Unsilence The Violence

by Lance Ekum on · 29 comments

"Healing may not be so much about getting better, as about letting go of everything that isn't you – all of the expectations, all of the beliefs – and becoming who you are." ~ Rachel Naomi Remen

Today I have a very special guest here (she's from Wisconsin – we could be neighbors…), discussing a topic that is all too often shoved under the covers.  Please help me welcome Maggie, who has created a wonderful resource for anyone out there suffering from the horrors of domestic violence, sexual abuse, and rape. 

Maggie has a personal blog, Okay, Fine, Dammit, that she has had for some time.  About a year ago, after writing a local piece on domestic violence, Maggie felt the deeper need for creating a place where people could share their own personal stories – and to bring some peace and healing in the process.  From that, she created the Violence Unsilenced website.

Violence Unsilenced (VU) is that place where people can share, in their own words – from their personal experiences from domestic violence, sexual abuse, and rape.  Please note: reading the VU site can be emotionally challenging and all the stories are very real. It's in these stories, though, that the violence, pain, and suffering can find some possibility of healing.  It's also a place where each of us, through the voices of those who have been there, can more deeply see how heinous these acts are.  And in that, perhaps we can all take a few more steps towards a healing and meaningful compassion for all our brothers and sisters in this world.  

Please read along, as Maggie shares a more in depth look at who she is and what she has created.

1.  What led to the creation of the Violence Unsilenced website?
Back in 2008, I wrote an article profiling seven domestic violence survivors for a city magazine – and the experience changed me. Then one night, right around that same time my article ran, there was a domestic violence death in my community. In a fit of sadness, I vented on my personal blog (Okay, Fine, Dammit) – and the response was very intense. There were clearly a lot of people impacted by abuse. On top of that, I knew how cathartic the magazine experience had been for the survivors I profiled, and decided I wanted to keep that momentum going. I was well aware by then in the power of the blogging community, and I had a lot of confidence in my fellow bloggers. I knew we could do this together. In writing the article I learned that one in four women will be a victim of abuse in her lifetime. I thought about how small each of our blogging communities can be, and how well we think we know each other. The assumptions we make, the things we don't see. I thought, why don't we show the blogosphere just how prolific and encompassing abuse is?

From the very start, VU was a collaborative process. My blog readers contributed their input, their stories, helped choose the name, and helped spread the word – so much so that on the very first day VU went live, there were several thousand visitors. That was over a year ago, and I believe it's still a very collective effort.  I’ve said this before, but I hope when people think of VU, they don't think of me – they think of the survivors and the supporters. It's a good day when I overhear someone talk about the "people over at VU," rather than the "person."

Lance's Commentary:  Maggie, I find much hope in what you have created.  And for me, personally, I really believe it touches upon love and compassion…in the hearing of these stories. 

I think about that figure, 1 in 4 women will be the victim of abuse.  And as I think of the women I know in my life, I really hope that it's way off (although reality tells me it's probably not).  Proof of that made it's appearance just yesterday – as I read the words of a blogger friend, Jill (who gave permission to link to this – thank you, Jill) who just happened to share her own story of sexual assault on her site.  Jill – know that I see you as a brave and courageous soul.

2.  Maggie, I look at what you have created, and find such great hope in the message that you are creating.  As this has evolved over the last year, what has this whole project meant to you?
Even though I knew there were a lot of people with these types of stories, I was still shocked by the sheer volume of responses. I’ve had a 4-6 month wait list from day one, and here it is a year later with no signs of slowing down. So many stories waiting to be told… it’s both terribly sad, and incredibly hopeful. I am bowled over every day, both by the strength of the survivors and the compassion of the readers. I feel blessed that I get to watch this humanity in action right here on my screen.

Lance's Commentary:  Your community is such a supportive one, and what a gift that is to everyone. 

