Friday, October 28, 2011

Stacy Shuler, is 4 years jail enough?

I'm sure you've seen the coverage of the Shuler trial, a 33 year old teacher convicted of molesting 5 boys at her school. Two of the parents of the boys molested testified as to the impact on their sons.  Through tears they talked about depression, not trusting authority and interruption of college plans. This trauma indeed will impact these boys until they work through the beliefs they have acquired and processed the emotional response of sexual assault.

How proud I am of these boys who came forward and testified - how awful that they had to!  And how proud I am of the parents who named the reality!

Shuler hid behind alcohol and bi-polar as the reason for sexually assaulting these boys.  Thank goodness the judge saw through it and held her responsible. Nothing but the person who stalks, primes and perpetrates is responsible.

It is time we face this issue head on - what is it about our culture that thinks our children are fair game for personal gratification with no regard for them?  And as the spirit of these boys has been devastated on so many levels, is 4 years of her life away in prison enough of a penalty?  She most likely will be released before the entire sentence is served.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What it's all about!

Somedays I wonder what this journey I'm on is all about. I suppose that question is the fall-out from the work I do. I have both the privilege and the heaviness of hearing about some of the deepest pain anyone can endure.  And somedays I wonder what "it's" all about - can I really change the way people are treated?  Can I really help heal the damage; or shift a cultural thinking?  What is it all about?!?

And then I spend some valuable time with my young grandchildren and look into their trusting eyes and reaching arms and I know what it's all about.  I have to do the hard work of restoration, of becoming all I was created capable of being, so that they can!  I've got to leave a legacy that affords them the space in which to thrive in their authentic identity and impact the world as only they can.

Not one of us escapes hurtful words and actions that leave us wounded and sometimes scarred.  We accept the messages that lessen our value and undermine our self-respect, often redirecting our divine destiny.  We can't let that happen!  As hard as it is, we have to work to connect to the truth of who we are.

The journey is about connecting to our authentic identity to accomplish the purpose our presence provides!  And it is worth it!  My grandbaby's eyes say so.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Why the Resistance to Change?

The old quote, "you can't teach old dogs new tricks" isn't true for people!  I'm living proof!  I remember the day before computers - and now I'm dependent upon them.  Do I feel foolish sometimes as I try to maneuver through the ever changing technology?  ABSOLUTELY YES!  Do I resist the changes?  MOST OF THE TIME!  (My best friend will tell you how I dragged my heels about getting an Ipod - she finally bought it for me!)  But do I eventually go for it?  ALWAYS!

Even more important than pushing through the changes necessary in our technological world is pushing through the hard work of changing your core beliefs, thinking patterns and resulting behaviors! And wow do we resist that change!  But if you want to live the life you were meant to live, you have to CHANGE!

That's why restoration is so important! Restoration is more than recovery - Restoration is being restored back to the potential of who you were created to be!  And that process requires a hard look at and confrontation of what you have been told about self, appropriated as self and lived out of.

When you consider that type of deep level change, you will most likely be accompanied by fear.  Questions rise up to build a blockade: "What will my family and friends think?"  "How will I manage life, and make decisions?  This way makes sense; doesn't work, but it makes sense."  "I don't know who I am without this thinking."  

 I get it!  Those questions can make you tremble and stop moving forward. Oh - please don't give those questions more power than the power that lies inside you to change and become!  You have deep in your core the handprint of your creator who gives you what you need to connect to your authentic identity! Don't miss it!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Being a thorn - Go Beyond Prevention

I remember with fondness the time someone looked at me, and with joking respect said, "You like being a thorn, don't you?"  Apparently my critical thinking skills are highly developed because I seem to regularly challenge the norms.  And I do like it!  Guess it is part of how I was made.

It's interesting to me that critical thinking that leads to creativity is not challenged when it comes to technology and new inventions, but is challenged when it comes to personal beliefs and mental health issues. I know that life seems easier and often safer when we settle into a way of thinking and behaving.  It is soooo very difficult to experience the uneasiness that happens when something we held onto for meaning and safety is questioned.  I get it! 

My latest "new thinking" is to question the word prevention, and how that word has actually created an "acceptance" of the presence of sex abuse.  Here's my thinking:  prevention says, "this horror is present in our community, but we are going to try and keep it from touching you."   When I thought that through, I became uncomfortable with the norm.  I'm moving from prevention to annihilation.

