Byron Katie says, “Who would you be without your story?” Below is my story and I am the answer to that story. I am empowered!
It is my intention to help spark hope in the lives of parents and children. In life, we sometimes get overwhelmed and lost in the darkness or pain that we are experiencing. We focus on the darkness even though we don’t want to hurt anymore. Ultimately, this causes the darkness to continue UNTIL the mind takes on a whole new paradigm. I am talking about the search for the light. The light is the answer to the dark. All I can do is share my experience and maybe spark hope in others. Ultimately, people must realize that they are the answer to their pain. When you are in a dark room and you want light you look for the switch and flip it on. These expressions of hope are to inspire one’s own ability to take action and flip the switch.
I am so passionate about helping children of alcoholics, children who have been sexually abused, and children who are in a domestic violence environment. Why? At one time I was that child. This is my story.
STAT: More than 28 million Americans are children of alcoholics; nearly 11 million are under the age of 18.
I will never forget the many times that I was awakened in the middle of the night to the screaming, the hitting, and the glass shattering all around. I was eight years old when I saw my father transform from “my dad” to a monster. I was scared and curious simultaneously. My sister found me many times at the top of the stairs looking down as a nightmare was unfolding in front of me. This is how I spent many of my nights. It’s amazing that I was able to go to school the next day!
STAT: Most children are abused by someone they know and trust, although boys are more likely than girls to be abused outside of the family. A study in three states found 96% of reported rape survivors under age 12 knew the attacker. Four percent of the offenders were strangers, 20 percent were fathers, 16 percent were relatives and 50% were acquaintances or friends (Advocates for Youth, 1995).
I was eight years old when I was sexually abused by a family friend. I was told not to say anything because my parents would be very upset with me. So, I stored this painful moment in the back of my mind for over ten years. It was my secret. I went through most of my school years questioning my sexuality and confused by the whole experience. I was so ashamed of what happened that I was unable to talk about the abuse until I turned eighteen. That’s when the healing began.
STAT: Every nine seconds in America, a woman is beaten or killed by her husband, ex-husband, boyfriend, or ex-boyfriend. It is a rampant disease that is most often, kept hidden and untreated. Domestic Violence, like Cancer, is no respecter of persons. It affects all social levels of the American population.
Even though domestic violence played a prominent role during my adolescence, nothing compares to what happened on September 3, 2001. I received a phone call from a policeman telling me that my sister and her husband had been involved in a shooting. My sister Reneé was shot four times by her husband. He committed suicide soon thereafter. She died three weeks later. The pain, confusion, anger, and sadness took over my life. Once again, I was confused about what happened. How could this happen to my sister and her two beautiful children?
The Victim to Victor Decision
I believe wisdom is in the question and not the answer. If you don’t ask the right question you don’t get the right answer. I asked WHY many many times. Why was my father an alcoholic? Why did he hit my mom? Why did that person abuse me? Why did my sister die? These questions can lead to the answers that could help one cope. However, I refuse to cope. I want to overcome because that’s how I can be of service to people. I call this the Overcome The Skateboard Principle!™ While visiting a school, I asked a boy “What do you want to be when you grow up?” He said,”I want to be a professional skateboarder.” I then asked him, “Do you ever fall off your skateboard?” “All the time,” he said with a smile. I proceeded, “Do you just lay there and wait for someone to come get you?” He said, “No, Victor. I get up, dust myself off and get back on the skateboard.” I told him that’s the secret to life. We will all fall, but it’s what we do with the fall that’s the key. You can live in the fall for the rest of your life but it will be difficult because you will always be blaming someone. I take full responsibility for everything in my life. I can’t change what happened in my past, but, I can control how I live my life. My father became a recovering alcoholic and I forgave him and loved him unconditionally until his death in 2010.
I’ve decided to look at my abuse like this…I say, “He abused my body but I refuse to let him abuse my life, period!”
Finally, I’m not sure why my sister was shot four times but I can tell you that if Reneé had lived through this tragedy she would have dedicated her life to helping victims of domestic violence. Since 2001, my team and I have raised over $350,000 for women in need.
Thank you for visiting. I am grateful.
Founder - Childhood Victories Inc