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- It’s Mental Health Month, and MHA has Us Covered with the #Tools2Thrive Toolkit - Yes, it's May, and that means it's Mental Health Month, one of the times of the calendar year where we try and share stories, resources, and the life the voices of those struggling with their own mental health.… Read More
- Talking About Male Sexual Abuse Survivors on the It’s a Wrap Podcast - I sat down this week to do an interview with Ron Rapaport, host of the It’s a Wrap podcast. You can take a listen to it here, and also check out some of the other inspiring guests Ron has been … Read More
- When it Comes to Abuse, Trafficking, and Violence, Do We Have a Race and Gender Problem? - What I want to address, however, is how our society defines victim, and how it leaves far, far too many people behind. That article above is a great example. How many people, if asked about sex trafficking, picture little white girls or women abducted from Target? Probably a lot. For many, the only real information they've ever gotten about trafficking are warnings about Target or shopping mall parking lots from their Facebook friends. They don't know how many teenage boys from broken homes, living in poverty, are pulled into being trafficked. How many gay youths, rejected by their families, fall victim to it. How many immigrant children here with no parental supervision, are sold off by the people who should be protecting them, into sexual slavery.
Those stories, even if they're told, are not going to grab national headlines. They are not going to evoke world-wide outrage and sympathy. Those are things that happen to "other people". We might even be tempted to start looking for reason why it's their own fault, or at least the parents fault, right?
From a media perspective, we also have to keep this in mind. An abduction of a young white girl from her home, is a rare event. It's actually newsworthy because it happens so rarely. When it happens, it's shocking. A trans, minority, teen being coerced into selling themselves, with no one to turn to for protection, isn't any of those things. A gay male teen being kicked out of their parents house and trying to make it through homelessness, is also not something that happens so rarely that there would be major news coverage of it. These things happen all of the time. So often, that they aren't really news.
So, which group should we have support and services for? I'd like to vote for ALL OF THEM. But that will take educating people about the reality of who gets abused, who gets trafficked, and for us all to accept that it happens everywhere. Until we get there, and are willing to see all different types of people as victims, we will continue to fail one group or another. That's not acceptable. … Read More
- The Importance of Just Listening - The people who helped me, and continue to help me, are the ones who will ask me questions and then just listen. They want to hear my story, even though they can't fix it. They know that they can help by just giving me a space to tell my story, without worrying about the need to fight off their attempts at fixing something that may or may not be relevant at all to my situation. (i.e. I'm glad your cousin felt better after a walk in the forest, but that's not what is happening here!)
So please, just listen. Make the space around you, even if it's virtual, a safe space for your friends and loved ones to tell their stories. Find small ways to help, if you can, but also know that by just listening, just sitting with our stories, you are already helping so much.… Read More
- What’s So Toxic About Positivity Anyway? - This is really my biggest problem. Sometimes, sadness, grief, anger, and uncertainty are entirely appropriate, so why are we telling people to ignore those emotions?
Look at it this way, when we watched George Floyd's death on video, we all felt something, and it probably wasn't all that pleasant. Or, when we read the overwhelming number of deaths from COVID, we felt something. Maybe we all didn't feel exactly the same thing, but we all felt something, and maybe most of all we felt a need to do something about it. If we had simply flipped the page and focused on what we are grateful for, we weren't changing anything, we aren't doing the things we need to do to keep ourselves safe and well. We are just ignoring it.… Read More
- My Story on the Blue Radio Podcast - Grateful for another chance to talk to fellow survivors on this week’s episode of the Blue Radio Show Podcast. Thanks to Helia for reaching out and asking me to share my story. You can listen to the audio on either … Read More
- Who Defines You? - Yes, I can't go back to being a child again like I was before the abuse, and none of us can turn back time and do that. That shouldn't be our definition of "healing". But, maybe our definition of healing should include having a base, a life, or an identity, that is grounded in what we want from life, as opposed to just rearranging our identify in response to abuse.… Read More
- Why Reading Just The Headline is Misleading - The content of the article is pretty accurate, but if you saw the article shared on Twitter, for example, with just the headline, what would your take-away be? Oh, the headline? This is what it said:
"If this happened to you in childhood, you may have mental health problems"
That headline seems to imply the exact opposite of the content of the article. The study they are reporting on, actually says the opposite of that. It implies that we really don't know or understand all of the causes of mental health issues. For some, it may be tied to childhood trauma, for another person it may be tied to something else, or someone with a lot of childhood trauma didn't grow up with mental health issues.
Since we know many, many people only read the headline and then either move on, or share based on the headline alone. I can't help but wonder how many people are sharing something, assuming that it says that childhood trauma causes mental health issues, when the article actually says it's more complicated than that. … Read More
- Child Abuse Advocacy Groups Caught up in Facebook QAnon Purge? - Am I sad that there are fewer child abuse advocacy groups on Facebook overall? Sure. But, what makes me sadder is how many legitimate advocacy groups fell massively short of their duty to tell the truth to their followers. How many continued to share these theories well after they were disproved in some bizarre effort to show how much more they cared about children, while diverting attention and resources from real victims and organizations trying to help them.
So no. I don't feel sorry for you if your page was taken down by Facebook for violating their terms of service around spreading disinformation. You owed real survivors, and the people who followed you to learn more about true child abuse stories, more than that. You are right about one thing, child abuse and child trafficking is an incredibly important issue. Spreading lies doesn't help that message, it provides the rest of the world an excuse to ignore it. If you truly want to advocate for children, stick to the truth, or suffer the consequences.… Read More
- Today, I Had to Say I’m Not OK - I had to follow my own advice yesterday, and do something that wasn't easy, and made me feel weak. I had to admit that I'm not OK… Read More