I've recently been invited to serve on the Board of Directors of a foundation called Let Go,Let Peace Come In at www.letgoletpeacecomein.org/ .
Their mission is: "To bring healing, support, and awareness to the hundreds of millions of adult childhood sexual abuse survivors and their families worldwide. We plan to enact change within the healthcare systems, political systems and societies by teaching and educating through the current technologies. We will weave our message of peace, hope, recoveyr and happiness into the fabric of these societies by integrating published materials with video, audio and Internet media throughout the world. And we will raise money for a non-profit fund to provide the financial assistance necessary to start survivors of childhood sexual abuse on the path to recovery, "one" survivor at a time."
They have carved out a large agenda for a social problem that is viewed more as a stigma, a mark of shame and discredit. Seeing this worldwide epidemic as a stigma is the largest challenge that must be overcome. Let Go, Let Peace wants to approach this problem in a different way. They are encouraging survivors to send a photo and a brief of their trauma. They are also asked to send in their story. But the most important gift they have to offer is providing financial assistance to those who need it to change their world from despair to joy. Can they do it? They have assembled for their Board Members a brain trust, people who mostly are survivors; not just survivors but people who will gladly come forth to tell their stories, members who will think deeply on solutions, on changing the numbers, people who have their own foundations and organizations and are joining forces with the others when they are all committed to one primary objective, to bring as many victims out of hiding to tell their stories and become healed survivors. They all know that the primary reason perpetrators get away with what the are doing is because they know their victims will not tell. We want to prove them wrong.
Having studied and written about childhood sexual abuse for many years my biggest question has always been why the silence? If that child who was sexually molested went to their parent , the police or their teacher and told them that someone had robbed them and taken every one of their belongings they would receive massive support, an immediate search for the thief and if found, a swift punishment for his crimes. This child could freely tell his friends and would receive an avalance of sympathy; his parents would surround him with love and protection. Yet if that same child had been raped, not only could he not tell anyone, the perpetrator would go free to find other victims, and the child would now be a target for other perpetrators to abuse them again. Most childhood sexual abuse victims are abused more than once, sometimes with multiple traumas. If he did try to tell someone he would whisper it, he would try to minimize it with words like, "I think it might have been my fault. He told me it was."
Why? Why this amazing secrecy, this dirty little word that our society is trying to eradicate. There are dozens, maybe hundreds of websites and non profit organizations working on child sexual abuse. There are blogs that will make you dizzy with information. Everyone is an expert. Everyone is going to be the ONE who puts its finger on the pulse of incest and child sexual abuse and develops the perfect program. And the numbers keep growing. If you were in a store shopping with dozens of other people and if all of a sudden each person who had been a victim turned red the store would be aglow with red people, more than you could count, as high as 1/3 of all the people. If you tagged all those who knew someone who had been abused with green, who were impacted in some way, like magic the entire shopping area would glow like a Christmas tree.
It saddens me. It terrifies me. It challenges me. I want for the Let Go, Let Peace Come In Foundation to make a huge difference in the world wide epidemic. I receive email every day from places all over the world wanting help. I receive email from people who have a family member they want to help. When I check the map on my StatCounter, which keeps track of people who visit my website at www.thelamplighters.org, the map comes alive with red circles with pointers that open up to tell where they are from. I receive hits from countries I've never heard of, in areas where the red circles are so numerous they climb on top of each other, from states where the hits cover the entire state. I want somehow for the miracle of giving people the courage to start telling their stories. Others will come out of hiding to share their stories. I think of the words from the good witch in The Wizard of Oz, "Come out, come out where ever you are.........." I think of the time when I was telling my story to several women at a park in a small town in Nebraska and one of them said in a hushed whisper, "Why are you talking as if it wasn't your fault?" "It wasn't," I responded. "It wasn't?" By the time I left that young lady as well as several other came forward and told me their stories. We were all alike. We were all different. But what we mostly were, was Courageous.
Yes, that's all it takes. So those of you who want to come out of hiding, go to my website and click "Stand Up and Be Counted", list your name and location, then go to the website of Let Go and tell your story. I promise, you will be a courageous example to bring even more out of hiding. Just Do It!
(Please see the multiple five star reviews on amazon.com for my books REPAIR Your Life: A Program for Recovery from Incest & Childhood Sexual Abuse and REPAIR For Kids: A Children's Program for Recovery from Incest and Childhood Sexual Abuse. REPAIR For Toddlers and It's Your Choice! Decisions That Will Change Your Life will be released by Loving Healing Press before the end of the year.)