Guest Blog from Melissa A. Nimijohn
“Every October, Children’s Aid Societies across Ontario raise awareness about the important role that individuals and communities play in supporting vulnerable children, youth, and families through the provincial Dress Purple Day campaign. The campaign is more important than ever, since the COVID-19 pandemic has created additional stressors for families, and in some cases has increased risk for the well-being and safety of children and youth.
This year, Dress Purple Day will take place on Tuesday, October 27, 2020.
We are calling on all Ontarians to wear something purple to show children, youth, and families that they are here to help!”Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies
Today is a day that is not only extremely important to families across Ontario, it is also one that is very personal to me. #idresspurplebecause
This is my truth. My story, if you will. I am not a victim; I am a survivor! A warrior who, despite everything, has risen above trauma to become the strong woman and mother I am today.
My truth may trigger uncomfortable feelings in some readers – some who have experienced abuse and perhaps even some who haven’t. It is triggering me as I write this. It brings me back to a place I hid away. It’s a place that terrorizes my senses, knots my stomach, makes my heart pound, and fills my eyes with tears.
I’m writing this to heal the deep wounds of my past, to be able to speak openly about the abuse I endured at such a young age. My hope is that it will help others to speak their truths, and share their stories.
Abuse should not be a taboo subject. It happens daily. One out of three women have experienced some form of sexual abuse in their life. To put it into perspective, think of your three closest female friends or relatives. Chances are that one of them is part of this statistic. It’s a huge percentage; one you would think would be more widely discussed. Except you don’t hear about it, and it’s rarely mentioned.
Abuse is incredibly traumatic, and I completely understand why survivors wouldn’t want to dredge up those horrific memories. You’re not alone. For 35 years of my life, I didn’t, either. Then, things shifted. The world shifted. I slowly began to want to share my story. I wanted to help others – I just didn’t know how. With the COVID-19 pandemic, and all the injustice currently going on in the world, was this even the right time? Should I wait? Would there ever be a right time?
Like many survivors of abuse, I kept that time of my life tucked away in a nearly inaccessible place. I imagined it locked up in a frosted glass box; there was a key with a silk tassel. Others couldn’t see what was in the box, but some knew there was a secret buried inside. I was in control of that secret, and only I had the power to unlock it, and share what it held. It was a way for me to regain control.
Every once in a while, though, something would trigger me – even to this day. A smell, a place, a name, someone else’s story. Then the box would open, and I had no control over the nightmares it would release. I still kept it a secret, though. There is almost a sense of shame that comes with being a victim of childhood sexual trauma, or any abuse, for that matter. In hindsight, I was just five or six years old. I should feel no shame for what happened to me – but I was young, and I thought it would be safer for everyone if I kept the abuse a secret.
The problem is that keeping it secret is what allowed the abuse to continue.
I always felt sad for my parents; how could they possibly have known what he was doing to me? At five years old, I had become a master of hiding trauma. Concern for my parents is part of the reason I stashed that frosted glass box away, even as an adult. I wanted to protect them. Protect them from having to relive what happened to their little girl. I also wanted to protect my younger brother from knowing what happened to me. He was only a few years old at the time. He wouldn’t remember the police who came to our house one night, or the weekly group therapy sessions I had at the CCAS (Catholic Children’s Aid Society) with other children who had been through the same horror. Still, I felt I needed to protect him.
Aside from the abuse, my childhood was truly picture perfect, and I was a typical happy kid. I had two incredibly loving parents, a sweet little brother, two sets of amazing grandparents, and many, many cousins with whom I’d spend countless summer days and holidays. I lived on a beautiful sprawling dairy farm, with a wooden swing set and sandbox my father built, a swimming pool, and access to acres of new adventures every day. I took piano lessons from the time I could sit up on my own, and always had food on the table.
I’m mentioning all of this to let you know it can happen to anyone. Your socioeconomic status, race, gender, religion, or where you live doesn’t matter. Predators don’t discriminate.
One of the biggest myths surrounding child sexual abuse is that it is perpetrated by strangers and pedophiles. However, most people who sexually abuse children are our friends, partners, family or community members. About 93 per cent of children who are victims of sexual abuse know their abuser. My abuser was a member of our community, who ended up working on our farm for several years.
