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June 14, 2012

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June 14, 2012

The following is an testimonial I wrote about how one particular AWBW project, Pearls of Wisdom, that enabled me to heal from a lifetime of sexual abuse. The Pearls of Wisdom workshop propelled me farther down my road toward healing more than any other therapeutic endeavor. The pearls workshop enabled me to modify my behavior and move forward more than all the work I diid in the past with countless counselors, friends and advocates. The workshop, just like my abuse, took me through a roller coaster of emotions. During the workshop I felt everything from anger, frustration, and sadness to feeling supported, enlightened, relaxed, adventurous, reinvigorated and finally, empowered.

Creating my pearl allowed me to clarify things and reaffirm that I am okay. Each aspect of the workshop revealed aspects of my long history of sexual abuse that I had become so adept to ignoring. During the writing portion, it was very telling that I couldn’t look at myself in the reflective paper. Writing my story on reflective paper helped me see how much I have detached myself from it, even though I had previously journaled about it on many occasions.

I also greatly benefitted from wrapping my pearl in bandages! Taking the strips and dipping them in water gave me a feeling of being in control and symbolically healing my own wounds. I felt very powerful and the bandages brought me out of the negative place the reflective writing portion took me. Each part of the workshop seamlessly fit together. The process not only allowed the terrible feelings that came from my abuse to surface, but also gave me the opportunity to process those feelings in a different way and symbolically heal my own wounds.

I always thought that the sexual abuse was my fault because I never fought off my abusers. From childhood to adulthood whenever sexual abuse took place I automatically detached my mind from my body and went numb. Each time I was molested reinforced my unconscious coping mechanism of lying quietly pretending to be asleep. Through the project I was able to reconnect parts of myself that I had shut off in order to survive the negative experiences. I was finally able to internalize the saying “sexual assault is never the victim’s fault” and truly recognized that none of what I experienced was my fault. Just because I never said no doesn't mean that I said yes.

Another aspect of the abuse that was hard to reconcile is that sometimes the bad touch felt good, which was confusing, especially when I was little. I have since learned that I couldn’t protect myself from sexual abuse when I was little, but I can now. My vagina is mine! I have power over my sexual activity.

This is the first time that I haven’t been sexually abused for over one year. The last time it happened was December of 2008 and it will never happen again. The day I made my pearl I found myself in danger of being sexually abused again. This time I spoke up and protected myself for the first time by saying “no”. I am a warrior who, not only protects others, but most importantly, protects myself and I have the Pearls of Wisdom project to thank for it.

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How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

June 14, 2012

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June 14, 2012

Working with A Window Between Worlds has been an amazing experience. I have worked with the organization on a few different dates and done a variety of activities, but each experience has been wonderful. I started volunteering through my high school to fulfill a community service requirement. On my first volunteer day, i helped organize and assemble supplies for the many art workshops in domestic violence shelters this organization sponsors. I had so much fun and was truly enlightened by the work done by A Window Between Worlds. This summer, I am coming a few days a week to continue my volunteer work. I have always had a passion for art, and now I am considering a career in art therapy because of my work with AWBW. The staff members here are very welcoming and clearly passionate about the work that they do, and it is a pleasure to be part of such a great organization.

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Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

June 14, 2012

more

June 14, 2012

I worked with AWBW last summer and I have come back to work with them this summer because this place makes a difference and touches the lives of many of the people that they work with. The staff here are so full of love for one another as well as the leaders and families at the shelters who work with AWBW. I have been lucky enough to be able to attend a training where leaders from all over come to learn what AWBW is all about and how to incorporate art into their methods of therapy as a form of creative expression. The "window of time" that these workshops allow women, children and even men is an important part of the healing process and opens up an opportunity for a form of expression that many write off an insignificant. Here at AWBW, they prove that art can have a major impact on the victims of domestic violence and help them start to move toward a brighter future. I love working here and hope to continue helping any way that I can, because AWBW not only empowers the people that they work with but they give volunteers a sense of agency.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

June 14, 2012

more

June 14, 2012

A single art program offered through A Window Between Worlds changes lives. I know, because I am forever changed as a result of a simple exercise offered during a board meeting 10 years ago! I am a survivor of both childhood violence and as a married woman. I had the courage to run away from home at 17 and then from an abusive marriage. My commitment to healing and paying it forward led me to Windows, where I found a deeper level of healing than I had ever expected! As 2010 International Coach of the Year, I work with international organizations of all types. Without a doubt, Windows is one of the most efficient, effective and life changing nonprofits I have ever been involved with. It is with profound gratitude that I recommend AWBW for the Women's Empowerment Awards 2012.

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Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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