Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Faithful Fixation

I want to have the kind of the relationship with God that an addict has with their drug.
Not the recreational drug addict either. I am talking about the kind of addict who's body shows tell tale signs of a divisive drug. I want to be the kind of God addict who's life has become so dependent on my need for a fix that I will die because of it. The kind of addict who will die because I can not live without Him. I want to be so addicted to God I will do crazy things to get to Him. I want to know what it's like to black out with Christ. I want to be so drowned out in my addiction that my hurts are washed away.
That's really what I want most. To be so close to a Savior that my hurts, scars, tears, nightmares.... all of it are washed away in His presence.
I don't just want to be washed away, I want to be healed. I want to be stronger.
I want more.

Monday, July 29, 2013

A Day In The Life Of A Partner

Wake up, roll over look at your survivor.
You study her with your eyes to see if you can find signs that tell if she spent the night fighting off nightmares, or if this was a "good" night for her. You won't really know until she wakes up and you see her eyes. You, however had nightmares of your own and anxiety kept you from resting in your sleep for fear or touching her and causing a trigger.
When she wakes up, her eyes tell you what her curled up under the blankets state couldn't.
She had to face HIM again or THEM as it were. Your heart sinks... those monsters where in YOUR bed again... and by yours you mean the one you and her share only.
Now you're faced with the first inner battle of the day, to touch or not to touch?
If you chose to reach out and touch her, how do you it in a way that is reassuring and none triggering? Is now the time, or should you wait? You wonder "Am I seeing beginning signs of flashbacks or pain?"
You want so bad to rescue her but, you're helpless in knowing how you can.
Breakfast; will she eat? Did she take her medicine? What are her struggles today?
Later in the day you wonder if she wants to talk about it, the nightmare(s) and if you can or should talk about your own.  "How dare I burden her with my nightmares when she is reliving her own hell every night?" You have to share with someone and you don't want to tell just anyone what you're going through. Few others would understand and this is not just YOUR  issue, it's her's too.
You don't want to scrutinize everything but, you question everything with your survivor. 
She is in recovery and needs you but, what happens when she doesn't need you anymore? How will her need for you in her life change?
What happens the next time someone tries to take advantage of her and you're not there?
Will she fight? Will she freeze? Will it be the beginning of the end?

You try to let things go and understand you have no control over them but, they do cause you much grief.

You wonder if she understands healthy boundaries between herself and others. Her history tells you no. Her history also tells you she lies. She lied for and about her abusers. She lied to everyone and to you.  You wonder what is she lying to you about now either on purpose or by omission. Is it just her past or is there more?
You deeply love her, she makes you happy and you make her happy. She needs you in order to feel safe and you kind of love that about the relationship. You also find it sad at times how badly she needs and depends on you.

Stand outside, light your cigarette, let it's deep orange embers and puffs of smoke put you in a trance.
She sits next to you puffing her own. Her eyes look tired but, happy and content.
You hold hands and exchange knowing and endearing glances. How can this creature, your survivor be capable of all this moment holds and brings you...after all the hell she's been through?
How is she not dead inside? You know you play a huge part in that but, still... her strength about some things baffles you. You find interesting at the very least the things she is strong in and forget at times just how weak she can be too.
The dynamics of her are captivating and inescapable. If there was no past and therefore issues she suffers from because of it, she would seem almost perfect.
Oh but, there is a past... a deep, ugly past and she is not past her past... and neither are you.
It's so unfair the unbridled passion and love you have for each other that feels forever tainted by this one damning piece of the puzzle.
Looking at her, a part of you can't imagine not feeling this passion for her forever. Your mind knows that it can't handle the torment of watching her suffer from a past you can't rescue her from forever either. You have so much you're left to work through and figure out.
You chose peace, again... like you did yesterday and the day before and all the days before that from the day you first committed yourself to her.  Peace doesn't seem to do a good job of finding you but, you chose it and stay, holding your survivor and embracing all the love you have and share with her.

