Tuesday, March 13, 2018

PTSD: Pain that Keeps on Giving While We Go on with Living

Dear friends,

Yesterday, I spontaneously posted the photo below on Facebook along with an analogy about PTSD. Despite the ugly photo, my words must have resonated, because as of this morning, it's been shared over 20 times, with many more likes and comments. That's not exactly viral by Internet standards, but I'm glad it's touched people.

On scars, triggers, and PTSD: In college, I was washing a Muppets promo glass from McDonald’s (remember those?) when it shattered and sliced an outer tendon of my left thumb joint. My roomie, who hated the sight of blood, rushed me to the ER and bravely sat with me while the surgeon repaired the damage. My hand was in a brace for six weeks - which made it nearly impossible to write since I’m a leftie. I had to take class notes with my right hand. Later, after the stitches came out, I had to do PT exercises to regain the use of my left hand. 

So, I’m all healed up, right? Well, except for the circular scar. And the constant numbness which I’ve learned to mostly ignore. And... Today, 35 years later, I was cleaning the toilet and bumped that edge of my hand. I shrieked! I may or may not have let a mild epithet fly. You see, though I don’t often consciously think of my hand injury, it’s still there! And if it gets bumped hard, which happens at least once a year, it’s quite painful! My hand is still throbbing a half hour later! 

It made me think of PTSD from emotional wounds. Some people think that if a traumatic incident happened a long time ago, and the time of crisis has passed, that it’s a done deal. It’s not. The person may not think of it as often or seem as deeply affected as more time goes on, but then what looks like a trivial trigger pops up and WHAM! Aaagh! I myself had an ugly cry just last night when a painful memory resurfaced. It took me a little while - and half a box of Kleenex - to find my calm again. And there is nothing wrong with that at all. 

So folks, just think about that when you are talking to or about trauma survivors, OK? Don’t chide them for not being OVER IT already. Their pain might make you uncomfortable and you may not want to deal with it. You want them to stuff it so you can’t see it. But like my squeamish roommate, love sits with the wounded. Even when the trauma rears its ugly head weeks, months, years, or even decades later. Let them own their pain. Create space for them to grieve and re-heal. And learn to be gentle with yourself too.

#metoo #PTSD #trauma #CreateSpace #empathy 
#innerhealing #tenderspots


So here are my followup thoughts to the original post:

PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is the pain that keeps on giving. I know it because I have lived it, though fortunately it does not still bother me that often or that intensely.

I do totally understand about moving on and releasing bitterness, not wallowing in negativity or being crippled by shame or anger or depression. This is not about that. It's about what happens when you are taking the necessary steps to recover your wholeness, but the pain keeps popping back up at unexpected times. It's about giving ourselves grace and not allowing this to suck us back into the dark vortex. 

When the painful memories resurface, this inner voice in our souls can whisper, "You'll never be free. You may as well just give up. You are doomed to a life of mental torture and it will destroy your physical health, too." 

Then we can, with practice and support and emerging courage, reply, "The pain will come and I'll deal with it when it does, with the help of God and the knowledge I have received and the support of wise people who care. I have decided that my past won't stop me from building my healthy new future. That story was not the last chapter in my book, and I'm choosing a happier ending."

And when that pain comes again and again and again, we don't take it as a verdict that we have failed in recovery. Instead, we deal with it, pick up our broken pieces, stick them back in place the best we can (gently!), and keep moving. I know it's much more complex than that, but this is the simple mental picture I use when I'm in the middle of it. 

Maybe our coping strategies aren't the optimal ones yet.  Maybe they are hurting more than they are helping. We can assess that as we go along and make the necessary adjustments. We learn more and we seek help to do whatever it takes to move forward, treat the root causes, and not just mask the pain.

This is what resilience is all about. It's not that we won't face obstacles, because we always will - whether it is old ones or new ones. It's that we rise to meet these challenges as courageously as we can. We might be "quaking in our boots" but I reckon we can walk and quake at the same time.

