-Day Gift of Compassion - Offer a year of schooling and a safe haven to a survivor of sexual violence and war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and allow a woman to transform her pain to power.

Buy A V-Gift!
Click here for a full list of V-Gifts that help end violence against women and girls!

Update On The Stop Raping Our Greatest Resource Campaign

Over the last few months over 1,585 of you have written letters President of DR Congo Joseph Kabila Kabange, urging the Government to do more to stop violence against women and girls and bring perpetrators to justice. This overwhelming amount of support has come from all corners of the world from women and men from different backgrounds, each with their own story but all sharing the common goal of ending violence against the women of the DRC.

One example of true spirit, solidarity and passion surrounding this campaign has come out of the Women's Correctional Center in Illinois. A group of over 65 women inmates wrote letters and created a "Chain of Hope" - linked paper cut-outs on which the women wrote prayers and wishes for the women of the DRC, including the following inspiring messages:

"Smile, you are loved. Instead of looking at the scars, look at how well they heal."

"Women are to be cherished. No man is given life except he come through a woman. A woman is precious and the birth canal sacred. Honor women, restore what has been destroyed, and redeem yourself."

"We're praying here on a daily basis, Hoping to see smiles on your faces, Stand firm and strong is the thing to do Knowing God loves you will pull you through. Hold you head up ladies and give a smile. The animals will disappear after a while."

"I will stand up with you, all women of the world, we grow strong together."

Send your own letter to Joseph Kabila Kabange: P.O. Box 3862, New York, NY 10163. To download a sample letter please visit

Ritual Abuse Survey

Below is a questionnaire  and announcement from Jeanne Sarson RN, BScN, MEd, and Linda MacDonald RN, BN, MEd, of Persons Against Ritual Abuse Torture.
There is a new research project on their site related to ritual abuse-torture and military connections. They are seeking persons who will share their victimization narratives that include details that some RAT perpetrators have military connections. Some ritual abuse-torturers have been identified as being veterans; some have been identified as being in active military service; and other RAT families/groups have been identified as having connections with military personnel, who for various reasons and benefits trafficked their children.
Information learned from these brief research questions can help suggest a common pattern of RAT victimization by perpetrators with military connections.
The questions are linked below:

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Helping others helps you heal

I have always been the kind of person that gets things done. I don't generally stand up and speak in front of people. But if you have a project that you need SNV32643done then I am the girl for the job.

Recently, I took the Finding Angela Shelton Challenge! I have  been working non-stop on one project or another since I committed myself to doing this.

It has been the most rewarding and more importantly one of the most healing things I have ever done. I have come to realize that when you get busy trying to help others then you are healing yourself.

The next time you are stuck in a rut and you are desperate to do something about it then call or email 5 of your friends. Ask them how THEY are doing. You will get back what you give. If you want to really get active then call your local rape crisis center and volunteer your time.

We can change the world  if we band together.

Connection with Animals = Joy

Share the love!! Watch the video on the Survivor Manual about scheduling in Playtime too!

Check out what the team is up to:

Finding Angela Shelton is all about igniting a fire of awareness and catapulting survivors into recovery and leading joyful lives!! So here's a little joy on a Sunday!!


Helping an Abused Loved One

You can help your abused loved one by embracing them in their own unconditional love of self. Many people do not know how to love themselves, especially if they have been abused. In the Sacred Heart Blessing you are bathed in your own love and unconditional acceptance of self. You actually feel the energy of love as it envelopes and embraces you in self acknowledgement, love, and worth.

This blessing activates the heart chakra energy and envelops the person in pure, unconditional love. It clears energy blockages and enhances balance and wellness. It surrounds the entire body with love energy. It also connects your heart energy with the heart energy of the other person. This acknowledgment of each other results in a beautiful blessing.

To center yourself, place both hands on top of your own heart (left on top of right). Take a couple of deep cleansing breaths. Now leave your left hand on your heart and place your right hand on the heart chakra (energy center) of the person in front of you. Allow time for the two of you to connect energetically. Next place your left hand on top of your right hand so that both your hands rest on the person’s heart energy center. Allow the energy of his sacred heart to build.

