Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Call for Submissions!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Meeting Tango

I would like you all to meet someone. His name is Tango and he is my horse. Tango is one of the biggest factors in my healing process. Working with animals in general I find to be so therapeutic, they force you to become present in the moment, animals are honest in a way I find human's aren't.

Besides riding a horse, ground work is such a powerful modality. The idea that I can get a 1,000 pound animal to move around and do what I am asking of him is so empowering. That many years ago a 200 pound man overpowered me, but I have control over my space of an animal that is 5x that is just amazing.

Tango and I found each other 3 years ago, when his previous owner brought him out of the pasture he looked directly at me, walked to me and put his head against my stomach. I wrapped my arms around him and hugged his head and I knew he would be mine.

Today he has helped build my self-esteem and self-worth up more than any human could. He mirrors how I am feeling in the moment and that gives me the opportunity to pause and reflect that is going on with me. When he closes his eyes and we are forehead to forehead, I am truly 100% present and it is an amazing feeling.

Here is my Tango.

Enjoying the simple things in life

This is a great video I found online, it is about ducks that were rescued from an abusive environment and they had never been in water before. At first they are very unsure, even afraid of something that should be innate to them. Then once they knew what it is, to see the joy they are experiencing is beautiful. It made me think about survivors like us who may be afraid to experience things in life due to past trauma, but look at how much joy there is to be had if we just take a risk and jump into that water!

Rescued ducks experience water for first time in amusing video

Saturday, September 1, 2012


I am embarking on taking Regain Your Voice to book form to help other survivors of sexual abuse.  I am titling the book:

Regaining Their Voice: Stories of Healing and Strength 

I am inviting you to share your story with others, of your of healing and strength to help others in their journey to healing from sexual abuse.

To share your story please click on the link below to submit your story anonymously.

Submit Your Story of Healing and Strength

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM): What will you be doing?

Check out CALCASA to see what they are doing!

When I was living in California every year in Santa Cruz we had Denim Day.

Denim Day, an event across California and the nation in which participants wear denim to “speak out against sexual violence.” 
In recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Denim Day is a an opportunity for rape crisis centers and rape prevention programs across the state to engage their communities, public officials and stakeholders, and shine the light on the issue of sexual assault.
In the 12 years that it has existed, Denim Day has galvanized public and private business, students, legislature, funders and the public at-large. It has symbolically helped this movement to build awareness, momentum and to engage new allies in the work of eliminating sexual violence.
Denim day was born in 1999, when the Italian Supreme Court overturned a rape conviction because the victim was wearing tight jeans. The Judge argued, “because the victim wore very, very tight jeans, she had to help him remove them,” concluding “it was no longer rape but consensual sex.”
Please join the CALCASA staff and rape crisis centers across California and the nation and those committed to eliminating sexual violence, by wearing jeans as a symbol of protest against destructive attitudes about sexual assault. (from

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

11 Warning Signs of Depression from Yahoo! Health

Depression can range from everyday blues to something more serious. Being a survivor puts you at greater risk for suffering from depression. Below is an excellent article listing warning signs of depression. If you think you may have depression, there is treatment that can help, please talk to your Dr if you are experiencing and of the signs and symptoms below:

1. Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" feelings

2. Feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, or helplessness

3. Frequent crying episodes

4. Increased agitation and restlessness

5. Fatigue and decreased energy

6. Loss of interest in activities or hobbies that were once pleasurable

7. Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions

8. Sleeping too much or not enough

9. Poor appetite or overeating

10. Expressing thoughts of dying or suicide

 **Call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255**

11. Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that don't ease with treatment

Here is the link to the full article:

11 Warning Signs of Depression | Yahoo! Health

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Male Sexual Assault

** Gathered from

Men and boys are also the victims of the crimes of sexual assault, sexual abuse, and rape. In fact, in the U.S., over 10% of all victims are male.2

Male survivors and others affected by sexual violence can receive free, confidential, live help through RAINN's National Sexual Assault Hotlines, 24/7. Call 1.800.656.HOPE to be connected to a local rape crisis center in your area, or visit the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline to get live help in an instant messaging format.

