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Posts Tagged ‘Inspiration’

YMCA’s Take Child Protection Very Seriously

November 28, 2011 Comments off

YMCAs take child protection very seriously.  Their extensive policies and attention to safety regarding every program and service make them a leader in “state of the art” child protection policy.  They also know that this alone does not keep children safe in their communities.  They instead recognize the need for leadership at every level to be involved and engaged in protecting children from sexual abuse.  With the health and well being of children and families at the heart of their mission and a long history of tackling tough community issues, Y’s across the country are stepping up to convene leaders and engage the entire community in prevention.

Teaming up to support these local Y efforts, D2L and The Redwoods Group Foundation are providing tools, resources and funding assistance to help YMCAs operationalize wide spread community awareness and education.  Our vision is that Ys, serving as the natural conveners, bring together community leaders, other local child-serving organizations, and policy makers as partners in prevention.  This exciting collaboration is empowering communities with a strategy and a model for creating and sustaining positive change in the protection of children from child sexual abuse.

YMCAs are helping lead a national effort to build community initiatives that increase awareness of the problem of child sexual abuse and bring prevention to the local level.  A key to their success with such initiatives is their ability to bring together the right people and resources to facilitate change in communities nationwide.  Locally, they do this every day generating solutions to challenges facing their communities.

While community prevention initiatives across the country are having an impact, Y’s have the ability to exponentially increase participation in the effort.  Serving over 9 million children and 12 million adults in 10,000 communities they can be the most effective and efficient pathway to reducing child sexual abuse.  In addition, one of the Y’s focus area is social responsibility, and their emphasis on youth development makes them a natural partner to address this issue.  As former Y CEO, Ralph Yohe stated, “Y’s are uniquely position to take a leadership role in prevention as we are often at the heart of a community, we have a long history of tackling community issues, and bottom line, the protection and well being of children is part of our mission.”

Thanks to the impact YMCAs have on kids, families and communities—and the sheer number of communities they serve—this “Y movement” will lead the way in engaging the largest group of citizens yet in child protection!

YMCA Background

In early 2009, The Redwoods Group, a commercial specialty insurance group based in NC and one of the largest insurers for YMCAs, contacted Darkness to Light to explore synergies between the two organizations.  Redwoods felt that they could provide benefit to their clients by adding Stewards of Children prevention curriculum to their training offerings, believing that the empowering and emotional elements of the program would augment the policy and procedure training components that were also necessary.

Kevin Trapani, founder and CEO of Redwoods, had a bigger vision.  The Redwoods Group is a privately‐held, Certified B Corps that takes their responsibility for the safety of children at Y’s across the country very seriously.  Not only that, social responsibility is at the core of everything Redwoods believes so it wasn’t enough to just address child safety within the 4 walls of a Y.

A collaboration begins…In 2010, the social enterprise’s Foundation made a commitment to facilitate community‐based child sexual abuse prevention through YMCA’sOver the past three years, the Redwoods Group Foundation has dedicated significant time, energy, and financial capitol to protect children from the trauma of sexual abuse. Collaborating with Darkness to Light, a Stewards of Children “seed fund” was created to assist YMCAs in starting community initiatives.  The Foundation has two staff members working to bring YMCAs together to propel the effort to scale.  Their goal is to help YMCA’s engage community partners in child sexual abuse prevention and intervention.  Ultimately, they hope the effort will be expanded to all YMCAs.

Via d2l

Anny is a Steward’s of Children Authorized Facilitator and Prevention Specialist who trains adults to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse through Darkness to Light’s certification programs.  Please contact Anny to bring Prevent Now! community meetings your area and to arrange Steward’s of Children trainings.  You may contact her via email, anny@annyjacoby.com or 919-225-1421.

Take care and STAY SAFE!

What Can We Learn From Penn State?