At night you wait for her signal to tell you if there will be any passionate love to be made tonight.
You let her make all the first moves and enjoy her expression of love being lavished on you with her tender touch.
When in the throws of passion your mind tries to get lost in the moment but there seems at times this little voice "If you get to dominant you might trigger her." and you have to take captive thoughts like "Are her monsters attempting to infiltrate her mind now? Is that reaction a good one or a bad one? Is that breath simply a breath or is she mentally stepping out?"
As you both lay in the after glow you hope it was only good for her and you're concerned to voice anything else but satisfaction for yourself. You don't want to discourage her and you did enjoy the encounter. Your hope is that with time and more healing the day will come you can take her to a whole new depth of passion.

You reach over and hold her close. Your pulse matches hers. "I love you, forever" she says.You respond "I love you too." You both attempt to drift off to sleep and some nights it's successful, other nights it's impossible.You pray for mercy on her in her sleep and for yourself.
You hope you never give up on this daily fight. What you may not know is... she understands this... all of this you're feeling and more. She wishes you were not this tormented but, she knows.
Take comfort.

Written by me, Joy, a survivor for my husband James. I love you forever, Poppa... and... I know.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Let's Make Some Noise.

Hello Readers,
Today, I write with a plea for your help.
Before I make my request, I want to let all my fellow survivors, partners and readers know if you're not ready to raise your voice with me in this... IT'S OK. Your positive thoughts and prayers will be welcome.

I am asking other survivors to share the following and help raise awareness about a fellow survivor and the organizations and groups that have chosen to support her.
It is my goal to help make this story viral so the bullying of this survivors own FATHER (AND ABUSER) will be stopped!

Here's the deal. The survivors name is Sharnae Lathan. She is a survivor of rape, incest and childhood abuse. Ms. Lathan is Ms. Ohio, USA 2013 for the Triumph Over Tragedy Pageant and is founder of Thru a Child's Eyes Who Cares? a foundation raising awareness about childhood sexual abuse.
This woman is a survivor who is taking back her life and using it to help others.

Now the second person you need to know about is a gentleman by the name of BrettA. Scudder.
Mr. Scudder is... well, he is about to become an abuser's worst nightmare. He is a talk show host for SISFI an international radio show and founder of Scudder InfoTech SecuriCity Foundation, Inc.
Facebook Here .

The third person you need to know about is Reginald Lathan Sr. he is Sharnae's father and abuser.
Allegedly Mr. Lathan is threatening to sue Mr. Scudder (and other organizations) for broadcasting and supporting his daughter's story of being raped and molested as a child. 
Mr. Lathan has messed with the wrong people. Again, I am asking fellow survivors to help share this news. Mr. Lathan's history shows he makes a living suing people according to daughter Sharnae. 

Here is the broadcast Mr. Scudder hosted for Sharnae's story. 

I stand against rape, incest and child abuse with Shanae Lathan and Brett A. Scudder. For those ready, let's make some noise and show this abuser we aren't scared. If you're going to sue the organizations trying to help survivors, you're going to have to deal with warriors.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Emotional Relapse

Dear Readers,
Some of you have noticed I was absent in my posts for several days.
I was out of town with family. For survivors, vacations can be just as nerve racking as they are refreshing. Some survivors cannot even take vacations outside of their homes.
My trip was wonderful, it's being back home that has been hard. I learned things about myself and those around me and today I just need to let it out. 

Since being home I've not really rested. My body has been a wreck. This is not typical jet lag. It's more than adjusting to time zones and altitudes.
I can't stay awake. I also can't stay asleep. I'm exhausted. Nightmares chase me relentlessly. I can feel flashbacks coming on. I jolt awake time and again at night. I have to keep moving or I doze off during the day. My jaw is sore from grinding teeth. My heart skips beats in the night. My sense of smell has been heightened. My sense of taste seems gone.  Body memories are being triggered.
I am feeling small and just see storm clouds of impending doom.
I'm so sad.
I want to reach out and help. I want to be available but, I can't.
It was so important to paint me as an enemy. I could've helped... But, now I can't. My heart aches for her, the one who hurts like me. Why are we keeping wrongs a secret?

