My Survivor Story Re-blog #MondayBlogs

The Mending Mads Silent Auction is almost over. We reached our goal the very first day! I’m humbled by the response of the authors and vendors who participated. Those who bid on items, thank you so much. Through RAINN, your money will go to help those in need of comfort and healing.

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I touched on a few of the reasons that Mending Mads and raising money for RAINN are important to me. With statistics of sexual assault as they are it seems impossible not to know someone whose life has been touched by it. For me the gravity of stopping sexual violence goes beyond friends, family, and basic compassion for my fellow human being.

I am a survivor of sexual assault.

Consciously, I have very little memory of this time in my life and no solid memory of the actual assaults. Too young to hang on to no more than small impressions left by the train wreck my trauma left behind. My lack of memory is a blessing and a curse. There really is not good way to be left with the aftershocks of being violated. Not quite three years old, I was a very boisterous and precocious child. My father was overseas with the Navy so it was just Mom and I. She attended night school working towards her bachelors in psychology. While she was at school I was left in the care of a woman and her husband, family friends of my parents. For the sake of this post I will be referring to my attacker as The Man.

****TRIGGER WARNING! My story includes details that may be a trigger to some readers. Please continue with caution.*****

 

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The Man and my father met on the base where they were both stationed. His wife was very sweet and he was supposedly a fun guy to be around. Originally it was The Man’s wife who was my babysitter but for reasons I cannot remember The Man ended up taking over the job. Fast forward I don’t know how long to the night I came out of my bedroom long after I should have been asleep. I informed my mother that it hurt. She asked me, “What hurts?”

I pointed down the front of my diaper and said, “Where The Man put his fingers.” Immediately after I became hysterical because I wasn’t supposed to tell. “The Man said he’d make you go away and I’d never see you again!” I wailed. The Man had ensured my silence by threatening my mother’s presence in my life. I always was a mama’s girl but as my father was currently gone she was all I had. The Man told a child he’s leave her completely alone in the world if she told on him. This small act on his part impacted me so greatly for the rest of my life it was nearly crippling. I suffered from separation anxiety until I was a teenager. Sleepovers with friends, trips, just going to school terrified me; my family might be gone when I get back.

My mother blamed herself and to this day thinks she should have seen some sign The Man would hurt me. She remembers the weird irritation on my genitals that she chalked up to a recurrent diaper rash. She remembers washing my blanket and wondering what I’d spilled on it, in retrospect she knows it was The Man’s semen. Going to school for psychology, specifically to help abused children, while her own is being assaulted under her roof. To say Mom needed therapy as much as I did is an understatement. I’ve never blamed her and I hope one day she’ll stop blaming herself as well.

The truth is Mom is my hero. The Man’s commanding officer tried to sweep it all under the rug. I was just a kid, probably lying. Even though mom had a report from the pediatric ER physician stating it was obvious to him I had been sexually abused, the CO refused to do anything. Mom wouldn’t be told to go away. She threatened to go to the newspapers. With her permission they would print my name, The Man’s name, the name of the Navy base and every person she’d come into contact with since I told her my terrible secret. That’s how mom met the base commander. He apologized and shipped the CO to one of the worse bases you can end up at. The Man was arrested and tried in military court. He spent two years in prison. The shackles of his abuse will stay with me until I die, two years seems too easy. PTSD, anxiety, depression, mistrust, fear, nightmares; the list goes one!

You don’t get to get over sexual assault. It lives with you forever. Without the love and support I’ve received I wouldn’t be a functioning adult. I was told in junior high not to share my story because it makes people uncomfortable and then they won’t want to be around me.

It makes you uncomfortable? Well, it made me uncomfortable too. You won’t want to be my friend? Too bad for you. I will not be silenced and made to feel ashamed. I will speak out. I will fight for myself and others until the day comes when the offenders are too uncomfortable to commit sexual assault. I will make a difference. The Mending Mads Silent Auction is one way I am raising awareness, educating the public, and helping to fund an organization dedicated to getting other survivors the help they deserve.

