#MeToo, Abuse comes in many forms, Author Spotlight, Bullying, Family Dysfunction, PTSD/CPTSD, Reviews, Self Help/Healing, Sexual Abuse, Victims of sexual abuse/sexual assualt

Soul Cry by Dana Arcuri

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The author is an advocate for survivors of abuse and she shares her knowledge and experience not only in her book, but within the Twitterverse as well. Survivors that have healed and recovered enough to become advocates and make it their mission to raise awareness is truly inspiring.

Soul Cry discusses topics about various forms of abuse, trauma and content that may be triggering for some readers.

Dana is candid about being bullied.  While it’s common to experience sibling rivalry and have disagreements, the bullying that Dana endured was intentionally malicious, uncalled for, and sadly ignored.

As a child, we look to our parents and caregivers for protection, to learn how to set healthy boundaries,  and to know what is acceptable behavior. When the single parent is emotionally unavailable, the teenage babysitter is cruel and abusive and the older siblings gang up on you and feed into the torture, it’s no wonder that little Dana suffered through chronic pain and CPTSD.

Unfortunately, the effects of CPTSD linger and follow you through the rest of your life in the form of trust issues, insecurity, poor decision making, and you are often targeted for being manipulated. I’m not suggesting that the author feels this way; it’s my observation from talking with other survivors.

Dana does a great job of sharing her story. The reader will gain insight as to how the effects of trauma linger well after the event has passed. I can relate to various aspects of her experience and the frustration of your family not believing you and not stepping in to protect you. Sadly, that happens all too often. For many survivors of trauma, we tend to carry the burden alone, we don’t have the support we need, nor are we removed from the situation.

The author also shares her experience with multiple prescriptions that she was issued and how those taken together caused more unnecessary pain and suffering. The medical professionals don’t always get it right. Don’t be afraid to get a second, third, or fourth opinion.
My only critique: The author repeats herself multiple times which disrupted the flow. That is the reason for the 4-star rating. If I could leave 4.5 I would have.

#amwriting, #MenToo, #MeToo, Adoption, Amazon Kindle, Best Selling List, Book Promotion, Book Sales, Goodreads, Leave a Review, Reviews, Self Help/Healing, Self-Publishing, Sexual Abuse, Speaking from Experience, Stigma/Taboo

Kindle Giveaway Promotion, July 1-5, 2020

Reinbeck Studio, Creative Space

If you’re a reader that enjoys #nonfiction #memoir, Breaking the Cycle of Abuse: My Journey from Victim to Survivor offers a unique perspective on how #childhood #trauama and #family #dysfunction follows a child into adulthood.

The history of abuse in my family didn’t start with me; I made sure that it ends with me. No child should ever have to experience such heartbreak and trauma.

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#amwriting, #MeToo, Abuse comes in many forms, Adoption, Amazon Kindle, Best Selling List, Book Promotion, Book Sales, Goodreads, Leave a Review, PTSD/CPTSD, Self Help/Healing, Self-Publishing, Stigma/Taboo, Victims of sexual abuse/sexual assualt

Kindle Giveaway Promotion, July 1-5, 2020

If you’re a reader that enjoys #nonfiction #memoir, Breaking the Cycle of Abuse: My Journey from Victim to Survivor offers a unique perspective on how #childhood #trauama and #family #dysfunction follows a child into adulthood.

The history of abuse in my family didn’t start with me; I made sure that it ends with me. No child should ever have to experience such heartbreak and trauma.

 

 

#MenToo, #MeToo, Abuse comes in many forms, Educate Yourself, Speaking from Experience, Stigma/Taboo

Choose to be part of the solution

In this blog post, I would like to share my thoughts and opinions about something I read yesterday.

While on Facebook I came across a post on one of the (women entrepreneur) groups that I am a member of. Due to the controversial issue, the post was taken down just before I was able to leave a comment. Good on the admins/moderators for taking it down as it had nothing to do with the group; it was a means of getting people fired up and turning on each other.

The article was titled, “#notmetoo” and written by a female that shared her thoughts about the #metoo movement and how it has gone from raising awareness to being used to exploit people. I don’t have an issue with this opinion, as I tend to agree.

I feel that many people don’t really understand what the #metoo movement is all about, nor do they care enough to research the topic. The #metoo movement is about raising awareness, showing just how many people (not just women) that have endured sexual harassment and/or sexual assault. The movement created a platform for many of us (myself included) to know that we are not alone and to show our support to those that choose to come forward.

Is anyone forced into coming forward? No.
You don’t have to out yourself, nor do you have to share your experience.
There is no action for you to take unless you want to.

The author of the article thought that most women have experienced being sexually harassed, what’s the point of saying anything? It was her experience that when it happened to her at work, she said NO and she didn’t have to take any action. The word No was enough, so she didn’t feel like the #metoo movement applies to her.

The author mentioned that if women were stronger, more assertive and weren’t so scared, that they wouldn’t need the #metoo movement and encourages others like her to start a #notmetoo movement.

