Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thank you. You are amazing.

Wow. A huge thank you to everyone who took part in Speak Out. I was amazed and touched and humbled at the response. So many stories of pain and healing, of support and outrage and kindness.

I am leaving the linky open until Nov 25th, which is White Ribbon Day, as well as the international day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. I know several of you have contacted me to let me know you still want to post.

I want to apologize for being MIA yesterday. I fell very ill and was not able to be online at all. On Nov 18th of all days! I felt like I planned a big event and everyone showed up but me. I had planned to be online most of the day promoting the event and responding to emails/twitter, reading posts, etc. The best laid plans...

Thank you to those of you who offered your blogs as a safe place where others could tell their story anonymously. I so appreciate that.

One blogger contacted me and brought up the fact that writing and reading posts about something as emotinally charged as DV could be triggering for a lot of women and that it might be good to offer a reminder that we should back away when it feels too overwhelming and practice some self-care. I was so glad she reminded me of this.

Here's the irony. At the time I was discussing this with her I'd read about 8-10 posts and felt fine. I acknowledged that it could be triggering, but didn't think it applied to me. But shortly thereafter I read a post that was eerily similar to what my experience had been. I found that I began to feel anxious and physically ill. I felt exhausted and just wanted to sleep, so I shut down my computer for the night.

I woke up in the middle of the night and was in a lot of physical pain -- migraine and vomiting. I spent the entire following day throwing up (sorry if that's TMI). Even when I had nothing left to throw up my body kept convulsing. All day long.

At some point it occurred to me that maybe there was a connection between reading all the accounts of violence and getting sick. For those of us who have a personal experience of violence or PTSD, immersing ourselves in story after story of abuse will take its toll.

If you have been feeling emotional or axious or ill, please, please back away for a bit and do something soothing. Take a long bath, a nap, play with the kids (aren't kids good at pulling us back into the present moment?), whatever works for you. Just be kind to yourself and allow some time to process what you've read (or expressed in your own post).

Again, thank you so, so much to everyone who spoke out and spread the message that violence is never okay. You are my heros. It is my prayer that your posts will reach the women and men who most need to hear your message.

So what was your experience of Speak Out? Did you find it difficult to read so many posts on a heavy topic? Did you find it triggering? Did you find it inspiring? Do you want to do it again next year?


  1. It was an honour to take part. If you need me again next year I'll be here ready.

  2. When you haven't had any experience of DV it's easy to pretend it doesn't exist. It's also easy to think "if I was in that situation I'd just leave" - so easy to say because I'm not and haven't ever been there.

    I am so humbled and awed by everyone's strength. Not only to live through these situations, but then to document them. I can only imagine how hard it must be to re-live them through the writing and reading of others' posts.

    My sincerest of thanks. If just one person is inspired to take a stance against DV then you have done a marvellous job.

  3. A good reminder Kristin.
    I think though, everyone gets triggered differently. For me, I found if I read the post quickly, sort of like skim reading, and commented quickly on the facts, it allows me not to process my own thoughts or feelings, i've moved on, it's left behind. So I was able to read as much as possible due to time constraints, and then take an hour or so to feel shitty about others having been in similar situations to myself.

  4. Whilst so many had very different experiences to my post (as it was not my own story I shared), I found many times I was so raw and felt so humbled at the bravery and honesty, I could not comment.

    That tells you just how powerful these pieces are, for I am not one who ever loses her words.

  5. This is a great step and it was a good experience for me. I am a believer of sharing and I admire what you've done here K. Well done.

  6. Thank you for giving us all the opportunity to Speak Out. I made it a mission to try and read all the posts and leave a comment. I'm getting there. I noticed how you left comments on so many of the posts and immediately thought of you as to how brave you are considering your own personal experience with DV. Please look after yourself. I found some posts extremely saddening yet opened my eyes even more to the realities of DV. Some posts left me crying and some smiling for the enormous support and understanding. I will definitely particpate next year if I'm still blogging!

  7. K, I'm ashamed to say I couldn't read many of them. I also couldn't participate because I started reading and it triggered off some bad stuff in me, pretty much like it did for you.

    So I'm sorry I didn't join in with this one. But I admire you for getting this going and getting so many people on board.