November 27, 2011 Comments off
It’s unfortunate that it takes national headlines to get people talking about a problem that is all too prevalent in our society but we can take advantage of this opportunity to shine the light on the issue of child sexual abuse and recognize that we all have a responsibility to protect children.
  • We’ve learned that this issue is not about big universities, celebrity, or the Catholic Church.  It’s not about reputations, or legacies or any one institution.  This issue is about children.
  • We’ve learned that we have to step into the reality that there are people in our midst that would rob children of their innocence and they are people we know and trust.  They will go out of their way to appear above reproach and they will infiltrate our families and organizations where they can have easy access to children.
  • We’ve learned that it takes tremendous courage for children and adults that have been abused to come forward.  We must support and honor this courage and work together to ensure their story is not handed down to other innocent children.
  • We’ve learned that child safety is the job of an adult.  Teaching children how to keep themselves safe from abuse is important, but adults bear the burden of stepping up and speaking out when something doesn’t look or feel right with respect to the wellbeing of a child.  We’ve learned that it may or may not be our legal responsibility as mandated reporters depending on where we live but morally it is the right thing to do.  If you see something or suspect abuse, call the police.
  • We’ve learned that the ramifications of not acting responsibly are clear.  More abuse occurs, more children are harmed, fewer children get the help they so deserve.  To be silent bystanders is to be complicit in its occurrance and wake. To intervene is to ensure that a child is treated and supported, that they are healed and better protected from potential lifelong hardships of trauma.
  • We’ve learned that child sexual abuse is preventable.  We can learn the facts, we can acknowledge the reality, we can talk to others adults, we can ensure youth serving organizations have comprehensive child protection policy, and we can talk to our children.  Awareness and education is the answer.
  • The fight against child abuse cannot be the job of one agency; it has to be a collaborative effort.  It will take all of us to change culture–to one where engaged adults offer no place for a perpetrator to commit their heinous acts and no access to children.
  • We can be stuck in the shock and horror of what happened at Penn State staying focused on who knew what and when or we can pledge right now to stay focused on the things we can do today that better protect children.  Let Penn State serve as a wake-up call.  Will we stay vigilant or will we again become complacent when the smoke clears?

Ways to Get Involved

Via d2l.org

Anny is a Steward’s of Children Authorized Facilitator and Prevention Specialist who trains adults to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse through Darkness to Light’s certification programs.  Please contact Anny to bring Prevent Now! community meetings your area and to arrange Steward’s of Children trainings.  You may contact her via email, anny@annyjacoby.com or 919-225-1421.

Take care and stay safe.

Child Sexual Abuse Community Awareness Meetings Being Planned…

November 19, 2011 Comments off

The Darkness to Light’s child sexual abuse program(s) are trainings across the United States.

Have you taken a stance again CSA?  If not, why not?  Call or email me to plan Darkness to Light’s Child Sexual Abuse Community Meetings, Prevent Now! (45 mins) and/or “Stewards of Children”, two-and-a-half training sessions for adults.  Darkness to Lights program seeks “to empower adults through awarness and educational programs to PREVENT, RECOGNIZE AND REACT RESPONSIBLY to childhood sexual abuse. 

“The only public good thing that came out of the horrible Penn State situation is it’s brough major attention to Child Sexual Abuse.”  Take a stance, NOW!

Take care and STAY SAFE!

Sandusky case triggers pain well beyond campus…

November 16, 2011 1 comment

As adults, victims suffer nightmares, anger, anxiety from childhood abuse.

By Kari Huus, Reporter msnbc.com

As the Penn State sex abuse scandal unfolds — ghastly detail by detail — on front pages, the airwaves and Twitter accounts, the news can be especially devastating for one group in particular: former victims of sexual abuse.

“Another night of triggers and flashbacks,” writes a forum member on MaleSurvivor.org, a website devoted to healing male victims of sexual abuse. “… I felt him all over me and my arms are scratched as I try to get the feeling of his hands off me. … I think all the (Penn State) news set the triggers off, and now I am like a zombie, trying to recover and move forward today.”