3.   Tell us about these shared stories that you post  – and have they touched you personally?
To be honest, it’s very difficult to be regularly exposed to so much trauma and suffering. I admit I have had to learn to limit my time with the project, and to take care of myself emotionally. But yes, every single one of them touches me personally, because these are not just auto-posted—there is a process I go through with each survivor to make sure he/she is absolutely certain he/she wants to be published, and is accordingly supported and aware of the risks. Afterward, I feel very bonded to each survivor. It’s a very personal and humbling experience, and it happens twice a week. Ultimately, despite the sad content of the posts, it’s always a positive thing for me. Speaking the truth out loud seems to make these survivors even stronger, and I get to bear witness to that miracle—which makes me a better person, I believe. I can’t even remember my life before VU.

Lance's Commentary:  As sad as it can be to read these stories, I also find much hope in the sharing of them.  I very much get a sense that there is a healing in the sharing.  I also believe that I, myself, feel an even deeper level of compassion for the world around me after reading a story on VU.  So, as difficult as these stories are – the public sharing of them really is so good for everyone.

4. Tell us one unexpected thing that has happened since creating Violence Unsilenced.
I didn’t know that it would be so widely and unconditionally supported. I thought it might be a project inside my reading circle, but I didn’t expect the wide-reaching, consistent promotion that so many people (like you, for instance) feel compelled to do. I am so grateful to you, and to all of them. We are seriously doing this together.

Lance's Commentary:  Maggie, know that I believe that you have created a wonderful gift in VU, and it's an honor to have you here.

5. Outside of VU, what’s a typical day for Maggie look like?
My daughters are 10 and five, so they go off to school now. I have a writing studio I rent to do my work, which is freelance writing—I write magazine articles for a living. My family and my personal time are the most important things to me, so I build my schedule around that. I do quite a lot of running around, but ultimately my favorite thing is to hold very still as often as I possibly can.

Lance's Commentary:  I'm guessing that guy in the picture with you is the guy you call husband!  And it sounds like you have a wonderful family life – savor all the moments!  And in that stillness, much clarity….

6. Anything new you have coming up?
I’m speaking at BlogHer ’10 in New York City this year, on a panel about utilizing community for change. I'll also be speaking at the Type A Mom conference (Asheville, NC) in September.  I really feel deeply that there’s a lot of power out there in the blogosphere to be harnessed for good, and I’m also very reverent of writing. I think something is lost in the chaos of the social ladder-climbing, popularity, and promotion in abundance in blogging today. It’s so different from the way it was when I first got started, and though there have been very positive changes, it can also be very discouraging. There’s a whole lot of little-known blogs out there where incredibly good writing is going down, and I guess I’d love for people to widen their viewfinders a bit.

Lance's Commentary:  Your message is such an important one – so that's great about you getting out there and spreading the word.  You will touch many more lives, in amazing ways, and

7.  Deep down, what makes you uniquely “you”? 
This is probably a very tough question for anyone to answer about him/herself. I don’t know what makes me me, but I know what I value most in the people I care about—integrity and compassion. I may fall down a lot, but I try to emulate those traits as much as I can. I also love how different we all are, and personally I’m glad we’re not all trying to be like each other.

Lance's Commentary:  I fall down a lot too.  And perhaps that is all part of the journey we are each on.  There will be moments when we are making great strides, and then others where we slip and fall.  And in those moments when we fall, the beautiful part is that we CAN get back up.  And that's not any more evident than in the VU website, and the people who share so openly their stories.  And in that unsilencing of the violence….they can get back up.  And perhaps we can get back up, too….touched by compassion and love.

Closing Comments:  Maggie, it is an honor to have you here and sharing a bit more in-depth look at what Violence Unsilenced is all about and what is has come to mean to you.  I know you don't feel like this is just you out there creating this.  I still want you to know, though, that you shine your amazing and beautiful light into our world…and that does make it a better place.  You have given survivors of some really bad things a place to safely share and move further down that path of healing.  What a wonderful gift you are! 

Thank you, once again, for being here.


You can keep up with Maggie by visiting the Violence Unsilenced site or her personal blog, Okay, Fine, Dammit.  Keep up with her on Twitter, @maggiedammit .