When you have a sense of his energy, slowly lift your hands off the person’s chest, keeping your palms facing him. Bring your hands back toward your own heart level. As his energy field expands, take several steps backward. Step back until you intuitively feel his energy field balance. (could be from 2 to 12 feet or more) Then extend your arms outward, keeping palms toward your partner. You may slowly move your extended arms up and down a little, feeling his energy field activating. Hold this position while the unconditional love of the person’s sacred heart envelopes his entire body.

Throughout the blessing keep your eyes open looking at your partner even if his eyes are closed. You are not using your own energy at all. You are activating his energy and bathing him in unconditional love of self. When you feel the energy has permeated every cell of his body, slowly bring your hands back to your chest area. With your hands extended toward the person’s chest, walk slowly toward him until you can place your hands upon his heart area. Allow time for him to be totally connected with his own heart energy.

Leave one hand on his heart. Slowly place your other hand on your own heart. Look into his eyes and let the love flow between your hearts. See that person as the beautiful spiritual being he is. When your blessing is complete, disconnect by slowly bringing your hands into a prayerful position, bowing your head in honor of the person before you.

May your journey into self-love be magnificent! Mary

Mary Lemons
Inner Awakenings
@September, 2001

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Art of cutting magazines!

This has been something that has really helped me in my healing...because I can look and touch where I was a year ago and where I am now... My therapist had me collage a year ago and I recently did another one and its as if I've come out of the darkness... and really it does feel good in the moment...your too busy to really get into deep thought because your looking for something specific... its something great to do with an idea ahead of time or just randomly flip through the magazine till something pops out at you and let it become what it becomes... need more help on ideas??? Just ask on my blog I do this all the time... so I have many many ideas!! Happy Magazine therapy!

  • this art work was not completed by me

Friday, December 14, 2007

What can I do to help?

The Finding Angela Shelton Challenge!

A big part of healing is breaking the silence. Often people say, "But I am just one person. No one listens to me. How is it possible that if I sm_2107ebabe26676f32691730589e33e4apeak up I will make a difference?" 

Every voice counts...and we need you to help.

Finding Angela Shelton is an escape route and a call to healing - so what if it got into the hands of all survivors?-- How do you get this book to 39 million people via a grassroots movement? We stand together. We unite our numbers and support each other until each and every survivor has been reached.

Tell all your friends on myspace to add her at: Then talk to your local rape crisis centers, high schools, colleges,radio stations and even police departments. challenge

Most importantly, order the book! You can now do that here: FINDING ANGELA SHELTON (click the title for link)


Survivor Manual TV - Having Playtime!

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This is when Dr. Alice (from the previous episode) teaches me about affirmations and playtime!

Try some playtime for homework! Nick Sherman is in the clip at the end - he was the editor of some of these clips. Gotta show off the crew! (You'll see Ophelia in a few of them from (Wo)Men Speak out as we move through all of these tapes!)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

RAINN's Online Hotline

RAINN's Online Hotline has just won the 2007 Technology Innovation Award from NPower. The award annually recognizes a nonprofit that has created the most innovative use of technology to more effectively fulfill its mission.

Nearly half of all sexual assault victims are under 18, so they had to find a way to provide this younger age group with the services they need using the technology they embrace.

Check out the new video about the Online Hotline at

PCAA Conference

Prevent Child Abuse America National Conference

Registration opens on January 7th

Click here for more information about the conference and registration!

Featured Speakers and Conference Highlights

Keynote Sessions include:

Dr. Martin Maldonado - "Infant Mental Health and Child Abuse Prevention"

Craig Zablocki Craig Zablocki - "Time Out for Parents"

"The Future of Child Abuse Prevention" - a diverse panel of experts moderated by Deborah Daro

"Leadership, Excellence and Volunteerism" - Lessons learned from 2008 winners of the Healthy Families America Service Excellence Awards, Donna J. Stone Award, and Parent Leadership Award.

