All he said is your daddy has done away with himself. I screamed then said on the way. Calling right back to ask were they sure he’s dead? Yes. I think years of abuse left a permanent hole in my heart. I go there to do actions requiring no emotions. It’s like auto pilot, it has served me well. I started to think about work, who I needed to call. I’m driving with emergency lights on going 100 mph calling my work team. I stayed in auto pilot until I pulled up to my grandparents.
Estranged since a teen, I thought it odd when he started calling. He sounded delusional and extremely paranoid. Nothing made sense, he was not talking in sentences. I pieced together he didn’t have any money and couldn’t work. Why he could not work must have come from the madness.
I would do anything to avoid my granny being hurt. I paid his bills. Over the next several months the phone calls were my hell on earth. He would threaten to kill himself then go off on what didn’t sound like words. I couldn’t make out anything he was saying as he yelled in the phone. I would keep trying to redirect him back to our conversation. I did not tell anyone what daddy said. He was mentally ill. It had been years since we talked, maybe this was his norm. I didn’t know.
Everyone sitting in the floor when I entered the door. The first words out of my mouth were he told me. I felt overwhelming guilt, I let my family down. I knew it wasn’t logical but emotions rarely are. My mind scrambled, my father sexually abused me and I’m feeling guilty. I forgave my father, cut him out of my life, paid bills and feel guilty.
My grandparents and I went to daddy’s the next morning. The disarray would alert anyone something was wrong. On his coffee table, his lockbox open with every card I had ever given him, every school photo. The divorce paperwork to my mother laid on the table, his bible open to Job. You could see tear stains on the pages. The house had papers scattered everywhere, dishes piled up, everything thrown around. My father had reached the bottom long ago and no one knew.
I found a shoe box full of cassette tapes from recorded phone conversations. It took seven months to listen to every tape. I would have a couple of drinks, listen and cry. Like a tornado in my head, being in the house my sexual abuse took place, daddy putting 357 mag to my head, being a drug addict and my boyfriend and I planning how to kill my father. These are the times the hole in my heart is useful. Granny didn’t know about the abuse and went to her grave not knowing. To help my granny cope, I would not cry or show emotion around her. I wanted to piece her heart back together. Holding emotions inside extended my grieving process a long seven years.
A couple of weeks later the morgue called asking me to pick up the gun. Ring the side door bell, someone brought the original suicide note, autopsy report and gun with dried blood. My mind could not prepare for reading the autopsy report. Every detail of how he shot himself. The trajectory of bullet, lobes damaged, bones crushed and exit wounds.
I believe my father died so I could live. Learning about his mental illness pointed me to my own. Thru ancestry I connected with daddy’s half-brother and several family members. There were over ten suicides in only three generations and many now with severe mental illness.
Rebirth, life lessons, stretching, separation, payback
Unconditional Love, what if, can I count on, will you be there
Real Friends, love, anger, time apart, life at stake, friends are the last to give up
I listened to new songs tonight, wanting something to kick me hard, make me think. What do I stand for?
I stand for truth, falling to pieces, rebirth, existence, people who would die for my life. My life isn’t complete, there’s many potholes, shame, fear and depression. I know in my heart Life Is About To Get Good. I hope you enjoy. M
Reading the post was like an episode of Twilit Zone. We walked many of the same steps, I believe she needs help from the caregivers in the WP community.
Well maybe I’ll be a little more informative this evening. My voice finally returned after over a month of laryngitis, my wife and I took our microbiology final, the temperature didn’t get over 90 degrees inside today, and I got to have sex so I’m going to say today was a good day. I started this blog to put my random thoughts somewhere. Lately I find myself looking over my shoulder for my parents-we aren’t on speaking terms. They are just crazy enough to show up at my home and act like lunatics while claiming I’m the crazy child that is just out to hurt her parents. The sad part is that cutting them off and out of my life has been painful. I don’t miss being spoken about in hateful ways or my mother running her hand up my inner thigh during dinner just to prove that she can…
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Love can conquer all, no words have to exchange. Smiles, loving hugs, stroking or gently touching and feeling a heart beat can express the deepest love. M
“They adopted him just over a year later, not expecting him to live much beyond 2 years old.” But in June Charlie celebrated his third birthday.
