Rachel Grant Coaching

May 19, 2015

May You Be Forgotten

In this final post by Anna, she shares with us her vision for a future world where justice and awareness about sexual assault an everyday occurrence.

--

Speaking and writing about being raped is not easy. I've become especially skilled at hiding my flashbacks, smiling through difficult questions from the audience, and adding brevity to the subject so that it is more approachable. It is tough, but it is my passion. I can't wait to see a world without victim blaming or survivors struggling in silence.

While reading some short stories in Spanish, I came across a peculiar idea that is very new to me. The concept is to strive to be forgotten instead of wishing to be exalted and remembered after death like most people do. Stay with me on this one. I'll explain.

Why would one want to be forgotten? We live in a society where people spend their entire lives trying to "make a name for themselves" and the idea of success is that one's legacy will be recognized and cherished after death. In some ways, the goal is to have eternal life through one's influence in the world. To be remembered.

I had never questioned this before. Of course I want to be remembered. If I'm not remembered, then what's the point of having lived? I work tirelessly to educate others about sexual assault and rape culture, but will I make a change? Perhaps we're thinking about it all wrong.

Instead of striving to be the only one to make a certain change, try striving to shake the world in such a grand way that everyone changes with you. Sure, your name may not be on a huge public memorial for all eternity, but the impact on the world and its people will be far bigger than one could ever imagine.

Paulo Coelho, the incredible author who wrote about this idea in a short story, explains it quite clearly:

“I hope we can achieve the same thing in the present: to make goodness such a common thing, that there is no need to exalt those who practice it.”
-Paulo Coehlo, "Que Sejamos Esquecidos"



So, when I'm flattered by someone telling me something along the lines of "you will be remembered," I try to think about if I could do more in order to be forgotten. Eternal fame changes nothing, while eternal change is everything. If I could make justice and awareness about sexual assault an everyday occurrence, then my name will have no need to be remembered. This inspires me. It separates me from my own worries, propelling me to be the change.


Dear reader: may you be forgotten. May you create such an amazing change in this life that the world changes with you. May you never be remembered because your goodness and great ideas become utterly plain in a time where all attend to them without thought.

Shake the world so much that it forgets who shook it in the first place.

And may you be forgotten.



--
Anna lives with a passionate goal to spread knowledge about the intensely far-reaching effects of sexual assault. She received Moving to End Sexual Assault’s annual “Brave, Bold, and Beautiful Survivor Award 2011” for her writing and advocacy. Soon after, was selected as Survivor of the Month by RAINN (Rape Abuse Incest National Network) and was then featured in Cosmopolitan Magazine. With an endorsement for her book from U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, Anna is also involved in political action that supports survivors. She is passionate about working with survivors towards healing and confronting social barriers through her writing. She thrives to help others learn through her experience, and her powerful presentations enable this education. Anna Nettie Hanson is a senior at DePaul University in Chicago, completing Bachelor’s degrees in both Communication and Spanish, continuing on to complete a Master’s in Relational Communication.


May 5, 2015

The Survivor Truth Project -- No One Is Alone

This week, Anna tells us about the amazing project she began -- The Survivor Truth Project -- to create a space for herself and other survivors of rape to be heard.

--

In the months after being sexually assaulted by a close friend, I craved one thing. I craved being able to talk to someone who actually knew what I was going through. To hear from a fellow survivor that I would make it through those first dark months. To know there would be light. Hope. That I could return to who I used to be.

I never found what I craved. I was so fortunate to have the support of my family and a great therapist, but it wasn't the same. There is nothing equivalent to hearing from another survivor: "I've been there", "You will make it through this", "I believe you", "It gets better", "I know how you feel."

Really, it's all about not feeling alone. I was alone in my suffering, but I don't want others to be.

Last month, I created The Survivor Truth Project. The project takes place online, where survivors from around the world can submit a simple truth about life as a survivor of sexual assault.




The directions to submit a #SurvivorTruth are simple and open-ended:
Survivor Truth is a project to show that survivors of sexual assault are not alone. Created by a rape survivor, Anna Nettie Hanson, this ongoing project is meant to educate and inspire. It’s time to tell the truth about what it’s like to live as a survivor. It’s time that survivors stop feeling so alone.