Standout Sessions include:

Dr. Lawrence Wallack - "Media Advocacy: A Strategy for Activists"
Cordelia Anderson - "From Dr. Seuss to Pornography: A New Frontier for Primary Prevention"
Dr. Jeffrey Linkenbach - "The Science of the Positive: The Social Norms Approach"
Panel: "Bridging the Research-Practice Gap: HFA Past, Present, and Future"

Plus more than 100 workshops on a wide range of topics, including prevention of child sexual abuse, shaken baby syndrome, home visitation, family support, parent education, management issues, public policy, communications strategies, wellness, and more.

Same low registration rates as 2006! $310 per person Early Bird Registration through March 31, 2008. Registration opens January 7.

Celebrity Chef Special Event at the Milwaukee Public Market

A cooking demonstration presented by Chef Wynnie Stein, of the famed Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, New York, will spotlight a springtime menu of healthy family meals. For more than thirty-three years Moosewood Restaurant has been acclaimed as a driving force in the world of creative vegetarian cooking. They've been named one of the thirteen most influential restaurants of the 20th Century by Bon Appetit magazine.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Angela Shelton Virginia on being an inspiration

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Angela Shelton didn't just help one, she has helped thousands! I love her! And each of you help by having conversations. Thank you for creating social change by starting conversations.

It all started with Searching for Angela Shelton! I'm so glad to be a part of such a powerful project.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Call for Survivors to Speak Out

This is from

On May 9, 2008 the Sexual Assault Yearly Speak Out (SAY SO!) will take place in Union Square from 12pm-10pm. This year, in an effort to create a safe space for survivors to tell their stories on their own terms, we are putting out a Call for Speakers far in advance.

We hope to convey the spectrum of sexual violence, as well as the depth of many survivors' experiences, through personal stories told in the format of a time line. Using the time line, survivors can tell aspects of their story that they feel are significant, rather than focusing only on the sexual assault or abuse. Survivors may choose to tell about the ways their lives have been affected afterward so that the audience might better understand the ripple effects of sexual violence. The time line format is a suggested template, but does not have to be linear or complete -- it is open to interpretation and adjustment. Participants will be given support, training and feedback before, during and after the actual event.

Each survivor will participate in a workshop to assist in writing their story in their own words as well as another workshop to practice telling that story in front of an audience. Participants will be encouraged to use a time-line format when drafting their story as a way to express the depth of the experience. The story can include the actual assault or abuse, but does not have to and is not limited to that. Aspects of the time line may include before the assault or abuse, the healing process, triggers, etc. Survivors will be given blocks of time to speak throughout the day, rather than being limited to one time slot. Participants will also attend a debriefing session after SAY SO! to have the opportunity to discuss the personal impact of telling their story on stage.

Good candidates for this program will:

- have worked through the initial trauma of the event enough to comfortably share it in public.

- not be in the middle of a criminal or civil suit related to the assault or abuse. This is for confidentiality reasons.

- and are able to commit to all three two-hour workshops (see dates below) as well as to spend at least four hours (does not have to be consecutive) at SAY SO! on May 9th, a Friday that may overlap with work. (10-hours total commitment time)

These workshops are for people interested in speaking out. If you are a spoken word artist or performance artist please contact Emily at about performing.

Workshop and SAY SO! Dates:

February 13 – 6:00-8:00 pm – Writing Workshop

March 26 – 6:00-8:00 pm – Speaking Workshop

May 9 – 10:00 am-10:00 pm – SAY SO! (Commit to four-hour or more block of time, does not have to be consecutive)

May 14 – 6:00-8:00 pm – SAY SO! Debrief

If you are interested in participating, please contact Chris at to be sent an application. Applications must be completed by January 21, 2007. Participants will be notified by February 4, 2008, and workshop details will be sent at that time.

Breaking the Cycle

The most important book any survivor could ever read (it is also a work book) is Sandy Riggin´s book, Breaking the Cycle. Sandy´s web page is

Reading Sandy´s book helped me come to terms with the fact that I am really just a text book example of someone who was abused physically, emotionally and sexually as a child. And, furthermore, that there is nothing wrong with me, I am not crazy, stupid nor have I lost my mind. What a huge relief!! Sandy also puts forward some very important but simple exercises in her book that build on each other, slowly take you through what we need to go through to heal. I highly recommend it. You can use it on your own or take it to your therapist and ask them to help you work with it.