“I never met Jerry Sandusky, but feel I know him all too well,” writes another member of the forum, referring to the university’s former defensive coordinator who stands accused of sexually molesting at least eight young boys. “I dealt with my own ‘Jerry’ when I was 12 or 13. … Now that he is sated and I am long forgotten, I’m still picking up the pieces.”

“This whole thing is devastating me. These boys are lost in the details … just as most of us here were,” the member added.

Psychologists say that any sex abuse victim — man or woman — may find that news of the Penn State case sparks painful memories. But the way this case is unfolding strikes an especially deep chord with men.

“It can be very triggering of either their own memories — they may get flashbacks — or they may get angry again,” said Richard Gartner, a psychologist and psychoanalyst in New York, and spokesman for Malesurvivor.org. Some men may have to limit their news consumption, and maybe avoid watching football to avoid a panic attack or bout of depression, he said.

“It is re-traumatizing for them — more so to the extent that they believe that this is being handled wrong … and ignoring the needs of the victims.”

Different experience for boys
Sexual abuse has a different impact on boys than on girls, and they deal with it differently because of socialization, experts say.

“Men aren’t supposed to be victims. Men are supposed to be strong,” said Jim Hopper, clinical instructor of psychology at Harvard Medical School. “A man says I’m not a real man, because I let someone do this to me. I should have been tougher. Even after years of therapy they say this.”

Girls who are abused by men are psychologically damaged, to be sure, experts say, but boys abused by men often come to question their sexual identity and orientation.

“If they were sexually abused by a man, there’s this whole stigma — does that mean I’m gay, or did he do it to me because I look gay?” says Hopper.

Another difference: Boys who forced into sexual acts may have an erection — a physiological response which makes them all the more confused and ashamed of the encounter, Gartner says.

The women’s movement helped bring sexual assault of females into the public eye — and led to tougher penalties against attackers, more policy aimed at prevention and better access to care for victims. The focus on sexual abuse of boys came nearly 20 years later, when hundreds of childhood victims went public with stories of abuse by Catholic priests, according to Gartner.

Shame, silence, secrecy
Still, the shame and stigma makes it less common for boys to report abuse and seek help than girls, studies show.

“Men tend to come into treatment much later in life,” said Gartner. “Usually they are in their 30s, 40s or 50s — occasionally in their 70s — never having spoken about this.”

Their reluctance to talk about abuse is partly to blame for the perception that sexual abuse of boys is rare, Gartner said.

Research shows that about one in six boys are sexually abused before they are 16 years old, according to Hopper, a founding board member of the nonprofit organization OneInSix, which aims to help men deal with abuse they experienced as children.

The number for girls is one in four. The statistics do not include verbal harassment or other forms of non-physical sexual abuse, such as forcing a child to watch a sexual act.

Reports of sexual abuse by boys are still more likely to be dismissed, researchers say, which can intensify the victim’s pain and difficulty later in life.

“Boys who are sexually abused are mostly disbelieved, or it is minimized,” said Gartner. “They’re told, ‘just get over it’.”

“They learn that nobody’s safe,” said Hopper. “That’s really devastating. … that people who were supposed to protect me are not going to help me, they are blaming me!”

That perception by a child can lead to a wide array of problems as they grow older, including depression, anxiety, emotional numbing, substance abuse, and difficulty forming healthy relationships.

PTSD in high gear
Robert Brown, 51, who is now open about his story, was repeatedly sexually assaulted over the course of seven years when he was a child. He says the perpetrators were older boys who were favored because they were top athletes in his small New Hampshire town, while his plight was ignored by adults.

Brown did not acknowledge the problem to anyone until four years ago, when he was blindsided by a severe bout of post-traumatic stress.

Now he is a child protection activist, and shares his story on the MaleSurvivor.org forum, many of whom keep their abuse secret.

“In my lifetime and in my time with all other survivors that I know, the Penn State case is the most earth-shattering one for us to face,” Brown said in an interview.

“Probably because of the authority abused and the trust abused by the sports program and by Jerry Sandusky. It gets worse when we see that it’s underprivileged kids being so badly abused as if they are throwaway people,” he added.

