Listening to Oprah’s 2018 Golden Globe speech has empowered me as a woman on many levels, but as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse on a much deeper level. When I stepped forth and told my story, I knew I’d be called an attention seeker, looked down on, shut out, and talked about. Not one person in my immediate family reached out to offer their support or to stand with me in solidarity! I had accepted that I would have to go this journey alone. That feeling prompted me to start Survivors Wall, before the whole #metoo movement, I knew what it felt like to carry a shame of speaking out against my abuser, only to be black balled by my own family and community. To have no community backing, to feel like no one believed you, to have your character assassinated by your abuser because of his community status to be called a flat out liar, and then to hear the whispers when you’re out and about because of his community status.

I wanted to create a place where survivors could come and vent, be loved, supported, encouraged, and to provide a safe place that they could privately share their story for those who weren’t strong enough to share it publically, a place free of ridicule and judgment. I wanted to create a place for people who aren’t as strong as me, people who couldn’t bare being alone, people who couldn’t bare being treated as if they had stolen a child’s

People were attacking me as if I had wronged this man by outing him for being a pedophile. They literally were protecting him, ignoring the fact that he had sexually assaulted a 9 year old child, and essentially fighting for this vicious monster.  I once had a family member tell me, “I shouldn’t have made it public, because it would then be there forever for the world to see”. Another said “Why did you wait so long to say something again, it happened you should be over it by now.” People were so concerned about Joe’s public persona that they forgot about the little 9-year-old girl he left bruised and shattered. It was almost as if because I am 37 now when I’m strong enough to confront it, although those same adults knew when I was 9, negates the fact that he sexually assaulted a 9-year-old child.

While Ms. Oprah Winfrey stood on stage at the 2018 Golden Globe’s and received the Cecil B. DeMille, I felt like part of her speech quoted below was written for courageous and ordinary women just like me:

We also know it’s the insatiable dedication to uncovering the absolute truth that keeps us from turning a blind eye to corruption and to injustice. To — to tyrants and victims, and secrets and lies. I want to say that I value the press more than ever before as we try to navigate these complicated times, which brings me to this: what I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have. And I’m especially proud and inspired by all the women who have felt strong enough and empowered enough to speak up and share their personal stories.”

                                                               Oprah Winfrey                                   

In August 2017, when I decided to share my story with the world, I knew the movement I was birthing was not about me. It was about the countless little girls whose innocence was being robbed every minute, every second that I stood by and did nothing. Speaking my truth was the most powerful thing I could have done for myself. I was able to take my power back, but I needed to do more. I remember, as a child after every incident I would lay there thinking…I either wanted to die, or I wanted to find a way to protect myself. None of the adults around me had proved themselves capable of offering any care or protection. So at 9 years old until I was grown I was forced to find creative ways to protect myself like putting chairs in front of my bedroom door. Staying up late at night to keep watch, to make sure he didn’t come in, as he only came in when he thought I was sleeping. Even as an adult I was still laying their night after night petrified to close my eyes…. thinking Joe was going to come and violate me at some point in the night and I needed to stay awake to keep watch. At some point I decided to take my power back, I decide to seek professional help by way of a Life Coach. I eventually started seeing a sexual assault therapist and was able to make real headway with my healing.

For me it just doesn’t stop there, I want to ensure because of movements like #speaksurvivethrive, and #metoo we as women are ensuring little girls are never again ignored, shutout, or not believed. We need to make sure those little girls voices will be heard THE FIRST TIME and BELIEVED! No longer will little girls have to suffer in silence as their aggressor is protected by the very community that is supposed to support and protect them. I’m currently working with my publicist to create a child friendly tri-fold that can be distributed to the local libraries and hopefully one day extended to the school system. Most childhood sexual abuse starts at home and is commonly someone in the home, most girls and boys are afraid to say something. Recently siblings have been killed trying to protect one another from sexual abuse. I want to start a reporting system where children can report via my pamphlet by dropping that in a library drop box or via an APP on a mobile device in a matter of seconds. I want to work with the various telephone companies to ensure the APP will work whether the phone service is active or inactive as I understand not all bills are kept current. A bill should not be a reason that prevents a child from being able to report.