Here’s the problem I have with that logic. Speaking from my own experience, I was a child, my NO didn’t solve the problem. During my first job out of high school, my No didn’t solve the problem. Some victims are drugged, date raped, overpowered, ganged up on, restrained. Our No, assuming we could get it out was not respected.

Good for her and good for the rest of you that have never had a sexual act of violence forced upon you. Good for you that your No was respected. While you feel that the #metoo movement doesn’t apply to you, you don’t get to diminish the meaning behind it. By doing so, you are basically saying boo-hoo, suck it up, we all get harassed, deal with it.

Trust me, I have been dealing with it, dealing with it for 30+ years because there is no magic cure. I will never be 100%, none of us will ever fully recover.  During times of extreme stress or fear, we all react differently. We either Fight, Flight, Freeze or Fawn. How nice it must be to know how you would react to an act of sexual violence when you haven’t experienced it. Those of us that tend to Freeze or Fawn should not be mistaken for as weak.
Tell me, for those strong, assertive types, if you witness another person being sexually harassed/assaulted, would you help or would you look the other way thinking, suck it up!

The idea of starting a #notmetoo movement is absurd and hurts the rest of us that are trying to recover, looking for support, finally having the courage to speak up. Speaking up IS part of our recovery, so don’t joke about it, make light of the subject or diminish the significance.

The notion of a #notmeetoo movement is as ridiculous as straight people wanting their own “pride” parade. Be glad you don’t need one because your rights and mental health aren’t in danger. You are not the ones being silenced, or not believed when you finally do come forward.

In my opinion, those that are for the #notmetoo movement are part of the problem. Choose to be better, choose to be part of the solution. What do you have to lose?

Sexual harassment is not tolerated in the workplace and Sexual Assault is a CRIME, both of which are never okay.

 

 

 

 

 

#MenToo, #MeToo, Crime/Punishment, Criminal Justice, Not the Popular Opinion, Sexual Abuse, Speaking from Experience, Stigma/Taboo, Victims of sexual abuse/sexual assualt

Coming Forward, Are you ready?

******* TRIGGER WARNING*******

This blog post will touch on topics of coming forward, speaking up and what that means as a survivor of sexual abuse/assault. While I won’t go into detail, the topic in itself may be triggering for many survivors. It is not my intention to trigger, only to inform. Continue reading at your own risk.

 

I’m feeling inspired this morning after I came across a social media post from a survivor seeking advice from those that have come forward about their abuse. This person is seriously considering coming forward, filing a report against her abuser and is looking for support.

My personal thoughts on this matter, I fully support her decision and know first hand just how difficult this is.

Could you imagine if all survivors took immediate action against their abuser(s)? A society where we could come forward, be believed, not have to relive our trauma over and over as we explain in full detail the vile acts that we were forced to endure. A society that wasn’t corrupt and the sexual predators weren’t protected but rather all given a minimum of 15 years in prison with no chance of early release, no special privileges. Imagine if that punishment was universal in every State, Province, and Country. The same sentencing should be imposed upon those who knowingly make false claims.  I do imagine this and I think the acts of sexual violence would decrease because of harsher punishments with no wiggle room to bribe down to a lesser sentence.

The reality is, that’s never going to happen. Greed and corruption exist, not all humans possess the qualities of integrity and accountability; sadly I don’t see things changing for the better anytime soon.

The best opportunity for a survivor to come forward is within 48 hours of the encounter. This small window of time is the only chance to retrieve any evidence that may be present/left behind. Having the courage to get yourself  (or get someone to drive you) to the local hospital is your best chance to ensure that your abuser(s) gets taken into custody.

Without evidence (physical, video, audio) a witness or another survivor that is willing to speak up, the odds of a survivor being taken seriously rapidly decrease. It’s now a matter of a “He said, She said” scenario and it becomes more difficult to prove/prosecute.

Coming forward is especially difficult if there is a Statute of Limitations that prevents survivors from reporting the crime against them after 7, 10, 15 years after it took place. It is frustrating when we process trauma differently and for many of us, our brain has protected us by hiding that trauma for 15+ years. We weren’t aware that a crime against us had been committed until it’s too late. Where’s the justice in that? There isn’t any!

Coming forward within the 48-hour window doesn’t ensure that the brave survivor is granted a “happily ever after” ending. Coming forward doesn’t just affect the life of the survivor, but in most cases affects the lives of those around them. That idea alone is enough for many of us to not come forward at all, especially when the abuser is a family member.

Does coming forward about the abuse you endured make you selfish? Absolutely NOT!

Does coming forward about the abuse you endured come across as “Seeking Attention”? Absolutely NOT!

Yet so many of us are made to believe the opposite is true. That’s because those that are making us feel that way are scared, afraid and don’t want to deal with the aftermath, the judgments, the whispers, the rumors and the hardships that will most definitely follow.