“We identify very, very strongly with these boys. And we identify with the poor handling of this. To think there are 15-year-old cases that have never been dealt with,” Brown said. “It kicks off the (post-traumatic stress) into high gear — nightmares, flashbacks, extreme depression. It’s been some of the worst few days of my life emotionally.”

Gartner said that while the Penn State case has clearly caused pain and anguish for men struggling with the aftermath of abuse, it does demonstrate that perceptions have changed since the 1980s, when he started treating sexually abused men.

“Before the (Catholic) church scandal, even in professional meetings, people rolled their eyes, feeling that (sexual abuse of boys) happened rarely,” said Gartner. “Now, nobody seems to be saying it doesn’t happen. It does give people courage to come forward and disclose and get help, and that’s positive.”

Take care and STAY SAFE!

 

Penn State Tradegy by Erin Merryn

November 14, 2011 2 comments

By now we all have heard about Penn State. All you need to do is turn on the television and whether you are watching the news or sports they are talking about it.

Jerry Sandusky doesn’t have many free days left before he is locked away for the rest of his life. He is a perfect example of why we need Erin’s Law in every state. Adults in charge witnessed children being molested by assistant coach Jerry Sandusky and while they reported it they did not take it to the police which they should have reported immediately when they saw it happen. No ifs, ands, buts, about it. They witnessed a horrific act take place or were told about these horrific acts being done to children and they turned a blind eye.

The Board of Trustees did exactly what needed to be done and that was firing the President of the University and head coach Joe Paterno. Joe started off doing the right thing by taking it to the President but when the President did not go to police with the matter this is when it was Joe Paterno’s moral duty to report it to police. Instead more children’s innocence would be stolen all in the sake of protecting the Universities reputation. A school’s image is more important in the mind of a University President then innocent children who fell into the hands of a very dangerous sick individual who used his authority to groom and rape children. Reports have said Sandusky gave the children he abused many gifts. Often sexual predators use gifts as a way to silence children on top of threats. Several adults over a fifteen year time period were aware of Jerry Sandusky’s actions yet Jerry continued to be around children and abusing several more.

If these children had learned in school the same way they are educated on tornado drills, bus drills, fire drills, DARE, Stranger Danger, Internet Safety, Bully Intervention, etc. on safe touch, unsafe touch, safe secrets, unsafe secrets, how to get away and tell today then these children would have had the courage to speak up and keep telling an adult until someone put an end to their horror. Instead they were never educated because we fail to educate kids on sexual abuse which is why I went after Erin’s law. The law that would have empowered these children with the power to use their voice and tell someone. So many more children could have been saved from the hands of Jerry Sandusky had they been educated. Parents would have been educated through Erin’s law on what to talk about with their kids and the warning signs to look for in a child that has been abused. One parent whose child was abused spoke openly without her identity being revealed and she shared how her son’s behavior changed, he began acting out, showed lots of anger, and did not want to be around Sandusky. She went to the school guidance counselor about it and the guidance counselor brushed it off saying it is a phase he is going through. Had this mother been educated on the biggest silent epidemic in this world, that being sexual abuse of children, then she would have known to talk to her son and her son would have known to talk and not keep these secrets.

I would advise any parent never to let your kids stay the night with their coach. Invites to overnights by a coach, youth group leader, etc. is a red flag right there. That should be a strict boundary in every household. I don’t care how well you think you know the person. Is the risk really worth it knowing your child could fall hands to a predator you never imagined would do such a thing. It is time for the world to take off their blinders and wake up. What has happened at Penn State as I have been saying for years is happening in our own backyards. Just take a look in your own community. These sex offenders  live in your communities and you don’t even know it because many have not been caught. Not until we educate children through Erin’s Law in schools will more children break their silence. My law will prevent what happened at Penn State from ever happening again because children won’t spend years in silence because they will be educated to know this is wrong and not to keep it a secret. Children will be turning these sexual predators in the first time it happens because they will be getting the other end of the message. The first message is to stay silent, this is our secret, don’t tell anyone, I will hurt you, your family, no one will believe you, etc. The message that is missing throughout society is the educational piece. Don’t keep this a secret, tell someone, we will believe you, keep telling until someone takes action, who are safe people in your life you can tell if this happened to you, etc.” Sexual predators don’t just take children’s innocence they take their voice when they are being abused. We have to empower children to use their voice and not fall into the trap of silence.

