Five ways to honor survivors and a book giveaway

Last evening I lost it.

See, I’d decided a while ago not to post or say anything about the whole disgusting Fifty Shades phenomenon (books, movies, all of it), because I didn’t want to give it any more air time than it was already getting. Not that my piddly little blog will add much, but even adding a little is too much. But last evening I realized that by staying silent I was breaking my promise to never be silent when it comes to survivors and victims of sexual assault and abuse. Long ago I adopted Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel’s quote:

“I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

And so last night I posted this online:

“I swore I’d refrain from saying a word about [Fifty Shades], because I didn’t want to add any attention to this disgusting phenomenon. But…even The Huffington Post gets it. And as a survivor and victim advocate, there is no doubt in my mind this whole book/series/movie and anything remotely in its genre are straight from the pit of hell. On behalf of silent victims, I swore always to speak when wrong is being done. This is wrong.”

Click here to read the Huffington Post article. Share it. Spread the truth about the lies perpetuated by these books, this movie. For the sake of women who are scared for their lives and who have lost their lives because of men like the one portrayed in this, and because of women who think it’s okay for men to abuse–because there are a lot of enablers around to who are excited about the sick things and porn in this series, too.

Before last evening, I had planned on writing this blog post for today, but I hadn’t planned on mentioning the book/movie. I simply wanted to give people positive, proactive alternatives to helping survivors and victims and people hurt by the sociopaths and lies that indicate abuse and porn are love. I’m not going to list the facts and reasons why Fifty Shades is wrong…because every single one of the organizations below are dedicated to saying it better.

Lest you think I’m a prude, visit even one of these sites, read the statistics, read the survivor stories, and then I dare you to come back and tell me you still think sexual deviance and the silence–or not so silent acceptance–surrounding it is AOK.

The fact is, sexual deviance starts with small, silent instances of abuse and escalates, gets covered up by money or lies or both, and then escalates some more.

We can–we must–do more.

I have three challenges for you today:

1) Read through and visit the websites of the organizations listed below. Pick one and donate whatever money you’d spend on a night at the movies to one of them. 

2) Enter to win a signed copy of my first novel, How Sweet the Sound, and if you win, give it to a friend who needs hope.

How Sweet the Sound is a modern day allegory of the story of Tamar from II Samuel 13. Tamar was raped and then abandoned by someone she trusted, someone who was supposed to care for and protect her, too. Then, Tamar was left to live out her life utterly destitute, because the crime was covered up by murder and by a King who did nothing to restore her. This is where the allegory stops and my novel starts, however. Because I know from experience that life after a crime like that doesn’t have to stop at destitute. No, I know that there is hope and healing after abuse. There is freedom from fear and the bondage of shame. And the characters in my story tell how they find hope and healing, too. 

3) If you feel led, memorize Philippians 4:8, and never forget that true love is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and of good repute. 

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Here are the organizations I find trustworthy and who are doing pretty amazing things for survivors, victims, and the prevention of sexually deviant behavior and crimes against children and women. Support one and make a positive difference in the fight against these horrendous evils today.

 

homepage-logos1. LoveIsRespect.org

Per their website: “The repercussions of teen dating violence are impossible to ignore – they hurt not just the young people victimized but also their families, friends, schools and communities. Throughout February, organizations and individuals nationwide are coming together to highlight the need to educate young people about dating violence, teach healthy relationship skills and prevent the devastating cycle of abuse. With their adult allies, youth activists achieved a major victory in 2005 and 2013 when the importance of addressing teen dating abuse was highlighted in the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.

Loveisrespect.org is a project of the National Domestic Violence Hotline and Break the Cycle. By combining our resources and capacity, we are reaching more people, building more healthy relationships and saving more lives.

“We designed loveisrespect.org to:

  • Create the ultimate resource for fostering healthy dating attitudes and relationships.
  • Provide a safe space for young people to access information and get help in an environment that is designed specifically for them.
  • Ensure confidentiality and trust so young people feel safe and supported—online and off.

“We are proud to call loveisrespect.org the ultimate resource to engage, educate and empower youth and young adults to prevent and end abusive relationships.