Share a brief statement of truth about being a survivor. It can apply to your own experiences, or to survivors as a whole. Submit as many as you wish!

All anonymous.
No triggering language, please.
By submitting, you agree to have your statement anonymously posted online.

Survivors are not alone.
We are not alone.


I was immediately amazed by the "truths" pouring into my inbox, all beautiful and powerful in their own ways. I found myself so comforted reading these statements, realizing that after four years as a survivor, I finally felt less alone. Readers feel the same way. I have been flooded with messages about how the project has helped others feel less afraid, creating an online community of survivors sharing and supporting one another.



The act of submitting a Survivor Truth is cathartic. The survivor types an honest statement. He or she clicks "submit," and then it is released into the universe. Forever anonymous, the Survivor Truth is a catalyst for survivors to reflect on their identities as survivors.

I hope we can learn from the success of this project and create more opportunities for survivors to connect. The internet brings endless possibilities for anonymous, controlled interactions between survivors. I don't want anyone to yearn for the comforting understanding of another survivor as I did. We must help one another, and in the same way, we help ourselves.

Visit The Survivor Truth Project: girlwhofoughtback.tumblr.com 
Submit a Survivor Truth: girlwhofoughtback.tumblr.com/submit 








--
Anna lives with a passionate goal to spread knowledge about the intensely far-reaching effects of sexual assault. She received Moving to End Sexual Assault’s annual “Brave, Bold, and Beautiful Survivor Award 2011” for her writing and advocacy. Soon after, was selected as Survivor of the Month by RAINN (Rape Abuse Incest National Network) and was then featured in Cosmopolitan Magazine. With an endorsement for her book from U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, Anna is also involved in political action that supports survivors. She is passionate about working with survivors towards healing and confronting social barriers through her writing. She thrives to help others learn through her experience, and her powerful presentations enable this education. Anna Nettie Hanson is a senior at DePaul University in Chicago, completing Bachelor’s degrees in both Communication and Spanish, continuing on to complete a Master’s in Relational Communication.

How to Fight a Rapist

This week, I am happy to introduce you to Anna Nettie Hanson, an absolutely amazing young woman and survivor of rape. She will be sharing with us a bit of her story this week and how she has fought back and reclaimed her life.

--

Hi! I'm Anna Nettie Hanson, author of For Now: Words of the Girl Who Fought Back. I am a rape survivor and activist passionate about ending rape culture, victim blaming, and sexual violence.

I am a senior at DePaul University in Chicago, completing degrees in both Communication and Spanish. While I'm not working and studying, I spend my time fighting back. Want to join me?

When I was 18, I was violently raped in my sleep by a close friend. I fought back, pressed charges, he pleaded guilty and served his sentence. But this is a happy story, because so few rapists ever spend a day in jail.

from rainn.org


After being raped, I didn't know how to heal. Like many survivors, I felt lost and broken. So, I began to write. I just wrote. The second my pen touched paper I knew that it was safe to say how I really felt. I encourage all survivors to try this: take out a single piece of paper and a pen, write for five minutes about anything, do not pause, then burn/tear up or throw away the paper. Do not read it. By not reading it, you are able to access your emotions without having to relive them. I developed this trick to avoid flashbacks. Give it a shot.

This saved me. Four months later, NEARI Press published my journal nationally with the goal of being able to help others understand the journey of healing from a survivor's perspective.


To the Survivor

Strange that someone can steal you
Steal you from you

Strange that someone can change you
Change you in front of you
Strange that someone can destroy you

Destroy you,
For now. 

~From "For Now: Words of the Girl Who Fought Back"

For now. That is my mantra. Healing is possible. Everyone heals from sexual assault and abuse differently, so it takes time to figure out what works best for you. When I can write out my thoughts or speak to a group about rape, I feel like I am doing something proactive towards my healing.