I don’t remember when the abuse started. I do, however, remember the exact moment it ended. It plays like a Super 8mm movie in my mind. I was around six years old, outside on the swing, one sunny afternoon. The air was sweet with the smell of fresh cut hay, and the clouds were like little fluffs of pulled cotton. Our babysitter, we’ll call her my guardian angel, was outside with me. She was the older sister of a classmate of mine. I felt safe with her. We did crafts, she read me stories all the time, and had freckles just like me.
As I was swinging, I remember asking her if it was OK that a man kissed me. I don’t recall her exact reply, or if I went into more detail about the other things he did or made me do. The movie skips at this point, to our phone ringing that evening. It was my guardian angel calling, to tell my parents what I had shared with her earlier that day.
As an adult now, I can’t possibly fathom how difficult it must have been for her to hear me say those things. After all, she was only a teenager. When my parents got off the phone, I remember my mom coming into my room. I was sitting on the edge of my bed crying, thinking I was going to be in trouble.
That’s what the abusers do to keep a child quiet. They make you think that if you tell anyone, it will be your fault and you’ll get in trouble. He instilled so much fear in me that it’s a wonder that little six-year-old girl was finally able to muster the courage to speak up.
The movie jumps again, to two police officers at my house talking to me that same night. I remember that one was a woman, and her hair was tied back, but she had these little wisps of hair that framed her face. Then the movie cuts out and all you hear is the flickering of the film.
This happened about 35 years ago. It was a time when lawyers, police officers and social workers all advised that it was best not to go through the courts. They wanted to protect me from having to relive the torture that I endured. I get it. Living through it once was hard enough.
I honestly don’t know what happened to that monster from a legal perspective. I think he had to go to therapy – basically a slap on the wrist – and he wasn’t allowed to go near me again.
It has taken me a long time to get to this place. It’s a place of strength and empowerment. For quite a while, I wanted that monster to pay dearly for what he did to me. I wanted the world to know his name, so he could be shunned. However, now I feel like the guilt and shame he has to carry on a daily basis, for the rest of his life, is at the very least some form of justice.
There is always the option of pressing charges as a historical sexual assault case. However, I’ve witnessed first-hand how those typically turn out.
A year or so ago, a close friend came to me incredibly upset. She had just found out that her adult son was sexually assaulted as a child, by his uncle. Her son decided to press charges and go to court. He had to testify, enduring the pain that I was spared so many years ago. I was proud of him. He did what I and so many others couldn’t. He spoke up and shared his truth, and told his story.
I was with them in court the afternoon the verdict came in. It was an acquittal. The judge said it didn’t mean the accused was innocent; it meant there wasn’t enough physical evidence to convict him. This is one of the biggest reasons people don’t come forward to speak about their abuse. How could there be physical evidence from 10, 20, or 30-plus years ago?
It was hard for me to be there that day. From the beginning, the entire ordeal triggered me, and opened up that frosted glass box I had tried so hard to bury. It was OK, though, it wasn’t about me or my past. This was his journey, and I was only there to support him. I took comfort from this fact. I didn’t know what to say to him that afternoon, or how to tell him that with time, it would get better. That the nightmares would never really go away; but, they would become more manageable. Sometimes, just being supportive and saying, “I believe you,” is all a survivor needs. Especially when it feels like there is no hope.
As an adult, I’ve lost track of the times I questioned hope and the presence of a greater being. How could God, The Gods, The Universe or whichever sky friend you believe in possibly let this happen to a child?
I was gifted a book from a dear friend, someone I met at the children’s hospital. Our daughters had the same paediatrician, and it turned out we only live five minutes apart. The book was about a man who was physically and emotionally abused as a child, by his step-mother. It was about that very question: How could God let this happen? In it, he bravely calls out those who use Bible verses as a form of reasoning. Phrases such as, “God only gives you what you can handle.” Like the author, I call bullshit!
How is a five or six-year-old child supposed to handle being abused? Why would God allow this to happen to not just me, but so many children? Still, I feel, there has to be a greater purpose for what I have endured. Reading that book lit a fire in me, and a higher being was pushing me to do something about it. I grabbed my phone and started typing a note. It grew longer and longer. Then, I went into a writer’s trance. As I was typing, words, thoughts, and feelings began to flow effortlessly for the first time.