Note that I have also added a badge to my sidebar in support of what Maggie is doing.  If you are interested in joining in support of this, you can Take the Pledge right here.

Lance writes stories from his heart, aiming to inspire and motivate, as you align more fully with YOUR true peak. When he's not here, you can find him hanging out with his family, riding a bike, or just generally acting goofy.   Sign up for the Thoughts from the Treehouse newsletter and get additional inspiration in your email inbox!
Lance Ekum
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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Megan "JoyGirl!" Bord April 27, 2010 at 6:42 am

I’m blown away by what you’re doing, Maggie. As I read along, sometimes with tears in my eyes and always with a smile of hope in my heart, I kept thinking, “Who else can I send this to?” The answer was “A lot of people.” So many people are abused in their lifetime… And we all suffer at the hand of some sort of abuse — whether mental, emotional, physical — inflicted by others or sometimes by ourselves.

So much of what you wrote touched me deeply, but in particular these three things did:
1. The fact that you’re helping people in such an intimate way, and helping give hundreds of people a voice who otherwise have stifled themselves out of fear. Thank you for that.
2. The idea that whenever you can, you try to be still. That really gave me pause.
3. How aware you are that what you’re doing can be emotionally challenging, so you protect yourself, as needed, so you can persevere; all in the name of love.

Lance, you keep up’ing the ante with these interviews, and to say “thank you” for introducing us to another incredible person seems so small… But I’ll say it anyway: THANK YOU

Maggie, God bless you, and God bless everyone who speaks on your site — and the thousands of others who haven’t yet, but might want to, and are working to find their voice.

Love & peace to you both!

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Jay Schryer April 27, 2010 at 7:07 am

Lance, thank you for interviewing Maggie and highlighting the great work of ViolenceUnsilenced. I stumbled across Maggie’s personal blog about a year ago, and was immediately blown away by the quality, depth, and heartfelt emotion of her writing. I’ve told her this several times before, and I’ll say it again here: Maggie is one of the best writers I have ever had the pleasure to read.

I know far too many women who have been raped, molested, or abused by people who claimed to love them. The ViolenceUnsilenced community has been very healing for them, even if their stories haven’t been published there. It has also helped me relate to my loved ones who have undergone such painful experiences.

So thank you, Lance, for highlighting this important work and helping to spread the message.

But most of all, thank *you*, Maggie, for all the good that you do. As always, I admire, respect, and love you.
.-= Jay Schryer´s Last Fabulous Post ..The Best Intentions =-.

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Simon Hay April 27, 2010 at 7:10 am

Hi Lance and Maggie. VU is a tough site to visit. The bravery there is humbling. The first story I read reminded me of some painful memories. Maggie, the healing in the telling is powerful. I applaud the work you are doing. Love and peace, Simon.
.-= Simon Hay´s Last Fabulous Post ..Blog Appreciation Day—“I of my own knowledge…” =-.

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Evita April 27, 2010 at 7:56 am

Hi Lance and Maggie

Incredible work Maggie that you are doing and the thing that I felt the most reading this is exactly how strong and balanced you have to be, as you deal with so much suffering and trauma. I am sure it is a fine balancing act between helping people and not taking on their pain.

Many blessings to you Maggie for the wonderful work you are doing, I am sure it cannot be easy always, but I am also sure that because of you, there are countless people out there who are doing better, leading happier lives, feeling like there is someone who cares and more!

Lance, the quote is yet again so perfect for this interview and thank you for leading it so well.
.-= Evita´s Last Fabulous Post ..My New Journey Begins By Being Naked in Eden =-.

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nic @mybottlesup April 27, 2010 at 8:04 am

thank you for shedding some glorious light on a glorious woman and the incredible work she is so passionate about. maggie is changing lives on a daily basis, speaking as one whose life has been changed thanks to her and violence unsilenced.
.-= nic @mybottlesup´s Last Fabulous Post ..on your second birthday =-.