Now doctors think he might live to be 10–12 years old, barring any medical complications.
It’s a heart breaking journey, but as Cori says, “Broken hearts can heal.”
You can read the whole story here.
I know this is a tough subject, but when I read the story and watched the video, I had to share this story of love and hope. I share this in memory of my sister who lovingly volunteered with severely handicapped and terminally ill children in a group home back in the 70’s. I imagine she’s had a great time running, laughing, and loving them in heaven.
Got good news? Please share!
Ina Vukic is a tireless volunteer on humanitarian aid and fundraising for victims of war in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially war orphans. Ina was awarded two medals of Honor by the first President of the Republic of Croatia in 1995. Her Blog is a wealth of knowledge, present and past. Please visit Ina’s site.
A true, brilliant face of justice stepped out into the streets of Croatia and the world last Friday!
On 22 July 2016 Zagreb Country Court issued a judgment of great historical and political importance, announcing the complete annulment of the sentence against the archbishop of Zagreb, Aloysius Stepinac, passed by the politically rigged communist Yugoslav court 70 years ago, in October 1946.
The Zagreb County court in Croatia, a panel of judges presided over by Judge Ivan Turudic, annulled, quashed the 1946 communist Yugoslavia treason conviction against Archbishop Aloysius Stepinac, ruling that he did not receive a fair trial. Belgrade (Serbia) driven anti-Croat hoards, whose mission was to ensure that Croatia was the only Yugoslav federation state to be made responsible for the crimes of the…
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I met Author Jeff Emmerson on Twitter, he’s motivating, a tireless advocate for Mental Heath and shines a bright light on ADHD for which he was misdiagnosed. Jeff’s book Beyond ADHD-Overcoming the Label and Thriving is on pre-order at Amazon and with an August release date.
By Jeff Emmerson and Robert Yehling
Beyond ADHD weaves Emmerson’s personal story of his ADHD diagnosis, exploring along the way the latest medical, scientific and societal explanations and tools for managing and living with the condition. Including interviews with a number of experts at the forefront of next-generation ADHD diagnostics and treatment, he questions the cookie-cutter way ADHD is commonly diagnosed and treated. Suggesting that the list of symptoms often used to identify ADHD can be attributed to many other disorders and conditions, he explores how and why ADHD diagnoses have increased by 50% in the last ten years.
Jeff Emmerson is a mental health advocate, popular video blogger and leading social media figure focused on reframing how we view ADHD, with a passionate mission to prevent mis- and over-diagnoses, and help people whose lives are impacted by the condition.
He has more than 600,000 followers on his @IAmJeffEmmerson Twitter account, 15,000+ LinkedIn connections, a large viewership on YouTube, and is currently gaining about 7,500 followers per week. His e-mail list has over 26,000 subscribers.
Emmerson is aligned with a number of leading medical, neuroscience and behavioral experts, many of whom are quoted prominently in his book. He’s written for EverydayHealth.com, AdditudeMag.com, and AOL Health, and has been interviewed on NPR.
Robert Yehling is the author of ten books and ghostwriter of seven others, and is increasingly specializing in titles pertaining to mental health, behavioral and fitness issues.
His most recent title, Just Add Water, the biography of autistic surfing great Clay Marzo (2015: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), has been nominated for the Dorothy Gray Children’s Literature Award and an International Book Award.
He also works with author Kevin Hines, whose Cracked, Not Broken (2013: Rowman-Littlefield) is revered worldwide for its discussion of bipolar disorder and suicide prevention. Yehling has also edited published titles on traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder and autism. Another book on which he provided direct author assistance, Home Sweet Anywhere by Lynn Martin (2014: Sourcebooks), was a bestseller.
A professional journalist since 1976, Yehling was the recipient of the 2007 Independent Publishers Book Award for his title, Writes of Life: Using Personal Experiences in Everything You Write. He also has won national awards for his work in magazine journalism, online journalism, website editing, and a Bank of America Liberal Arts Award.