Typically, whenever I had thought about what happened, I would have flashbacks. They would bring me and all my senses back to the very moments when the abuse occurred.
It was horrific and I’d have to force myself back to the reality of present day. This time, though, it was different. I was recalling my childhood without going back to those places.
Nothing about what that man did to me was OK, or will ever be OK. I may never be able to forgive him, nor should I have to – and I’m at peace with that. It is a personal choice, and one only you as an individual can make. I don’t have the answers; I really doubt anyone does. All I know is that it made me strong; it made me a force to be reckoned with, especially when it comes to my own children.
I’m a mother of three now. I have a beautiful little girl, two incredibly handsome little boys, and a strong, caring, supportive husband – with a side of smart-assery. They are my world. My daughter has a very rare disorder and wasn’t supposed to live beyond one year. She is nearly 11 years old now. She’s non-verbal and has multiple special needs, including a feeding tube and seizures. I can draw on the strength I’ve built since my own childhood. That same strength and fight to survive has helped me through the struggles of having a medically fragile daughter. I fight for her; I’m her voice, her protector.
I now know that I can use my voice to help others – people who are survivors of abuse, or know someone who is. You’ll notice I’ve hardly used the word victim. I despise that word, even though that’s what I was. I was his victim. I personally feel it sounds weak, and that’s not me. That’s not us. I am a survivor.
I don’t have to be silent anymore. I can use my experiences to help others who may be struggling, and encourage them to find their strength and their voice. Believe me, it has always been there. Don’t be afraid to talk about what you or a loved one has been through. I’ve found more healing in writing this than I ever did in years of counselling as a child. I’ve also found solace in playing the piano, and listening to music. Praying by Kesha and Shake it Out by Florence & The Machine are both beautifully written and executed songs. They have become like anthems while writing this. I love that they fill me with strength and empowerment.
Because of my childhood trauma, I have taught my children the skills they will (hopefully never) need to prevent it from happening to them.
Here are just a few:
We NEVER EVER use the word “secret.” There are no secrets in this house. We can have surprises, but we do not keep secrets from Mommy and Daddy.
From the time they could talk, we taught our boys all the anatomically correct words for their body parts. Yes, my kid was that kid who would tell neighbours and family members, “Boys have a penis, girls have a vulva/vagina.” Ensuring your child feels comfortable using these words, as well as knowing what they mean, can help them talk clearly if something inappropriate has happened.
Discuss that some parts of the body are private and that only Mommy, Daddy or the doctor can see them naked. (As a mama of boys who feel comfortable dropping their pants and peeing freely outside, I’m finding this is still a work in progress.)
Lastly, let your child know that they have the right to say “NO,” if they feel unsafe or uncomfortable with anyone, including known adults in their life.
As your child gets older and can comprehend more, there are many wonderful resources that you can find in the links below.
The National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse http://www.naasca.org/010111-Resources.htm
The Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies
My story is meant to be shared and heard. It’s meant to help others who went through, or are going through, childhood trauma. It’s meant to offer strength and give courage and hope to those who need it the most.
October is Child Abuse Prevention Month in Ontario, Canada
Please feel free to share this story, and reach out to me if you have questions or just need someone to listen. I am now the ambassador for the National Association of Adult Survivors of Childhood Abuse Ontario, Canada chapter. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
“Oh, but after everything you’ve doneKesha
I can thank you for how strong I have become
No more monsters, I can breathe again.”
#NAASCA #OACAS #childabuse #childsexualabuse #emotionalabuse #childhoodabusesurvivors #childabuseawareness #sexualabusesurvivors #protectchildren #abuseawareness #mentalhealthawareness #ptsd #ptsdwarrior #childhoodtrauma #empath #MeTooCSA #publicsafety #warriorwomen #melissanimijohn #melissanimigean #keishapraying #kesha
(Ways Language Minimize Victimization)
Earlier this week I had a conversation with a man I’ve gotten to know over the last year by reading his posts and watching his videos. Listening to him, it’s clear he has a heart for the vulnerable. His name is Kyle J. Howard and we soon realized a mutual frustration with the way certain words are used.
Our conversation centered on the misuse of the term, “child porn”. It got me thinking that some clarity is needed.
The arrangement of these words disgusts me on so many of levels, but I will begin with this… “child porn” is not pornography, it is the RAPE of a child!