Is today a day rapists have won?
So many people are pulling for me to get myself together.
Today, I'm just a mess.

Does not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice?
                                                                           Proverbs 8:1

Today, I understand so much as a survivor, more than I did as a victim. I am crying today.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Not So Pretty Little Liar

Here it is, one of the hardest posts I will ever write.
It is also possibly one of the most important posts for survivors.

I am talking about victim lying. It's where a victim does and says what she's told to, regardless of the truth. The perceived reality is that you must repeat the lies that you're fed or you may die.
It starts with the grooming. The process in which a predator is like a snake. He has bitten you and while he has his fangs deep below the dermis, you become poisoned with his lies and your trusting blood carries his venom through your veins slowly killing you.
Only, it doesn't. No, instead you're allowed to live but, only so long as you're captivated by fear and lies.

Because of our basic human nature to stay alive... to survive, we do our best to do that.
Some get help and get to live fairly normal lives. Far too many of us are not so fortunate.
Many are left to lick our wounds and suck out the poison on our own. We attempt to seek refuge in a safe person. The problem is, predators are born fighters and they know how to come off as a safe haven for an ill soul. They track the patterns of the beaten, scared, and depressed mind and smell the venom of previous attackers. Their mind becomes crazed with this new prey and how to conquer and make it their own. Instead of seeing people, they see a prize to be won. They become addicted to the smell of blood from a once innocent vessel and they hold their "precious" close, choking them.

From innocent beginnings in a cradle, into the developing of a young woman beginning to blossom and on into adulthood, predators followed, craved and abused me.

Then I lied for them. I hid my scars, I wept in the dark, in silence. I kept people at arms length and never let them in to my deep, messed up inner lair. I told almost all
of my abusers at one point or another that I loved them. Before the abuse (during the grooming process) each time I said it, I meant it in that moment. It was never in a romantic way either. I know other survivors have been in that place.
I blamed myself for the anger and abuse against me.
I lied to myself for them... I kept them and the secrets of the hell they put me through close.
I made up stories of how my abusers took care of me and would "never" hurt me.
All lies! I can't tell you how many times I saw the door and didn't run, and I am not talking solely on a physical level. I carry shame from my lies. The lies I was told and learned to tell kept me captive for my rapists and abusers time and again. It helped me be a target for the next predator sniffing for fresh blood.
Learning to tell lies is not something I ever did well but, it has been the destruction of so much of my life. I told lies and then I was the one left to suffer for it.
Many survivors feel what I mean when I say if the price paid for the hell done to me, ended with me... then I could recover so much easier. It didn't end with me. Other survivors came from the hell I endured and more will come. Those I love today suffer the consequences of loving someone who is messed up. I try hard everyday but, I am still messed up. 

 It is no lie I was abused, raped and held against my will.
 It is no lie I suffer from P.T.S.D. and battle between anxiety and depression.
 It is no lie my marriage has suffered greatly for my lies about my past.
 Do I still lie? Yes, we all do but, I lie for no one else anymore.
I am not proud of this but, I am learning the healing power of transparency.
I am deeply humbled by the love and perseverance of those who have stuck by me through all the lies and coming clean. In the same notion I don't blame those who couldn't continue on with me. I only have anger with those who chose to protect my abusers. That's the truth.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Reviling Religion

