Today is the day! In January, Officer Paul wrote down the story of my friends Laura and Mary’s abuse. Here is a little bit of Laura’s incredible essay, He Wrote it Down, which went viral:
We were ushered into a conference room, where a young officer came in to talk to us. He handles all of their sexual assault and rape cases. He introduced himself, sat down and proceeded to ask us questions about what happened. Names, addresses, dates. I called my sister, Aimee, and put her on speakerphone. We were all crying.
Aimee, I said, He’s writing it down.
He wrote it down.
We said, This happened to us, and he listened. He WROTE IT DOWN.
You can read the rest of the post here.
Since then they have been working hard to bring that same hope and healing to others. You guys, I’m so excited and proud of them that I almost can’t breathe. Look what they’ve done:
First, they have an article in the October issue of Boston Magazine. I drove all over my neighborhood yesterday looking for it but all the stores near me still had September’s issue. Come on, stores, seriously. September is so last month. I’m going out again in a little bit to look again. If you find it, will you let me know, here or on my Facebook page? You can also read it online, here.
Second, they are unveiling their new website, Say it Survivor, which features gorgeous videos of Mary and Laura sharing their story and their mission statement. Here’s a little bit of what they’re doing:
The thing is, our stories only have that power if we decide to give it to them. They only wield that power if we keep them hidden inside, if we decide that our truths are so awful that they must be kept in the dark. If we attach shame to them. If we decide that they are UNSPEAKABLE.
Here’s the good news- and there is good news. Shame cannot survive having a light shined on it. Shame cannot survive being spoken aloud. Shame requires a host, and it can’t survive if you don’t feed it.
Say it, Survivor was born when two cousins, abused in childhood by the same predator, decided to plant their feet firmly inside their stories and say them out loud. They wrote them down. They sent them out into the world.
Go read more and watch the videos at their website! www.sayitsurvivor.com
When He Wrote it Down went viral (spurred on by shares by Glennon Doyle Melton and Jen Hatmaker), so many people wrote to Laura and Mary, sharing their own stories, saying “me too, me too.” Laura wrote down the first name of everyone who wrote to her, bearing witness to their stories. And through that sharing and bearing witness, healing began to happen, and community was formed. So Mary and Laura asked, How can we widen this circle, and bring this healing to more survivors? And, knowing the power of writing down their own story, they created a writing workshop to help other survivors write theirs. The first one is November 14th, in Westford, Massachusetts. You can register here. And Mary and Laura will be traveling, speaking their story, speaking out for other survivors, and for change in perceptions and legislation that will prevent abuse from happening and make reporting it easier and more effective when it does. If you want to bring them to your town to speak, you can find more information and contact them here.
I am so darned proud of my friends. Look at them. Warriors.
And I am proud of all of you, too, who have stories of childhood abuse. You have been through hell but you survived. You are here. You are stronger than you know. I pray that you would find community and find the words to tell your story.
So much love,