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Betsy Wuebker April 27, 2010 at 9:01 am

Here is why I love you, Lance. You’re all about positivity and doing better, but you also are unafraid to acknowledge there is a dark side to life, do something about that, and introduce people who are doing that as well. I so appreciate everyone who works in this field to create safe havens and expose what used to mostly be a “dirty little secret” in relationships. Oh, and Maggie? I’m sure your husband and Bruce Willis were separated at birth, eh?
.-= Betsy Wuebker´s Last Fabulous Post ..This Blaze of Growing =-.

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Jill April 27, 2010 at 9:38 am

Maggie, you are an angel. The work that you are doing for victims is so appreciated. Your website allows powerful healing to happen.

Lance, you are also an angel. I want you to know that you are playing a part in my own healing and I appreciate you sharing my story here. I know that my world is a better place because of you. Thank you for being you.
.-= Jill´s Last Fabulous Post ..A story that needs to be told =-.

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maggie, dammit April 27, 2010 at 9:50 am

Lance, wow. Wow. This is so gracious and supportive and amazing, I don’t know what to say. Thank you for caring about VU, thank you for asking me to do this, thank you for allowing VU to take up residence on your site for the day and be introduced to your amazing readers. These comments are incredible–clearly not drive-by folks, but very engaged, very articulate, very respectful people. You obviously have a good thing going here and I’m so honored that you’ve included me today.

Megan, I’m so humbled and grateful that you feel the need to pass the site along to the people in your life. You are so right, it really is all around us and so many think they’re alone. They suffer alone thinking their experiences aren’t “bad enough” or that no one will understand. Thank you for working against that silence and shame today.

Jay, I don’t know what to say. You are always far too generous and kind with me. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your ongoing support of me and of VU. Your heart is enormous.

Simon, thank you. I know that it’s a hard site to visit and I appreciate that not everyone can do so, particularly other survivors. I often have to force myself to look at rather than away from hard things, and I try not to get too down on myself when I just want laugh or lie down in a field. I think that’s okay, too. We’re all just doing the best we can.

Evita, thanks. It’s a balancing act I wasn’t prepared for, and one I still tweak every day–but it’s been helpful to me in all areas of my life, from parenting to my own personal demons. Self-preservation, boundaries, self-care… it’s all stuff I’m not sure I did very well before VU, and so I’m grateful for the quick education.

Nic, you know I love you, babe. As a survivor you are part of the lifeblood of VU and I hope you absorb every kind word thrown my way as a kind word to you.

Betsy, I agree, and I’m so grateful to Lance. If it was all shiny smiles all the time, we wouldn’t have any perspective at all. Without hard truths, we wouldn’t be able to appreciate all the good in the world and the blessings at our fingertips. (Bruce Willis, HA! I’m not telling him that, his head will explode.) 😉

Jill, you are so sweet but I’m definitely not an angel. In fact, I really don’t do much of anything at all–it’s the men and women who are brave enough to expose themselves so thoroughly, and the people like Lance and the other readers who support the site, that are doing the daily work of change. Thank you, though. I appreciate it very much.
.-= maggie, dammit´s Last Fabulous Post ..Connection =-.

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Joy April 27, 2010 at 2:10 pm

Lance,
Thank you for sharing your space with Maggie.

Maggie,
What an amazing person you are. You took an issue near and dear to us all and then took the initiative to provide healing for so many with this wonderful organization you’ve created. Each person telling the story is healing and growing, each person listening is healing and growing.
Your cause is near and dear to my heart because I am a survivor. I learned long ago to harbor a secret is to give it power, to set it free is to render it powerless; so I’ve made it part of my story, and part of my own inspiration when sharing my heart to heal others. We stand shoulder to shoulder, so your “burden” is my joy to heal, and we pass it on through the entire circle of love we’ve created. Thank *you* for shining such a bright Light on something that touches us all. Beautiful indeed. 🙂

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Wilma Ham April 27, 2010 at 4:16 pm