To label video/images as “porn”, implies that there is a consensual and transactional interaction. Such as an adult man or woman receiving payment to permit their bodies be recorded and viewed by other adults in consensual sexual activities.
If you ask most any adult in the US, “what is pornography?” you’d probably get this type of response; “when 2 or more consenting adults agree to be paid for having sex on camera.”
And because most Americans view pornography as a mutual, consensual transaction; maintaining the word “porn” in front of the word “child” leaves the message to our brains, subconscious or otherwise, that it is not “that bad.”
Or many take the view, well I’m not doing it, I’m just watching it.
To do this, is an attempt to use language to lessen or soften the actual effects of this crime. And that is what the sexual exploitation of children is…a CRIME!
To record a child being molested and/or raped is not consensual!
To view a child being molested and/or raped is not a victimless crime!
To view this crime, YOU YOURSELF might as well be the one raping the child. Because that is what you are doing. You are re-victimizing that child OVER AND OVER AGAIN!
So let me say this as plain as I can. To record or view the video or images of children being sexually molested and/or raped is not just watching “porn”…you are another one of this child’s rapist!
And as Kyle Howard points out, “Pornography is largely made up of sex trafficked women. Porn itself makes one an enabler of sexual assault, sex slavery, and the like…we need to redefine how we see/understand porn entirely.”
He goes on to say, “I can’t think of a time where I haven’t referred to child porn as “child rape”. In discussion & teaching, I always refer to child porn as “child rape” in some way.”
So PLEASE stop calling it “child porn”. Its child sexually exploitive videos/images.
Language is the greatest tool we have for connecting with people. Therefore, precision with language is essential. Inaccurate words not only sow misunderstanding but also dehumanize.
Language matters and the way we use words is important.
Language shapes our responses to sexual violence.
In a recent article addressing how language matters in our responses to sexual violence, discusses how words that are used to describe sexual assault can “linguistically blur rape with healthy consensual sex”(p. 11).
For example, Attorney Claudia Bayliff observes that stating that the child “performed oral sex” sounds like a voluntary act, one of mutuality, as opposed to the man “forced his penis in her mouth.” Those two constructions create dramatically different word pictures.
In addition, euphemisms such as “child pornography” or “kiddie porn” minimize the violence inherent in such acts. 1
All of us need to be incredibly careful not to use the language of consensual sex when we are describing a sexual assault.
Don’t believe me? Do you believe we are exaggerating? Why then have we stopped using certain words?
Why do we use the term “little person”, rather than the word “midget”? Ask any African-American in the USA what they think of the “N” word. A word so offensive that it won’t be completed in respectful society.
Why do we use one of the LGBTQIA designations, rather than the word “faggot”? Or ask a person with a developmental disability what they think of the word “retarded”. Are you beginning to see the point?
It’s because those words harm.
That is the point of this article. When you use the word “porn”, you diminish the effects of a crime against a child. It’s harmful and hateful.
So what is the answer? How do we correct this? Claudia Bayliff gives us some concrete, simple directions:
- Avoid using the language of consensual sex to describe assaultive acts.
- Use accountable language that places responsibility on the person committing the criminal acts.
- Help educate others about the importance of using accountable, accurate language when talking about sexual violence.
And please, stop calling it child porn!
Copyright © 2020 Together We Heal, Inc.
1) Journal of Forensic Nursing, “Patient, Victim, or
Survivor: Does Language Matter? A Conversation
with Claudia Bayliff”
April/June 2015, Volume :11 Number 2, page 63 – 65
2) Cooper C. L. How language reflects our response
to sexual violence. Perspectives, 23 (3), 10-11. (2015)
3) Janet Bavelas & Linda Coates, Is it Sex or Assault? Erotic
Versus Violent Language in Sexual Assault Trial
Judgments, 10 J. Soc. Distress & Homeless 29 (2001).
4) James C. McKinley, Vicious Assault Shakes Texas Town,
N.Y. Times, Mar. 8, 2011, at A13.
