Monday, July 28, 2003

More on My Personal Journey

Tonight I've been sitting in front of the computer thinking. One week ago at this time I was watching Naomi Ackerman perform Flowers Aren't Enough, a powerful (fictional) play on relationship violence. Sitting in the ballroom, surrounded by survivors, activists, professionals and those who support them - sitting next to a woman who quickly became a good friend - I affirmed with the joy in thriving. We go from victim to survivor to thriver as we heal and the journey isn't easy, but it is a journey that we can accomplish.

Yesterday I mentioned that I've been reading Allies in Healing by Laura Davies. I finished the book after dinner tonight and it left me with a strong sense of how much our journey has the potential to impact those whom we care about (and vice-versa). I have leaned so hard on my friends, especially in the early years of discovering and understanding the reality of the abuse and I try to say thank you. I hope that they know how much they mean to me. As I make new friends and share with them the survivorship part of my life, I sometimes wonder if it changes how they see me and how they see our friendship. Being an abuse survivor/thriver is only a small part of me, a part which changes as I grow. I think my friends realize this and come to see all the diverse parts of me.

The conference was so empowering and nurturing while at the same time scary - - so many people there who have walked the path of victim/survivor and G-d willing thriver. Yet, now that at least a part of our Jewish community is FINALLY recognizing the reality of abuse (realtionship abuse at least, there is still a way to go on child abuse & incest) we can begin to make real changes and work to end abuse.

On the first night of the conference there was a survivor speak out. A wonderful courageous woman led the speak out, sharing her story and then encouraging others to do so as well. Women of all ages spoke out and told their stories - - stories of pain, of sadness, of fear and yet stories of courage, hope and strength. I stood up and shared my story too - I began with the "nice Jewish boy" who assaulted me after a nearly year-long realtionship and continued with my father's long-time abuse. Telling my story was harderd than I expected, full of emotion - - a good thing, I think. Good emotion, emotion that fit what I was doing. Now I have shared again and I thank you for listening and reading.

As I carry the hope, courage, strength and resolve of the conference with me into the days, weeks and months to come, I invite you to join me in each doing a little part to stop abuse of any kind.


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