I had to sit at my computer for a few minutes to understand what it was that I wanted to say about the concept of forgiveness. The word itself came to me from my heart and I knew it was important. The last few weeks have been a growing pain in my own journey of growth. Just this morning, I was interviewed at our local newspaper in regards to my book Scars Among Us. As we were talking, I heard myself say that the only way through this kind of trauma is through vulnerability and authenticity. It is through that process that we can heal, grow and evolve. But the question remains… when we have been hurt so deeply how do we forgive and if there was a God, why does he allow bad things to happen to us? A guiding light for me as been listening to Eckhart Tolle. His book A New Earth has had a profound influence in my life and how I live my life day to day. He has helped me piece together as to why bad things happen, and no it is not God’s fault. The way I see it is like this: We are eternal souls who chose to come to earth to experience being human. We all have a purpose for being here. Each of us are gifted with a body and a personality. When our personalities come together to serve our souls, which are entwined with the source, God, or whatever you want to call the infinite always has been source, then beauty and change for greatness happens. When our personalities do not serve the souls purpose is when bad things happen. God does not allow bad things to happen, we do.
Looking back on my journey, I can see the hand of the creator intervening in my own life despite the bad things that I have experienced. I believe firmly that I made it this far because of our creator, despite the pain that us humans can and do inflict on each other. I have never sexually assaulted anyone, murdered or done any of the atrocities done unto me. What I can say though is that in my deepest times of pain, I knew I had lashed out on my own loved ones. Just as the creator and my loved ones forgave me, I choose to forgive those who hurt me as it was the act of their pain they were living in that caused them to act. Deep within each of us is a precious soul. This understanding has helped me to forgive. Don’t get me wrong, there is always room for growth. Life is a journey!!
In the last few months I have had the incredible opportunity to speak with many survivors of sexual abuse. What I had no idea was that the majority of women that I have spoken with never charged their perpetrators. This is key for those who question why so many women have come out of the woodwork and named their abusers after perhaps years of silence. Let’s break down the why’s…
- The shame. Sexual assault, especially for those who were assaulted as children can be such a shameful stigma that the victim stays silent. As the #metoo movement started, more and more women are finding their inner voice and recognizing the sins forced upon them are not their burden to own and the perpetrators need to take responsibility.
- Get over it. If it was that bad, why didn’t they say anything back when it happened? This is unfortunately a question brought up by people who have a lack of understanding of the psychology that this kind of trauma leaves the victim feeling yet further violated. No wonder so many people stay quiet. It is hard enough facing the trauma, but can be even harder when the world around you, your only sense of refuge judges you harshly for crimes committed upon you. It’s not your fault and you can speak out whenever you find the strength… your healing is not the publics time line expectations.
- She/He is just attention seeking/ looking for a cash pay out. You don’t need to go through an interview from the public eye to decide your self worth as to whether you have the right to charge your perpetrator or stay silent. If someone discovered they knew the identity of a serial killer who laid dormant for a decade would the public judge as to whether or not this person was doing this for the right reasons or would the public be grateful. In my most humble opinion, the public would be grateful.
- The reality is it takes incredible courage to speak out. What some people don’t realize is that survivors of sexual assault also have a part of them that dies. The death continues with societies messages. Sexual assault shames and silences its victims. More and more survivors are coming out of the woodwork to name their abusers because we are talking and it is empowering others to feel less isolated and afraid of public scrutiny.
With each person who has opened up and shared their story, a light has been lit within their eyes. This light comes from a soul that had someone attempt to destroy the essence of who they are. Let’s cultivate this empowerment, not extinguish it through ignorance and judgement. Let’s keep talking!! We are empowering. The only way to stop the cycle is to speak out and put the accountability back on the ones who own it.. the perpetrators, until we do, they will continue to thrive through our silence.
Let’s keep talking
When I meet people who have heard about my book, I am often asked as to why I wrote the book. I’d like to share with you today just that!
It was in the beginning of the #METOO movement that I felt compelled to share my story. Watching so many women stand up and to tell the world that they are survivors of sexual abuse was beyond empowering. Being a survivor of sexual assault myself, I felt empowered and less ashamed. I didn’t truly understand the shame that I still carried as I thought I had healed. The “scars” I carry are deep, and can still be reopened I’ve come to learn. The backlash from this movement began just as quickly as did the movement itself. That is what inspired me to write this book. Michelle Obama recently stated the perfect response to the backlash that still continues. “It’s up to the women out there to say, “Sorry that you feel uncomfortable, but I’m now paving the way for the next generation.”
As I’ve stated before the book is dark, sad but with hope. I had to go deep within my soul to face the darkness. Exposing my most vulnerable self was difficult, however I did this with the intention that others who are in that dark place, will find familiarity and say to themselves, “I’m not alone, this feeling is not unique.. me too!” In each woman who now approaches me with her story, I see some sort of unspoken permission in their eyes as they begin to open up and share their own stories. It has been a blessing to see a weight carried by so many women lift as they begin to speak out breaking down the shame that they felt was theirs to bear. My message has been there is no shame a victim of sexual abuse needs to own. Keep your head up and be proud.
The sense of feeling like damaged goods, the shame, the embarrassment and guilt have been wrongly placed on the survivors. As we speak our truth, we empower each other and erase these false beliefs.