Besides writing and editing, Yehling teaches cause-based writing and other topics at writers’ conferences and workshops throughout the United States.
Singing His Praise
“Courageous, tenacious, smart, and full of a hockey goalie’s all-star heart,
Jeff Emmerson probes behind the slogans and labels to get at the truth.
A man on a mission, Jeff does the world of ADHD a great service with this book.”
– Edward Hallowell, MD, author of Driven to Distraction and many other books;
Founder of The Hallowell Centers; host of the weekly podcast Distraction
“A beautiful amalgam of lived experience and first rate science writing. Helpful
and inspiring for those who suffer with ADHD; essential for those who need
protection from misdiagnosis and careless drug prescriptions.”
– Allen Frances, MD, DSM-IV Task Force; and professor emeritus, Duke University School of Medicine
Where to find Jeff’s book, Beyond ADHD
You can pre-order on Amazon.com or dates listed below.
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 260 • Size: 6 x 9
978-1-4422-7510-2 • Hardback • August 2017 • $36.00 • (£24.95)
978-1-4422-7511-9 • eBook • August 2017 • $35.99 • (£24.95) (coming soon)
Subjects: Psychology / Psychopathology / Attention-Deficit Disorder (ADD-ADHD), Psychology / General, Self-Help / General, Self-Help / Mood Disorders / General
END THE BACKLOG is an initiative of the Joyful Heart Foundation to shine a light on the backlog of untested rape kits throughout the United States. Our goal is to end this injustice by conducting groundbreaking research identifying the extent of the nation’s backlog and best practices for eliminating it, expanding the national dialogue on rape kit testing through increased public awareness, engaging communities and government agencies and officials and advocating for comprehensive rape kit reform legislation and policies at the local, state and federal levels. We urge you to learn more about the backlog, where it exists and why it matters. We invite you to take action and support efforts to test rape kits. Help us send the message that we must take rape seriously.
Today’s guest author is Wendy Davis, former Texas state senator and founder of the advocacy organization Deeds Not Words. Here, she discusses the rape kit reform laws she sponsored in the Senate and addresses the need for survivors’ voices to drive policy solutions.
I first started working on the issue of sexual violence in 2009 while serving in the Texas Senate. A representative from the state’s forensic lab came to my office, sat down with my staff, and laid out their belief that we had a significant number of untested rape kits sitting in law enforcement evidence rooms across our state. At this point, Illinois had already started the same self-analysis and had exposed an alarming problem—thousands of untested kits on evidence room shelves.
The First Step: Counting Kits
I started by working with survivors and stakeholders to pass a law requiring law enforcement agencies throughout the state to conduct an inventory of their untested kits. This should be easy, I thought. It’s simply a matter of counting them, and we aren’t asking that they be tested at this point, so no funding will be needed—or so my logic went.
Boy, was I wrong. To my surprise, several law enforcement agencies began to push back behind the scenes (rather than coming to committee hearings to publicly oppose the bill). How dare someone tell them what they needed to do with their evidence? If they had untested kits, their argument went, they had them because they had made the judgment call not to test the kits, believing testing them would not yield anything helpful to a criminal investigation.
We pushed back hard with the help of jurisdictions like Fort Worth, Dallas, and Houston, where leaders understood we had a problem and wanted to be part of the solution. Ultimately, we were successful in passing the audit requirement, making Texas the second state to conduct such an analysis.
We were not prepared for the result. We discovered almost 20,000 untested kits—the highest number uncovered in any state to this day—collecting dust on shelves throughout Texas. This number is still not complete because—believe it or not—there are still jurisdictions that have not reported their numbers.
Understanding the Impact: Testing Kits and Funding Reform
Following the inventory, we knew that approximately 20,000 untested rape kits sat on shelves. What next?