Penn State needs to use what happened in their community and take action against this silent epidemic. They now have the reputation that won’t be going away. This scandal will be one talked about decades from now so they now have the power to make change happen in society. Addressing the silence around sexual abuse and demanding change. Being a voice for the 39 million survivors that exist in America alone. Urging their lawmakers and Governor to pass Erin’s Law in their state.

I turned the painful events of sexual abuse and rape in my childhood into putting a face and voice on this silent epidemic in my two books Stolen Innocence and Living For Today, passing Erin’s Law in Illinois and Missouri and eventually will get it passed in all 50 states, and flying the country speaking before thousands of people the past 7 1/2 years to shatter the silence, stigma, and shame around sexual abuse. The same way I turned the tragic events in my life into triumph the same is possible for the reputation of Penn State. They can do something positive about this unlike the riots that broke out this week. They can raise awareness and become a campus that is a face and voice on child sexual abuse for educational institutes around this country and world.

With an estimated 39 million survivors of sexual abuse in America 3 million of those are children right now living in our country. That 3 million could fill 46 national football stadiums. Imagine that for a moment 46 national football stadiums of children that have been sexually abused. Joe Paterno was Penn State head football coach for 46 years.  For every year he was head coach the entire football stadium could be the 3 million children in America who were sexually abused. These children are real and the life long challenges they face because of sexual abuse can be life altering. Shame and pain that you could never imagine if you have never been abused. These children often grow up to be adults many carrying their silence into adulthood because the shame is too great. Because of the silence around sexual abuse they often feel so alone in this world. Alone in a world where a past comes back to haunt them in nightmares and flashbacks. Pulling them right back into reliving the trauma they suffered. Many survivors of sexual abuse as children will spend years in therapy trying to come to terms with what happened and learn how to go on living a life and not be defined by this.

I was interviewed by a Penn State writer for the college paper today for a story that will run in the next day or two. As I tried to explain to her that I wanted her to get across to her study body is the fact that this isn’t about college football. We are talking about innocent children who were raped at the hands of a very sick individual who preyed on them while they were doing something they loved, playing football. I would not be surprised if several of these children turned away from ever playing football again after what happened because of the painful reminder it brings back. I spoke back in April at a child abuse conference in Hershey, Pennsylvania not very far at all from Penn State. I had just come from speaking the day before at a New Jersey child abuse conference and drove two hours into Pennsylvania in my rental car. I was driving into a town that was known for being chocolate capital of the country. The light posts in the downtown were Hershey kisses, they have chocolate businesses every where and the biggest attraction is chocolate world where children go for school field trips and parents take kids. If you like chocolate you were in the right town and you would think it would be hard to pass through this town without stopping for chocolate. Well as I explained in my speech I don’t eat chocolate. I actually hate it. I won’t eat chocolate cake, brownies, frosting, ice cream, etc. How is it possible to hate chocolate? Well if you have read my books I explain clearly in them why I don’t eat chocolate you see I use to love chocolate as a kid. It took one night celebrating my grandfather’s birthday with all my other relatives in 1998 for me to find myself locked in a dark bedroom with a cousin on top of me, molesting me, begging him to let me go, hearing the sounds of happy birthday being sung downstairs to my grandfather, and eventually being told by my cousin to go get cake with him. I sat at a table in the kitchen in silence with a chocolate piece on cake and my cousin taking a seat right across from me with his piece of cake and just smiling at me with that grin I will never be able to erase from my mind. I felt my stomach turn and with the rich taste of chocolate in my mouth  and I just wanted to throw up. He often gave me something called a Star Crunch after abusing me at his house. Star Crunch was chocolate coated with caramel and rice crispy. Anytime I put any form of chocolate in my mouth it became triggering and the rich taste of it would immediately bring me back to memories of abuse. I have tested myself and have learned the only way chocolate doesn’t do that to me is chocolate with peanut butter in it. Here is one example how someone even like myself that is so outspoken on sexual abuse can also continue to be affected by actions of someone who abused me.