5) Jackson Katz, DSK’s Alleged Victim Should Not Be Called His “Accuser,” Huffington Post (Aug. 20, 2011), http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jackson-katz/dsks-alleged-victim-shoul_b_930996.html
Healing The Dreams of A Broken Heart
Guest Blog Post By Pastor Deborah
Agape Love, Love Is Here Ministry
Hello, this is Pastor Deborah of Agape Love, Love Is Here. I am honored to be a Guest Blogger
for NAASCA. NAASCA is graciously is allowing me to provide a series of 3 Blogs for you to
read. The Series is entitled Healing The Dreams of A Broken Heart
These Blogs are a complete series of how a Broken Heart’s Dreams are healed and melt like
lemon drops. The Inspiration for the Blogs and to show the hidden spiritual revelations in a
movie, The Wizard of Oz, 1939. Starring Judy Garland and the Classic song, Over The Rainbow.
Enjoy each Blog. The Blogs Titles are 1. The Yellow Brick Road
2. The Three Companions
3. The Ruby Slippers
Each Blog is written and has a video that goes along with it. The Links are provided. Enjoy and
learn about HEALING THE DREAMS OF A BROKEN HEART.
Love Pastor Deborah
Agape Love, Love Is Here
Twitter, Linkedin and Youtube Channel of The Hidden Kingdoms
Blog Post #2
The Three Companions
The differences between Ontario’s interim sex-ed curriculum and 2015′s
Just two weeks before classes start, the Ontario provincial government has given elementary school teachers a new interim elementary health education curriculum, leaving many scrambling to figure out what they can and can’t teach.
The document stresses the importance of sexual abstinence, contains no references to consent and makes no mention of scientific names for genitalia – the words “penis” or “vagina” appear nowhere in the update. The parts of the interim plan that deal with sexual education are largely the same as the last health curriculum update, from 1998.
The following is a list of some of the differences between the sections related to sexual education in the interim and 2015 editions.
In the 2015 curriculum, students learn the names of different body parts, including genitalia, using scientific terminology (e.g., penis, vagina) as well as basic personal hygiene by the end of Grade 1.
In the interim version, by the end of grade one, students learn the names of “major” body parts, without using the names of any genitalia.
LGBT, gender identity and expression
The introduction of 2015 curriculum says teachers should always consider the needs of transgender and gender-non-conforming students.
In Grade 3, it teaches children that differences make people unique and to respect people with different skin colours, physical abilities, cultural values, gender identities, sexual orientations and so on.
In Grade 6, students learn to challenge stereotypes about gender roles, sexual orientation and gender expression, and how factors like gender identity, body image, mental health, and so on, can affect someone’s self-concept.
In Grade 7, students learn about physical and psychological factors related to decisions about sexual health, such as gender identity and sexual orientation.
In Grade 8, students learn about different gender identities such as two-spirit, transgender, transsexual and intersex, and how factors such as sexual orientation and gender identity can influence people’s decisions about sex, and that gay-straight student alliances can be sought out as support services.
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In the interim version, students learn about similarities and differences between themselves and others, such as body size and gender, in Grade 2. This version does mention gender identity in its introduction but only to flag it as a potentially challenging topic to teach. The introduction also states that students of all gender identities should feel comfortable and free from harassment. This version does not specifically mention that the topic of gender identity be taught in any grades. The word “transgender” is mentioned once, in the glossary, using the non-preferred term “transgendered.”
First Nations, Métis, Inuit
In the 2015 curriculum, students learn the basic stages of human development in Grade 2, including a teacher prompt about “teachings from different cultures, including First Nations, Métis and Inuit cultures, about the cycles of birth, life and death.”
In Grade 6, students learn how to build healthier relationships with others and themselves using skills based on First Nations, Métis and Inuit cultural teachings.
In Grade 8, students learn about the two-spirit gender identity, which is used by First Nations people to refer to someone with both feminine and masculine spirits.
In the interim version, students in Grade 4 learn about teachings of First Nations, Métis, or Inuit cultures to strengthen their relationships.
In the 2015 version, a teacher prompt urges Grade 7 students to be clear in their own minds about what they are comfortable doing, including delaying sexual activity. A prompt in Grade 8 notes that abstinence is the only way to be 100-per-cent certain about avoiding sexually transmitted infections or unwanted pregnancy.
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In the interim version, students learn in Grade 7 about abstinence as it relates to healthy sexuality, and in Grade 8 about “the importance of abstinence.” The curriculum’s introduction instructs teachers to portray abstinence as a “positive choice.”
