I came upon a child of God, he was walking along the road and I asked him "tell me where are you going...?
He looked at me and said, "I'm tired man. I've been walking for two hundred thirty five years. It started with the Revolution, the one in 1812, the Civil one - which wasn't, a Spanish one, a WW I one, a WW II one, one in Korea, a Vietnam one, one in the Persian Gulf, an Iraq one and the one in Afghanistan."
He let out a breath and said, "You know man, we've fought hard to keep this great country free and we're still fighting and we'll always fight with those from foreign shores who threaten our way of life. But I'm tired man, I'm tired of the fighting that's goin' on inside our borders. I'm talkin' bout domestic violence man. It's gotta stop man."
I asked him, "how can we do that brother?"
He said, "You know, there's all kind of domestic violence man. But if you're askin' me, I think it starts by respecting our mothers. If we do, then as we grow we'll learn to respect women. The more a boy sees a man respect a woman, the more he'll respect women. When you start to think about what women go through...ah man, don't even get me started goin' down that road. Women are to be respected. My dad taught me that and now I'm tellin' you."
"Where are you going," I asked.
He lowered his cowboy hat and said, "I'm walkin' over there to that meadow. I'm gonna kick back, close my eyes and imagine Jimi Hendrix kick out the Star Spangled Banner and then I'm gonna thank God that I live in America and I'm gonna thank Him for my brothers-n-sisters who are overseas fightin' for us. Then man, I'm gonna go home and hug my mom and then I'm gonna thank God for my mom."
He started off and then turned back, "where are you going brother?"
"You know man, I'm gonna just hang out here a bit. I'm gonna thank God for all three of my girls and then I'm gonna thank Him for those on American soil who are fighting the war against domestic violence."
Her eyes sparkle, her smile glows and her confidence beams - twenty-first century businesswoman. Devoted mom, devoted daughter and devoted teen advocate. Elaine Carole has a message for teenagers. It can save years of torment and pain. Elaine knows. She endured that torment and pain herself. If only someone could have been there for her...
Stolen Innocence is Elaine's personal chronicle of the sexual abuse and terror that she suffered during ten years of childhood. It was Elaine's stepfather who with each visit to her bedroom, stole the innocence of her youth.
By nature, Elaine is a strong woman. When the abuse stops she moves on with her life. Although no doubt tortured on the inside, she goes about the business of being a daughter, a mom and a provider. No one on the planet, not even her mom, knows the evil that she endured. No one knows that is, until Sergeant Chris Long comes along and her story begins to slowly unravel.
The monster, for her stepfather could no longer be regarded as anything but, is suspected of molesting children in his neighborhood. Sergeant Long contacts Elaine's mom in regards to her now ex-husband. When Elaine hears what he is suspected of doing, her head pounds and her mind numbs. There is no way in the world that she wants to go down this road. For Heaven's sake, her mom, her best friend, still doesn't know!
The reason that Elaine eventually does come forward (you'll have to read the book), is in my opinion, partly responsible for her life's work today. Elaine has a daytime job, but I suspect if you ask her, her life's work is slightly different.
Rosemary and I had the privilege of sitting down to talk with Elaine. When our conversation ended, Rosemary walked up to Elaine, hugged her and said, "You are an incredible woman Elaine!" I'll add remarkable. Pick up a copy of Stolen Innocence today and find out why for yourself.
Really cool inside bit of info that we personally got from Elaine that you might touch on as you read the book but knowing in advance you'll appreciate even that much more: Sergeant Chris Long is a very, very good policeman (and now detective) and a stand up, caring human being.
Ordinarily I don't mention Amazon.com book reviews of books that I review. But the one and only negative review of Stolen Innocence sends up a red flag. An English professor might take exception with parts of Elaine's work. Her story however, is so compelling and powerful, criticism of this nature slips into the background and fades irrelevant.
The other kids clear the classroom. She turns to follow and then stops. The demons inside push her towards the door. She fights. She quivers. And then she pushes herself towards the teacher and the guest speaker. Her brain feels like it's going to explode as she begins to sob. The moment she opens her mouth, she knows her life will never be the same. But will it ever be better?
"I was raped..."
I wrote the other day about Linda Hurtado's video interview of Elaine Carole. At one point in the interview, Elaine is talking to a high school class about sexual violence and rape. She encourages the kids to ask for help if they are a victim. Following the talk, a young lady approaches Elaine and the teacher (the paragraph above is a characterization based solely upon my imagination). Her tears of pain and the sobbing hurt however, were real, very real. And I can't get her pain and emotion out of my mind. It hurts me.
Since ABC Action News aired their first segment on domestic violence in April of 2009, I've spent time researching both domestic violence and rape online. The amount of news and information is staggering! With so much of it out there, you wonder why it doesn't come up in everyday conversation more. You know though. It's a highly sensitive subject. You're not about to tell your fellow worker about a rape in the family the way you would tell them about the play your kid is in. Domestic violence and rape are engulfed in taboo.
I believe when a normal, caring adult hears and feels the pain and emotion in the sobbing of a victim of sexual violence, it will begin to break down the walls of ignorance and indifference. As normal, caring adults however, we need to make it easy for kids to approach us. We need to develop a sense of awareness.
Here is a link to Pandora's Project and a list of essays and articles on sexual violence and rape. Spend some time and increase your awareness. Don't let young adults and children suffer from sexual abuse.
If you're like most normal human beings, you'd move mountains to help the child who came to you with this question. Intuitively you'd know: I don't have to be a doctor, therapist or social worker to help here. I can spend five minutes on Google and find a local agency to help.
You'd make the call and feel really good about what you did.
You know what the problem here is? Most kids who are the victims of sexual violence are either afraid to ask for help or don't know who to ask. Can you imagine being trapped in this vicious prison?