Two poems from my heart:

"Pilgrimage and Jubilee"
by Virginia Knowles

It’s been a long road
And I’ve traveled the valley of the shadow.
But I write as a free woman
Still with earthy bonds, yes
But able to rise above and go beyond.

We are called to the dignity
Of the Image of God.
We are called to walk the path
Of peace and glory.
We are called to hear the holy echo:
"Proclaim liberty throughout the land!"
So let us rise, strong and free.

Mine is the story of pilgrimage and jubilee.

~ and ~

"Lift Up Your Head and Laugh"
by Virginia Knowles

“Lift up your head and laugh!”
He spoke as a prophet.
But what did he know those thirty odd years ago?
What did he know of my future?
I was still so young then
With only a taste of raw and broken
And visions of a whole life open before me
Certainly not knowing quite what to expect
But with dreams and plans nonetheless:
Happily ever after with maybe
A few little bumps along the way…
Why not? And why not laugh?
Life could be, would be, one grand adventure.

It’s been a rather curious life indeed
This grand adventure of mine.
Now I shake my head and laugh
At myself, at how I clung to so much
That prickled and burned and then gave way.
Yet mysteries and marvels
Came to me when least expected
Laughter mixed with tears and sighs
And more than a few bumps along the way
So much good and so much grief mingled in
So much for dreams and plans!
A worthwhile journey still,
Just not how I thought it would be.

It’s not just me, I know
I watch the world walking by
And I try to understand, wonder
Where it is going: out and about
And home again, home again
A million silent stories walking by
A million mingling stories of mourning and mirth.

I have lived long and learned much
And I find myself speaking to the young ones
With their whole lives open before them
The words of the timeless sage
Thirty hundred years ago:
“There is a time for everything…
A time to weep and a time to laugh.”
They have seen me weep, and I will weep again.
But for now, I will lift up my head and laugh.


I've written a lot more encouragement, trauma-related information, and poetry on three of my blogs. Here are the links I think will fill a need to those reading today.

Inspirational posts from my blog This Mom Grows Up:

Posts related to trauma from Watch the Shepherd:

Poems from my blog Virginia's Life, Such as It Is:


Can I just say how much I appreciate those who have been so faithful to educate about trauma and PTSD? I am immensely grateful to the resources that survivors and their allies have online, in print materials, and in face-to-face support groups. We need to fully realize what is going on inside and how to best care for those affected by trauma. 

It is my goal this spring and summer to research more about wisely caring for other people. I want to be one who help them move toward healing and fulfillment and success in life, just as I am trying to do in my own life.

One of the books I plan to buy soon is Suffering and the Heart of God: How Trauma Destroys and Christ Restores by Dr. Diane Langberg. I'd love to hear what other resources you have found helpful. Please leave a comment!

That's about all for now!

I'd love to hear your thoughts!


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Human Trafficking: A Community Conversation

Last night I attended a Community Conversation meeting on the topic of human trafficking in Central Florida.

Dr. Joel Hunter, pastor emeritus of Northland Church and founder of The Community Resource Network, moderated the conversation. (Side note: As a former Northland member, I have known Joel since he and Becky came to Orlando 1985, but I hadn't seen him in several years. What a delight to chat with him after the meeting! I have always said he has a heart of gold, and now more than ever.) Northland is now a megachurch of 20,000 and Joel was a spiritual adviser to President Obama. He "retired" last year to devote his time to rallying the community around such issues as homelessness, addiction, and trafficking. That takes humility and courage! The Community Conversation meetings are a part of his initiatives. Please take the time to read this article in Christianity Today: Joel Hunter Is Done Pastoring His Orlando Megachurch.

The panel guests were Tomas Lares, founder of Florida Abolitionist; Ron Stucker, director of the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation; and Lisa Haba, Assistant State Attorney who specializes in prosecuting trafficking cases in Seminole County.