Hi Lance. It is amazing how you find and then share the treasures with us.
Maggie, you are providing a wonderful lost resource for us. In the olden days women came together at the well or river to do their laundry. While doing the chores there must have been an awful lot of sharing, teaching, encouraging, moderation going on. Women were not alone with their pain, confusion, questions and overwhelm. Now we are and even if we would get rid of our secrets, where would we go? At work we are too busy and who can we trust, once home we are too busy and who has time to listen to us.
Oh Maggie, what you have done is giving us a place to once again come together, a place where once again there is time, where once again we can find concentrated listening and wisdom.
Women learn from each other and there is so much to learn about life. We know a lot about other things but not much about relationships and life.
Thank you for also seeing this enormous need to create a resource where we can learn to become once again a strong woman, well equipped to live life in glorious self fulfillment. Love to you both, xox Wilma

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Tess The Bold Life April 27, 2010 at 4:27 pm

Hi Maggie and Lance,
I think what you’ve done is set up a place where people feel loved and cared about. Compassion can heal our world and you have enough to do that and more!

As a counselor I’ve listened to so many women tell me about rape and sexual abuse at one point I thought it would drive me mad. I’m wondering if the stats are for reported cases or is it an estimate including unreported.

Believe me not one woman I saw reported their rape. It’s such a shaming thing to happen to someone.

If I could give parents one piece of advice it would be to educate their daughters on drinking and being in the wrong places. Especially at college! You can’t believe the amount of rape that goes on due to parties, sororities and women losing control because they’re to drunk or passed out! Then of course the next morning they believe it’s their fault because they were drinking which is total bullshit.

Now the talk with sons is another story especially when rape is portrayed in porn as women saying no but meaning yes and enjoying it…
Well I’ll quit ranting now and just say thank you and I love you for the work you do Maggie. Lance thanks for doing us all a favor today and getting this out there! xo

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Jenn April 27, 2010 at 4:28 pm

Lance, I agree with Wilma “It is amazing how you find these lovely communities and then share the treasures with us.” Thank you for doing that! I love the idea about Violence being unsilenced, not that it is pretty but as you said, it is healing through sharing our pain as we help one another up. It is so beautiful! I realized this the other day also as I was listening to someone’s story of their childhood just in a few key areas of love and connection and Iwas awakened again to the reality: it is so sad to me how many kids are raised with few hugs, and love and it is only this unconditional love, attention and healing touch that is needed. Now, (reflected from Source) by all of these communities coming together as adults, that can really bring a healing balm of spirit to those places that remain empty, and to the wounds that remain. I wish the best to you Maggie as you lead this wonderful community! thank you both for this post. It really helps to build more awareness. hugs, ~Jenn
.-= Jenn´s Last Fabulous Post ..Funny Stories: Bunny Yoga, Not the Original Plan =-.

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Lauren April 27, 2010 at 4:51 pm

Dear Maggie,

What a remarkable thing you have created. A safe place for women to share their experiences and begin or continue the healing process. I love knowing this is here.

As a psychologist working in the prison system, I deal constantly with domestic abusers. The type of evaluation I do requires that I hear their description of the offense. Naturally, I also have the court documents describing the offenses. The level of denial and minimization is remarkable.

After calling them on the denial and minimization, if I feel there is an opening I always discuss with them the toll their rage takes upon the people in their lives – and on them.

I have a good friend whose daughter was murdered by her abuser. She was a bright, articulate, beautiful young woman. Very sad.

Again, your contribution is amazing to me. I just love your courage to do what you are doing.

And big kudos to Lance for understanding how important this work is. Thank you Lance!

Warm regards,
Lauren

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Darren Sproat April 27, 2010 at 4:58 pm

Maggie,
I ‘met’ you through Violence UnSilenced and have come to frequent your blog at Okay, Fine, Dammit as well…I am totally supportive of what you are doing and will do my part to raise awareness however I can. Awareness is the precursor to education and change, I believe, and you are doing a wonderful job of raising awareness for this all too important, not always nice to talk about or think about, subject. The stories I have read have raised a vast array of emtoions from sadness to all out anger… keep up the great work.

Lance,
I am constantly impressed by the community you have built here and continue to find inspiration and hope in every post. Keep up the good work, my friend.

