Kristie shares her secrets #WhenIBecameFree

This is a hard one for me. I touched upon Kristie's story a few postings ago, but I held off for a reason on sharing her complete story. I think part of the reason was I needed to absorb and get ready for a shockwave that may hit once it is out there. Plus, she speaks about the dynamics in her family, the relationship she has with her mother, it echoed the one I had with mine.

I asked Kristie to give her mom a call and talk about it, letting her know this was coming.  A part of me knew that wouldn't happen because I more than likely wouldn't have made the same call. However, I find myself drawn to Kristie's mom, maybe it is because there are some similarities in our story. I also know her mom due to the nature of my former career working for the paper. I would see her quite a bit when covering stories. We'd share friendly smiles and hellos. The woman I sensed in those moments was warm and inviting. My mom was very much the same way with others. The ironic thing about all of this is, I didn't know who Kristie's mom was until after our interview which now makes me more curious than ever before plus it highlights what it is like growing up in a small rural area, where everyone thinks they know everything about everyone else. The very nature of our surroundings out here in the cornfields and hills of Wisconsin keeps us a prisoner while we're being tormented by our secrets.

My mom passed away before I shared my story with the world- before I was able to face everything I had to in order to heal. I have many questions still for my mom, but they will never be answered. I reached out to Kristie's mom this morning. I sincerely hope she returns my call. I know she has her own story, we all do. I also wanted her to know that this is not about finger-pointing or blame, it is about understanding and healing, reaching out to others so that they know they are not alone and breaking the cycles that secrets keep spinning.  And, I have to admit, I wonder if talking to her would give me insight on my own mother, my relationship with her, maybe some closure to some open wounds. I long to remember my mother as some others probably do, warm and inviting - much like I do with Kristie's mom.

We're all flawed. None of us are perfect and we tend to hurt the ones we love the most with our imperfections. Mothers and daughters are notorious for this, add in the pain our secrets sometimes carry, the wounds never heal. That is a tragedy all of its own - I hate seeing that and I hate that it is also part of my story.  I wish it upon no one else.

I knew when I started this project, #WhenIBecameFree, that there would be some uncomfortable moments - there would be some triggers - and a few shockwaves. Working for the paper all those years, I thought it had prepared me. I am used to people being mad at me for a front-page story, getting screamed at for the "news" we shared. That was an everyday experience. This is different.

There's so much pain and healing involved in these stories and each story sheds a light on why the cycles must be broken. Why we need more awareness and resources and why those once secrets are very damaging to the most innocent, the victims. This is especially true for victims of child sexual assault. If we insist those secrets never come out then we are asking a lot - too much - from the most innocent victims there are, the souls of children AND we're letting abusers, rapists, know we have their backs rather than our children's', even when that child is now an adult. When child sexual assault happens the victim is never the same again. That child that they were gets locked up somewhere deep in their mind and soul. Often victims feel that is the moment the once little girl or little boy was lost forever, but in reality, they are still within us, waiting for someone to acknowledge and protect us - waiting for our silent screams to be heard. Waiting to feel loved and wanted.

It has to end somewhere, that cycle of shame and denial. It fuels the evil known as child sexual assault.  Evil cannot exist in the light.

Kristie Shares Her Secrets...

This is a rough edit from raw video -
For the final project there will be more editing performed-
There is a point in the following video I edited out. Kristie speaks about her childhood and leaving her abusers home - while filming she then fast forwarded a bit and went into a discussion about a member of her own family having been molested. It was that crime which triggered her own experience as a child. I edited out the part where she went into detail about her family member who suffered child sexual assault. It was not to sweep under the rug that incident but rather because that survivor was not present for the taping.

Support the #WhenIBecameFree project by wearing awareness! For every shirt sold, $10 will go to support the project - getting it completed, published and distributed.  Shirts may be purchased here. If you're local to Juneau County, just email me and I will send you an invoice w/o a shipping charge.

Your support will help keep the project and me going to completion. All stories are being compiled into a book and mini documentary - at least 50 percent of the profits will go towards a crisis fund to help survivors rebuild their lives as the learn to fly free.

Any and all donations are welcome!

Go Fund Me Page

Any way you choose to support this effort is greatly appreciated! Even if it is just sharing my blog, the website, or liking and sharing the Facebook page.  

Thank you to Wisconsin River Meats  and Benders' Family Restaurant for being official sponsors of #WhenIBecameFree. Give a like to their their Facebook page (click links above) and let them know how appreciative we all are that they are supporting survivors finding their voices!


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