“Looking for more info about healthy relationships and respecting boundaries? Check out these pages on our site:

logo2. National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), has worked since 1978 to make every home a safe home. NCADV works to raise awareness about domestic violence; to educate and create programming and technical assistance, to assist the public in addressing the issue, and to support those impacted by domestic violence.

logo3. RAINN

One of America’s 100 Best Charities
— Worth Magazine

RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization and was named one of “America’s 100 Best Charities” by Worth magazine. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE and online.rainn.org) in partnership with more than 1,100 local rape crisis centers across the country and operates the DoD Safe Helpline for the Department of Defense. RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual violence, help victims and ensure that rapists are brought to justice.

images4. I Am One Voice and partner organization, OneVOICE4freedom

OneVOICE4freedom’s founder, Nicole Bromley, is an international spokesperson on child sexual abuse and trafficking. She is the author of Hush: Moving From Silence to Healing After Childhood Sexual Abuse, Breathe: Finding Freedom to Thrive in Relationships After Childhood Sexual Abuse and SOAR: A Film Series and Study Companion to Hush.

She speaks to universities all over the US, sharing her story and breaking the silence on sexual abuse and trafficking and is a guest expert for the media on such topics.For more info on Nicole’s personal story and books, visit http://www.iamonevoice.org.

Nicole began to expand her voice into the area of trafficking a few years into her public ministry after learning more about it and hearing story after story of sex trafficking survivors; she came to find a common thread—that beneath every domestic story, child sexual abuse had been occurring in the home. These trafficking survivors were running away from one trauma that Nicole could relate to and unknowingly they were falling into the arms of even further trauma by sly traffickers and those who purchase girls. Nicole felt called by God to be a voice against the injustice of trafficking as well. She stayed committed to her work as the founder and speaker and writer with OneVOICE but began to study, pray and get her hands dirty as a freedom fighter, bringing light into the dark world of sex trafficking, both domestically and internationally.

CGI-Logo-for-web5. The Center for Global Impact

This organization’s vision is to hope and pray for a future in which those we serve experience the freedom, dignity and fullness of life that comes when we enter into relationship with Jesus Christ.

Center for Global Impact seeks to bring the Good News of Jesus to those in the grip of poverty and bondage through education, vocational training and business development. Primarily working in Cambodia, many of those we serve are victims of — or vulnerable to — human trafficking.

Visit their site to see several different ways you can get involved and/or support them.

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Book Giveaway Details

Leave a comment on this blog and you’ll be entered to win a signed copy of How Sweet the Sound. One winner will be chosen at random (I put all the names in an online random name selector) and announced on Saturday, Valentine’s Day!

HOW SWEET THE SOUND 9781434705440_3D

remember. a poem.

did you
hesitate
before you did
what you did
helpless like you once were
too, fresh and pure and
alive
well things turn awful
red when they’re left growing
wide open in
the hot sun scorching the pretty
little petals until
the first frost
and then after
winter cold and white
the hot crimson petals
push through and
remember

2015/01/img_2012.jpg

When hard is a place you find yourself.

Hard.

It’s not just an adjective anymore.

Hard is a place.

Maybe you know it…icy stone walls shadowed by unsought shame, the front door locked by defeat, windows draped by misunderstanding and hopelessness.

Too many strain in the hard unaware that even a crack of the window lets in light, air, a current of hope. We long for someone to burst through the front door for us, a sword-wielding Savior to cut back the vines and overgrowth surrounding our foundations, a friend who’ll sit with us until the electricity comes on again and the furnace of truth warms our toes.

Hard is a place, yes.

But hard is also a season.

Like winter, we’re forced to hunker down in the silence and be still while the snow falls white and gentle around us.

And soon, like the Morning Sun, a Savior will come.

But He will knock first.

And spring and the loose, cool earth will be fertile once again.

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Excerpts from 2 Corinthians 4

“Therefore, since God in his mercy has given us this new way, we never give up. We reject all shameful deeds and underhanded methods … We tell the truth before God, and all who are honest know this … For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.

We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, so I spoke.” … And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.

That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”