Regards,
Darren Sproat
.-= Darren Sproat´s Last Fabulous Post ..A Little Piece of Happy, Revisited – THE KEY! =-.

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Lori April 27, 2010 at 4:59 pm

Hi Lance and Maggie,

I agree with the points the other commenters have discussed, and I’m here to say thank you and that I support you both. I find the comments here to be just as interesting and touching as the post! Thank you, Maggie, for giving a voice to those who wish to speak. Both you and Lance are angels to me.

Much Love,
~Lori
.-= Lori´s Last Fabulous Post ..What I Learned from Racing =-.

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Lance April 27, 2010 at 9:58 pm

Maggie,
You have created something very special in VU. I’m honored to have you here, and sharing about this, and about you. I really believe that what you are doing is making this healing process more personal and more meaningful. I have a wonderful, wonderful group of readers here – and I’m glad you see that in them. These are amazing folks who visit regularly. More than that – they care deeply. What you are doing, along with these sweet and caring people here – what a beautiful combination together.

Keep being a beacon of light and hope in our world!

Namaste,
Lance

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Lance April 27, 2010 at 9:58 pm

@Megan – Megan, thank you for being here. At some level, yes, we all have been exposed to abuse. Sadly, some more than others. And it’s in some of these where healing is more difficult. Maggie’s VU site is that safe place to share. And even if we are not ready to share – it’s a place to read and find healing through other’s words, too. Megan, you are a sweet and caring soul….something I have known for a long time. Today, that shines through so brightly. Love always, dear friend…

@Jay – Jay, thank you for taking the time to read today. Maggie’s writing is superb, and that you have already been exposed to her – wonderful! The VU community is filled with caring individuals who know and understand – and it truly is a place filled with much healing. And this is also one step toward turning the cycle of abuse around…with a focus on love and compassion. Jay, you are a caring soul, and today I witness that on another level… Peace, my friend…

@Simon Hay – Simon, your words are meaningful and ones I relate very much to. Reading the words shared by survivors of these acts can very much be difficult. And I can only imagine how difficult this also can be for the survivor’s sharing their stories. So, in reading them – I feel a deeper connection to someone I don’t even know – because they have shared something very personal. In that sharing, I find great hope for humanity’s resolve. Thanks so much for being here, Simon. Much peace and love to you.

@Evita – Evita, your presence here today means a lot to me – thank you. Since I have been reading the VU website, one thing I feel very much is how this does impact people in some wonderful ways. Like any secret weighing heavy on our soul – when it’s no longer a secret, that burden is lightened. Maggie has really created something so meaningful in VU, and especially for the people who have that story in them. Much peace, always, dear friend…

@Nic – Nic, thank you for visiting today. See, this is part of how I become changed because of VU. I have now read your story, and it has touched me deeply. And I feel a connection to you. Know that you matter here, and that you are a wonderful person. I am honored you took the time to comment today, and in that – touch my life a bit deeper. Peace and love…always…

@Betsy – Betsy, thanks so much for joining in the conversation today. The dark side of life….it’s there, isn’t it. Yet, when we share that dark side, it’s not so dark anymore, perhaps. This doesn’t have to be a “dirty little secret”. It is wrong, it is disgusting, and what Maggie is doing – that really is helping to make this more openly discussed. And that’s a beautiful thing amongst all this bad. And – the Bruce Willis reference!! I love it – it sure DOES seem fitting! (even if Maggie doesn’t want to share that!!!)