I have been a survivor for four years now. I graduate from college in 40 days and 14 hours (not that I'm counting!), and it is a monumental day for many reasons. There was a point where I didn't think I could make it to college. Where the rape almost defined me by holding me back from my dreams. I know that in 40 days when my name echoes over the crowd, I'll hear in it the pride of a graduate, but also a survivor. 



My tattoo, "survivor." Back of left shoulder.
One year anniversary of being raped.



--
Anna lives with a passionate goal to spread knowledge about the intensely far-reaching effects of sexual assault. She received Moving to End Sexual Assault’s annual “Brave, Bold, and Beautiful Survivor Award 2011” for her writing and advocacy. Soon after, was selected as Survivor of the Month by RAINN (Rape Abuse Incest National Network) and was then featured in Cosmopolitan Magazine. With an endorsement for her book from U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, Anna is also involved in political action that supports survivors. She is passionate about working with survivors towards healing and confronting social barriers through her writing. She thrives to help others learn through her experience, and her powerful presentations enable this education. Anna Nettie Hanson is a senior at DePaul University in Chicago, completing Bachelor’s degrees in both Communication and Spanish, continuing on to complete a Master’s in Relational Communication.

May 4, 2015

Wanna see me ride a Harley (again!)?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=vLC5pEfBWCM
Support these men and women in their mission to 

protect children and put perpetrators in their place!

Please go here to donate!
(final day to donate is May 14)

Last year, I had the opportunity to ride with Bikers Against Child Abuse during their first 100 Mile Ride (check out
the video above!), and I'm so excited to join them again this year.

These men and women are hard-core advocates who volunteer so much of their time and energy out of love for these little ones.

Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA) has been established to eradicate fear, protect children, and make sure that perpetrators can no longer intimidate or threaten their victims.

They exist as a body of Bikers to empower children to not feel afraid of the world in which they live. They stand ready to lend support to our wounded friends by involving them with an established, united organization. They work in conjunction with local and state officials who are already in place to protect children. They desire to send a clear message to all involved with the abused child that this child is part of their organization, and that they are prepared to lend their physical and emotional support to them by affiliation, and their physical presence. They stand at the ready to shield these children from further abuse. Learn more here: http://bacaworld.org/

Your support will make sure that a child who has suffered and been abused will be wrapped up, protected, and cherished!

Every year, BACA raises funds that will go towards:

  • Child assistance funding
  • Abuse prevention brochures
  • Memorabilia for kids they visit such as leather vests, stickers, coloring books, patches and temporary tattoos

I am so excited to partner again with this amazing organization. I am profoundly inspired by the amazing work they are doing to make children safer, stronger, and heard in a world where they so often go unnoticed, are re-traumatized by the system, and go without justice.


Please go here to donate! 
(final day to donate is May 14)


So what are you waiting for? Get my butt on the backseat of a Harley and make a huge difference in the life of a child. Thank you so much for your support!


With love and gratitude,
Rachel

April 28, 2015

On Steps Two and Three: The Sanity and Decision Factors

This week, we wrap up our series with Rivka Edery, M.S.W., L.C.S.W. in which she shares the healing power of trust and letting go of control.
----

STEP TWO:   “Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” 

In social work we say: “Start from where the client is.”  This applies to trust issues:  if you feel you cannot trust enough to ask for help, then you have just identified your starting point. You will begin your journey from the place of “I don’t / can’t trust”.

During your personal process of recovery from trauma, by applying the Twelve Steps, you will learn the difference between belief and trust.  A person can believe that a spiritual power exists; but that does not mean that he necessarily trusts that power. 

It is true that traumatic events shake up your world, have you questioning the meaning of life, and this puts up barriers to trust.  The goal of trusting a power greater than you can be an exacting taskmaster.  As a result, many survivors are attempting to do much more to heal than what once was
just a longing.  Having the courage to take your first steps in recovery is what lays down the bricks on your path, in order to “come to believe” that you could be restored to wholeness.