So, I'm working to gather a core group of people to help me wrestle that through and develop a Zero Tolerance Initiative.  I find it challenging and exciting. We can do so much more! 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Sex abuse is NOT a relationship!

I actually screamed at the computer when I really would have liked to act out a scene in the old Mary Tyler Moore show where she would storm into the editor's office, lean across his desk screaming.  TWO articles in our local newspapers referred to the two year sex abuse of a minor as a "relationship", a "sexual relationship", and "alleged sexual relationship."  I was mad - so I fired off several emails in protest.

When the media uses such words it implies that the victim is complicit in the assault  and it negates the destructive impact of sex abuse. When we use such minimizing language, we allow our culture to stay in denial. They can step back from the fear that sex abuse could happen to someone they love, because after all it was in "relationship" and they would never be in that kind of relationship. This language makes sex abuse "appear" to be less invasive and reduces the crime to an "acceptable" level that happens somewhere else. 

This use of language such as, it was a "relationship", also assists in victim blaming.  There is a sense that if she was in a "relationship" she participated and could have gotten out of it.  So she feels responsible somehow.  And we perpetuate that my accepting the use of this language.

Let's think critically.  Let's really hear what is being said.  Let's change our language!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

New Theme Song for Me!

Last week I hobbled my way into the Doctor's office hoping that he would release me to put weight on my repaired ankle.  While waiting for the appointment, my mind was rehearsing the Diana Ross song, "I'm Coming Out" over and over.  I'm sure it was not only a hopeful but prophetic song, because I was
released to walk again!

Why the new theme song?  This whole ankle breaking thing has been quite an experience.  Just at the time I'm starting a new movement:  "Zero Tolerance", my ankle gets broken! Are you kidding me?  The good news: I've been changed from the inside out and I've got great new biceps from using a walker!  Ha!  I had lots of time for personal reflection as I was forced to sit most of the time. Listening to webcasts and reading provided an avenue for an even deeper inner transformation and strengthening of purpose.  I'm coming out of this experience with new resolve to stand my ground and bring the challenging message of moving beyond prevention to Zero Tolerance.  And I will need this new strength!

The song has a great drum beat that announces a change, then she belts out:  I'm coming out - I want the world to know; got to let it show. There's a new me coming out and I just have to live! This time around I'm going to do it like you never knew it!"  Get ready world - Rebecca is coming out of this experience with new strength!

Here we go:  It is time we stop relying on prevention models for addressing sex abuse.  Prevention means, "this awful crime exists, but I'm going to try and prevent it from getting you."  That actually means that we are accepting it's presence.  ZERO TOLERANCE says, "Oh no you don't!  We are closing that door. Go to Facebook, search "Zero Tolerance Now! Protect Kids" and like our new page!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Authentic Identity is SO Important!

Once, years ago, someone I respect turned to me in a playful respectful manner and said, "You just love being a thorn don't you?"  I've chuckled over that statement many times and enjoyed it!  Because honestly, that is part of my authentic identity.  I was created with a side of me that loves to push against the status quo and challenge people with new ways of thinking.  I don't do this to be mean; but to bump people into new creative possbilities for themselves and our world.

That's why I work so hard to advance the thought of restoration.  Restoration is not just a fresh word to be used to replace the words of healing or recovery.   Restoration is a pathway to reconnect to authentic identity - to connect to all you were created capable of being.  It indeed goes beyond the recovery model.  And it is hard work for sure!

My authentic identity includes my skills, talents, passions, personality, quirks, purpose and hopes.  I am not what has been done to me!  I am not what others assign to me!  I'm not what others project on to me! It is so important to clean off these assignments and beliefs and walk out of authentic identity because the aspects of the authentic me are exactly what I need to fulfill my purpose!  Now you tell me, if I didn't have that "thorn" part of me, would I be able to do the work I do to address the issue of sex abuse?!?  Don't think so.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

My defense: "I was molested."

You can't help but hear about the Casey Anthony trial going on in Florida.  Perhaps you heard that her defense has suggested that Casey was sexually molested by her father and brother and out of the impact of that trauma, she colluded with her father to cover up her daughters drowning. 

I have several gut reactions to this allegation by the defense.  First, it is a known fact that I will very rarely challenge a victim's allegation.  I will typically err on the side of believing a victim because even if the alleged abuse is not as stated, there is something going on it that person that needs a touch of assistance. So, although I may have personal questions about the truth of the allegation, I will not focus on that being the issue at hand.

