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Friday, April 27th, 2012
Blogs | Sociology of Sheena
Jackie ~ I am a Woman; Strong & Capable
This month is Child Abuse Prevention Month as well as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. I reached out to a few of my close virtual friends and asked if they would mind sharing some of their experiences, stories and opinions regarding these topics. Todayâ€™s feature is on the calming, forward and very strong Jackie.
SLY: Who are you?
Jackie: I am a woman.Â My name is Jackie Lawrence Shaw.
SLY: Does Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Childhood Sexual Abuse Prevention Month hold any significant meaning to you? If so, why?
Jackie: Childhood Sexual Abuse Prevention Month holds significance for me because I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse.Â It is not only the fact that I survived that makes it significant to me, but that so many people survive and that so many people never speak a word about the horrendous things they suffered through and survived.
SLY: What is your story?
Jackie: I was sexually abused by my father for as long as I can remember.Â I know concretely that it began when I was seven and continued until I was almost thirteen.Â It only stopped because I kept telling people what he was doing and he was finally removed from our house.Â The abuse stopped, but dealing with it was only beginning.Â I was not his first victim, nor his last.
SlY: According to some statistics, very few people report abuse & assault crimes. Why do you think that is?
Jackie:Â I think most people do not report their abuse and the assaults they survive because of the age old stigma under which society places all the blame on the victim.Â Society as a whole promotes conformity.Â It someone speaks out, they are breaking the vow of silence that makes everyone conform.Â We cannot fix the perpetrator, so if we can just keep the victim silent, we do not have to face the real problem.Â It seems to me this is the overwhelming structure society tries to maintain while it is slowly poisoning every one of us.
SLY: Do you think abusers, rapist, molesters, pedophiles and the likes can be reformed, healed or changed?
Jackie: I think there are a few rare exceptions, but overall, I do not believe that abusers, rapists, molesters, pedophiles and the likes can be reformed.Â Reform requires thought about and for other people.Â In my experience, pedophiles in particular have little to no care for anyone else but themselves.Â Even if someone said they were reformed, I would never leave my children alone with them to let them prove it.
SLY: What do you want others to understand about those who have been victimized?
Jackie: I want others to understand that the victim is never at fault, no matter what she or he was wearing, where he or she was walking, how she or he were behaving, whether or not the victim was sober, drunk, high, or mentally incapacitated.Â It is never the victimâ€™s fault.
SLY: Whatâ€™s been the most difficult thing to deal with as it relates to what youâ€™ve experienced?
Jackie: The most difficult thing to deal with was the constant fear that no one would believe me, or if they did, worrying that they wouldblame me.
SLY: How have you dealt with your own personal rage at the traumatic things that have happened to you?
Jackie: I have written a lot to work through my anger.Â I also had a very good therapist and some very good friends who have listened to my pain and rage without turning away.
SLY: What was an unexpected thing that aided in your growth and healing?
Jackie: An unexpected piece of my healing, yet probably the [most] forceful in pushing me to really heal was an article in which I was interviewed that appeared in O Magazine.Â The full impact of how many people may have seen it did not hit me until I was standing in the airport in Hawaii.Â I saw a later copy of the magazine and the wind was knocked out of me.Â A place so far away from my home carried a magazine in which I had had my picture a few months earlier.Â At that point I knew, there was no longer any need to be ashamed or silent.
SLY: What encouraging words do you have to offer for anyone who has ever been abused or assault?
Jackie: You are not alone.Â It is not your fault.Â It is hard and painful to heal, but it is totally worth it because you are totally worth it.
SLY: What have you learned considering your experiences?
Jackie: I have learned that I am strong and capable, even when so many people tried to make me believe I was weak and worthless.
SLY: What do you think is the most important thing the world needs to hear?
Jackie: I think the world needs to hear that we are not alone in this journey and there really are good people out there who care.
SLY: What brings you ultimate joy?
Jackie: I have just recently found joy.Â I feel it most strongly when I am with my fiancĂ© because I know he loved me completely just because of who I am.
SLY: Whatâ€™s your favorite quote?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?
(Mary Oliver, “The Summer Day)
“When life descends into the pit
I must become my own candle
Willingly burning myself
To light up the darkness around me”
SLY: Who inspires you? Why?
Jackie: I am inspired by other survivors.Â I love that they keep on fighting and trying to break the silence.Â Even when the odds against them are so strong, they are stronger.
SLY: Is there anything else youâ€™d like to share?
Jackie:Â The last thing Iâ€™d like to say is never never never give up!
To learn more about Jackie, please visit…Â jackieshawministries.com
Jackie, thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. I really appreciate the spirit behind your words. I found them so encouraging and soothing. Congrats on your engagement and please visit back, any time! If you would like to share your story or anything at all, please feel free to contact me at sheenalashay [at] gmail [dot] com. Have a great day!
This month is Sexual Assault Awareness month. Every day I’ll be writing all types of posts regarding this issue and my personal experiences.
I create videos as a way to share my story. You can watch three related ones by clicking the titles below.
If you are a victim of abuse and assault and you would like to seek help or report your crime, please find all kinds of resources at RAINN. If you would like to share your story with me privately, be featured this month either publicly or anonymously or you just need an encouraging word, please shoot me an email at SheenaLaShay [at] Gmail [dot] com.
I write my heart out. You can read some of my musings by clicking the titles below.