In the 2015 version, students learn in Grade 6 that consent is defined as “a clear ‘yes’ ”, and that anything else, including silence or uncertainty, is not consent. In Grade 7, students learn the importance of clear communication with a romantic partner about all aspects of sex, including consent. Consent is taught again in Grade 8.
The interim version does not mention the concept of consent.
In the 2015 curriculum, sharing private sexual photos of others online is described in Grade 5 as “unacceptable” and “illegal.” Asking for sexual pictures or making sexual comments online is also discouraged.
In Grade 6, a teacher prompt describes relationships kids might see online as “not always accurate.” Ending a relationship online, it says, “may not be a sensitive approach.”
In the interim version, the potential of exposure to online sexual predators is introduced in a teacher prompt in Grade 4. In Grade 7, the risks of sexting, as outlined by a prompt, include messages becoming public, being “manipulated or misinterpreted,” or costing students future relationships or jobs. The 2015 version adds negative effects to the victim’s well-being to that list.
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Both curriculae teach students about how negative actions can affect other people in Grade 5, but the 2015 version makes specific mention of online sexual harassment.
Both curriculae teach students about risks associated with using the internet in Grade 4, but in the 2015 version, “sexual predators” is changed to “people who ask you for sexual pictures.”
In the 2015 curriculum, teachers are prompted in Grade 6 to explain wet dreams, vaginal lubrication and masturbation as normal, if asked. “Exploring one’s body by touching or masturbating is something that many people do and find pleasurable. It is common and is not harmful and is one way of learning about your body,” it reads.
The interim version does not mention masturbation.
My prose, was made into a song by my friend George Robertson, and Paintings by my good friend, artist Michal Madison, and the video was put together by my good friend the late Debbie Naylor Cox. We are all being a voice for child abuse…Please share to get the word out there.
Child Abuse Awareness and Sexual Assault Prevention video to show how we must speak out **Not all of these paintings of children are abused children, happy to be able to say. There are a few that are very happy, well taken care of and loved children. We do all we can to protect the privacy of those who are being abused.” All the beautiful Artwork belong to my friend Michal Madison..www.MichalMadisonArt.net/galleries.html… Words by Mary Graziano copyrighted Music and song sung by George Robertson. video put together by Debbie Naylor Cox I do own the rights to the Video and the Song
Flashbacks take us back to the past. It takes us to a place where we feel trapped. We envision the trauma that affected us so much that to us it feels so very real, as if we are reliving the abuse all over again. Visually, we see the abuse happening, we feel it in every fiber of our being, we hurt all over again.
The demons have woken up, taking over our minds again, recapturing us, removing us from the present and again taking away our self-esteem that we had started to build up.
Scared, and defeated, we often feel that sometimes we can’t come back to the present quick enough. We stay frozen, reliving over and over all the abuse that stole our innocence, or in the case of Domestic Abuse stole so much of a person’s self respect and self-worth, leaving them feeling “nothing.”
Our self-worth and self-esteem have been destroyed, leaving us vulnerable to the demons who destroyed it. We often cannot break free of the flashbacks, whether it was one flashback in particular, or more than one.
We need to realize that the flashbacks that consumed us are not going to hurt us any more. We need to let it come, realize it is there, and then say “Ok, you can now leave, you can’t hurt me any more, I am now free of you. You were my demon, but now you are NOTHING.”
Remember to always be kind to yourself as you are healing, Remind yourself that you are worth so much, that you are a loving person, a beautiful person, one who has survived abuse, one who is now free from the abuse that invaded your body, mind and soul,,,,.Don’t let the demons who abused you win…make them small, so that they can’t hurt you any more..You are the winner, because you came through the abuse whether it was from childhood abuse, or Domestic abuse, we are all winners, we are all SURVIVORS!!
Mary Graziano ©2012 edited November 18, 2018
THE FORGOTTEN CHILDREN
We need to be the voices for children everywhere,
alone, abandoned, with bruises, it seems
like no-one cares.
Their abusers keep them silent with threats,
their bodies shake, feelings kept inside themselves
their smiles, they always fake.
Words that hurt so deeply destroys their self-esteem,
shame they feel inside themselves, in their minds i
s where they scream.
Secrets so deep & never to be told they live
it every day, these are the forgotten children
let’s scream out, let’s shout & pray.