Around this time, I heard the story of Lavinia Masters, who was raped by a stranger in her home when she was only 13. After filing a police report, Lavinia was taken to a hospital and subjected to the hours-long, invasive process of collecting DNA evidence left behind by the attacker. Lavinia and her family were never told what happened to her kit. Two decades later, Lavinia saw a news story about the backlog, and wondered, was my kit ever even tested? After waiting for months while police searched for the missing kit, forensic technicians analyzed it, developed a DNA profile, and ran it through the national database. Lavinia’s rapist was finally identified. He was already in prison for other crimes and no longer eligible for prosecution for her rape. The statute of limitations had run out.
Lavinia’s story was a wake-up call for me. The backlog wasn’t just a number. It wasn’t just a matter of thousands of boxes sitting on shelves. It was a matter of thousands of real people—survivors—who had never received the justice they deserved.
It was also a matter of wrongful convictions secured through incomplete investigations. It was the story of Johnny Pinchback, who was in his 20s when he was accused of two rapes he didn’t commit. He was sentenced to 99 years in prison, and spent 27 years behind bars, before being exonerated when the state began testing backlogged rape kits.
These stories launched me on a journey, working alongside wonderful, committed advocates from the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault (TAASA), Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs), law enforcement leaders, and local elected officials on reform.
In 2011, we passed a law requiring that all kits collected from that point in time be submitted to the lab for testing within 30 days. In 2013, we successfully set aside $11 million in the state budget to help test the backlogged kits. We were also successful in securing $5 million in grants awarded to law enforcement jurisdictions in Dallas, Houston, and Austin to address their own backlogs.
We were finally going to address the backlog and ensure that this never happened again.
Ensuring Victims’ Rights to Notice and Tracking
In 2013, we also passed a law requiring law enforcement jurisdictions to keep rape survivors apprised of the status of their kits. Last year, we learned that the law was not working as we’d hoped. A survivor reached out to her elected official, State Representative Donna Howard, and explained that she didn’t have any real way to know the status of her rape kit. Rep. Howard set out to find a solution. If UPS can track a package from one part of the world to another using a barcode system, why can’t we do the same for a rape kit?, she thought. Rep. Howard worked tirelessly this year to pass a law that will create a computerized tracking system to aid police jurisdictions in keeping track of their evidence and, more importantly, will allow survivors to log in and check the status of their kits.
By creating this statewide tracking system, Texas became the first in the nation to implement the six key pillars of legislative rape kit reform, as recommended by Joyful Heart. Work remains, but we are proud to be the first in the nation to achieve this milestone.
Survivors’ Voices Drive Change
There is a common thread in every step of reform. Each success occurred because someone who had been traumatized by rape came forward and made their story known. They shook us out of our comfortable realities and laid bare the need for each of us to do something.
If there is anything I have learned in my public service career, it’s that there is no challenge you can’t overcome with the strength of a courageous individual who is willing to come forward, share her or his unique story, and work to create change. Knowing who, rather than just what, we are fighting for is the most important incentive for a policymaker when faced with obstacles in making change.
There is still so much work to be done—not only to create appropriate criminal justice responses and remedies for survivors of sexual assault, but also to prevent assaults from occurring. It is slow and often frustrating work. But we are chipping away at it, one legislative solution at a time, thanks to each brave person who comes forward and reminds us who it is we are fighting for.
-By Wendy Davis, July 18, 2017
I had a hard time deciding what to play this week. I let me heart take the lead and I enjoyed the journey. As the show Pickers say “we’re free styling”.
My hope is you enjoy the music and soak in the message. M
Ask Betsy DeVos to keep students safe and enforce Title IX
This petition will be delivered to:
- U.S. Secretary of Education
The current Administration is planning to weaken the enforcement of Title IX, a move that would be devastating for students especially those who are LGBT and of color. Survivors and our allies across the country are coming together to ask Education Secretary DeVos to listen to survivors, keep students safe, and enforce protections Title IX has long provided.
Join Know Your IX and End Rape on Campus and ask DeVos to commit to the following :
- Maintain the Department of Education’s guidance documents clarifying schools’ legal responsibilities to prevent and address sexual harassment under Title IX
- Continue to recognize preponderance of evidence (i.e. “more likely than not”) as the appropriate standard of proof in campus sexual harassment investigations;
- Maintain federal transparency in Title IX enforcement by continuing to publish lists of schools under investigation for Title IX violations and those who have claimed religious exemptions allowing them to discriminate against LGBT, pregnant, and parenting students
DeVos will have the power to enforce Title IX protections and ensure that every student is able to attend school without fear of violence.
