In early 2014 the Twitter community participating in the weekly #SexAbuseChat declared their motto to be #NoMoreShame. We had realized the power of sharing our stories in a safe, supportive environment. Coming together every week in our chat we encouraged one another to not only find but to use our voices. When we did that our shame decreased, for both each of us as individuals and within the community as a whole.
Wanting to capitalize on the tremendous power of survivors sharing their stories in a public forum Rachel Thompson, Athena Moberg and I launched The #NoMoreShame Project in July of 2014. The project’s motto became: Every Survivor. Every Voice. Every Story. Today, we are proud to unveil the first anthology of survivor stories: Discovering True, The #NoMoreShame Project Anthology, Volume 1.
Each of the authors featured in this book are survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Our stories are different, but our journeys are remarkably similar. As children, the truth that we are good, worthy and sufficient was stolen from us. In its place our abusers left shame, self-loathing, and guilt.
Some survivors choose to embrace the darkness as their new truth. They get lost in self-destruction or numbness, never struggling against the bindings their abusers left behind. The survivors who have written this collection of essays and poetry chose the opposite route. Rather than abandoning the truth of our worth, we leapt back into the morass of our childhood pain in an effort to reclaim it.
One of the most destructive elements of childhood abuse is that it is cloaked in lies. We are told that we deserved the assaults or perhaps that such behavior was the way that all parents showed their love to their children. Some of us were told we were malicious liars when we tried to report our abuse. Others were told there was nothing that could be done and silence was our only option. Our childhood minds accepted these excuses.
Yet as adults we were unsettled. Our minds would not quiet, but questioned at every turn. We realized there might be another version of the truth to be found in the wreckage of our childhood. As a result, we have all become travelers seeking to discover truth.
We do not want someone’s interpretation of truth. We want the facts about what happened when we were children. Not what he thought, what she thought or what the neighbor thought they saw while peering from their kitchen window. We seek the reality of our abuse, laid bare in all of its ugliness. Raw. Honest. True.
As we traveled those roads back into our childhood we were surprised to find things we didn’t know could be reclaimed. We found power in simply making our journey. As we uncovered the reasons why our abusers betrayed our bodies and minds we found relief and a knowing that we were not to blame for the horrors we endured. Encountering other survivors on our journey, we shared our stories and found value in ourselves where there had once been only shame. Self-worth replaced self-loathing. The darkness gave way to glimmers and splinters of light.
These stories and poems describe our individual journeys in search of the truth. In reading them you will experience many facets of what we have felt, heard, and wrestled with along the way. There’s anger, pain, confusion and hopelessness in many of the pieces. Yet there is also hope, reclamation, and peace. Not all of the stories and poetry directly reference sexual abuse. Some are metaphorical rather than literal. But all reflect the journey of a survivor on the path to discovering true.
You can order Discovering True, The #NoMoreShame Project Anthology, Volume 1 directly from the #NoMoreShame Project or pick up the book at Amazon.