Pray that we can save them from a life of
horrendous abuse, to set them free & guide them
it’s up to us, there’s no excuse.
Each day one child will die alone from their wounds
inside and out, scars so deep, with bodies broke
from the abuse, there is no doubt.
Remember all children everywhere, protection
is what they need, broken, alone so frightened
from the abusers dirty deeds.
I write these words, for all children small
for that little girl in me, silenced then,
but not any more, I will shout out to
help set them free.
Prose by Mary Graziano © 2012
Watercolour painting by my
incredible friend Michal Madison www.michalmadisonart.com
by believing you can make something work and are willing to think positive, you can find a way to make it work.. believe & trust in yourself, anything is possible. We control how we think, never let another take that away from you. Become more positive in how you think, even if you think it won’t work, keep saying it over and over to yourself. Always believe in yourself, love yourself enough to believe this. Trust yourself. mg©2018
Bullying is the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate or aggressively dominate others.
Children are bullied at school, on the playground, on the way home or to school, on school buses. They often hide it in fear of retaliation. Children need to know that it’s okay to tell someone they trust. Fear keeps them a prisoner within themselves. They lose self-esteem, love for themselves, believing that they must deserve what the bully dishes out to them. They often withdraw inside themselves, keeping to themselves, and sometimes thinking suicide is the only way out.
Kids who bully others use their power over someone either by physical strength, intimidation, using fear to control another.
As adults we must give children clear and consistent messages. Telling them how to relate to another person in a positive and healthy way. Kids need to learn how to stand up for themselves and others. Fear keeps kids silent, Let’s speak up, help stamp out bullying.
You are in control of your happiness. How you perceive things changes your whole mindset. You get to choose, choose happiness. You have the power!
Never live with self doubt. Embrace what makes you special, not what others think you should be. Find your own purpose in life. Your soul is unique to you alone.
Don’t complicate your life by worrying about every little thing., Smiling can change your mindset. There is always a reason to smile, you need to find it, and pass it on!
Preventing child sexual abuse starts with a strong foundation from parents and caregivers. By knowing, teaching and modeling appropriate behaviors, we help our children develop healthy understandings of sexuality and consent. One of our favorite resources is from Stop It Now!http://www.stopitnow.org/ohc-content/what-is-age-appropriate
You must have kindness & love for yourself, first & foremost. If you don’t how do you expect to show kindness & love to another?
When we feel happy inside, the world seems like a wonderful place. Everything seems to be in perspective. We seem to be in a better mindset, a more positive place. Being happy is a choice, your choice, either you find your happy place, or be in a negative place. You choose!!!
Sometimes that flame inside us retreats to a flicker. Allow it to burn brightly again by chasing your dreams, Let the passion come alive again. Be positive, never let others doubt you.
Child abuse must stop…we must try to help the precious children by getting this message out. I made this with various pictures, some pictures made by Michal Madison Art with writings by Mary Graziano. Other various pictures…Please feel free to share…big hugs
Everyone needs to be a part
of ending violence, injustice
inequality against women.
To end the silence of abuse.
Together, we are stronger, becoming
one voice, sending a message to the world
to say we matter, helping to end
the silence that “yes, it happened to me too.”
Our differences make us who we are.
What’s on the outside is not important.
We bleed the same no matter the colour
of our skin, what gender we are,
who we truly love.
Together we can help change
how women are viewed in a world
that needs to learn about diversity.
To look beyond all dissimilarities.
Let’s stand together, united.
Prose by Mary Graziano©2016
Revised January 21, 2018
Beautiful watercolour portraits
by my wonderful friend
DREAMS OF TOMORROW
Fight for the freedom
of all innocent children
their dreams are shattered
they’re so very confused.
That spirit that once was,
gone forever, their lives so crumbled,
prisoners they are of abuse.
Dreams they envision race through
their minds, wishing to fly free
and be away from the torturous monsters,
they are not human they went too far.
Dreams scattered, now unreachable,
too much sadness to an innocent child.
They feel they are lost forever by the
secrets that can’t be told,
alone, afraid of the monsters
who intimidate and have a hold.
Help free the innocent children
so their dreams will forever shine.
Help to create a world that is safe, secure
and free from abuse of any kind.