Penn State is a national tragedy and many lives have been hurt. It is time to raise up and tackle this issue that needs to be addressed in every state, educated in every school, every home, and survivors need to know they have nothing to be ashamed of. I have no doubt that more boys will come forward and that number of 8 will get higher. If you know someone or are someone that has been abused and never told anyone or did tell someone and nothing was done then tell someone today. You have nothing to be ashamed of and you could be helping others come forward and find their voice. You find a new sense of peace finding your voice.

God Bless the survivors of sexual abuse at the hands of Jerry Sandusky. Justice will come I promise!

PENN STATE be an example for others, start to educate, raise awareness, go after Erin’s Law. The country is watching. Make us proud.

About Erin Merryn

Erin Merryn is the author of Stolen Innocence and Living for Today,  memoirs about incest and rape.  She graduated in May 2009 with a Master’s degree in Social Work from Aurora University. A leading participant in Take Back the Night, her goal is to raise awareness of abuse in order to end the stigma and silence. Since 2004 she has been traveling across America giving inspirational and motivational speeches at national conferences, community events, Children’s Advocacy Centers, colleges, and high schools. She has appeared on Oprah, Good Morning America and Montel Williams.  Her writings have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul, Daily Herald, and Teen Voices, among others. Erin spends her time between the suburbs of Chicago and Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Visit Erin at www.erinmerryn.net.

Take care and STAY SAFE!

Life After Abuse…Success Survivors

December 24, 2010 3 comments

Sometimes life throws us the very worst it has to offer. It did for me. From the age of 5 to until the age of 20, I endured what most people only imagine in their worst nightmares. From severe abuse at the hands of my parents, to rape, to watching my best friend’s murder, I went through the figurative “wringer”. It took years of therapy and medication for me to be able to cope with all that I had been through. Yet I still felt an empty spot, like there was something that needed to be fulfilled.

It was the 13th anniversary of Tess’s murder. I felt like I HAD to do something to honor her memory. I recalled that she used to love reading the short stories I wrote, so I decided to write one especially for her. I wrote HER story: the story of her murder and what took place afterward. To my utter surprise, it was tremendously healing for me. So, I kept writing. The next thing I knew, the little story of Tess, had become part of a book about my life! I never imagined when I wrote it that I would publish it, or that one day I would speak out publicly against domestic violence. Yet here I am. And the response has been overwhelming.

People I’ve never even met are sending me e-mails with loving thoughts for healing and blessings. It’s very touching to say the least! I can’t even begin to say how grateful I am to each and every one of them or to tell them how much of an impact they have made on my life. Their words of encouragement and love have forever changed the course of my life. I’m doing things now, that I never imagined myself doing. And I’m a different person now, than I ever imagined I would be. I am stronger, and more together now than I ever have been before in my life.

I won’t hide in the shadows keeping my secrets to myself anymore. I won’t pretend that nothing happened and shove it aside. I am a survivor. And I am NOT afraid to talk about it anymore. I am NOT alone anymore. And I am at peace. And if I, Little ol’ me, can survive the things I did and be OK, then anyone can survive! A wise teacher once told me that the first rule of survival is wanting to. How true that is! All you have to do is want to, the rest will fall into place. You just have to make it happen. And that’s what I want to do. I want to help people take that first little step toward healing. Because that’s all it takes: just one step. The Universe, or God or whatever you call it, will do the rest. Everything happens for a reason. If you’re reading this right now, there’s a reason for it. You might not know what it is today, or even tomorrow. But someday, you will know and it will make sense. Believe it.

