Together We Heal

Together We Heal is for any who suffer from the trauma of childhood sexual abuse. We provide a safe forum for survivors of abuse to share, learn and heal. We work to expose sexual predators and their methods of getting into our lives.


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Our Worst Fears Becoming A Reality?

Just a few days ago, we wrote about our concerns that the shelter in place orders, which are absolutely essential to prevent the spread of COVID-19, would potentially lead to more cases of abuse.

 

Yesterday, we heard from the President of RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network), Scott Berkowitz, that for the first time ever, a majority of their sexual abuse hotline users were minors.

 

According to Berkowitz, over half of the people who called RAINN’s hotline last month who identified their age, were under 18. Of those, 67% identified their perpetrator as a family member and, within that group, 79% said they were living with that perpetrator.

 

Berkowitz said the reason for the increased calls from minors could be that children can’t access the safety net of other adults they usually see outside the home.

 

“So many minors are now locked at home with their abuser, in the same house,” Berkowitz said. “The safety net that they had ― the parents and teachers and coaches that they would see every day who were likely the first people to notice signs of abuse ― children no longer have contact with those people right now.”

 

To read more about this risk to children, click on The Huffington Post article link here.

 

If you or someone you know is feeling trapped at home with a perpetrator, please reach out to someone you trust. If you don’t feel as though there is someone you can trust, contact one of these hotlines. Or call us at Together We Heal.

 

Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network

https://hotline.rainn.org/online

800.656.HOPE

800.656.4673

 

National Sexual Violence Resource Center

https://www.nsvrc.org/

 

Together We Heal – (754) 234-7975

 

Copyright © 2020 Together We Heal, Inc.


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Pandemic Can Lead To More Abuse

As Linda and I stay sheltered in place to do our part to limit the spread of COVID-19, I can’t help but think about a recent article in the New York Times…

 

The title of the article read, “Coronavirus Roils Every Segment of US Child Welfare System”.

 

The crux of the story and focus of the concern is this; Many child welfare professionals and advocates worry the pandemic will fuel a rise in child abuse and neglect.

 

Schools are closed. Many of these kids are from unstable backgrounds. Possible mental health issues with parents/guardians and drug/alcohol abuse to boot.

 

And with the two groups of people who usually offer some semblance of a safeguard, Teachers and other school employees NOT being able to report signs of abuse due to the school closings…”That’s a recipe for disaster”, said Boston social worker, Adriana Zwick.

 

Not having their eyes and ears means WE are going to have to be theirs, now more than ever. You may be sheltered in place, but you can keep your eyes and ears open in YOUR neighborhood.

 

Since older people are more vulnerable to COVID-19, children have not been a focus of public health efforts.

 

“That’s a mistake”, according to University of Pennsylvania professor Marci Hamilton, also CEO of CHILD USA, a think tank seeking to prevent child abuse and neglect.

 

“Already some areas are reporting spikes in abuse,” she said. “If caseworkers don’t have that protective equipment, it’s likely we’ll have fewer home visits, and fewer home visits mean more kids at risk.”

 

I think the sheriff of Harris County, Ed Gonzalez, said it best in a recent tweet…

“We cannot let a health pandemic become a child abuse pandemic! The number one reporters of child abuse are teachers, but kids aren’t seeing them right now. Neighbors and other family members, PLEASE pay close attention.”

 

Please watch for signs. If you need to know the signs, just ask. We’ll show you places to find the information you need. And then we can find the help the kids need. Together we can keep all children safer during this crisis.

 

To read the NYT article in full, click on the link here.

 

Copyright © 2020 Together We Heal, Inc.


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They Know

The following post was written and spoken by a fellow survivor. Her name is Lori Anne Thompson and we are honored that she shared her post so we could share it with you.

I wrote a few years ago that High Church days like Christmas and Easter can be especially difficult for those who’ve been violated by a member of the clergy. While I tried to verbalize my thoughts and feelings that particular Easter, Lori Anne does so with more insight, and lays bare the pain of this Friday.

We know, and He knows, and I pray after reading this You will know too…

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Dear Abuse Survivor/Supporter,

I have prepared this spoken word as a special gift for you. In it may you recognize the ruin in Friday and await the Son Rise on Sunday.

Peace, LA

 

Survivors know just about all there is to know about that Friday.
They know even if they know Him not.

They know about the lies lashed around their wrists and feet.
They know.

They know what it is to be bound and betrayed by a beloved.
They know what kisses were for.
They know.

They know about the salacious set up,
The friends who ran away,
The dark night when they prayed,
And absolutely nothing changed.
They know.

They know the cowardly cower of those who peddle in popularity,
They know the brief plead with the angry mob,
They know the freshly washed hands that claimed immunity.
God help me, they know.

They know what it means to be handed over,
To be stripped;
To be assaulted;
To be beaten,
To be broken;
To have to carry a crushing weight in their weakened estate;
They heard their own knees buckle.
Damn right they know.

They know what it is to be innocent;
To have entrusted their vulnerability to another;
To be laughed at;
To be mocked.
It rings in their ears still.
They KNOW.