I took 8 pages of handwritten notes, scribbling as fast as I could to keep up with the torrent of information. Here is some of what I jotted down; I have attempted to synthesize and organize it, but it's a wild beast, so please forgive if it seems disjointed.


First, what is human trafficking? I looked up the definition this morning.
Trafficking means recruiting, abducting, facilitating, transferring, harboring, or transporting a person, by threat or use of force, coercion, fraud or deception or by the purchase, sale, trade, transfer or receipt of a person, for the purpose of subjecting that person to involuntary servitude, peonage, slavery, slave-like practices, sex trafficking, or forced or bonded labor services. (Source: www.gohttf.org)

Joel gave one real life example of human trafficking which hits way too close to home since I personally know the family. This past weekend, an 11 year old girl was lured online (via playing Minecraft) to leave her home in the middle of Saturday night to meet up with someone she thought was a female. Due to quick work by the FBI, she was located on Sunday in another state in a hotel room with a male perpetrator. We are so thankful for her safe return to her family but I am sure she is quite traumatized by the experience. She has a long road of recovery ahead of her.

What are some other examples of human trafficking victims?

  • any child/teen prostitute, regardless if she/he is doing it "willingly"
  • a prostitute who is being forced to work by a pimp
  • a migrant worker who is debt-enslaved to their "employer" - they can't leave until they pay it off, but the debt keeps racking up, so they are trapped.
  • an unpaid domestic worker (often foreign) who is enslaved in a home, even in an affluent neighborhood
  • an undocumented worker paid under the table and exploited using threats of exposure to ICE
Joel asked Tomas Lares, "Why don't more victims try to escape?" Tomas started with the word victimology. They don't feel like they deserve any better. They are psychologically powerless. They have been raped, battered, threatened, and otherwise intimidated by the perpetrators. They don't think they have a safe place to go. They may have no other means to support themselves or their children. Even if they do get away, they fear retribution against loved ones. Many have been sexually exploited hundreds or even thousands of times; they have been used and abused to the point that they perceive themselves as worthless and hopeless. Many have Stockholm Syndrome, which makes them sympathetic to those who are abusing them. Many have been numbed by (and become addicted to) drugs and alcohol. 

What can we do? We can start by using our power wisely.

If you have power - and you DO have power - how will you choose to use it? Will you EXPLOIT others, AVOID getting involved, or ADVOCATE for the vulnerable? Lisa Haba noted that we tend to avoid vulnerable people because we are afraid or because it is inconvenient. This only enables perpetrators who keep committing their crimes, because they think no one will bother to prevent them. Instead, we need to be like the Good Samaritan, who stopped to help the wounded Jew on the road to Jericho. You can make a huge difference if you change your mindset!

Ending sex trafficking requires a multi-faceted approach. Many of these strategies also apply to other forms of trafficking. 