BOOK SYNOPSIS

Imagine eating bugs to get away from a horrid situation or watching helplessly as your best friend is murdered right in front of you. One woman did and survived to tell about it. A riveting story of survival and the triumph of the human spirit, “The Truth About Luci” gives us an inside glimpse into the world of V.K. Lindsey. She speaks candidly about the many horrors she faced growing up and how she was able to forge ahead and eventually free herself from the nightmarish situations she was in.

But there’s more to the story than just abuse, tragedy and murder. “Luci” also suffered from disturbing premonitions which haunted her throughout her childhood. In an inside glimpse of childhood ESP, V.K. Lindsey describes the processes she went through as a child having to cope with her unusual skill and the impact it had on both she and her family.

The Truth About Luci” Is a must-read for anyone who has ever experienced Domestic Violence either personally or professionally or who is curious about premonitions.

AUTHOR BIO: V.K. Lindsey

V.K. Lindsey is the author of “The Truth About Luci –Based on a True Story”. The book was published in September, 2010 and so far has garnered some positive press. She is speaking out publicly against domestic violence and has several events scheduled in the near future. V.K. Lindsey is the author of an on-line newsletter and is currently writing two books. She enjoys camping, hiking and quilting and spending time with family and friends.

Silent Cries is the insightful and thought-provoking new book by best-selling author Lisa J. Peck. This is the story of how Charlene, an upper middle-class woman endures domestic violence, escapes, and finds love again.

The book is written as email correspondence between Charlene and her friends and husband. Although written in the style of fiction, this “novel” is based upon real-life events that occurred in the author’s life. This book displays the emotional reality of abuse and why it is so hard for women to escape. Charlene is, in reality, trapped by emotional, spiritual, and physical abuse.

Lisa herself took classes on the subject of domestic violence and eventually educated herself safely out of her situation. She is now a Certified Growth Climate Relationship Specialist and Educator. She teaches other victims and abusers how to stop the chain of domestic violence, which is demonstrated in her book.

This book not only helps the victims of domestic violence but also provides a ray of hope to all those individuals faced with challenging tasks, as well as the necessary courage and willpower to accomplish all they want to achieve. You will learn to assert yourself and to walk, unshaken, toward the realization of your dreams of freedom — freedom from challenges and freedom from fear. This book is a testimony to the fact that you can accomplish even the most daunting of tasks, with determination and faith.

This insightful and thought-provoking novel unfolds through personal email, providing an intimate, computer-screen view of Charlene’s life.

This is an opportunity for YOU to accompany Charlene on this unique email journey through her abusive marriage, divorce, single parenthood, and Internet dating adventures. Experience with her the highs and lows of life after divorce. Charlene grows and develops as a friend, mother, and individual, even as she reaches out to others through email. An aspect of domestic violence that often goes unheard — emotional abuse — is explored in this book. The reader is provided with effective solutions to put an end to the cycle of violence.

Unlike other books, this novel displays the raw, emotional aspects of domestic violence. It also shows why women find it so difficult to escape from it. In most cases, the women are not even able to identify that they are being subjected to emotional abuse . . . until it is too late, when the effects are already far-reaching and beyond salvage. Lisa lived in the trenches and was able to escape from her “golden cage” to become a successful survivor. She teaches that no situation is beyond salvage, and how you too can find a way out.

Excerpt:

“Judy, I’ve been abused. My father abused me, my past boyfriends, and now sometimes my husband. It’s so hard to realize this. I don’t want to be one of those victimized people. I have a college degree, beautiful children, and an upper level middle-class life. How can I be an abused wife? The pain that’s going on with all this realization is intense. It will either break me or heal me. I’m not sure which. I’m praying for strength to face my demons.

In Silent Cries, Charlene makes a list of all the problems she is having with her husband, Brad. It makes her feel much better, even though she wonders what the heck she is doing with him. By leaving him, she chooses happiness. She cannot help feeling that this is the first day of the rest of her life! This is a life-changing decision that many women lack the courage to make. They would rather endure a lifetime of misery, than take the risk of being a single parent. You can learn exactly how she put an end to her misery and chose hope. Read the book. Learn how Charlene did it.

