Sunday, July 31st was the launch of my book and ebook Breaking the Chains of Silence. To commemorate the occasion and to open up a conversation in my local community, there was a community awareness event on the Island in Schuylkill Haven, PA. So many people came out and bought books! I was surprised. I thought more would opt for the free download promotion. So many said that they preferred an actual book in their hands.
I was even asked to sign copies! That was a surreal experience for me. I wanted to pinch my own arm as a reminder that this was real and happening. A year ago, if you would have asked me if I could stand up and speak my truth in my community, I would've said I don't think so. I have come so far in my journey in the past few months. Holding a physical copy of my book in my hand has a way of lending me perspective.
I DID IT!
I may not be able to 'out' the man that abused me when I was three. He may be protected by Pennsylvania's current statute of limitations. But on Sunday, I felt so relieved to stand up and say this happened and he got away with it and could still be hurting others if we don't do something about it now.
I BROKE MY SILENCE.
He is not the only abuser. If we don't want our state to have scandal after scandal after scandal-- we need to stop it. Not just lawmakers, judges, police officers, advocates. We the citizens, need to play a part as well. That is why I included a call to action in my book. Can you write on your hand? You can be an advocate. You can post on social media. I included websites to go to get involved and informed. Foundation to Abolish Child Sexual Abuse has been an excellent resource to turn to as the House Bill 1947 moves through the state legislature.
I STILL LOOK OVER MY SHOULDER.
I will never be free as long as the man who abused and threatened me is free. The crime he committed festers and spreads with the help of silence, guilt, shame, denial and threats. I broke my silence to help me heal. I wrote my book as the book I wish I would've stumbled across when I was 15. The flashbacks and nightmares were so vivid and painful then, I didn't think I could face another day. It is difficult to really show how deep the wounds that the monster inflicted upon me and my family. When a parent drops a child at day care they should be safe. At three years old, the child is still developing. To inflict an adult crime of rape on a 3 year old is horrifying and wrong.
The more people I meet since I published my book, the more tell me it happened to them, too. I want to be a comfort to others as they tell somebody else, possibly, for the first time. I know what it feels like to hold that information inside. Afraid to be judged. Shamed. At times, it can feel like coming forward is a fate worse than the crime itself. But if you push through, it will all be worthwhile. Choose supportive people to open up to, if you can.
Breaking the Chains of Silence is my only chance for my voice to be heard. I just ask that you listen as you read. Special shout out to everyone who was on hand for the live event. It meant so much you were all a part of my journey. Thanks so much! As part of the event, I designed a Clothesline to illustrate some of the steps in my journey. On Sunday they were hanging on an actual clothesline, but to be able to see the designs better I laid them flat for pictures. Click to scroll through.