And so people will talk.. - #WhenIBecameFree

For victims of abuse one of the toughest hurdles to get over in breaking away and becoming a survivor is the worry about what others will say about you and the decisions you make in breaking free.

This is especially true in small town America. It is a place where everyone thinks they know everything about everyone else, and if they don't, they attempt to find out - or they make it up as they go.

Now imagine if you will you've been in an abusive relationship with someone everyone else perceives as charming, witty, caring and just plain likable. They don't realize that behind closed doors there is a nightmare brewing just about every night - that their drinking is out of hand, their passive aggressive ways turn to spite, anger, hostility and playing the victim when they are drunk. Sometimes alcohol and/or drugs do not even have to be in the picture, just a closed door is needed.

If you remove yourself from that toxic soup no one else has tasted, you know there will be talk.

It is a hard and brave step to take, that first step, and for someone who has had their self esteem battered about, making that step is more courageous than anyone who has never been in such a situation could ever imagine.

It is for that very reason I decided for the #WhenIBecameFree project to focus on survivors of abuse in small town America, the Heartland. Their environment, the geography, adds another layer to what they must be willing to face and quite frankly, not give a damn about, as they walk the emotional curves and turns of healing. Not an easy task.

I've been the subject/target of chatter more than once. It comes with the territory of being open about my story and also especially being in the public's eye with my job as a reporter. I've seen the sullen eyes of clients I've volunteered to work with through Circle of Hope - an organization to help the low to no income in my county who are in a homeless situation. I've watched them sit across from me, shoulders slumped as they cry about worrying what people think of them. They are not worried about what society thinks of them, they are worried about once neighbors, the cashier at the only grocery store in town, their family, the teacher at school who goes to their church, the bus driver who is friends with their abuser...etc...etc...etc. Everywhere they turn in their small town is someone they think knows something that may not be true about them.

I will not lie to them, I let them know their concerns are valid - people will talk, there's no doubt
about it - it happens. They just need to realize that their life, their value is worth more than what so and so may say about them - and then I silently pray they believe me enough, even if it is just for a few moments, to find that strength I know they have buried deep within, to make a healthy decision in walking away from the toxic soup - because healing begins with that first and crucial step.

So, when you see the stories of survivors on the pages of my blog for the #WhenIBecameFree project, know that these courageous people are sharing their stories, their vulnerable pasts, and triumphant steps, as they step over the chatter hurdle of people will talk.

If you keep that all in mind, I think you will understand just how special the survivors are and how much hope it can provide to someone sitting alone in their own nightmare worrying about valid fears. Pretty amazing stuff!

And now for a fun reggae song about the retributions of a chatty mouth. (Lyrics)

If you are a survivor working towards bettering your community while using your life experience and/or working towards change in laws - please contact #WhenIBecameFree - The Heartland Project at  and visit the website at #WhenIBecameFree-The Heartland Project


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