In Silent Cries, Charlene finds the courage to break free from an abusive relationship and break the cycle of domestic violence. She takes on the challenge of being a single parent. Discover how she makes a new life for herself. Lisa Peck, the author, says that once you are out of the marriage and safely away from domestic violence, you might still have to face many problems. She wishes she could have known what was in store for her as a single mother. Find out how Charlene feels about being a single parent.

Silent Cries is not just another book on the subject of domestic violence and abuse. Lisa J. Peck, author of Silent Cries, has suffered domestic abuse in her own life. She learned to recognize it and face it bravely, and she had the courage to break free from an abusive spouse. She studied domestic violence and is now a Certified Growth Climate Relationship Specialist and Educator. She teaches other victims of abuse, and abusers, how to stop the chain of domestic violence. Her book teaches readers how to stand tall, brave adversities with courage, and rekindle their hopes for a good life.

This is not a reference text about domestic violence. It is not an instructional manual on how to escape from a batterer. Plenty of these exist. It is a travel guide to a country no one visits willingly, the collective tales of past travelers making the landscape less threatening, less alien. I hope the many voices in this book will convince you that these stories belong to all of us. Domestic abuse doesn’t just happen “out there” somewhereit happens in our town, in our neighborhood, on our street. It happens to people we see at the supermarket, the movie theater, the ballet, the bowling alley, and the PTA board meeting. It happens to our friends, our coworkers, and our family members. Women who have experienced domestic abuse look just like everyone else. They look just like me. Abused women look just like Judy North, a first-grade teacher from Nebraska who remained with her abusive husband for ten years, until the night she finally stood up to him…and woke up in the emergency room. Abused women look just like Whitney Benson, a Mormon college student from southern Utah. She worries about the scars on her face from her boyfriend’s class ring; I worry about the scars on her soul from his carefully crafted campaign of criticism, intimidation, and punishing rape. And abused women look just like Andrea Hartley, a pediatrician in her late forties who considers herself extremely fortunate. Although the man she married when she was thirty proved to be extremely violent, the emotional support of her family, friends, and medical colleagues enabled her to leave him only four months later. They come from all walks of life. Some are well educated; others barely finished high school. Some comefrom wealthy families; others come from poor ones. Some witnessed terrifying family violence as children; others never heard an angry word. Some were raised by warm, supportive families; others by cold, distant families. Some married young; others married late. They worship in churches, in synagogues, or not at all. They come from big cities, small towns, farming communities, and suburbs. What these women have in common is that each was in an intimate relationship with a man who abused her. Some were abused physically. Some were abused sexually. All were abused psychologically…the most devastating type of abuse, leaving the deepest wounds. This is not a book about guns, knives, emergency rooms, or police reports. Many stories focus instead on the subtle campaign of abuse, wearying and corrosive, which trapped their teller in a web of daily threat. Yet despite the humiliation, fear, and isolation, each woman managed to escape from her abuser. Theirs are stories, not of frailty, but of clarity, resourcefulness, and strength.

A Note From Anny:

For any victim in her transition to survivor know that through your courage, strength and determination that there is light at the end of the tunnel.  At times things may seem bleak but you have to put one foot in front of the other, step-by-step you are beginning your healing process.  No one can put your healing on a timeline, you will heal in your own time.  As a fellow survivor, a Success Survivor, I commend each one of you.  You are the light, you are worthy, you are strong, you are determined and so much more.  Don’t try to rush the process as it can become overwhelming.  Make a list and as you accomplish things that you feel that you must address cross them off – that is true success.  You must remember that the abuse that you endured did not happen overnight and it will take time.   Trust me, when you have healed you will be set free and oh what a feeling.

I wish each of you, my Sisters Overcoming Abusive Relationships, S.O.A.R.) I wish you a Blessed Christmas and a healthy prosperous New Year.