Should that guilt be enough for us survivors to stay quiet and keep our mouths shut? That is up to the survivor. I can’t answer that and speak for everyone.

I was told that there would be “consequences” should I choose to speak up and tell my “story”. I was 9 years and my mother who walked in on my last encounter with her boyfriend was in complete denial. She didn’t believe me even though she witnessed it happening. I knew that this moment was my opportunity to speak up and tell her everything. That wasn’t enough, she was still siding with “him”. I was told that if I was ready to deal with the “consequences” that she would drive me to the hospital and that I would have to endure some very uncomfortable tests and there would be questions that I had to answer truthfully.

I knew that I didn’t do anything wrong, I wasn’t the one lying to my mother about what she walked in on. I had no reason to be punished. I knew that if I couldn’t prove to my mother that I was telling the truth, the abuse would continue and her boyfriend might actually follow through with the death threats he made against my younger brother and mother. How could things get worse for me than they already were at that moment?

The testing and procedures performed at the hospital to collect the evidence took place, not one of my favorite moments. I still have a hard (emotional) time at every OBGYN appointment some 30+ years later. But I knew it had to be done, not just to prove my abuser wrong, but to help protect myself and my brother from possible harm. Also to ensure this bastard doesn’t hurt another little girl. I couldn’t live with that guilt, knowing that I could have done something and didn’t.

The consequences of coming forward appeared shortly after, while still at the hospital. Due to the nature of the crime, me being a minor and the doctors were convinced that my mother was not going to break off the relationship (they weren’t wrong); Child Services were called along with the local police detectives. Long story, short. My brother and I were placed in foster care that evening. What was supposed to be for the weekend, turned into a few weeks, that turned into a few more months. I entered the foster system at age 9 and never got out until I aged out of the system.

Sure, I pressed charges against my abuser and had my day in court. The evidence was tested and obviously came back as his, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison. A small victory for me. My younger brother was completely innocent, had never been abused, had no idea what was going on. He didn’t know what was happening or know why we couldn’t go home. I fought for him, pleaded that he should get to go home.

Being 9 years old and not fully understanding the whole picture.

We later learned that our mother was still visiting her boyfriend (my abuser) in prison. It was those secret visits that caused her to lose her parental rights. We were close to coming home (after 4.5 years). After the proof, after all that I endured and sacrificed to protect myself and my brother, this was how I was rewarded. This was my consequence and my brother was an innocent bystander.

Was Justice served? YES. I got to the hospital, evidence was collected and used to put my abuser away for 10 years. One less sexual predator out in public.

Was the outcome what I had hoped? Not in a million years. I can only be accountable for myself, and I did just that. I didn’t do anything to be ashamed of. Just ashamed to have a mother that didn’t believe me and kept putting my abuser before her kids.

My mother has failed me on several occasions, but that’s a story for another day. The best thing she did was to allow me to make my own choice and drive me to the hospital that morning.

While the situations are similar, there are many variables to consider if you are thinking about coming forward/speaking up about the abuse you endured. As much as I love the idea of all survivors coming forward, I know that many can’t, some aren’t aware that they should. All of which is okay, just know that I support your choice.

For anyone considering coming forward:

  • Do so when you are ready, not because you are feeling pressured.
  • Be prepared to relive your trauma and share your story several times to several people. It’s mentally exhausting.
  • Without evidence or witnesses, filing a police report is still helpful. Should another survivor report the same abuser, that might be enough to prosecute.
  • Most importantly, Know that you didn’t do anything to deserve this. The abuse you endured was not your fault in any way.
  • Start your healing process when you are ready, not because the court mandates it. When YOU are ready.
  • You are not alone. There are many support groups that you can join, even online to help you process what you’re feeling. There is no shame in seeking support. Nobody understands better than someone who’s been through it.
  • For the Parents of a child that comes forward- bring them to the hospital- be supportive no matter the outcome- Protecting your child comes FIRST- Be the adult they need you to be, hold the abusers accountable, no matter who it turns out to be.

Coming forward and reporting the abuse that you endured isn’t easy on so many levels. The courage and bravery required to speak up doesn’t come easy. When you finally do, it’s possible that your claims aren’t taken seriously or they are dismissed as a misunderstanding, especially without proof/evidence. Even with proof and there is no shadow of a doubt, the aftermath is unpredictable. One thing is for sure, you won’t get a Thank You and your efforts won’t get recognized, because it’s not seen as heroic when it most certainly is.

If the TV and Movies have taught us one thing, it’s that in this world, there are Heroes and Criminals/Villians. Heroes help to put the Criminals away, Heroes protect the innocent. This seems to be an acceptable norm, except when it comes to sexual abuse. Sexual Predators are often disguised, hiding in plain sight right under our noses, posing as heroes. Sexual Predators have infiltrated many positions of power and they use that position of power as a means of protection. Now, these Criminals are able to protect other criminals and the Heroes are the ones that suffer.