Well last night was my Launch Party and I have to say it went better then I could have imagined. The room was packed solid and the support I felt was humbling, it took my breath away. I have been given some rave reviews and some mediocre reviews.. this is to be expected. I am new to this world and am speaking from my heart. One of the common words used is that this book can be “dark” at times. This is true. It’s not all of who I was, nor all of who I am… just a piece that I chose to share so that people could get an idea of just what the devastation this form of abuse can bring, and continue to affect the victim long after the act. It’s in that place where so many victims end up with so much compounded trauma from their inner demons. The reality is that this is trauma is dark and cannot be “fluffed” to make people less uncomfortable. I chose to go dark so that those who are stuck in that dark place could relate and see that they can re invent their story and make a different ending, different then the one they feel they have been subjected to live as a life sentence.
I risked exposing the darkness from within myself to share what survivors face… the abuse and trauma that follows victims, it can bring them to the darkest of places… they may become lost in addictions, experiencing homelessness or far worse…
I was blessed to have an amazing father, the strength of an incredible step mother, the unconditional love from my Oma and Opa and let’s not forget one incredible husband!! Not everyone is able to change their path as not everyone has that kind of support. Even in my own supports, I as you will read, was not immune to what trauma does to a human soul.
I had the incredible opportunity to meet more survivors last night and have several coffee dates scheduled for the next couple of weeks. One of them is in their 80’s and disclosed a traumatic childhood. The courage this human faced in disclosing now cannot be put into words appropriately. Let’s just say they were an inspiration to me in courage, love and the strength in being vulnerable. If we can all be a little more vulnerable, then we can be present for each other and help each other one moment at a time.
Thank you everyone, I am truly blessed!!
Let’s keep talking!!!!
Good evening everyone. It has been just a few short weeks with the launch of my book and already more heartening then I ever imagined possible. Opening up and sharing my story has taught me the strength there is in allowing oneself to be vulnerable and authentic. It’s as though I am on this incredible mountain with the most beautiful scenery ever imagined. The thing is, looking down the side of this mountain I see the depth of just how high I have climbed, and if I fell I would surely face my death. As I gaze to the other side where I must travel, I see a beauty everywhere. I have been assured that there is a bridge that will take me across but I must have faith as it will only appear as I step into the open air risking falling to my death. As I take that leap of faith, an overwhelming surge of adrenaline rushes throughout my body along with an overpowering wave of emotions. Taking that first step I am filled with joy, as beneath me I am watching the start of a bridge forming underneath my feet. I don’t know where this bridge will carry me but I am being authentic to where my soul is guiding me. Only with the hope, trust and faith in myself, can I cross this bridge that I am unable to see until I take that leap. With each step, my path is making itself known as I trust and have faith. Where it leads, that I do not know.
Thank you to all of you who have shared your own journeys with me, it has been an honour. I never imagined the impact to hit so many in the most beautiful and powerful manner. Being vulnerable, sharing honestly offers the opportunity for others to share the same. When we can relate to someone through their honesty we have that moment where we connect and think “Me Too!” and we are less alone. We feel connected. So let’s keep talking!
Good afternoon readers! This is the first blog of many to come. The wave of emotions I have already experienced has been overwhelming. For starters I am a first time author which has brought me a large bag of mixed emotions. Some of these have included excitement, (I actually did it!!) humility, (I just bore my soul for this cause.. wait what was I thinking?) and of course good old fear (Yeah!! What were you thinking? Will they even like the book?) and then the wave of emotions when I received my first review. It was a positive and heartfelt review that triggered the flow of tears running down my cheeks. The best word to describe how I have been feeling is awe. “a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear and wonder” Yup that’s me!! What a ride and we have only just started!!
Even though Scars Among Us has just come out, I have had the privilege of hearing from many of my readers about their own personal stories of trauma. I am both honoured and humbled to listen to each individual. Each story is unique, yet the emotions bring familiarity to the journey each person has travelled. As we share there has been a sense of community, less isolation within my heart and those who have opened up. There is a sense of healing and acceptance as we begin to open and share. Thank you everyone!!
We are having our Launch Party for the book on January the 16th 2019. It will start at 7pm at our local library. We planned it as Christmas is just around the corner and we can all only focus on so much at a time! I will add details as they become available.
I always enjoy hearing from my readers so if you would like to the invitation is open to sending me an email. I will respond back as quickly as I am able.
Happy Holidays Everyone!!
C.S. Hunt is a Mediator with her own private practice. She has spent most of her career in the non-profit sector working with the most vulnerable citizens in her community as an advocate. Building an inclusive community that ensures the rights and needs for those who do not have a voice has been her passion. She is happily married, a proud mother and grandmother (Oma).
Catherine is a dream come true for her parents. Their first born child is their most precious gift. The love and joy they feel for her is obvious to everyone who knows them. When tragedy unexpectedly hits, Catherine’s world is turned upside down and the course of her life is forever changed.
In this heartbreakingly powerful memoir, Catherine goes back to where it all began. Following the tragic death of one of her parents at the age of three, she is sent to live with an Aunt and Uncle. This is where the cycle of her abuse begins. As she makes her way in the world, the sexual violation she endured at the hands of her uncle shapes her and how she views herself.
When devastating news about the beloved cousin she loves as a brother comes to the surface, the scars of her past are reopened.
The memories of the abuse her uncle put her through come rushing back so powerfully that she is not sure she can survive this time. To save herself Catherine must face once and for all the demons of her past. She bravely exposes her complete self in this gut-wrenching journey of healing as she finally faces the torment she had worked so hard to bury.
Scars among Us talks about what many victims are afraid to talk out loud about. There is a taboo of shame deeply woven into the emotions for so many victims of rape. This includes the families and the families of the perpetrators. The travesty of sexual abuse impacts not only the victim but all who are involved. This book explores not only the emotional devastation that sexual violence delivers to all involved, but of hope. As we begin to speak out loud, we begin to extinguish the shame and stigma that was once controlled by silence. This is the beginning of healing. Let’s talk.