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Hear me roar

Take a stand and let the world hear you roar against sexual violence.
August 17-24th is the third annual Mending Mads silent auction to raise money for RAINN. The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) is the nations largest anti-sexual violence organization. The Mending Mads silent auction came about after researching the recovery process of sexual assault survivors.  Last year $466.17 was raised and sent to RAINN. President and founder, Scott Berkowitz, wrote a lovely letter to say thank you for the donation. I’m looking for ebooks, signed paperbacks, bookmarks, swag, care packages; any goods or services you can offer as prizes for the auction.

********If you are interested in donating items or have questions, please email me at BridgetBlackwoodAuthor@gmail.com for more information.************

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Why did I choose RAINN as Mending Mads charity of choice? One of Worth magazines top 100 charities, RAINN has helped 2.2 million people since 1994. When money is donated, ninety-three cents of every dollar goes directly to helping survivors.

How Donations Help
• Allows an average of 558 survivors to receive help through RAINN’s hotlines each day
• Improves sexual assault laws and policies to ensure that survivors get the justice they deserve
• Educates more than 130 million people per year on prevention and recovery through relationships with the entertainment industry, the media, and local communities
• Expands the use of DNA to eliminate the backlog of untested rape kits
Enlists the help of college administrators, Congress, and students on hundreds of campuses to hold colleges accountable for preventing and responding to sexual violence (rain.org)

If you’d like to see more in-depth financial information from RAINN (Form 990 Audited, reports), then please visit RAINN

Mending Mads 2015 Silent Auction

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Today the 2015 Mending Mads Silent Auction to benefit RAINN.org opened.

What is Mending Mads?

Madalaina “Mads” Bonvillian is the heroine in my second book, A Scarlet Fury. She survives a sexual assault before the book even starts and begins the healing process. I worked hard to portray Mads authentically; her fear, anger, and sadness went beyond textbook symptoms. Living, breathing survivors of assault were kind enough to help me navigate the mental and emotional states of Mads. In my mind I saw Mads as a mirror, shattered into splinters and slowly put together again by the people who loved her. Broken Mirror - Stock ImageWhy did I decide to do the silent auction?

To help. To give back. Writing A Scarlet Fury was exhausting and I felt like I was beaten after it was done. I was also intensely proud of the finished product. Scarlet was dedicated to all the survivors of abuse, rape, and incest. Mads is a fictional survivor but they’re the real ones. The book belongs to them. It’s a nice gesture, but what does it do? Does it raise awareness, educate the public, or most importantly, help the survivors? Donating to the cause felt like the next step. I started with sales from the book but I wanted to do more. Who could I give the money to and see it do the most good? How would I raise the money? I saw a silent auction for soldiers and a light bulb came on.

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Why RAINN.org?

RAINN.org provided me with resources to learn about sexual assault recovery. The information went beyond what I expected to find. They had topics I’d never considered such as triggers in television and how to cope with them. RAINN stands for Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network. They are the nation’s largest anti-sexual assault organization. for every dollar donated to them, 92 cents is used to help survivors and educate the public. Worth magazine named RAINN one of “America’s 100 Best Charities”.

RAINN provides two hotlines,  one by phone 800.656.HOPE and one on the internet online.rainn.org. There is a text based outreach option you can read about HERE. A Department of Defense hotline, online and a phone number, is also available. This is here for the men and women in the military.

Explore Prevention Through Education 

Want to know where your donation goes? It’s amazing what a few dollars can do and how quickly it adds up

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Why is it important?

Mads’ recovery is the way I wish all survivors were treated; love, compassion, understanding, and help. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Every two minutes someone in the United States is assaulted. The statistics paint a frightening picture of the roadblocks put before survivors.

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1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime (14.8% completed rape; 2.8% attempted rape).

17.7 million American women have been victims of attempted or completed rape.

3% of American men — or 1 in 33 — have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime.

  • From 1995-2010, 9% of rape and sexual assault victims were male.
  • 2.78 million men in the U.S. have been victims of sexual assault or rape.

