#WhenIBecameFree - The Heartland Project

#WhenIBecameFree  - The Heartland Project.

I am very excited about this as things are falling into place! If you don't know what my project is about see the following!

Help fund a project where the end result will be a book and collection of videos sharing the inspirational stories of survivors of domestic violence and/or sexual assault from the rural Heartland.

The goal of this project is to seek out everyday people who have done great things after experiencing a battle for survival in their own homes in rural communities. Sometimes those great things may be on a large scale and other times in ways often not noticed.

Throughout the project, book and videos I will share my own stories of abuse and life after finding strength to leave - all of which has brought me to the path I am now on.

I plan to dive into this project just as the cold winds of a looming winter begin. It is symbolic of the fear of the unknown many victims have as they begin their road to surviving.  The goal is to complete my project as a new spring brings color back to the landscape.

Awareness campaigns against abuse tend to focus on how to be safe and get out, however rarely do they tell the story of life after a victim has left and the path they take from there. For victims and survivors in small rural communties sometimes that path is often riddled with obstacles not found in a more urban setting. Starting over where everyone knows your name and think that they know your story can be an isolation all on its own. Those who do make it often give back to others in ways never dreamed of...those stories need to be told.

Furthermore, those who find the inner strength to carry forward are heroes who need to be recognized - and with that recognition their accomplishments should be shared - Help me create a new path and campaign of awareness ...

As I search out these amazing human beings I will share with you  the climate of resources there are in the communities I visit.  You may be surprised at just how little there is for some struggling to be free in certain rural areas of our country.

I have been wanting to do this for a very long time but being that I am one of those survivors on the path to graciously living I have not had the means to see this project through. I've been too focused on surviving paycheck to paycheck..

But, for some reason, I feel the time is now - It may be because I am heading into a new phase of surviving and looking for my own answers to "what will he do when he gets out?" - My ex and abuser is due to be released from prison next year and after serving 8 years for crimes against me and our children.

To do this properly I will need gas for my battered car (fitting, huh?) - Help with on the road expenses and start up fund money for self publishing and getting those videos I take along the way edited properly and into a final compilation video.

I am not sure just what I will learn along the way - this project may in fact take a turn towards something I have not planned on. Afterall it will focus on a very real human experience and there are no plans that can be made for that - life has a way of taking you down paths that you didn't know existed and I am ready to go with that flow....

I will check in on the status of this project with posts to my blog once it begins-
Thankfully Chewed Up and Spat Back Out

For those that help fund this project you will receive an exclusive look at video clips as they are filmed, and updates from the road, when I am on it. I will hit the road in between working my regular job - Living in rural Wisconsin many of these road trips can be taken in a day or two. My sons are old enough now that I can take to the road without too much worry of leaving them back at home for a couple of days.

I have always believed that Everything Happens for a Reason - and with that I feel this is one of the reasons for everything I have experienced in my life.

Want to help me?

All who support this endeavor will be acknowledged on my blog, social media and also credited in the book and final video.

My background:
For the last 8 years I have been a reporter for the The Messenger of Juneau County. My articles cover a range of topics from city government, crime, to human interest.

I am a survivor of child sexual assault, sexual assault and domestic violence. Over the years I have volunteered as a domestic violence and sexual assault advocate for victims.

In 2009 I started a local organization, Lend a Hand, to help those in Juneau County experiencing a housing/financial crisis. That organization grew into a larger one now known as Circle of Hope. We provide crisis intervention when funds are available which may include providing emergency shelter for those experiencing homelessness.

In 1999 and while living in Illinois I started a parent advocacy organization to help educate parents on their rights in regard to their child with disabilities/special needs. During that time I volunteered to be an special education advocate on behalf of students and their families.


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