@Jill – Jill, today especially I am so glad you are here. And I can only imagine how difficult it can be to share your story. Yet, in that – know that I feel more closely connected to you. And I believe very much that what you shared on your site will not only continue to bring healing to you, but also to touch countless visitors who will read…and understand…and find some of their own relief. Your words today are sweet and caring. I’m humbled by what you are saying. Jill, it’s not me, though – who is that angel. It is you, sweet friend, with wings, with love, with care, with compassion. You are a shining light of hope in our world. Love and peace to you, wonderful friend…

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Patricia - Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker April 28, 2010 at 12:06 am

Lance and Maggie, thank you both for the work that you do online. Lance, thank you for making me aware of Maggie and her blog. I will be visiting her soon. We need more people who are willing to break the silence of abuse in all of its many forms. Bless you Maggie for giving these survivors a forum to talk on, to tell their stories. Breaking the silence of incest and offering support for other survivors is something that I have been using my blog to do for almost three years now. Lance has been a big supporter of mine for quite awhile. He emailed me to make sure that I was aware of this article. Lance, I appreciate the extra effort. Maggie, it is great work that you do. Thank you. Now I am off to check out Violence Unsilenced.
.-= Patricia – Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker´s Last Fabulous Post ..Cyrus Webb Presents "The Patricia Singleton Story" on Conversations Live! Radio Interview =-.

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Richard | RichardShelmerdine.com April 28, 2010 at 3:40 am

Maggie it’s a really beautiful thing that you are doing here. Keep it up!

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Hilary April 28, 2010 at 3:41 am

Hi Lance and Maggie .. what a truly educating subject that you’ve written about and felt compelled to do something about – opening it up to the wider world.

Forgive me for not being too participative just now .. I have other tricky things going on and my head is not geared in this direction – Hilary
.-= Hilary´s Last Fabulous Post ..The Okavango Delta – the perfect place to Safari or holiday? = Yes for me! Part 1/3 =-.

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Lance April 28, 2010 at 5:07 am

@Joy – Joy, your light and love shine here today so beautifully. There is so much healing at the VU site. And in that healing, hopefully some peace as well. You are a dear and caring friend, and as much as I know you are at peace where you are today – I still ache at the thought of just how prevalent abuse is. Having you here, and sharing, and caring – Joy, you are a beautiful gift from above. Much love to you, dear friend.

@Wilma – Wilma, thank you for being here today. This is so true – we have become a society that is on the go. And in that we have lost some of the more meaningful connection that came in working side by side with others, without that need to rush on to the next thing. So, yes – Maggie does provide a way for survivors and other caring souls to connect, on their schedules, and in a safe and inviting place. That is a beautiful gift. Blessings and love to you…

@Tess – Tess, your presence here means the world to me…thank you. Hearing these stories, over and over – whether that is like Maggie in the submissions she gets for the VU site, or if it’s like you in the role of counselor, hearing firsthand – I’m sure this has to be so difficult to do. On the other hand, helping others to put a voice to what is very possibly a demon in their life – what a beautiful gift both of you have given. College can be so fraught with dangers that seems like nothing (an extra drink, a walk home with a new friend, a party, etc), and yet it really can (sadly) lead to some very bad things happening. So, your advice for parents – so, so good Tess. As a parent of three children, this is something that scares me about what could happen out there in this world. Tess, thank you for sharing so candidly what this all means to you. You are a gift…

@Jenn – Jenn, thank you for your caring comments today. What Maggie has created really is about the healing. And what a wonderful thing that is. Love is what I believe is a core need for all of us – and something we all desire in our lives. So, this may just be it – if we could all start to more openly show love to the world around us – deep and meaningful love – maybe that could start to reverse the cycle of bad. Maggie’s site DOES offer this, through a community that cares. That’s a beautiful gift to the world, and a start toward changing the perceptions of abuse. Jenn, thank you again, and much love to you always….

@Lauren – Lauren, thanks so much for being here. The VU site is a wonderful place of healing! I can tell, very much, how close to your heart this topic is. What you are doing, within the prison system, is such a good thing. As much as the abusers are bad…they are also filled with their own issues, and maybe a cycle of something done unto them – something untold and buried – that they are now acting out. So, when we can look at all with compassion – both the survivor and the victim – perhaps we can see that, in some way – we are all broken. And love heals. Know that I am sorry to hear about your friend who lost her daughter – so, so sad. Lauren, continue to be a light in this world, and bring hope to all those you touch. Know that you do that here, and it’s a gift to have you visit. Much love and care…