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15% of sexual assault and rape victims are under age 12

93% of juvenile sexual assault victims know their attacker.6

  • 34.2% of attackers were family members.
  • 58.7% were acquaintances.
  • Only 7% of the perpetrators were strangers to the victim

Victims of sexual assault are:

3 times more likely to suffer from depression.

6 times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

13 times more likely to abuse alcohol.

26 times more likely to abuse drugs.

4 times more likely to contemplate suicide.

Pregnancies Resulting from Rape

In 2012, 346,830 women were raped. According to medical reports, the incidence of pregnancy for one-time unprotected sexual intercourse is 5%. By applying the pregnancy rate to 346,830 female survivors, RAINN estimates that there were 17,342 pregnancies as a result of rape in 2012.

Jailed-rapists December 2014

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The Mending Mads Silent Auction aims to help take a stand against sexual violence. An amazing group of authors and vendors have donated items for bidding. Signed books, ebooks, audiobooks, swag, soap, lip balm, sugar scrubs, cookies, and more are available!

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My story and a case for RAINN

I struggled with whether or not I should write this. In the end, I decided I needed to be as brave as I was asking others to be. I support RAINN.org for several reasons but as a survivor of sexual assault myself, I know for a fact how important what they do is. Writing A Scarlet Fury was a cathartic exercise for me as well as a chance to speak oScarlet Furyn a sensitive subject.

I was very young when I was assaulted. I don’t have any memories of it, my attacker, or the resulting chaos after I told my mother. While I may not be able to pull up a memory, I dream about it. It’s disguised in my nightmares a thousand different ways. Almost two decades later, I read the report written up by my child psychologist. Nothing in the file wasn’t classic of a kid going through what I was going through, but I was ashamed. The things I said and did as a result of what was done to me were sad and more than a little embarrassing. I was only a small child and the adult me knew nothing was my fault and still I felt shame!

I’ve logged a lot of time in therapy and I know I’ll go back again. My assault colored every part of my world and to this day it has an impact on my life. My triggers don’t feel like they have an explanation in the moment and ingrained behaviors are hard to shake. I could list all the ways it has changed my daily life, but I’ll leave it by saying they are numerous.

This is why RAINN.org is so important. When you’re sexually assaulted, it becomes a life sentence. Who you are is changed and a struggle begins to lay claim to a new normal. RAINN offers resources to help survivors long-term and has information for their loved ones.

Working to change tomorrow, RAINN is committed to improving government policy and laws related to sexual assault.

I’m a RAINNmaker. Besides my own donations, I am raising money, empowering survivors, and educating the community. If you’d like to donate to my campaign for RAINN you can go to this link 

A donation of just $10 will help one survivor take the first steps to help. RAINN is a nonprofit organization. $.92 cents of every dollar goes to helping survivors, the remaining $.08 cents is for fundraising and management.

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Other ways to help are to get involved! RAINN has many different volunteer positions.

To read more information and resources from RAINN visit HERE

Drops of hope become ripples of change.

Scarlet Fury

In my book, A Scarlet Fury, Madalaina became the survivor of a sexual assault. Mads had a great support system and received the care necessary to begin healing. A Scarlet Fury is fictional but sadly, sexual assault is all to real.

Current figures suggest that 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men will become a victim of sexual assault in their lifetime.

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Statistics like these means it is virtually impossible for you not to know someone whose life has been changed by sexual assault. If we want to see those numbers drop, things have to change and it can start with us. I’m speaking out against the injustice of sexual assault, standing strong with the survivors, and demanding a change.

RAINN is an organization worth believing in. As the nation’s leader in the fight against sexual assault, they’ve helped over 1.6 million survivors through the National Sexual Assault Hotlines. RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual violence, help victims and ensure that rapists are brought to justice.

With your help, however big or small, we will make a tremendous impact. Just $10 – the price of one lunch – will help one survivor to take the first step toward reclaiming their life.

DONATE 

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