I have read, heard and witnessed far to many accounts of churches taking the side of abusers over victims.
Everything from shaming the victim for divorcing her abuser to calling victims liars and promoting said abuser within the church.
Church folk often FAIL to understand victim mentality. They judge based upon personal experience with the accused and not on the facts and truths of the victims. The problem is predators are GREAT at grooming. They are ALWAYS preparing for their next "fix". They even know how to look like a victim themselves, because they study their prey. Predators come off as trustworthy upstanding people... if they didn't their prey would never fall into their trap. They lure prey in, gather information and facts about their prey, and use it to manipulate them into thinking the abuse they suffer is their own fault. They are crafty and skilled. With each victim they get better at their game.
When churches side with them they become more defiant. I have seen leaders accused time and again of being sexual predators and claiming innocence and getting off free. The victims all had to leave the church and were called Jezebels.
I myself was called such. In my hometown a family pastor told other clergy that I was "to be watched" as I was a "Jezebel spirit".
Me! The girl who waited until she was 17 to even date! I didn't do myself any favors though. I never disputed the rumors against me. My abusers had done a great job of making me believe I was all the bad things people ever said about me, true or not. My home life was a wreck, my mind was overwhelmed and inundated with a war about who people said I was and who I really was. If the church people, the people I trusted for guidance and help believed me to be bad... was there hope for me to be anything else?

There is a danger in churches and doctrine. Good people, or as in my case.... kids that churches raised are being cast aside as duds while long time abusers are being allowed to stay and dominate more prey. This allows more abusers to rise up and more victims to be over taken.
Cult mindset kicks in and if the churches "virgins" can't sacrifice themselves in quiet for the leaders then they will be shunned.
Church, what's done in the dark will be brought to light. When that happens your failure to support a survivor will also come to light.

For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all.                       
                                                                                                    Luke 8:17

What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight. What you have whispered to someone behind closed doors will be shouted from the rooftops.

                                                                                                   Luke 12:3

This is not true of ALL churches or even every story where someone is accused of being a predator.
It is too common though. Church what does a predator look like?
What does a victim look like? How are we treating them? Are you chasing after them or hoping they keep their "mess" to on their end of the pew?
Beyond our two minute prayer for them (that's really for us), what actions are we taking to show love?
Why are we not getting involved in their recovery?
Why are we so hell bent in keeping up the churches appearance to the world?
Guess what? Your keeping up of appearances is FAILING. The world sees you as a joke more than a help. How are we going to change this?
Here's a thought. Believe victims. Why are we shunning those who need Jesus?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Fine Equines

Some days are so hard.
I look at my son sprawled out on the floor wearing a toy bucket on his head like a hat as he jibber jabbers and laughs at... who knows what.
I wonder if I ever felt that safe and carefree about life?
I am sure I had to have felt it on some level at some point. Maybe I just desperately hope that is case.
If I ever felt safe and carefree about life, it was with my horses.

Nothing beats the smell of horse sweat, leather, and fresh prairie hay.
I have not felt more at peace than when I was working out the tangles of a horses tail with oil. Or polishing my saddle. I was not one to paint my nails much as a kid but, I took pride in trimming and painting my horses hooves. I took great care washing, drying, braiding and wrapping my horses mane and tail. I gently used a curry comb in the spring to remove the ever shedding winter coats and any mud and debris. I used only a little more pressure when removing heavy, stuck on muck from a good roll in the mud after a spring shower. I was in love with the smell of afterbirth when a new foal was born. I spent hours imprint training each new arrival with noises, smells and constant touch to desensitize my babies and yet not overwhelm them. I had great skill at snatching up a hen or rooster roaming loose in the yard and holding them so they could flap their wings and fuss around the new foals to help them get used to this sound and not run from it. If my latest addition to the herd was born on a particularly cool night I put my jacket on them.
I spent many spring and summer nights outside laying out under the stars with a foal head on my lap, a pile of dogs, cats, a goat or two, and sometimes a hen all seeking a warm place to burrow on top of me.  Moments like these were where I felt safe and carefree. Nothing could make me happier.
During the day light hours, I spent mornings milking the cow, straightening up the tack room, and taking inventory of supplies to restock. My list often consisted of bag balm, fly spray, mineral oil, hoof paint and rubber bands. I kept an ammo box in a cool dark spot in the barn with emergency drugs for animals. The barns were my kingdom. I never second guessed myself here. I knew how to follow my heart and gut with barn life. My confidence, peace, and sanity resided in the barn.
I kept things in order. All of my animals got along. I let the rabbits out to eat grass and roam free in the yard. My pet pig followed me like a dog. The goats could be found tormenting one of the horses or standing on top of any random pile of anything their little split hooves allowed them to climb.
Often I had an orphan calf in the milk barn. She'd be needing my nursing skills and mothering. I was the resident vet. People brought their sick pets or called me for advice on treating their pets and livestock. If my nose was in a book it was a Merck Veterinary book from the late 70's or some literature piece on equines.