They know what it means to have their reputation,
Their sanity,
Their station,
Their family,
Their friends,
Their integrity…
Stripped, ripped, ruined, robbed, and hung in half naked rags in public humiliation.
This, they know too well.

They know what is feels like to be forsaken,
To have all affirmation turn away.
To be utterly destroyed and alone.
I hang my head and I weep from somewhere deep.
Don’t you know, they know?

They know what it is to descend to the depths of darkness and death,
To watch as parts of themselves are crucified.
Oh yes… curious onlooker, religious scholar, high priest, and peddler…
They know.

 

Please visit Lori Anne’s site to read more:

https://loriannethompson.com/2019/04/18/they-know/

 

 

Copyright © 2019 Together We Heal


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The Truth About Sexual Abuse within the Southern Baptist Church

At last the truth is made known in the national media. At last predators like the one who murdered the innocence of my childhood and derailed my life for decades can no longer hide behind a church wall and pastor’s robe. And as you will read, our stories are not the exception, they are the rule. To abuse, deny, cover-up, victim shame and silence has been the “MO” for decades. Mine and countless others. I know most of you have probably read Part 1 of this story, but we are posting all 3 parts here so you can grasp the totality of the reach of sexual abuse within the SBC.

Please read, share, and then call your Pastor and DEMAND that change, REAL change be made. No more lip service. No more platitudes. This is not a Catholic problem. This is a HUMAN PROBLEM that exists in every denomination. Sexual predators use the church because people of faith are more trusting and forgiving and this is turned against them and used in evil, manipulating ways.

We must strike while the iron is hot and before it gets buried in the next news cycle. Please don’t let anymore time pass. Don’t assume someone else will speak to your church leadership. This is up to you now…

Part 1:

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/investigations/article/Southern-Baptist-sexual-abuse-spreads-as-leaders-13588038.php

Part 2:

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/investigations/article/Southern-Baptist-churches-hired-ministers-accused-13588233.php

Part 3:

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/investigations/article/All-too-often-Southern-Baptist-youth-pastors-13588292.php


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Will the Southern Baptist Church Finally Live What It Preaches?

This week Together We Heal, as an organization, and myself, David Pittman as an individual, have joined forces with Justice For Anne, For A Time Such As This & several fellow advocates. Together we have issued a statement that was most perfectly articulated by fellow advocate Ryan Ashton:

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“If you please, read the joint statement myself and fellow abuse survivors and advocates delivered to the president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) yesterday regarding their announcement of a sexual abuse study group:

“We all have a decision—to become more polarized and distrustful of one another, hide, build barriers, and perpetuate numerous injustices. Or we can face this evil together, choosing to create a culture where healing and safety are the norm, where love and compassion dwell, where children and families flourish, and the hope of the gospel maintains its integrity. We sign with that hope, committed to a future where no one in the Church has to say “Me Too” ever again.”

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Everything we do at Together We Heal and GRACE is because of the past and current failures of those within the church to better protect children and properly respond to those who’ve been harmed. It is our hope that the SBC will begin to live up to the call of Christ they espouse and not be just another one of those “cast to the bottom of the sea with a millstone around their neck”.

If not now, then when? If not us, then who?

The time is long overdue. The ball is in your court SBC leaders and church members. Do you truly believe the scripture you preach and teach? Then BE THE VOICE OF THE VOICELESS and quit giving lip service and protecting sexual predators.

The world, and Christ, is watching…

You can read the full statement here:

https://www.forsuchatimeasthisrally.com/inthenews/a-joint-statement-regarding-the-sbc-sexual-abuse-presidential-study-group


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Failure to Report Sexual Abuse – Who Cares?

This is the final installment of our 4-week guest blog appearance at Rachel Grant Coaching.

I want to thank Rachel for the opportunity to share my thoughts and concerns on these specific issues surrounding childhood sexual abuse.

Today we will talk about the abhorrent laws (or lack thereof) that let mandatory reports off the hook for failing to report sexual abuse.

http://rachelgrantcoaching.blogspot.com/2018/06/failure-to-report-sexual-abuse-who-cares.html


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Hope Is a 4-Letter Word

This week, we continue our series exploring the impact that ongoing abuse within the church has on one’s capacity to remain hopeful.

http://rachelgrantcoaching.blogspot.com/2018/06/hope-is-4-letter-word.html


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Can You Recognize Predatory Behavior?

This week’s article is the second part of, and provides a response to the question we posed last week…Is your faith community safe from sexual predators?

This week’s question: Can you recognize predatory behavior?

http://rachelgrantcoaching.blogspot.com/2018/06/can-you-recognize-predatory-behavior.html

 

If you didn’t catch last weeks article, you can read it here:

http://rachelgrantcoaching.blogspot.com/2018/06/is-your-faith-community-safe-from.html


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Is Your Faith Community Safe From Predators?

This month I am honored to be the guest blogger for my friend and colleagues’ website. Her name is Rachel Grant and she is doing amazing work helping fellow survivors of sexual abuse. So, for the next 4 weeks I will be posting from here with the link to her page.