What I do want to focus on is the molestation charge being offered as an excuse for outrageous and immoral behavior.  The things that each of us experience as children, whether sex abuse, neglect, abandonment or just plain family dysfunctional hurts leaves an imprint on our lives. These imprints can define us if we allow them. They are a “reason” for some of our behaviors, but should never be used as an “excuse”. Ultimately each of us is responsible for the choices we make, even within the scars of sex abuse.

Thus, the importance of doing the work of restoration, or reconnecting to your authentic identity.  When you do the hard work of taking responsibility for identifying the internal structures you have in place to manage the unmanageable, and make the exchanges necessary in your thinking, you can clean off the labels, misconceptions and lies and connect to all you were created capable of being. Restoration connects you to your true power - your authentic identity!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Power of Voice

Make no mistake about it - your voice and what you do with it has power to create or destroy.  Your voice has the power to agree with evil by being silent.  Or your voice has the power to take down evil by challenging denial and speaking truth. 

Upon writing those words my spirit echoes a "Yes! - Speak truth!"  And then my heart whispers, "remember the cost you've paid".  And so I pause to reflect - is there a time and place in which I shouldn't give voice to truth?  Is there a time and place in which being silent is the better thing? 

Perhaps yes.  But not when it comes to challenging the cultural mindsets and cultural complacency about the violence of sex abuse.  The crime of sex abuse continues because we have been silent about it's presence and the reality of how it impacts ALL of us.  Our compliant silence allows the social norms that perpetuate sexual violence to continue. And the molester of our children counts on that silence.

The restoration process results in reconnecting to the strength of using the personal power of your voice.  Your voice can break the power of agreement that silence puts in place.  Your voice can create space for your emergence into your authentic identity.  Why would anyone choose silence with that much power available?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

If I can face it, God can fix it.

Today at church I heard this statement, "If I can face it, God can fix it."  That statement resonated inside and produced both encouragement and freedom for me.   It spoke of another core element of restoration: willingness.  I'm not sure why it is that we shy away from acknowledging the hurts of our lives.  I do know that when we do so, we empower the infection from untended wounds to design our approach to life. 

In contrast, being willing to face the realities of our situations and histories empowers God to bring His truth and restoring presence to direct our approach to life. I see this picture:  You've had your back turned to your reality.  You've not wanted to know because you're not up to doing what is necessary in the moment to manage it.  You've not wanted to know because you're not sure you have what it takes to dismantle it and make a shift in your life.  That is truth - you may not have what it takes.  However, when you, with the Holy Spirit inside, turn and face it, the Spirit kicks in and teaches, comforts and provides the  strength to do what is necessary to fix it.  You are only required to turn and face it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Reality or Truth

Remember those funny mirrors at carnivals that make you look out of focus or squatty?  Your proportions are distorted and it looks as if you are changed.  The reality you see in the mirror says something different from the truth that you know.  Which do you accept and walk in?

Okay, that's a simplistic and easy example of the difference between reality and truth; and it's easy to choose which one to believe.  It isn't that simple when you're trying to make sense of the life you're living.  My reality, (or the things that are happening, the things that just are) screams to me saying, "you aren't going to make it", or "this isn't going to work". The truth, (or the authentic, right and accurate information) says, "this is a process", "you're taking great steps" "you are different today than last month".  Which do I walk in, the reality of what is happening, or the truth of what I know to be true?

Tricky stuff to discern sometimes.  Especially when the reality of sex abuse distorts your truth about yourself and your world.  What do I mean?  Here's an example: The reality is that when you were little, a family member would creep into your room and molest you.  Out of that reality, you came to believe that you are an object and your purpose is to please others.  You need to know that reality -the reality that you were molested and now you believe you're an object - because acknowledging your reality then lends itself to exploring the truth within that reality.

The truth within that reality is:  You were molested, and felt like you were an object.  The truth is that you aren't an object, you were treated like an object.  The truth is that you are a person with value who was devastated by sex abuse and you are more than an object to please others. See what I mean?  Finding the truth within your reality helps put distortions in perspective.

Making our way through the realities in our lives demands that we "recognize" what is happening and take "responsibility" for finding the truth in it and choose to live out of the truth!  The truth provides power and freedom!

This distinction is a core element of restoration. Identify the truth within your reality and the power to reconnect to authentic identity becomes yours!  You can do it!