  • Eliminate the supply of victims. Empower and educate potential victims to prevent them from falling under the power of perpetrators. Many prostitutes were vulnerable to trafficking because they had been sexually abused during childhood, or they were teen runaways, or they were domestic violence victims. They have extremely low self-esteem. They feel worthless. They may be addicted to drugs or alcohol. They don't have education or job options. They might be lured into trafficking by the promise of a modeling career. Young people need to be warned about trafficking so they won't be deceived by perps. And they also need a clear path to healthy living. Mentoring can be a huge help with this. (Side note: One of my daughters, who has a masters in counseling, works as a school-based therapist in a country school system. One of her goals is to create resiliency programs for teenage girls.)
  • Protect the victims. Officers will first attempt to physically separate a victim from the perpetrator, who is either the pimp (someone who is selling the prostitute for profit) or the john (the "customer"). If the situation is not clear, but there are other valid charges such as drug possession or probation violation, they can jail a suspect immediately to create extra safety for the victim. The officers must build a sense of trust with the coerced prostitute, who may not yet acknowledge that she is a trafficking victim rather than a criminal. Building trust is a challenge since pimps often threaten their "girls" that they will be arrested for prostitution or drug charges if they ask law enforcement for help. Child victims will be referred to DCF for on-going care. Adult victims may be placed in a secure shelter and offered counseling, addiction treatment, and job skills. (We need more of these shelters and services!) For immediate assistance, they may be given a backpack with basic supplies. The key is to not criminalize the victim, but to give her a sense of value and dignity, and then practically equip her to take a different path.
  • Refer victims to qualified care for counseling and protection. Do not attempt this by yourself! This is extremely complicated, and you will do a disservice to the victim. It can also be really dangerous to bring a trafficking victim into your home due to mental health, addiction, or retribution by perpetrators. Don't give them cash, because it could end up in the pocket of the pimp instead. Instead, call law enforcement for help, and they can arrange a referral to competent and comprehensive care. 
  • Eliminate the demand. Enforce stiff penalties for both johns and pimps. Allow victims to sue perpetrators with civil law suits. Change the cultural conscience so that no one will even want to exploit others. Expand the availability of sexual violence awareness classes for offenders. Block the gateway of pornography, which becomes addictive, rewires the brain, and demands more of a "thrill" to satisfy desire; if a magazine photo or online video isn't enough, a real life girl might do the trick. This is heinous. Pornography must go! You can find a lot of information here: Fight the New Drug.
  • Educate the public about the signs of trafficking. Everyone should be aware of this, but special efforts are underway to train hotel clerks and maids, medical personnel, teachers, transportation workers, bartenders, etc. The woman who sat next to me has worked for Marriott in this area, and says they are making huge efforts to equip their employees to spot trafficking situations. An ER nurse called authorities after a prostitute was brought in with a bull-whip slash on her face. An airline clerk stopped two teenage girls who were trying to check in without proper identification, flying to another state on what turned out to be a one way ticket. Truckers Against Trafficking is training truckers to be vigilant to red flags of trafficking at truck stop; they also have training videos right on their web site. 
  • If you see something, say something! If you notice someone you think might be vulnerable and in trouble, CALL 911 ASAP. Let law enforcement assess and investigate. The sooner they can do this, the more likely they are to be able to rescue a victim and prosecute the perpetrator. You don't need to figure it out first; go with your enlightened intuition. You can often sense if a situation seems "off" - such as an older man traveling with a young girl, with no apparent family relationship, and she seems afraid or unkempt... What are some red flags of possible trafficking? Read the list here: Recognizing the Signs. I repeat: If you see something, say something. You could save a life.
  • Penalize businesses which enable trafficking. These include hotels/motels that knowingly allow prostitution, tattoo parlors, massage parlors, bars, Backpage and Craigslist web sites. Joel gave one example of a young girl who was being trafficked by her own mother at a local motel. At age 11, she asked a friendly looking new employee for help. The woman walked away, not wanting to get involved. The girl was trafficked for another several years. Many of these workers are afraid of being fired. We need to enact mandated reporting, with legal protection for employees who, in good faith, report suspicious behavior.  The Florida House of Representatives Judiciary Committee is voting on HB 167 tomorrow morning (Wednesday, February 21, 2018). This bill would, along with Senate Bill 1044, allow victims to sue these businesses which enable the crimes! Please call your legislator and demand that these bills be passed! Pennsylvania and Texas already have similar laws on the books. The other 48 states need to get with it!
  • Support and extend the #metoo movement. Right now we have such wide public awareness about sexual abuse and harassment. Now is the time to expand that awareness to the issue of human trafficking. We are at a tipping point, a watershed moment. Let's push this through while the light shines bright. Let's fight against compassion fatigue and issue saturation, so we don't lose interest and give up before the problem is solved. Keep it in the news. NO MORE! NOT ON OUR WATCH!