You can listen to an interview with Sandy here

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Survivor Manual TV - Kinesiology

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This is when I went to Alice Grob and had Kinesiology and Chiropractic work done.

Dr. Alice is now in Manhattan Beach -

Survivor Manual TV - curing asthma

These is the beginning of a video series I began for The Survivor Manual where I addressed my own healing. I have seen time and time again how trauma = health problems and healing myself physically as well as mentally and spiritually has been a big goal. Check out

I will put up more Survivor Manual TV as we move forward... This is all a work in progress - as is life!!

Learn how to prevent child sexual abuse - Become a Stewards of Children facilitator

Bring the Darkness to Light Stewards of Children sexual abuse prevention program to your community---great for staff, volunteers, and parents! Facilitator Training January 30, 2008, in San Diego, CA. For more information and registration please go to the Darkness to Light website: and click on "Storefront" and "Stewards Authorized Facilitator Workshop". Contact Julie Schneider at or 843-965-5444 with any questions.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Telling your story

I was doing some research tonight. I found a very powerful web-site that I wanted to share with all of you.

It is a program that the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault has recently added to their "Speak Up. Speak Out." Campaign.  It was started from a company called The Digital Story Telling Project based out of California. Their web address is

The stories of the survivors that have recently taken part in this program are displayed at this web address:


"Speak Up. Speak Out.: Digital Storytelling Videos
The power of survivors telling their own stories is unmatched. The videos were entirely written, directed and produced by seven courageous survivors and detail their stories of trauma and recovery. " quoted from TAASA.

When we band together we can heal ourselves, heal the world, and break the silence.

I’m afraid a little girl I know is being molested. I have no idea what to do. I have no proof, but I can see something in her eyes. Do I try to ......

I recommend that you go to the - Darkness to Light- web site and download the 7 Steps to protecting our children, guiding responsible adults to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. This guide will tell you how to talk to adults about suspicion of abuse and where to go for help for reporting.

I encourage you to follow through on your "gut" feeling or intuition about this little girl. It is adults responsibility to protect all kids. Perhaps you are the only one that has this insight about this little girl, perhaps the only one that could possibly stand up for her.

If you would like more encouragement or confidence around reporting then you can take the Stewards of Children training online at the web site. The Darkness to Light Stewards of Children is a prevention training program that educates adults to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse, and motivates them to courageous action. You can also see there if there are trainings being offered in your town.

I have facilitated this training for almost 3 years now. It is a really powerful tool to educate adults about the issue of CSA and prevention. I highly recommend it!

Thank you for noticing this little girl!

Thursday, December 6, 2007


If you are looking for a wonderful book on parenting.
GROWING UP AGAIN: Parenting Ourselves, Parenting Our Children By Jean Illsley Clarke, Connie Dawson. I first learned about this book and the work of Jean Illsley Clarke in Iceland a few years ago. I read it and felt so greatful ! As a survivor of childhood abuse, I found this an incredible tool to help me become a better parent and to provide myself the things that were not provided for me as a child. Having 3 kids today, I am faced with many feelings of not knowing how to deal or face all kinds of situations that parents are confronted with. This book gave me much hope and inspiration. It is not too late for me to parent my older kids or is it too late to parent myself. If you are a parent you must read this book, if you are a survivor of any type of abuse, you must read this book. Parenting my kids better than the way I was parented and healing myself is breaking the cycle of unhealthy relationships in my family today and for generations to come.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

How do you break the life long pattern of being a victim?

I am reading the various letters that come into the PO box from survivors and loved ones of survivors.

Here is the idea that began it:   Send in your story and a dollar to contribute to The Survivor Manual

Sending in a dollar is helpful but not necessary, and we cannot mail back anything anything that you send us.  