Prose By Mary Graziano©
January 18, 2013
Revised January 20, 2018
Watercolour by my incredible friend
Mary Shared Michal Madison Art
How many of us have had to face the monster alone? No one to help squash that fear. We were living as a child of abuse, living day to day facing the monster, many, waiting in bed at night, knowing that door would slowly creak open, and our worst nightmare would again come true. How many children today are facing their own monsters, have no where to turn as we did? Today Child abuse for the most part is out in the open, but that hideous monster does still live, often behind closed doors. Still kept a secret.
We need to be open to children, let them know that they are not alone, that they can tell someone, not keep it a secret. We need to gain a child’s trust. They may have been told that if they tell, they or others in the family will be hurt, that in itself will often keep a child silent. Talk to your children so that they don’t fall victims of abuse through family members, through someone at school bullying them, etc. Let’s speak out against child abuse of any kind, not turn a blind eye to it because it doesn’t affect your child, it affects someone’s child, and that is one child to many.
We as adults, can help put the monsters away, so that there is one less child cringing in the doorway. Help stamp out child abuse…..m.g. ©2018
Always look for the positive in a negative situation. You can find one if you look deep enough. Don’t let the negatives take away from feeling good inside & out. Rise above it, finding a positive can change how you see things & feel. It’s so much more healthier for you. Your mindset seems happier, and all this helps keep your blood pressure down, resulting in better health. Negativity feeds off of negativity. Try to keep away from negative minded people. They will only bring you down, and the spiral will continue. Being positive, lightens your heart, your whole outlook changes. Be positive, create happiness within yourself, and in that of others. mg/2017
Speak Up! Show True Love! Be the Voice of the Children who are Trapped by Lies, who don’t know the real meaning of Love!
Together we can make a difference!
poem by Mary E Graziano
art by Michal Madison
Your potential IS limitless. You are able to achieve so much if you believe in yourself, believing in the power you have within. You can do so much with your life by never giving up on yourself. Listen to your inner voice. Believe in it. You are worth too much to just give in to a negative mindset. Prove to yourself how capable you are. You are strong, you have resilience to push forward to achieve & reach your dreams. You have the potential & it is limitless. Don’t let anyone take that away from you…….mg…
Often, as survivors, we seem to be more negative because of our past experiences, keeping us in a downward spiral that is hard to dig ourselves out of. Changing your mindset from negative to positive isn’t easy. But to experience it really does change you as a person. I believe this so much. I believe in positive thinking, I live it,. it is now a part of my life, and for the most part life changing.
Being negative can keep you feeling depressed. I was that way years ago and for many many years took antidepressants. I hated how I always felt, I lived in the past, the hurts of my past. I didn’t know how to change the pattern that followed me from my childhood. Working through the past through many many years of therapy helped me so much, but I was still taking antidepressants. The past lived with me in my present, and I wanted to leave it behind. Once I was able to tell myself that the “past could no longer hurt me” that it happened yes, it was horrific, but my life is the present, I needed to let go and move on.
It takes a lot of hard work to let go. We lived it our whole lives, but we can’t let it define us. We as adults need to push forward, balance our lives, live with positive outcomes. I did just that, I decided I wasn’t going to let my past define me any longer. It was up to me to make the decision as to where I wanted to be in my life. Years ago I told my inner child she was safe, that no-one could hurt her any longer. I reached deep inside of myself and knew i was right. I forgave my abusers, I told myself I was never at fault and was finally able to move forward.
Last year I started this journey of positive thinking, positive actions, and turned my mindset around. Negativity, was not going to be at the forefront of my feelings. I chose positive affirmations, wrote them everyday, felt them, lived them and through this was able to feel like a new person inside. Everything seemed to change, for one thing my blood pressure came way down, I am now off of my b/p medication. My b/p is on the lower side now And I feel great. My self image has changed, I have lost 50 pounds, feel fantastic and attribute it to the mindset of positive thinking. I am now off of my antidepressants and feel great. I was afraid to go off of them in the past thinking that I would spiral downwards. Before doing any of these things, you doctor needs to be involved and check ups to make sure all is well. Im not saying its for everyone, but changing your mindset can change your outlook on life, on yourself and how you feel.
Be who you want to be, never let your past define who you are today. Hugs and Love..Mary….