Wednesday, July 30, 2003

New Survivor Blog

Christine writes about her story of survival in A Little Unwell, take a look at her powerful site.

Leaving on a Jet Plane...

Tomorrow I have my week of vacation with J! We will be spending it in the Berkshires in western MA, including a Yo Yo Ma concert at Tangelwood, a few plays and seeing my dear friend D who lives in Northampton. I am looking forward to it!

I'm not sure what my computer access situation will be while I'm away, so if I don't blog for about a week, please understand and ya'll come back now, y'hear!

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Template Re-Do

Inspired by many of you whom I read who have new designs, I looked for a new skin for my blog and I found one I like at Blog Skins. Thank you to the template designer, 1greeneye. Let me know what you think.

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.



Here is another link to help Stop Domestic Violence. Since it is clear that there frequently is a link between domestic violence/intimate partner violence and child abuse (a perpatrator who does one is more likely to do the other), awareness and activism of DV/IPV is also important to me.

Sunday, July 27, 2003

Activism Link

The National Clearinghouse on Marital & Date Rape also has some helpful resources.

Men's Activism to End Abuse

Here are two links to men's organizations which work to stop violence. I encourage you to look at their link pages for more!

Men Stopping Violence
Men Can Stop Rape

Thank you to all who are committed to ending violence against women, children and men!
Your sister in thrivership.

J Update

A few days ago, J mentioned to me that he is strongly considering moving to the same city where I live. Hooray! What fun it will be to date normally, rather than long-distance.

On another note, when I travel to see J later this week (for a week-long visit) I am taking him an audio version of Allies in Healing to help him understand a bit more about survivorship. I've been reading a copy of the book myself, so that I can share with him where my journey has been different/same as those in the book. Reading it has led me to reflect on my own journey and has helped me see just how far I have come, as most of the questions/stories in the book deal with the earlier stages of discovery of and healing from child sexual abuse.

Friday, July 25, 2003

In the Desert - Thoughts from a Conference Workshop on a Haggadah for Survivors

One of the amazing workshops I attended at the conference discussed (and then shared) a Passover Haggadah for survivors of Relationship Violence. A Journey towards Freedom: A Haggadah for Women Who Have Experienced Domestic Violence is an incredible piece of work, one which interwove survivor's stories and writings into a journey from slavery to freedom. Part of the workshop was to engage in on of their writing workshop exercises.

Specifically, this writing exercise was titled "Every Journey Brings Blessings: Creating Our Own Blessings Along the Journey" and opened with the following quotation from Rabbi Lawrence Kushner's book Honey from the Rock - "The wilderness is not just a desert thorough which we wandered for forty years. It is a way of being. Even if just for a moment every now and then each day."
The directions were to write about the journey through the desert, answering the following the statments:
1) Where do you find sustenance when you are in the desert?
2) What does it mean to you to be part of a community wandering in the desert rather than wandering alone?
3) Write a blessing for wandering.

I encourage you to engage in the above activities yourself (the time given was 10 minutes).

Here is what I wrote as part of this activity, combining elements 1-3 into one poem.

"Sustenance in the desert.
Nurtured in a place which seems to be devoid of help.
Yet, I lift my eyes.

I reach out toward hope, toward friends, toward God and there. . .
There in the preciousness of presence with another,
There in the gift of listening,
There, dwelling with earth, air, heat, animals people and Shechinah,
Is courage, support, hope.

Arms to hold me up, giving me strength.
Smiles, nods to warm my heart and help me know that
even in the desert I am not alone.

Nevarech et ein ha-chayyim,
v'cho t'varech
Let us bless the source of life,
for so we are blessed,
Grateful for finding strength, hope, courage and life
Ba-makom, in this place,
Eem ha-Makom, with the One who sustains us."

May you too feel courage, support and hope on your way through the desert.
Your sister survivor with wishes for a Shabbat Shalom, a sabbat of peace and wholeness,

Another Survivor Blog/Journal

Check out Bonni's Journal of Survival - "The Trinity Pages".

Working to End CSA

Take a look at Generation Five, a group working on many fronts to end child sexual abuse in 5 generations.