Stereotypes and Myths

There are various stereotypes and myths that impact male survivors' ability to face their sexual assault. These include:
  • Men are immune to victimization.
  • Men should be able to fight off attacks.
  • Men shouldn't express emotion.
  • Men enjoy all sex, so they must have enjoyed the assault.
  • Male survivors are more likely to become sexual predators.
These stereotypes and myths can then lead to certain results for male victims of sexual assault, including:
  • Dramatic loss of self-esteem
  • Belief in their masculinity
  • Self-blame
  • Feelings of shame, guilt, anger
  • Feelings of powerlessness, apprehension, withdrawal, and embarrassment
  • Fears that they won't be able to protect and support their families
  • Sexual difficulties
  • Self-destructive behavior (drinking, drug use, aggression)
  • Intimacy issues
  • Questioning of sexual identity


Male survivors of sexual assault also may experience certain barriers to seeking support or services, either from friends and family or from organizations and institutions.
  • It can be difficult for men to seek help for fear of how others will judge them.
  • Responses from friends and family can be damaging or unsupportive.
  • Threats to the victim of a sexual assault or his family may have been made by the perpetrator. This may cause him to keep silent.
  • In institutions, he may be forced to keep silent through implied and real threats both by the perpetrator and/or by others within the institution.
  • He may resist reporting the sexual assault due to the need to repeat the story over and over again to police, to prosecutors, and in court.
  • He may be unwilling to share details of the assault in order to protect his family from societal judgment.
  • He may blame himself for the attack because he was not able to fight the aggressor off.
  • He may think that the assault was not rape because he became sexually aroused during the attack (i.e., he had an erection or ejaculated). This is a normal physiological reaction, NOT a sign of enjoyment.


Male survivors of sexual assault may experience a variety of effects that have an impact on their well-being.
  • Sense of self and concept of "reality" are disrupted
  • Profound anxiety, depression, fearfulness, and identity confusion
  • Development of phobias related to the assault setting
  • Hypochondriacal symptoms (imaginary ailments)
  • Paranoia and obsessive fear of bodily harm
  • Withdrawal from interpersonal contact and a heightened sense of alienation
  • Stress-induced psycho-physiological reactions
  • Psychological outcomes can be severe for men because men are socialized to believe that they are immune to sexual assault and because societal reactions to these assaults can be more isolating and stigmatizing.
Heterosexual Men
  • He may experience “homosexual panic”- a fear that the assault will make him “become homosexual.”
  • He may feel that he is less of a man.
Homosexual Men
  • He may feel that he is being “punished” for his sexual orientation.
  • He may fear that he was targeted as a member of the homosexual community. This fear may lead him to withdraw from that community.
  • He may develop self-loathing related to his sexual orientation.
Relationships / Intimacy
  • Relationships may be disrupted by the assault.
  • Relationships may be disrupted by other's reactions to the assault such as a lack of belief/support.
  • Relationships may also be disrupted by the victim's reactions to the assault.
  • Anger about the assault can lead to hostility.
  • Similarly, the overwhelming emotions that come with surviving a sexual assault can lead to emotional withdrawal.
If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual violence, it’s not your fault. You are not alone. Help is available 24/7 through the National Sexual Assault Hotlines (800.656.HOPE and

  1. This section was adapted from materials provided by the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault.
  2. U.S. Department of Justice. 2003 National Crime Victimization Survey. 2003.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Regaining Her Voice: Shelby’s Story

How old were you at the time of the assault (s)? 5, 13 and16

How old are you currently: 17

Where did the assault(s) happen: Family friend’s house, Boyfriend’s house, Park near my house

Did you know the person(s) who committed the assault(s): Yes, Yes and No

Did you tell anyone about the assault (s) at the time: No, No, Yes

Did the assault (s) go to a court trial? No

Was there a sentencing? No

Do you think they will commit sexual assault again? Yes

What would you like to say to people about sexual assault? It is not your fault.