It’s up to us to make sure that she does.
Executive Director, Know Your IX
I planned a nice gallery of photos from different times in life. Planned but it is not happening. In this photo I’m smiling ear to ear galloping around the kitchen on my second birthday. My grandparents bought the pony I dreamed of.
I’m overjoyed to have my WordPress friends here, let’s share the day with hugs, best wishes and lots of chocolate and vanilla cake. Sorry Vegans, I can offer a cold bottle of water.
The video reminds me we are all miracles and can do anything we apply ourself to. It’s touching around the World people can relate.
Blogging started as a coping mechanism to grieve my Granny. Spending years writing about how my grandparents unconditional love saved me from myself. Before long my post centered more around my traumatic background, it was seamless not a conscious decision. I have learned everyone’s trauma is different, even when they appear the same.
I knew nothing of men’s sexual abuse. Five years ago I met several male friends who were sexually assaulted as children and adults. None of my traumatic experiences prepared me for how different boy’s and men process sexual assault.
To all the Men Survivors of Sexual Assault, please know you are loved and supported by those without understanding the pain and trauma inside. You are loved for who you are.
I found this video on YouTube by Mark Sanford. I don’t know him and not endorsing in any way. I am acknowledging his trauma, the pain and deep emotional suffering he went thru. Honestly, I don’t know if the video will help anyone. Please know I’m committed to learning all I can about Male Sexual Assault because I care. I know the pain of dragging the self-hatred around for years.
If the video is crap please tell me, I learn from feedback. Share what’s helpful, thought-provoking or out of left field.
I’ve been asked to write for Men’s Movement, http://www.mensmovement.com an organization supporting men’s mental health and personal development. Please check out their site. Soon to come a post shining the light on Men’s Movement with an in-depth overview. I’m submitting my first post soon.
This family is having their most difficult times spread across the news. The British government has ruled in favor of the hospital to keep baby on life support and not allow parents to come to America for an experimental drug. I think it’s a sad day when government over rides parents in the welfare of their baby.
People are so supportive of the family, having rally’s outside the hospital, American hospitals have offered to treat him free of charge. With the out pouring of support, it’s mind numbing to think government and the hospital have more rights than the parents. They want the best for their son. It breaks my heart to see the parents plea and cry.
An important post from my partner in Survivors Blog Here. You can find her work at http://www.survivorsbloghere.wordpress.com. The cycle of abuse impacts men and women alike. M
Many people walk through life with the expectation of living the Golden Rule, and expecting that others do the same. Unfortunately, there are also people out there who will not pass up a chance to negate the Golden Rule.
Abuse comes in many forms…
At the center of abuse, is the need for power and control over other people. Abusers will use any means to fulfill that desire, even at the expense of those who love them. Breaking the cycle of abuse starts with recognizing the abuse. It may not be an abuse that happens daily, but when it does happen, the effects are imprinted in the mind of the victim, and changes who he or she is.
Since abuse doesn’t occur around the clock, one of the best ways to begin to see it, is to document it. Keep a journal (especially if you like to write), or at…
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If you weren’t an Ed Sheeran fan before his new LP will blow your mind. After promoting his previous album with a World tour, he said in an interview “I was fat, exhausted and didn’t know myself anymore”. Ed is a smart bloke, he took a year off traveling, fell in love with a friend of 15 years, is self-confident and happy. The album showcases intelligence, honestly, raw emotion and the sheer joy in his heart. I’m so happy for him! Have a great day. M
MY ROMANTIC HEART FAVORITE
THINKING OF YOU GRANNY
Supporting a great cause doesn’t require a large donation, any amount stacks up and when the goal is reached you feel satisfaction. I live in Plano, Texas where a number of school are underserved and underfunded. When I receive an email from a School Teacher needing help, I look for projects with matching funds, ask myself if this the project hits my heart? The amount donated isn’t the point, you donate to Teachers and Children, who are our future. The children are already several steps behind other students, if I can make a difference in a child’s life, it’s a privilege.