I Wish My Mom Was Part of This

Mothers Against Sexual Abuse stands up for kids. I wish my mom had and would.

Thanks to all the couragous moms, daughters, sons and fathers at the conference who are actively standing up against abuse. (This organization was not discussed at the conference.)

I'll post more about the conference before Shabbat.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Awesome Conference!

The Pursuing Truth, Justice and Righteousness conference was awesome and amazing! I met strong, couragous and hope-filled women who are all out to make a difference in our world and change the horrible reality of relationship violence, child abuse and incest in the Jewish world (and world in general). There is soooo much I want to tell you about it, but it will have to wait for later, as I had very little sleep last night. (My flight was messed up due to the weather and I didn't get back until this morning.) Please check back for more soon.

Your exhausted but inspired sister survivor/thriver,

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Tomorrow it happens! I leave for a 3-day mini-vacation in Washington DC and from there I go to the Jewish Women International (and partner organizations) conference Pursuing Truth, Justice and Righteousness. I am quite excited for the conference. I am going wearing many hats: as an activist, as a survivor and as a rabbi. I look forward to posting all about it. However, it is likely that my posts will be sporadic until next Wed. or Thur.

Take care of yourselves,
From your sister survivor,


Meow from my cat who keeps trying to type on the keyboard.

Monday, July 14, 2003

Sad story

While watching Democracy Now! this morning, I heard the tragic story of Sakia Gunn, a 15-year-old Lesbian, African-American woman brutally murdered in a hate crime in Newark, NJ on May 11, 2003. Her murder was largly ignorned by her school, the city of Newark and the mainstream press. Later today you can find a link to the web stream or transcript at Democracy Now! (it is too soon for it to be up as I post this). One of the people on the Democracy Now segment this morning writes for the Gay City News, and here is one of their stories on the murder.
May justice be found and may all who loved her find her memory to be a blessing.

Saturday, July 12, 2003


I am soooo proud of my friends Dave and Mike - read a news story about them here.

Scary idea

The Village Voice has a scary article about so called "homeland security" measures. This isn't right on target for the topic of my blog, but the idea of personal space/boundries/privacy and saftey does apply, so here it is anyway. Hat tip to Chuck's Blogumentary.

Friday, July 11, 2003

More about why I have this blog

In a comment to yesterday's blog, Chuck asked me about why I have this blog. His question was such a good one, and led me to do some good reflective thinking, that I want to share an extended version of the reasons I gave in the main blog text itslef (see the comments to July 10) for more.

Why I started this blog, part 2 (my first post has part 1)
I started my blog on being an abuse survivor for a number of reasons: 1) Telling/sharing my story helps me to be in touch with the reality of my experience which in turn helps my self esteem (especailly because my family calls me a liar) 2) I seek a community of additional friends who are survivors to learn from their experiences/healing and support them in turn (I do have quite a few friends who are survivors themselves, but one can always use more community and 3) being an activist/educator about the harsh reality of child abuse (1 in 4 girls and 1 in 5 boys is abuse) helps me feel like I can do for others what wans't done for me and 4) Educating about the realities of the existence of abuse in the Jewish community (we like to pretend it doesn't happen to us). Of course, just as many Jews abuse their children or other people's children as other religions/cultures/ethnciities/groups do. I have done some speaking on this very element in the past and hope to again in the future.

Thursday, July 10, 2003

It's true....I'm a geek

According to the Geek Test, I am 24.06312% Geek. How about you? Take the test. Thanks to Chuck's Blogumentary for the tip.

Sheltering Link

Would you harbor a woman escaping domestic violence? If not, would you help your local shelter do it? Shelter Our Sister's is one place that does so (via Jeanette's Kitchen).

Let's all do something in the coming days to work to end violence!

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Enjoyable rain

We've been having cycles of typical summer heat + humidity of the day = evening/afternoon rain and storms. This afternoon, I parked my car in the garage, got out and walked around the building through a pleasant, slow easy and warm rain. I actually enjoyed the gentle touch of the rain on my bare arms, face and hair.