What would you like to say about this project? I learned about it while researching for my junior year persuasive research paper on sex without consent. It gave me hope.

What is your story?
I was 5 at the time. I went to my mom’s best friend’s house with her. My mother and her friend left to go grocery shopping and my mother’s friend’s son who was 10 at the time was babysitting me. He took me under a blanket in the middle of the living room floor and began touching me and was very sexually inappropriate with me. I can still picture this quite clearly and like I said, I was only 5 at the time. It traumatized me.

I was 13 at the time. I went over to my boyfriend’s house. We were downstairs with two of his friends also there. He had me lay on the couch next to him. He covered us with a blanket. He then covered our heads and we started kissing. He reached into my pants and I told him, “No.” He told me, “Just let me try.” I closed my eyes. I didn’t like him touching me and I just wanted him to stop but I was too afraid to say anything. Why would he listen the second time? He called it “playing rockband” because his two friends actually were playing rockband. He asked several times “Is this okay? Are you okay?” I was silent. He obviously knew I didn’t like it but he never stopped. I blame myself for my silence the whole time. I feel I could have done more to stop it but I was too afraid in the moment. It traumatized me.

I was 16 at the time. I met this guy who was by the looks, between 18 and 25 on facebook. I made an impulsive decision and snuck out of my house in the middle of the night and went to drive around with him. We drove around town for about 10 minutes and then he brought us to a park about 2 minutes away from my house. We walked around the park, sat at a picnic table, walked some more, sat by the river, and we talked. He kept asking why I was so quiet. I told him I was just tired. I felt like it was supposed to be romantic, but something felt wrong the whole time. We both got cold so we went back to his vehicle. He said, “Let’s get in the back.” I said, “No.” He opened the back door and pushed me in. I was afraid of his force so I tried to cooperate. He climbed in on the other side. I sat there and he stared at me. He told me to cuddle up to him and pulled me close. I let him. He told me to kiss him, I didn’t move. He pulled my chin up so I was facing him and he kissed me. I let him. He told me to lay down and I told him I wouldn’t. He forced me down and I hit my head on the door. He was joking around how his vehicle wasn’t big enough. I said it’s perfectly fine if we don’t do anything. He told me I was beautiful about every 30 seconds and then would try to kiss me and touch me. I pulled his hands off. He tried pulling down my pants. I grabbed his arms and said, “No.” He said, “Please, mine will stay on. I promise. You’re so beautiful.” I told him, “No.” He then pulled my legs apart and started touching me through my sweatpants. He was very forceful and I was fighting it. I tried pushing him off me and closing my legs but nothing worked. I fought so hard and said, “No! Stop!” so many times but he kept on. He finally stopped and pulled me on top of him to cuddle with him again. I told him I had to get home before my mom’s boyfriend woke up. After some intense convincing, he got out and sat in the front on the passenger’s side and told me to sit on his lap. I did. I was so afraid and wanted to go home so badly without being hurt any more that I listened. He kept telling me to kiss him. I kept telling him I had to leave. He finally got out after a while and went to the driver’s side. He drove me home and it was the quietest longest two minutes of my life... anticipating going home and finally being safe... well safer. He dropped me off and texted me right when I got inside. I didn’t answer. He called various times throughout the next couple weeks. I never answered. He mailed me on facebook and told me that “I got the wrong idea.” I never responded. Once I got home and into the bathroom, I saw blood. I knew I wasn’t on my period yet and my vagina really hurt. I stayed in bed the whole next day. I told a friend and he told me I had to tell my mom. I never told her. I told another friend and he told me to tell the police. I never told them. I was so afraid of what would happen to him. I was actually worried about him and I didn’t want him to pay for what he did. I also didn’t want to tell so I wouldn’t get in trouble for sneaking out. I was traumatized.

I went to treatment several times and finally told my counselor about the abuse. She reported it to the rape and abuse crisis center and I had to report it to them too. My parents were there and found out about it all from them. My mom jokingly said afterward, “Well we’ll have to put bars on your windows now.