Thanks for visiting The Survivor Manual 


Binding Project

Hey All! Angela, great blog! I am writing with a fabulous international art empowerment campaign called the Binding Project to shatter the silence of sexual violence launched by PAVE: Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment.
Please visit:
thanks, angela rose

The Survivor Manual

A video note about The Survivor Manual and why it began. (also free shipping on the movie too)

Use the coupon code "survivor" for free shipping for a limited time.


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

"My survivor partner suffers from nightmares. I feel helpless. What can I do to help?"

Nightmares by definition are scary. It is much worse if you are confronting painful things from your past within your dreams. Nightmares are equally as frightening if you are a partner of a survivor watching your loved one suffer. I remember one sleepless night that I ended up in tears because I couldn't wake my partner from what seemed to be an awful nightmare. I felt helpless.

Almost all survivors will have nightmares while healing. In fact, the nightmares will probably go away and come back many times. Typically, they will become the most extreme when they are dealing with self-blame or any sort of inner child work. There are some things that you can do to help or that you can mention to your partner so they can help themselves.

  • Encourage your partner to go to bed when they are sleepy. Laying awake for hours before sleeping will not be relaxing especially if they stay up alone.
  • Leaving a light on in the bedroom will help remind them where they are when they wake up.
  • Avoid bulky bedding or anything that causes static electricity.
  • Drinking warm milk or cocoa before bed is relaxing. Of course, avoiding caffeine is helpful.
  • Keeping the house cooler reduces how active the brain is during sleeping. ( This was the most helpful thing that I have ever been able to contribute)
  • Soothing music helps if it is played at a low volume. Be careful not to leave a radio station on that eventually switches to news programs. This can be a trigger for some survivors. White noise such as a fan is also an option.
  • Sleeping with a stuffed animal helps a lot of survivors. This goes back to comforting the inner child. If your partner is thinking of getting a stuffed animal don't laugh or judge them. Often this can be just the thing that turns sleepless nights full of worry into a full nights rest.

Some survivors are able to talk about what they dreamt after they are awake. If your partner shares this with you...just listen. Talking about them takes away their power. You ARE helping just by listening.


How do you Wash Old Thought Patterns Away?

I went to a yoga retreat workshop on working with your intuition and moving past trauma.

This is what we learned. Feel free to take what you will and ignore what you don’t get or think is bizarre. Ha! But it sure is funny!

OK, get ready for this. She gave us techniques for clearing our space.

Sit or stand (and you can go hide in the bathroom and do this if you need some space) and place your hands up next to your ears almost like you’re going to yell, “I can’t take this anymore!” Then you move your hands back and forth like you’re chopping at the air. I laughed because it looks so much like that scene in “Team America” when Gary does the “Sign of Distress” Ahhhhh…

Move your hands back and forth like Gary and breathe. Do that for as long as you can. It’s like a big “wash that man outta my hair” move. It looks funny and feels funny too. The guru told us that it was energetically chopping away at any old belief patterns that were hanging on around our heads, any negative thoughts from others, projections, negative thoughts about ourselves, etc. Wash it out and breathe while you’re doing it. And laugh, go ahead and laugh as you clear your head - really! This is hysterical and it looks ridiculous and feels ridiculous but I have to say I felt better afterwards. So try it, it can’t hurt.

I love Blip!
Save the Internet!

My Social Worker!

Wow! A new contributor on The Survivor Manual is my social worker when I was 8!

This is her website:


What is Self Injury?

I found this video on

Monday, December 3, 2007

How do I send emails if my abuser is watching me?

Here is a very interesting way to get around the fact that your abuser may be watching everything you do.

You can send emails through this system:

Removing the Sword of Trauma Cartoon!

This is a cartoon made by Tani about my analogy of trauma being like being pierced with a sword!

Womens Creative Collective
Telling untold and undertold stories
Every Friday 8pm-10pm Los Angeles CA (we rotate houses!)
Creative writing, poetry, movement, and film workshops
For more information contact Tani Ikeda

Project RISE
Collecting the writings and poetry of rape survivors
Please send us your work for publication! Contact Tani Ikeda

How can I help my survivor partner the best?