 

This week’s post is actually a 2-part post, so stay tuned for next week’s section!

 

Please be sure to explore all of the excellent information she makes available!

 

http://rachelgrantcoaching.blogspot.com/2018/06/is-your-faith-community-safe-from.html


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Believing That Change Is Possible

This year I have decided to provide something new to the Together We Heal blog. In addition to my own writings, I wanted to offer some new voices with their own survivor perspectives. With April being “Child Abuse Prevention Month” we are honored to have a fellow survivor contribute. She has taught me much about healing and I am grateful to call her my friend, Rachel Grant. Join me in reading her words of encouragement today!

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But I’ve tried to get over this before!! Shouldn’t I be better already!? I know other people have healed, why can’t I?

Often the first hurdle to jump over in this journey is to put to rest (or a least put on mute for a while) your inner critic and doubter. I know you’ve been to therapy, I know you’ve read books, I know you’ve tried just about everything under the sun and you’re still running in circles. Don’t worry, I did, too! Or maybe you’re just for the first time ever admitting to yourself that the abuse happened and that you need to deal with it. Either way, there is likely a part of you that is wondering if you can get better! I invite you to allow yourself to embrace recovery as an adventure, an exploration. Be curious, check things out – and try to leave off stressing about end results. We each have to walk our own path of recovery. Sometimes, it takes just one thing to make things fall into place. Sometimes, it’s a variety of things.

For me, I tried all sorts of things before finally coming upon the ideas that I’ll share here that made the difference for me. I hope you can be open to the journey and remember there’s a lot to learn from turtles.

Lessons from a Turtle

“Adults are always asking kids what they want to be when they grow up, because they are looking for ideas.”
~Paula Poundstone

How fabulous is that! I know I’m still certainly wondering about what I’ll be when I grow up, and I know many of the folks around me are thinking about this, too.

For me, though, there are the added questions of, “Is it too late?” & “Shouldn’t I have accomplished more by now?” I took a bit more time to finish my undergraduate studies than usual; then I spent some time roaming the halls of an elementary school trying my hand at teaching and learning a lot about myself.

When I came to California, I focused on child development (and napping) as I nanny before turning my attention to psychology & coaching. Seems a bit schizophrenic, but each stage has in some way built upon the previous one. Now, most days, I appreciate my wiggly journey. Still, I do sometimes agonize about this, because I am many paces behind those who followed the straight and narrow.

When we feel the pressure to make our mark, crave the pride of achievement, desire to experience ourselves at our best, or want more than anything to be fully recovered, our first point of reference for measuring where we stand is often what others are doing or have done. Is there real value in this exercise of comparison? Well, I suppose it depends on what your ultimate goal is.

To my mind, I see two possible outcomes from engaging in this sort of reflection (to be sure, there may be others). If your goal (though possibly an unconscious one) is to reinforce negative ideas you have about yourself as being less than, incapable, flawed, etc. – comparing oneself to others is like a gateway drug to self-deprecation. There can be real value in seeing how you measure up to others, but if you can’t compare yourself to others without becoming depressed, self-critical, exasperated, defeated, pitiful, and chagrined then this is not a healthy choice for you.

 
However, if your goal is to do something about your current situation and to move forward despite time, age, circumstances then it might be possible to become inspired, motivated, encouraged, and educated as a result of comparing where you are with others who have acquired the same things you now desire but don’t have. In other words, through curiosity and studying their very straight journey, you may add some arrow-like qualities to your own path.

My point is, I can look to a coach who is my age, has my education but is much further along in building her business and making a living and think to myself, “Damn it, see, if only I hadn’t…” or I can look to see how this person got to where she is and learn – and, perhaps, learn fast! Likewise, we can keep ourselves in a loop of comparing where we are in our journey of recovery to others or lamenting that we aren’t there yet, or we can set about doing the work and learning from those who have gone before us.

We only have one life journey. Whether it be a wiggly one or a straight & narrow one – it’s ours. So, for all my wiggly friends out there – move, be active, learn and don’t allow yourself to be distracted by self-deprecating thoughts.

Just as we might discover who we want to be when we grow up from kids, we also do well to remember the age-old Aesop fable The Tortoise and the HareIt’s not how quickly you can get to where you want to be – it’s whether you get there at all.

 

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Rachel Grant is the owner and founder of Rachel Grant Coaching and is a Sexual Abuse Recovery Coach. She is also the author of Beyond Surviving: The Final Stage in Recovery from Sexual Abuse.  She works with survivors of childhood sexual abuse who are beyond sick and tired of feeling broken, unfixable, and burdened by the past. She helps them let go of the pain of abuse and finally feel normal.

Her program, Beyond Surviving, has been specifically designed to change the way we think about and heal from abuse. Based on her educational training, study of neuroscience, and lessons learned from her own journey, she has successfully used this program since 2007 to help her clients break free from the past and move forward with their lives.

Rachel holds an M.A. in Counseling Psychology. She provides a compassionate and challenging approach for her clients while using coaching as opposed to therapeutic models. She is also a member of San Francisco Coaches.

www.rachelgrantcoaching.com