  8. I wrote my post in my head many times and it triggered a terrible memory that I had repressed, a terrible memory from my past. And that triggered vomiting, gastro tummy, sweating, shakes, heart palpitations, all while I was trying to move house. I couldn't write the post I wanted to write. I did eventually write a post, but I ended up having a mini-mental health breakdown. It wasn't just the DV post, it was moving as well, but I was a mess last week and I am having to see my shrink in an emergency appointment this week ... and after all the effort of making a post it hurts to see that only five people have made an effort to make a comment on my post. This is despite myself opening myself up to more pain to read and comment on other posts. It's another reason why I am rethinking the whole personal blogging thing. I don't know if it's worth the pain any more. I have been told my post is powerful but it's too hard to read. I hate to know what it would have been like if I had written my real post, which is pretty horrific and is from many years ago.
    But as I say in my post, I can't write that one yet - at least not publicly. Maybe anonymously, yes, and I may do that after I've talked to my shrink.
    I don't know - it's a great cause, but opening up wounds, making yourself physically and emotionally unwell and then being ignored. I am starting to wonder if it's worth it and if it's time to take the diary part of my blog offline and just turn the rest into an inpersonal travel blog.
    I'm spent. I'm confused. I'm still sick, and last week, I was this far off being readmitted into hospital.
    Please don't feel bad, it's not your fault, it's a combination of things and it's stuff I probably should have dealt with a long time ago.
    I hope you feel better honey. Just goes to show how long it takes to get over stuff like this. x

  9. Thanks everyone for your support and comments. I'm still trying to get around to all the posts and comment, a little at a time.

    @Bronnie - I'm so sorry that writing your post was so triggering for you. Your experience sounds awful. Moving in and of itself can be stressful, without having to deal with difficult memories and emotions. I hope that you have some time to rest and process what has come up for you. Love to you, xo

  10. I can't talk about this particular topic, but can offer up that I feel drawn to read stories about cancer victims in all their emotional, devastating detail. I know it's not good for me and puts me in a difficult place, but I am compelled. perhaps it is our way of continuing to make sense of things.


  11. THANK YOU so much for giving us all the opportunity to debrief here. You are incredibly thoughtful and sensitive and intelligent to do this.

    My blog post offended a woman and she left a comment that caused me upset. I'm grateful for the opportunity she gave me to reflect, and to confirm that I am strong enough to Speak Out, even if others don't accept me and how I choose to do it.

    I am incredibly grateful for your leadership Kristin in encouraging us all to Speak Out. Especially, as you have identified, it does also come with individual responsibility for each of us to exercise self-care, but with the comfort of knowing that there is plenty of support for all of us.

  12. I hope it wasn't mine?

    I commented on Twitter that I thought it was interesting that my post on a blogger event was bringing more traffic than my Speak Out post. Someone responded saying that they guessed more people could relate to blogging than Domestic Violence.

    I wanted to scream! That was the whole point! To talk about, to expose it, to show others how insidious and invisible it can be.

    I think that there are a lot of people out there living in denial, who don't want to face the hard truths. I know I was...

  13. Hi Dorothy

    Not sure if you're replying to my comment above? If so, just confirming it wasn't you at all.

    With Gratitude,

  14. As I said before, thank you so much for making those of us who were unaware, just how prevalent DV is. I will definitely support it next year and will be in touch later this week about what we discussed on Friday for people on the Gold Coast.

    I too found the stories extremely powerlful and went from cryingt to smiling and back to crying again. I am blown away by the strength of these people and while often I would think to myself "Just get out of there", I haven't experienced anything like it and so often it is so easy to talk but not that easy to put into practice.

    Take care and look after yourself.

  15. Wow, I just finished writing a draft about how I haven't slept more than 4 hours a night since Friday and have managed to get a severe throat infection. I'm attributing this to a healing crisis following a very emotional week of Speaking Out.
    I've had to really pace the reading, I was finding myself in tears during every post I read. So much pain. So much injustice.
    You're all amazing.

  16. No, Lina, I was talking to Kristin.... :D

  17. I must be living under rock, but I was not aware of this campaign. I apologise, but am now trying to read and comment and show support that way. You are truly wonderful for your efforts s

  18. @M2M - Really? After my mom died from cancer I couldn't stand to read or watch anything about illness or death. Was just too much. I think about your often. xox

    @deeprecesses - wow, sounds like you had a similar reaction to me. Take care of yourself, okay? Maybe take some downtime to just process everything and regain your center. x

    @Bigwords - thanks for your comment and for supporting the other writers. x

  19. i found the hardest thing was to write something that got the message across without oversimplifying it - as its something i am incredibly fortunate not to have directly experienced.

    @kristin/m2m- i was like you kristin. after a very close woman to me died from a very long illness i couldn't watch anything where people died in it for ages. maybe about six months. my mind would just wander to her and grieve for her. now it's nearly 11 months on and its getting hard again, coming up to the anniversary. i know its just a date right? but its also the rhythm of the year and the routine and the knowledge that theres a big space where someone used to be...

    i wasn't going to comment here until i read the bit about cancer - . sorry !


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