My passion was animals and more specifically the horse.
It shattered my heart to see a 1200-1400 lb beast taken and broken by men. Watching the destruction of the horses spirit bound by ropes and hobbles filled me with silent resentment. I hated spurs, I resented any bits more harsh than simple snaffle or solid D-ring.  My horses wore hackamors... the bit-less bridles, or snaffle bits, the lightest weight of all bits. If a horse needed more than the pressure of a shoe lace to respond to a command he simply needed more time on ground training in my mind.
I was an early adopter of the natural horsemanship training methods. Horse whisperers had nothing on me. I rode partially blind horses at times and trusted them with my life.
Nothing made me feel more powerful and humble than the willing submission of a creature who could crush me in one swift kick with a hind leg.
I have been around hundreds of horses and ridden almost as many, and unlike many riders, I can count on one hand how many times I have been bucked off a horse.
I was equine savvy and there was no disputing that my horses were family friendly.
People came out to ride my horses. I was given horses to keep and train. I gave horses away for others to have a safe wonderful pet of their own.

I don't miss much about my life before my husband. However, I do miss equines.
Sadly, my husband has never even seen me ride.  After a bad accident when I was just 19 years old, I had to step back from a lot of riding and training. From there I jumped into busying myself with things that were failing substitutes to feed my passion. I was not as confident without my horses. I left confidence in the corral and it showed. Then, I ended up at my abusive cousin's house and everything in me that was clinging to life by the strand of horse hair was cut off.
My horse I had raised from first breath... Cheetoh, was allegedly struck by lightening and killed. I say allegedly because another horse I had been given... Maggie was put down by one of my brothers for no reason except that everyone seemed tired of caring for her in my absence. That was enough to merit putting her down with several bullets. One bullet in the head and several in her chest.
When I got the call Cheetoh had died it was like some part of me had expired with him.
The next time I made it to the ranch, I saw that no one had the decency to bury him. My father ran over what was left his decaying body with the truck. He laughed. Then acted put out by my being upset. Sure, you only desecrated the last thing that kept me coming back to your wretched house! I thought to myself.
I have no more horses, they all died or were sold at auctions after I left.

Someday I will ride again. Someday I will blow my breath in the big velvet nostrils of a horse that will embrace me with a kindred spirit and knowing nudge. Someday my nails will carry the dirt of a horses mane and I will reek of that unmistakable scent of horse sweat and leather. 

Some day.

Monday, July 8, 2013

A faith that kept me.

I am asked often, "How do you do it?" as in, make it through another day or don't just go crazy on someone after all I have been through.
My husband finds himself in wonder at how I STILL have an innocence about me after all of the hell I have endured.

I would love to brag about being strong.
I would LOVE to say I was actually that amazing.
I wish and dream about being able to have all the answers.

Truth is, I simply have a faith that has kept me.

Don't think I haven't shaken my fist cursing at and blamed God.
Don't think for a moment I have blindly chosen to just follow Him and the Christian faith because it was easy. It wasn't. I grew up around religion and faith professors and so called prophets.
Many of my hurts come from these very things feeding and accommodating the very hell I endured.