What about other forms of trafficking?
  • Undocumented workers who are being trafficked often fear they will be jailed, deported, or separated from their children if they report abuse. They are now eligible for two specialty visas with a path to citizenship. The T Visa is for people brought into the USA by traffickers. The U Visa is for people who came on their own, but were later trafficked; the stipulation here is that they most cooperate with authorities to expose and prosecute the traffickers.

I know this is a lot of information to process. Please take the time to think through this thoroughly, and decide how you will take action in the fight against human trafficking.

On a personal note: I have been seeking God's wisdom on my own future. As I write this, I am in the middle of applying to Asbury Theological Seminary (Orlando campus) for a masters degree, probably in chaplaincy or pastoral counseling. For a regular job, I plan to work with the elderly and hospice/hospital patients and their families. However, my hope is that I will be equipped to also extend basic frontline ministry (comfort, encouragement, referrals to more comprehensive care) to women in the community who are at risk from domestic violence, homelessness, sex trafficking, and faith crises related to spiritual abuse. Please pray for me as I take each step by faith. 

Virginia Knowles

I have other blog posts about human trafficking and related issues:

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Mutual by Design 2017 Christians for Biblical Equality Conference

Dear friends,

Two weeks ago, my longtime fellow blogger and FB friend Julie Anne Smith noted on her FB page that she would be in Orlando for a conference. She wanted to know if anyone would like to meet up there, which for me is "here" since I live just north of Orlando.

I jumped at the chance to meet her in person, as she lives on the opposite end of the country - not much farther you can get from Florida than Washington State, unless we're talking Alaska. And I was intrigued by what conference she was attending.

Julie Anne Smith
It turned out to be Mutual by Design, the 2017 international conference of Christians for Biblical Equality. The funny thing is, I had just been on the CBE web site a few days before that to look for book recommendations and hadn't even noticed the conference information! I got to thinking how much I would enjoy attending - and fortunately for me, another kind FB friend (whom I also had not met in person) worked out the details for me to go to the conference and to stay at the hotel for the weekend.  She was also responsible for several other women being able to attend.

All of this was on very short notice. I found out about the conference on Tuesday, and it started on Friday morning! And I went out to dinner with some of the ladies when they arrived in town on Wednesday!

Dinner at Sweet Tomatoes two days before
the conference with some of the CBE attendees:
Lindon, Tega, Mabel, Reagan, Tega's
daughter (I don't know her name!), and Gwen
I am super grateful that I went. I have been learning about Christian egalitarian theology in recent years, and see it as so refreshing as compared to the patriarchal/complementarian theology to which I had been heavily exposed in some of our former churches and in certain edges of the home schooling movement.

Egalitarians believe that men and women are truly equal. Not identical. There are obvious differences. But they are equal. No hierarchy. No superiority. No gender rank pulling nor rigid gender roles in the family, the church, or the work place. No "Woman, SUBMIT!" They certainly believe in submission in marriage! But it is mutual submission, mutual leadership, mutual serving, mutual respect, and mutual love.

I see the beauty of that.
I see the promise in that.
I see the fruit borne by it.
I see the power of the gospel at work in it.

Many complementarians claim that egalitarians don't take the Bible seriously. What struck me was how seriously they actually did treat Scripture at this conference. These are serious students of the Word. Many of them are professors in seminaries and Christian universities, with doctorates and decades of faithful teaching and/or pastoral work to their names. They carefully parsed the Greek and Hebrew. They researched the ancient cultures within which the Bible was penned, including the Greco-Roman household codes.They have shown how Scriptural principles can be universally applied in each culture and time period, even if the details of how they are carried out necessarily differ by time and place. And, as Dr. Ronald Pierce explained, they teach what they do "in light of Scripture, not in spite of Scripture."

Dr. Ronald Pierce,
professor, author, speaker
The people I met were kind, caring, curious, and passionate. At times I felt out of my league when I heard what each one had been doing for God's Kingdom, but they were so humble and approachable that I still felt right at home. Never mind that I am a home schooling mother of ten who has been "at home" in my house for over 30 years, and who emerged from what I call deep patriarchy.  

