Thursday, April 28, 2011

You're Not Alone

If you were abused as a child or as an adult, you are far from alone. There are a lot of non-celebs and celebrities alike that are making a difference in speaking out.

Tina Turner. Gloria Steinem. Mary J. Blige. Sally Field. Jane Fonda. Erin Gray. Charlize Theron.

They’ve all bravely let the world know they've had abuse in their past…and why not? Having been abused is not a shameful thing on you. It is not your fault. You’ve been made to feel that it is, that’s exactly how an abuser gets some of their power.


Sela Ward. Maya Angelou. Martha Beck, Oprah Winfrey and writer Virginia Woolf. Mo’Nique. Jewel. SARK. Hilary Swank. Amy Tan. Meg Tilly. Halle Berry. Fern Michaels. Iyanla Vanzant. Christy Brinkley. Elizabeth Gilbert. Emily Post. Elizabeth Taylor.

Did these people hide in the corner or ultimately back down? Not on your life.

I toured a Women’s Shelter with a group recently. Several people spoke with us about the work they did there. While walking beside a very poised and regal shelter employee, I told her I’d been impressed with her matter-of-fact way of speaking about something as sensitive as abuse. It was as if she weren’t at all afraid of it. This polished and very put-together lady looked me right in the eye and said, “I’m one of the four.”

This is what a victor looks like.

It wasn’t anything she did. The shame was not hers, nor did she choose to wear it in any way. She simply stated a fact.

I know that abusers will tell you there are reasons for what they do or have done, and that you're right smack in the middle of most of those reasons and causes. That’s garbage. Immature beings blame. Mature adults own up to their actions.

Immature beings call names and point fingers and can be pretty good at making you believe it’s all your fault. This has a dual purpose: To cast blame away, and to keep you quiet by making you feel like the 'bad' person. But stay with the feeling you get when they’ve finished talking…that point where real truth begins to seep in. You know wrong when you hear it, don’t you. Everyone is born with a ‘Right/Wrong compass’, and we know this innately; unless we choose to ignore the many indicators.

Abuse is wrong. It should never happen. Think you have to stay down and stay silent, just because you were once a victim? Think again. All of the people listed above didn’t. In fact, in many cases, the abuse was their springboard for later accomplishments. They brushed it off, stepped on it, and elevated themselves far beyond it.

Those listed above are well-knowns, but many others wear the victor’s crown. They’re all around you, those ‘one in four’.

You are definitely, definitely not alone.

I grew up with abuse, too. In my forties, I finally told the right people. It resulted in a court case, with my abuser present. He now has a record, and a civil protection order that has followed him around for many years. He's the restricted one now, while I'm the one that's now free to live my life without the harassment. If he violates the order, he'll go to jail, period. No more explaining or discomfort on my part, something I lived with for decades. Telling isn't the 'tattling' we might have been constantly warned about as children. Telling is, simply stated, telling the truth. And the truth will set you free.

Remember, it's the abuser's history, not yours. They're the only ones that get to feel shame and remorse for what happened. That's their history.

Be free.

*If you've been a victim of domestic violence, see this link.

*If you were sexually abused, for a way to speak your silence that will help yourself and many others, see this link.

**Please visit me on Facebook and Twitter. 

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