It brings me to the nice side of a childhood memory. When I was around 9 to 10, I began going for walks in the neighborhood to escape from the house. I'd go the park and swing - feeling free and flying through the air helped a lot then and is enjoyable now - or I would walk down to the neighborhood lake and crawl into my super-secret-hiding place - the nook next to a drainage pipe. It was a great hiding place - in earshot of home, yet out of sight of the house & the road and I could see someone before they could see me. One day, while sitting there, a similar gentle rain began to fall. A duck family waddled up on the shore near me and I watched the mom duck and dad duck groom and feed the ducklings. They were so cute. In my little secret world, I felt safe, warm and happy. Today's gentle rain reminded me. Thanks for letting me share the memory with you.

Support each other

The Clothesline Project is a great project for raising awareness and helping others. Check it out!

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Question - Help me with my travel plans, please.

Hi. I will be in Washington, DC at the end of next week and am looking for suggestions for places to eat (with vegetarian or fish options - especially around the mall area or Arlington) and thoughts about sites I should see. I already plan to go to the Library of Congress, Vietnam Memorial and Holocaust Center.

Looking forward to your input.

"Still I Rise" by Maya Angelou

Thanks to Brynne at Still Rising, here is a powerful poem by Maya Angelou (note that permission was not sought from her) which may help you in your journey.

Still I Rise

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.
~ Maya Angelou

A bit of life trivia & a cartoon

Hello. Below I have a link to Tom Tommorow's cartoon This Modern Life for this week. I share it because it resonates with me.

I feel a connection to it as a former Naval Officer (that is my life trivia for you) :-) who is pained by the high expectations and low wages & benefits for our armed services, especially the enlisted ranks.

Here is a link to the cartoon, titled Technical Bifficulties.

Wishing you a day with laughter and courage,

Monday, July 07, 2003

Amber Alert

Thanks to Mike, I have placed an Amber Alert ticker at the bottom of my web page.

Yet more links

Two more links (from the Resources/Support/Activism heading):

*Pandora's Box (270+ pages here!)
*The Survivor's Forum

Your sister survivor,

A slew of links

I've been going through my personal bookmarks today, and decided to link a bunch of sites, quite a few of which I found helpful. I hope some are of help to you. They are listed in the box on the right, but in case it is too overwhelming to try to figure out what is new, here are the new ones:

*Courage to Heal (personal page, not the book)
*Gentle Touch (personal story and resources)
*GhostWolf - Out of the Abyss
*Grrl Survivors
*Healing for the Soul
*Still Waters Run Deep
*Survival story from the American Boychoir
*Survivor Haven
*Survivor Journey (personal story and resources)
*Survivor's Page
*Time for Healing

Good morning

Good morning. I had a nice weekend, if not quite as productive as I hoped.

I had a great dinner last night with friends, inlcuding Joby whose poems (Hope & Choices) I've blogged here (thanks again, Joby) and his fiance S with our mutual friends M & E. Friendship plays such an important roll in my life, as my friends are truly my family of choice.

Wishing you a day of support, courage, hope and friendship,

Your sister in survivorship and hope,

Friday, July 04, 2003

A bit of politics...

As you know, this isn't a political blog. However, every once and a while I see a link that is too good to pass up. There is a cartoon done by a man named Tom Tomorrow called This Modern World, and this week's titled Play it as it Lies" is a doozy. I post it, as part of my "Turn-of-phrase" post on June 30th and Mike's comment on my that post.

More links

Wow. I little surfing today has been powerful. Seeing so many resources out there for survivors is encouraging and disheartening. People are there for us in ways they weren't before, yet the need for such support is still there. God willing, we can all do our part to stopping all forms of abuse - especially child sexual abuse.