Teachers listen up, this is a nationwide project and changes are one of your fellow teachers has submitted a project or the school isn’t aware of resource.
“Listen to Reading”
“When you can read then you can go to Kalamazoo or Idaho”. This is a line from one of my favorite poems. It is so true and my goal as a first grade teacher is for my students to learn to read and to love to read!
I teach first grade to ESL, bilingual, and regular ed children at a Title 1 school in an urban district.
The majority of my students are low socioeconomic and they are all very active and really need activities that will keep them focused and engaged. They are eager to learn and love our Daily 5 (literacy center) time. They really enjoy listening to books on tape, but don’t always want to listen to the same book as their neighbor.
In our classroom we use the Daily 5/ CAFE form of Guided Reading. While I am working with a small group the others are completing work independently. I would like to give my students the freedom to choose their own books and listen to them; encouraging them to become independent readers. With these CD players and headphones my students will be able to listen to a book or song of their own choosing.
I cannot express what an extremely important grade first grade is and how passionately I feel about my students learning to read and learning to LOVE reading.
In order to do that it is crucial to give them exciting activities that make them want to learn and want to read.
Where Your Donation Goes
|FF335X – Student CD Player – Set of 4• LAKESHORE LEARNING MATERIALS||$149.00||1||$149.00|
|FD236 – AC Adaptor • LAKESHORE LEARNING MATERIALS||$11.99||4||$47.96|
Our team works hard to negotiate the best pricing and selections available.
Previous Projects Funded
Thank you all so very much for your donations! My Reluctant Mathematicians will be so excited to see this new piece of technology added to our station rotation. With budget cuts abound this really cushions the blow. There are so many great resources available in apps that this will really give my kids an edge.
I will create a folder for each student on the iPad for them to have specific games that are chosen to meet the needs of their specific deficits. There are so many great features on the iPad. I can’t wait to let them use the video camera for them to tape themselves solving a tricky problem and then use that as a tutorial for another student who is working on that same problem.
Thank you again!
We were so excited to have our grant fulfilled! It has really changed how we are able to run stations during math and science groups. I didn’t tell the kids that we were going to get a new technology tool, so when I came to group and pulled the iPad and keyboard from my bag they were so surprised.
The students have really enjoyed getting the opportunity to work on the iPad everyday. There are so many free educational apps, I have yet to find a skill we were working on that there was not an app for. The kids enjoy having fewer kids per station when they come to work with me during intervention time. They look forward to getting their turn on the iPad and trying to beat their classmates scores on different educational games.
I have individual folders organized onto the iPad for each student group. They go straight to their folder and have the ability to choose from those apps which game the would like to play. I am able to easily rename the folders to them up to date to reflect the curriculum we are currently working on. One of our favorite things to do now is to solve a problem correctly and then have a partner video them solving the problem. We then save the file with the name of the assignment and question number. That way when a peer is struggling with that question they can go watch their friend’s tutorial video on the iPad. We are also using the iPad in the science lab to take pictures that show the progression of projects.
I really don’t know how we even functioned without our iPad. Groups are running more smoothly, students are more engaged, and they are anxious to get a problem correctly and explain their thinking on a video. The iPad has also created a competitive streak in our group to see who can have the highest score on different apps. All in all, and invaluable tool in our classroom. Thank you for your support and generosity!
Post inspired by my friend AOA. She dedicated to the effort of her students in multiple schools with learning difficulties. Thank you AOA, you’re an inspiration.
Bring Change To Mind
For our 2017 campaign, we focused on one of the biggest challenges in discussing mental health: getting started.
We gathered a team of performers, many of whom have connections to mental illness in their own lives. We asked them to roleplay different conversations, touching on various diagnoses and relationships.
The videos show that no matter what you’re facing, or who you’re reaching out to, you can make a real connection. Not every conversation will be perfect, but each one fights the stigma around mental illness. And, that’s a conversation worth having.