When you apply Step Two to your own life, you can begin the process of developing a sense of trust for safe others.  The essence of Step Two is coping with loss, including grieving for what is now gone and cannot be undone (perhaps you were once a very trusting person; innocent and vulnerable, and something or someone robbed that from you).  It is also about learning to know a Power greater than yourself, as a loving, sustaining energy, and not as an authority figure that will harm or control you.  Step Two is also about achieving some cognitive understanding that no matter what happened to you, a Power greater than yourself can restore you to sanity and integrity.  Think about this for a moment.  You are not to be blamed for your loss of trust, or any other reaction or formed beliefs.  Actually, it was a perfect response in the context of what happened.  


STEP THREE:  “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.” 

You have worked Steps One and Two with a safe and trusted person – you have surrendered and you have demonstrated your willingness to try a new approach to your life experiences.  When you admit your powerlessness over your traumatic history, you learn a comforting and critical truth: that you experienced certain painful life events that you absolutely could not have controlled. You were also not always in control of the coping patterns that have emerged.  For some survivors, this can be a frightening and humbling experience. 

In addition to your traumatic life experiences, there are numerous things in life you cannot control.  Your willingness to view your experiences in a different light infuses you with a new sense of hope and relief.  However, if you do not translate your hope into action, you will revert to old behaviors.  


Your old behaviors, formulated by you as coping mechanisms, leave you feeling resentful, frustrated and angry.  As a trauma survivor, you try to be in control in many different ways.  Using your sexuality as punishment or reward, using guilt, dishonesty or “learned helplessness” to get your way, you try to get the results you want.

Another very common dysfunctional behavioral approach in dealing with people is trying to “take care of” or “fix” things, even if it is unsolicited, unnecessary or inappropriate.  Some of you may resort to threatening others, manipulating, or bullying to get your way, even if these tactics are not necessarily used maliciously. 

Your willingness to receive the care of a power greater than yourself will produce a life-changing transformational shift, because it opens you to new, broader possibilities.  You participate in rather than try to control life.  No one gets anything right without an appropriate amount of practice and patience, and this step is no different.

If you are anything like the average person, you will find that your openness will come and go.  However, as long as you remain on your personal spiritual path, a little bit of faith is enough to bring you back.  When you feel like giving up, remember that you are wired for growth and change (neo-plasticity).  By remaining honest, open and willing (H.O.W), you will be in the best position to change any negative and false beliefs about your Higher Power, yourself, and other people. 


Thank you so much for your participation up until this point!  I am delighted to have had this opportunity!  If you are interested in learning more about this process, please see my contact information below.  Good luck on your healing journey, and trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. 

---
Rivka Edery, M.S.W., L.C.S.W. has a Bachelor’s of Arts in Social Science and a Masters in Social Work from Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service.  She is a highly intuitive and sensitive psychotherapist, with a private practice in Brooklyn, NY, and is a first time author specializing in trauma recovery and spirituality.  She has been active in the treatment and recovery field for more than eighteen years.  Since 2009, she has been working as a clinical social worker assisting clients who are recovering from trauma-related disorders.  She has treated numerous clients and has talked with hundreds of recovering addicts.  As her career was advancing, Rivka wondered if the ancient spiritual principles of the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous could be applied to the healing of trauma.  One day, she was suddenly inspired with an idea that had a firm hold on her and has not let go since.  It combined the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous that saved her life, with life problems that are a result of surviving traumatic experiences.  The result is a unique approach for trauma survivors who are seeking a combined spiritual and clinical approach to their personal effects of surviving trauma. www.rivkaedery.com

Author of: “Trauma and Transformation: A 12-Step Guide”
To purchase my book, “Trauma And Transformation: A 12-Step Guide” (2013): http://goo.gl/o3BndU

My podcast, "Trauma and Transformation: A 12-Step Guide", is available at the iTunes Store, Microsoft Windows Zune, and other podcast providers. You can search using my name, book title, or key words.

Bi-weekly Radio Show Guest Host
National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse (NAASCA)
“Stop Child Abuse Now" talk show.  Every other Thursday is SPECIAL TOPIC Night - "Child Abuse, Trauma and 12-Step Recovery". Please see our web page at: www.NAASCA.org/Trauma-12Step



Resources, personal stories, communication techniques, and strategies for survivors of sexual abuse who are ready to break free from the past and return to their genuine self.