God bless the work of CBE, and God bless the women and men there who are rising up to serve with liberty and justice and compassion among the heartbreaking crises in this world.

Dr. Mimi Haddad,
President of CBE

Mary Gonsior,
who works for CBE
I'll be writing more on the conference as time allows. I already posted a poem that I wrote there: No Little Women.

Virginia Knowles

P.S. Now I'm dreaming of the 2018 conference in Helsinki, Finland. Not much of a chance I'll get there, but who knows?

Saturday, July 22, 2017

No Little Women (CBE17)

"No Little Women"
Virginia Knowles

In the beauty of the Kingdom

There shall be no little women:
No, never!
Lo and behold
Sisters and brothers together
In mutual love and honor
Lift their lights high
Raise their voices strong and clear
Boldly proclaiming
Peace, joy, liberty, mercy
Healing, justice in Jesus
Together, strong and free
In the glory of the gospel of grace
No little women and no little men.
"May your Kingdom come
May your will be done
On earth as it is in Heaven."

~~ I wrote and posted this poem from my phone while attending Mutual by Design, the 2017 international conference of Christians for Biblical Equality. I'll be writing more about the conference and some recommended resources this month as I have time.

~~ I'm obviously not talking about physical height here. I'm talking about the tendency of many in the church to see women as "less than" men - and oh, "bless their little hearts!" We all talk about equality, but then women are still treated with condescension.

~~ But speaking of physical height, here are two women from the conference. Julie Anne, on the right, is a watchdog blogger at www.spiritualsoundingboard.com. We've been in touch for several years about issues in the home schooling movement and patriarchal churches. I really appreciate the sacrificial work she does.  Diane, on the left, was a nun for about 20 years and then was ordained as a Catholic priest. I'm not sure how that works, but she says there are 250 women priests. Now in her 70's, she hosts a radio show aimed at preventing domestic violence. She may be only 5 feet tall, but she's a powerhouse. Julie Anne is 6' 4". Whatever their height, these two women get the job done.

~~ I picked the Statue of Liberty picture for the top of this post, because I believe that women are emerging as powerful leaders in the fight for liberty for the oppressed around the world. The women at this conference included ones who work in dangerous places like the Democratic Republic of the Congo doing rape prevention and aftercare, or who labor from and within the USA to end sex trafficking, domestic violence, female genital mutilation, and other evils.


Think about it.

Act on it.

Virginia Knowles

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

International Women's Day 2017: What Do You Stand For?

Dear friends,

It is International Women's Day again! 

What does that mean?

Different things to different people, I'm sure.

I am an evangelical Christian and a feminist, and no, those are not mutually exclusive. And yes, I am still very pro-life. (And not just until the baby is born!) I also have seven daughters, three sons, four grandsons, and two granddaughters. I've put my time in.


This morning, I started going through my "On This Day" memories feed on Facebook and re-sharing IWD posts from years past, like my own article here on Watch the Shepherd: Women's Voices Rising

One of my Facebook posts read: "I am a woman. But this day, though for me, is not just for or about me. Think of women around the globe. Think of their challenges, their heartaches, their opportunities, their examples, their gifts for their families and communities. Let us sit with them in empathy, stand with them in solidarity, walk with them into a future of progress, dignity, and equality. We are women. Let's make this about each other, all of us, and about all of the girls in generations following us."

I added a fresh new picture for my quote. I had taken down my bulletin board recently and piled its contents on my desk: baby announcement, cards from friends, clipped quotes. The postcard above, purchased at the holocaust museum in Washington D.C., sums it up for me.

I stand for women on this day. One of my missions in life is to empower women around the globe. Courage. Strength. Respect. Purpose. Equality. Assertiveness. Confidence. Justice. Honor. These don't come easy in a world where many religious and social systems subjugate women. Think that's just far away in some Third World country? Nope. It's here in the USA, too. Been there, done that, walked away from it. It has hurt way too many people whom I know and love. These are just some of the articles I have written.

