I had spent eleven months from November 2009 to September 2010 preparing, raising money and cycling across Canada for the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride during which time I knew exactly what the goal was: to go from a non-cyclist to an accomplished one. Completing the ride was an incredibly exhilarating experience, so much so that the 'after-low' was crushing. I was lost in the mundane, when I returned to reality.
Not one to sit idle for too long, I busied my mind by selected two challenges in 2011: read as many interesting and educational books as possible and sign up for a 'Dare to Remember' with the Stephen Lewis Foundation to overcome my fear of singing in public. By the end of the year I had read seventy-six books and with my guitar in hand, had performed a handful of my own songs to a group of twenty-five brave and eager friends at a cafe - and survived.
Then that night in November arrived. I had already read fifty-two books and decided 2012 needed to be a writing year, but how could I tie such personal diversity together and make it meaningful, educational and inspirational? I recalled my Wing Chung Master once telling me (as he tried to force me to sign an exclusive contract to teach only for him) that I would always be a jack of all trades and a master of none if kept exploring various styles. 'Ouch' was my initial reaction, yet I knew I was building something as I walked away.
Laying there I asked the universe to make sense of it all and out of that question, my childhood sexual abuse surfaced. Those memories were not something I thought about often. I remembered the anger, isolation and fear. I remembered him and him and him and her and I felt a twinge that I hadn't felt in years. Why now? I felt emotional as it struck me that I needed to get out of bed and write - get it out of me, off me, it felt dirty.
I sat in front of the computer screen and typed 'Unlock the Door'. It was draining, emotional and when I had finished the two pages I felt relieved and yet confused. Why I had been compelled to write about something I had struggled with, then accepted and finally moved beyond long ago (or so I thought?).
I went back to bed and asked myself, "What was that about?" I then had an epiphany. I envisioned of a book of stories about sexual abuse - a revealing, healing and informative book. I saw that book in the hands of thousands of people who have been sexually abused and think they are alone. Then I understood.
Everything I have done has been on the path towards writing and becoming involved in the process of 'Reveal, Connect and Heal' - eliminating the taboo and stigma that is sexual abuse. I can honestly say I could not have done all that I have had to do to write this book had I not had years of challenges, personal growth and relationships to tap into. It has been the biggest hurdle I have ever encountered and the greatest reward I have ever received.
During the writing of this book I not only spent time interviewing, hiring, reading, writing, editing, building websites, taking courses, selecting designers, picking a cover, creating a voting pole, helping others with their projects, and re-editing every chapter at least six times, (not to mention writing several songs about my journey and the people along the way.) I also spent sixty hours in group therapy as a participant, forty six hours as a group facilitator and many more hours learning to be of service to those suffering from the trauma of sexual abuse.
Special thanks to Arthur Lockhart at the Gatehouse and Dr. John Demartini for sharing their expertise on this subject with me, all the contributors to "Unlock The Door-Beyond Sexual Abuse" for having the courage and strength to come forward and ask for help, and everyone that has supported my vision to create this book.
I am not the same as I was prior to this endeavour. "Unlock the Door-Beyond Sexual Abuse" has been a gift. For the first time I have realized I am not alone. I have regained the voice I lost as a young child and will speak openly and freely and do my part to bring awareness to the epidemic of sexual abuse and to promote the healing of those who suffer from being exposed to this trauma. Millions have encountered variations of what I experienced and have fought to make sense of the selfish actions of - typically a trusted family member or acquaintance of the family.
Those of us who were touched inappropriately are a community, a supportive force who singularly and collectively will be heard.