Next Friday I will be at the Blogher conference in New York City. It is destined to be my favorite time attending the conference in four years. How do I know in advance? Well, because this year I was named one of the 2012 Blogher voices of the year. But that’s not the full reason either. I was named a Voice of the Year for my post about child sexual abuse victims, fueled by the crimes of Assistant Football Coach Jerry Sandusky, but more importantly inspired by my own history as a child victim of sexual abuse. The abuse that I suffered is not something I have hidden from the World, but I had never before dug deep into my feelings about it and shared that discovery with the World as much as I did in this post.
When I was younger, struggling with the abuse, (and with bullying and racism), what got me through was a deep seated belief that everything happens for a reason, and that one of the reasons I was put on this earth was to experience things and ultimately explain them so others could be spared from the harsh journey. Maybe not the most healthy rationalization, but it kept me alive through hard times. It didn’t keep me protected from any residual pain and troubles though. The aftermath of abuse is a myriad of shadows that follow you through life, whether the sun is at your back or not. The destructive words echo in your ears. The feelings of unworthiness are haunting and infect the choices you make even years after the abuse has ceased. I thought that because I could say the words “I was sexually abused” I was safe from continued harm, but I was fooling myself. For decades I suffered silently, becoming my own abuser at times through the people I chose to allow into my life. I gained weight, I lost weight and I gained even more. Same for my self respect; gain, loss, more loss. I am happy to say I’m in the “gain” corner now. This post is one of the reasons that I am in fact. As an adult I have adapted my original childhood survival instinct and modified it into a mission for my brand and for my humanity. Blogging, blogging and conversing through social media affords me an opportunity to shine a light on life and help my community navigate the maze of choices that it offers. I do so by sharing my own experiences, values, and missteps. To have my voice be recognized as one that rises above the din to be heard by many in need of counsel, and to have done so with a post that healed me as much as I hoped it would heal others, is a blessing beyond measure.
Today the NCAA handed down unprecedented fines and sanctions to Penn State as punishment for their failure to protect children victimized by former Assistant Coach Jerry Sandusky, as well as their willful cover up of his abhorrent activities. This decision gives voice to Sandusky’s rape and molestation victims. It makes us all not only hear their pain, but never forget it. It’s not enough to listen to the voices of victims we have to remember their pain and make changes that will protect more in the future. So while I may be a voice of the year I am but one voice of many that need to be heard, supported, and protected. Are you listening?
Miss Lori can be found Musing from her Minivan at MissLori.TV , Wearetherealdeal.com , YoungChicagonista ,ChicagoMomsBlog , and ChicagoMoms.com. You can also see her Activating to Be Great at Miss Lori’s CAMPUS on Youtube, Facebook, Twitter , TOUT and LinkedIn.