This past year, it's been difficult to watch the ascendancy of Donald Trump to the presidency. Even though he acknowledged International Women's Day on Twitter today (be sure to read comments), he does not, in my opinion, represent the interests of women very well. It's not just a lack of support, but his attacks on women, not the least of which would be the sexual assault of strangers.

By coincidence, I was in Washington D.C. the weekend of the huge women's march. I was en route to my aunt's funeral in Pennsylvania so I didn't go. I also have concerns about the march organizers not welcoming pro-life leaders. However, there is so much more that I do support about the aims of the march. On my flight back to Florida the next day, I sat next to a woman who was in D.C. for her grandmother's birthday and had walked along with part of the march while she was downtown. We shared so many common views about empowering women. I loved to hear her story, face to face, of succeeding as a woman of color despite many challenges.

When I was a small child, the only jobs commonly open to women were nurse, teacher, secretary, and maid. And I'm only 53! Things were much better by the time I reached high school and college, but there was (and still is) discrimination. This should not be. Women need the ability to provide for themselves and their families. Instead of restricting women based on what we think they should do, why not empower them with the same opportunities so they can learn and work according to their own needs, talents, and desires? 

I remember in my early 20's telling a man from church that I had just gotten a new job. He asked if I was a secretary. It was more of an assumption than a question. I was actually a computer programmer for a military contractor, and likely made more money per hour than he did. By choice, I have spent most of the last 30 years (with the exception of one year as a part-time teacher) as a stay-at-home mom. I don't regret that at all. I love being home, and wish I could always do that. I am planning to transition back into the paid workforce out of necessity. This should be interesting. I am a bit nervous. 

The comment from the man at church over 30 years ago was actually more amusing than annoying at the time. Worse than that by far was the sexual harassment I experienced in the work place and other situations, including losing a job for refusing a boss's advances. I wrote about some of this here: #YesAllWomen: My Many Stories of Sexual Harassment.  Yet as distressing as those experiences were to me, they were nothing compared to what other women in this country have suffered. Listen to these quotes about domestic violence and sexual abuse in the home: Voices of Survivors. Then watch some videos from the recent Awaken:Awareness Matters conference.

Photo credit: www.AmyRBuckley.com
See also: 25 Essential Quotes of Women

And then when I think of the world beyond, I am absolutely appalled at what women and girls have to endure. There is no way I can be silent about trafficking, child marriage, FMG (female genital mutililation), honor killings, rape, and lack of decent health care for women.

From Catapult Cover Stories - click for more
Photo Credit: The Times of Israel Facebook

Two of my other Facebook posts were videos I recorded from my spot in the audience at the Synergy conference in March 2011 here in Orlando. It was organized by Carolyn Custis James and keynoted by Sheryl WuDunn. Later this morning, Carolyn Custis James asked permission to post them on her YouTube channel, which I happily granted. She too has written a post for International Women’s Day, and I think she has another one coming up that has my videos in it. 

So here are the videos on her channel:

Carolyn Custis James introducing Sheryl WuDunn at 2011 Synergy conference in Orlando (Video Link)


Sheryl WuDunn talking about forced child marriage, obstetric fistulas, and maternal mortality at 2011 Synergy conference in Orlando (Video Link)


Here is another of Carolyn's YouTube videos: Patriarchy is a Fallen System

Carolyn and Sheryl are both authors. You can find their books on their web sites:

Or you can order these titles, which I have read, through ChristianBook.com (Disclosure: I am a CBD affiliate and would get a small percentage.)

There is so much more that I could write, but instead, I'll leave you with one last article link 
by Sarah Bessey, author of Jesus Feminist (I've read part of this) and Out of Sorts (just bought this one and hope to read soon): A Prayer for International Women's Day 


Walking with one of my granddaughters
- and wondering what the future holds
for her generation