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Lance April 28, 2010 at 5:43 am

@Darren – Darren, your support of my site has been incredible. Today that shines through even more, knowing that you are already familiar with Maggie and her works. Awareness really is so important, and that is something Maggie has really created. This doesn’t have to be a topic that gets brushed under the rug. When it’s brought out into the open – the stigma can be taken away, and real and meaningful healing can start. Keep being a light of love in this world, my friend…

@Lori – Lori, you are a gift here…always. Know that is especially true today, on this very difficult subject to fully comprehend. It’s in the love we more openly express that we can start to heal. All of us. If we are all one (which I like to think we are), then these acts done to one, are done to all. In fact, I think if we could get to that spot in our lives, where we truly did see our world as one – this could go a long way toward changing how we all treat others around us. Hmmm….it sounds so idealistic…and still…so, so good. Lori, you mean the world to me….much love and peace…

@Patricia – Patricia, what you are doing with your site is a wonderful resource for sharing a deeper understanding of incest and what that means for everyone involved. You are a gift. Patricia, I look to you with love, as I see all the good you are giving our world – based on something very bad that happened to you. Know that you really are a lightworker. And you have shined your amazing and beautiful light into my life in so many ways. Just as Maggie has now that I have gotten to know her. And this all reminds me that our world has a lot of caring souls in it…doing so much good. Patricia, thank you for all that you give of yourself. Peace and love…

@Richard – Thanks much for stopping by today Richard. What Maggie has created truly is beautiful.

@Hilary – Hilary, thank you for your visit, especially in light of all the other things you have going on right now. I’m glad you have had the opportunity to meet Maggie, here in this space. She is doing some very caring and meaningful things through the VU site. Peace, my friend…

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Cheryl Paris April 28, 2010 at 6:06 am

Hello Lance and Maggie,

Lance great going. Maggie congratulations on doing what you are doing. It is extremely great. What you are doing is helping them uplift their lives and finding ray of hope.
bye for now.
Cheryl
.-= Cheryl Paris´s Last Fabulous Post ..Why I Think You Should Learn to Deal With Your Past =-.

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Jody - Fit at 52 April 28, 2010 at 2:25 pm

Lance & Maggie…. it has all been said in the comments…. just THANK YOU from me for all you do!

Lance, will be plugging World Laughter Day this Friday on my blog for you!
.-= Jody – Fit at 52´s Last Fabulous Post ..New Exercise Moves; GIVEAWAY! =-.

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Lance April 28, 2010 at 9:21 pm

@Cheryl – Thank you for your presence here, Cheryl. By providing a space for people to share openly, Maggie has created a sanctuary where people can feel loved and accepted, no matter what. And that IS beautiful…

@Jody – Jody, thank you so much for being here. And – thank you, again, for being such a sweet and caring supporter of me and all the crazy adventures I head off onto!

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Jannie Funster April 30, 2010 at 7:06 pm

Hi both of you!!

It is great maggie is speaking at BlogHer, that will really be a good outlet for reaching more people to share. As she states — sharing builds community.

I find Tess’ comment very eye-opening — and true! So much drinking goes on at parties and young women (and men too) put themselves in positions that are dangerous. Good point! I will have that conversation wth my daughter for sure at some point!

Off to read a bit of VU, I am sure I can handle it. Sometimes life ain’t pretty but we learn from it, and help each other.

Thanks, Lance for another real find of a blogger!

xo

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J.D. Meier May 2, 2010 at 9:09 pm

Creating a safe place to share is important. We all need our safe havens.

I think just the fact that people can share their stories helps people feel they are not alone, and sometimes just relating is the most important thing.
.-= J.D. Meier´s Last Fabulous Post ..Lessons Learned from Steve Pavlina =-.

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maggie, dammit May 3, 2010 at 11:08 am

I’m blown away by these responses. I’m just speechless. Thank you all, so much. I’m continuing to read here and soaking in your words and I’m so grateful.

Thank you again for this experience, Lance.
.-= maggie, dammit´s Last Fabulous Post ..Connection =-.

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