Here are some more links:
PARR - Pittsburgh Action Against Rape
Adult survivors of CSA (from PARR)
Breakthrough Options
Story on the power of sexual abuse in a child's life (By the way, I disagree with the very last statement in this story, specifically the one which reads, "Thirdly and most importantly...forgive the perpetrator and those who should have protected us." The importance of forgiveness of the perpetrator is an element of Christian Theology, but not a factor in the same way in Judaism. According to Judaism, if the perpatrator admits his/her wrong and asks directly for the survivor's forgiveness, then the survivor must consider forgiveness. Even in this case the survivor is not seen as needing to grant forgiveness unless the perp. repeatedly asks for forgiveness in a serious way.)
Survivor Circle - Recovery through Art
Healing Hopes - Site for those with DID & those who support them

Again, a day of freedom and hope to all,

A book I wish was around when I was little...

I just came across a book (hat tip to Voices in Action) that I wish was around when I was younger, Kids Helping Kids: Break the Silence of Sexual Abuse. You can read a powerful excerpt called Faith's Story, see the table of contents, read reviews and more. I applaud the author and the kids couragous enough to put their story in writing. I hope they have felt the freedom that recovery and healing can bring.

On this day of freedom, may you come to feel the freedom and hope which healing has brought me.

A Sister in Survivorship,

Thursday, July 03, 2003

Music for the soul

I went to a piano competition today and heard two performers - a man from Italy and a woman from Canada. They played pieces by Liszt, Brahms, Beethoven and Rachmonioff. Their beautifuly played selections had a wide range of moods, emotions and energy. I listened letting my mind, heart and spirit wander where the music took me.

Music can be so healing. Music reaches part of my soul that seem to be out of reach in other ways, even though Judaism is so central and important to my daily life. For as much tzuris (pain, suffering for those of you not familiar with Yiddish) as my parents caused me, I am grateful for the years of music lessons, concerts and Judaism that they gave me. In some ways, the situation with my parents would be easier if things were all bad or all good, but life isn't that easy. Complexity. Life.

Well, that's the installment on my life & healing journey for now,
Your sister survivor,

12 for Incest Survivors

Do you think the 12-step format might help you? If so, go to SIA Survivors of Incest Anonymous

New Abuse Blog

SiteMeter is great! While looking at who has come to my blog today, I learned of a new blog in the world of blogs about abuse survivors. The blog is called My Story Finding Me and I wish the author luck in the healing journey and enjoyable blogging.

Your sister survivor,

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Another touching poem from Joby

The following poem by Joby was shared with me today. It strikes me as not only fitting to what I know from Joby's life, but also applying to a conversation I had with my J (significant other) today. Thanks, Joby, for sharing your heart with me and those who read this blog. I enjoy your poetry and your spirit, even though you are Christian and I am Jewish and we choose to worship/pray/name God in a different way, I appreciate the beauty which shines through your words. Here's the poem (see the June 18, 2003 archives for the other poem by Joby):


Flip a coin into the air
at your crossroads
and say a prayer.
Hope to get it right.
Lady luck can shine on you
in the soft morning light,
but she may vanish quickly
without a whisper
during the stillness of the
lonely night.

Spark a match,
and watch it flame.
Catch the quivering heat
pulsating through
the indecisive brain.
Flicker from flights
of fancy and faith.
Shudder in fear
or come closer to truth.

Except for the actor,
no one knows their
true life’s course.
When faced with choice,
we seek direction.
We can listen to the evangelists,
con men, hookers, or grand stand politicians.
Otherwise, we can listen carefully
to our friends and family
and follow the spirit of gentle recovery
that flows intuitively
within a loving trinity.

God will guide us.
Upon this fact, we can
forever rely.
Closer remaining with Him,
His grace and love
will never abandon us,
even until the day that we die.

What does Reform Judaism say about last week's Supreme Court ruling?

See the following links: (hat tip HUC)

Religious Leaders React to Texas Sodomy Law Ruling [from Weekend Edition - Sunday, Sunday , June 29, 2003] NPR's Allison Aubrey gets reaction from several religious organizations on the Supreme Court's decision to overrule a Texas law banning sodomy.

You can hear the radio clip of the story by opening the NPR page, clicking on the headline or the audio icon to listen to the story. You'll need an audio player to hear it and you can find the right one for your computer at players. If you have any problems, please visit the NPR audio help page.

Want a transcript of this story?

Thanks to npr, radio for your world