The best thing you can do for your partner is to take care of yourself. This holds true throughout the entire healing process. Often when I tell people this they say, “But I want to do something?” The fact of the matter is you cannot fix your partner. You are not helping them by trying to do everything for them or by trying to remove the triggers they may encounter in any given day. Remember the quickest way to get better is to go through the pain. By removing painful things from their path you are deterring their healing.

This does not mean that you have to sit on the sidelines and watch as the person you love walks through dark times. Here are some things that you can do to help:

· Educate yourself about rape and child sexual abuse. The more you know the better you will be able to support your partner. There are different stages of healing survivors face. It isn’t uncommon for survivors to get through one stage just to go back into again later. If you have information about what is happening within your home you will be better equipped to deal with it. A good jumping off point is the book Allies in Healing by Laura Davis. It has a wealth of information that you can refer back to at any given time.

· Communication is an important part of supporting a survivor. It is important that you talk to your partner and find out what they need from you. At this time you may want to come up with a plan for what to do when they are in crisis. Their needs will change from time to time. Keeping the lines of communication open will allow you to be a part of their healing process. However, give yourself a break if you are not able to meet their needs all the time. Life happens and learning to roll with the punches will allow you and your partner to create a better partnership.

· It is imperative you listen while communicating. You contribute to survivors’ fears by giving advice or telling a survivor that they shouldn’t feel a certain way. Survivors need to be heard. Their voices have been silenced. They are finding those voices through healing. You validate their feelings and allow them to be heard simply by listening. Often, that is all they need.

· Equally as important is that you also state your own needs. Survivors often need to feel in control of their surroundings. You can avoid confusion later giving your partner a clear understanding of what is expected of them. This also allows your partner to be responsible for themselves which builds self-confidence.

· You are not the only one who feels like your life has turned upside down. It gets better. Time and patience are the keys to your sanity. Try not to take things that your partner is doing or saying personally. More often than not you aren't why they are angry, sad, confused or embarrassed. Give them a little space and forgiveness and you will soon find out what was really going on.

· Get involved. This will help you to feel proactive. The fact is there is an epidemic among us and the only way to see change is to stand together and fight.

A note about who I am: My name is Jenn. I am a survivor and a partner of a survivor. As my partner is walking through her journey I have learned things that may help other partners along their own way. When we first started down this road I wanted desperately to not feel so alone. It is my hope to share with other partners so that no one ever has to feel as if their pain is unique again. It is important to me to be a part of breaking the silence that surrounds abuse of all kinds. You can see me continue the fight at:

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Battered Mothers Custody Conference Jan 11th - 13th, 2008

Online registration available at Scholarship rate available for battered mothers in litigation, DV advocates, and others requiring financial assistance. Limited travel funds available to help some mothers.

The Fifth Annual Battered Mothers Custody Conference

January 11th - 13th, 2008
(Fri. evening - Sunday evening)

The Clarion Hotel and Conference Center
(same site as the 2007 conference)

Albany, New York

For additional information, hotel reservations, and conference registration,

go to

The theme of the 2008 conference is

Help, Hope, and Empowerment for Battered Mothers

The BMCC V faculty includes the nation’s top authors, advocates, and activists,


Wendy Murphy, Angela Shelton, Lundy Bancroft, Toby Kleinman, Nancy Erickson, Joy Silberg, Joan Zorza, Barry Goldstein, Robin Yeamans, Garland Waller, Seth Goldstein, Geri Stahly, Rita Henley-Jensen, Renee Beeker, Dianne Post, Ben Atherton-Zeman, and many others. . .

There will be a wide range of workshops specifically designed to help mothers cope, heal, and achieve better legal outcomes.

Register and reserve your hotel room early to get the special BMCC V rate!

See details along with the conference schedule at

Please help us to help battered mothers get to the Battered Mothers Custody Conference.

Become a Co-Sponsor, Advertiser, or Exhibitor at the BMCC V

Tables and space are available

for a limited number of exhibitors.

For details, go to