 For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.
                                                                                                                           Zephaniah 3:17

As a child there were nights I laid in bed weeping and begging for God's forgiveness. I used to beg Him to take me away from life because I believed I was wicked, evil and doomed. I believed if He did not intervene and take me from Earth before I had a chance to sin again, I would wake up in Hell.
This was my flawed view of Christianity. I believed in an old testament wrathful God who rained down His judgment on whiney, sinful people. Like me... I was told I whined all the time and I was chastised for my "willful disobedience" and sin.
Around the age of fourteen I found this verse in Zephaniah after many nights of weeping in the dark. I had experienced a major loss in pets that year. My most recent was my dog, Scooby. A mutt mix who had been dumped with her litter mate at an old bridge less than half a mile from my home. She found me, ran to me and instantly my heart was hers. I had her for two (2) years and after a long battle with an unknown illness she died in my arms.
What had I done now that God was punishing me... taking away my heart?
Thinking like this was my ingrained victim mentality and I believed I somehow deserved it. Still I held on to faith that God's wrath would be satisfied with the loss of my Scooby, and at least I was safe one more day from hell... Hell in eternity anyway.. not hell on Earth.
Upon hearing the news of my dogs death, my father made some smart remark about how that was one less mutt. When he noticed the tears welling up in my eyes, he laughed at me.
His laugh was like salt on an already deep and infected wound.

I found this verse and started a change in my view of God.
This verse was one of the first I read on my own that showed a personal God. A God who rejoiced in ME. His love would calm my fears....for me, getting angry scared me so, I believed God would soothe my anger and fear of it.
I quickly put the verse aside in my mind with all of the other memorized verses and fell asleep clenching my pillow close. Later in the night I started having nightmares. I remember feeling paralyzing fear. This was not an unusual nightly routine up until I heard a male voice in the distance singing. I could not make out any lyrics but, I knew the song was a song over me. It was God rejoicing over me. He was calming my fears and I was resting in His love for me. Messed up ME!

This was the beginning of growing a faith all my own and not simply relying on religious rhetoric that had been taught to me.
This was the faith that kept me.

Thursday, July 4, 2013


I just finished watching the documentary "The Invisible War" ...my heart is broken. 

"According to Russell Strand, chief of the US army's Family Advocacy Law Enforcement Training Division, the average sex offender has about 300 victims and the vast majority of sex offenders will never be caught."

This is staggering. 

I am a member of  at least a dozen private groups for survivors of rape and sexual assault and today I fought the "pre-symptoms" of a panic attack wondering... How many of these fellow group members have been assaulted by the SAME attackers? 

There is a name for men who have sex with the same girl. They are called "Eskimo brothers."

What is the name of all my fellow brothers and sisters who have been violated by my own abusers as well?

I ache for the men and women who have been traumatized by sexual predators in the military. These men and women fight so that my attackers would have a right to an investigation, and trail and unfortunately, eventual freedom. On top of that, a staggering percentage of these men and women are assaulted and attacked while fighting for these freedoms.

It is a dark and messed up world we live in and it is sad that those who CHOOSE to give their life for freedom have their own freedom denied. This is NOT acceptable.

I could feel my stomach cursing and churning as I read that the military as recent as 2012 viewed rape amongst military service men and women as nothing more than an occupational hazard.
THIS ONLY STANDS IF THEY ARE CAPTURED BY THE ENEMY! This should be covered under "friendly fire"? HOW RIDICULOUS!

My emotions are a whirl. I know so many survivors are hurting today because this very date is the anniversary of their assaults. I am thinking of each of you and holding you close in my heart today, especially the military service men and women. 
You did not deserve what happened to you and you do NOT deserve the way you have been treated by our country. I AM SORRY!


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Monday, July 1, 2013


For my fellow survivors and warriors. It is always good to be reminded and encouraged.
You didn't deserve what happened to you in your past. You deserve love today and everyday.
I shed a couple of quiet cleansing tears at this reminder.