Expressions of Hope: Telling Survivor Stories.

Expressions of Hope: Telling Survivor Stories.

Join us on April 25th, 1pm-3pm for a panel discussion on how stories of survivors of abuse are told and perceived through the arts and multi-media.

Panelist include

Valeta Cameron, Esq.
Brevard County Legal Aid
Angela Aldarondo
Founder & Director of Pushback Project
Sabrina Kelley
Author of Transformed to Tell
Kelly Grounds
Theatrical Director & Writer

Facilitator

Marjorie Bostwick “Phoenix”
Founder & CEO of Giving Voices Project

To register for this free virtual event, go to www.expressionsofhope.eventbrite.com

Then go and LIKE our Facebook Page @GivingVoicesProject and SUBSCRIBE to our Youtube channel @GivingVoicesProject to watch LIVE.

Call for Submissions!

Call for Submissions!

GIVING VOICES PROJECT is seeking POEMS, SHORT STORIES/PLAYS and MUSIC submissions for THE LANGUAGES OF ABUSE (LOA) in October 2020 and our Springs 2021 WEARABLE ARTS SHOW. The pieces will be brought to life in our theatrical production LOA through vignettes of Spoken Word, Dance, Music, Short Play and Monologues. Our goal is to give the audience an intimate view into the lives of survivors and the effect of abuse and violence.

All pronouns accepted.

Desired message of the submission: A piece of work that shares the inner struggles with their experience, their external struggles with family and friends or the legal system because of the abuse. 

Submission Deadline: Friday, April 3, 2020

Email all inquires to info@givingvoicesproject.org

Barbershop Talk

All male discussion around the cycle of abuse and violence.

Facilitated by Pernell Bush, RCSWI, MSW with Key Counseling Solutions. June 13, 2019 3pm-5pm

Lo’s Master Cut, 1201 Bruton Blvd., Orlando,

Founder visits Pace Center for Girls

Founder visits Pace Center for Girls

This past week our Founder and CEO, Marjorie Bostwick was a guest speaker at the Pace Center for Girls in Orlando. She was one of a few experts that was asked to share her personal story on how the organization was founded and to give a lesson of self-care.

The girls in this program are there working through a challenging time in their life,and some have come from homes where they have experienced violence and abuse. This leads to other dysfunctional behaviors that have brought them to this place. Marjorie’s message was one of empowerment. She told them,

Your experience in this moment is bigger than yourself. There is lesson and a self-discovery journey that can take place, if you look for it and allow it.” 

It was visible in the room from the tears and stares, that her message was making an impact. She was able to sit with a few girls after, hold their hands, answer any questions and encourage them. She wanted her life to be a living testimony that you can experience some horrific, unfair situations in your life, but you can overcome it.

I had to first forgive myself. There was self-forgiveness, then self-love then I knew and understood self-care.”

Forgotten Women Project  ran a 4-week Creativity Pack Campaign so that Marjorie could take Mandala coloring books and coloring pencils for each girl. This is our way of encouraging the art of self-care to women and young girls in the community. She also extended an offer to have the girls submit any poems or short stories they may have written about their experience with abuse for one of our future Languages of Abuse productions.

Her final message:

“Everyday, look for a reason to create something in your life.”

 

 

 

Creativity in a Pack

Creativity in a Pack

For Mother’s Day we were honored to partner with another local organization, Saving Our Daughters, to feed the families at the Orlando Rescue Mission. There were over 120 families, but our focus was the moms and we wanted to put together Creativity Packs to gift to each other. We weren’t able to get one to each mom, but we got enough to make an impact.

These Creativity Packs have become our signature giving campaign in an effort to promote self-care. We know how powerful art can be in the lives of women that have been traumatized by abuse. This was our way of helping to empower the healing process and giving back.

Special thanks to Savings Our Daughters and the Orlando Rescue Mission.

#GIVINGTUESDAY-#UrStoryMatters

#GIVINGTUESDAY-#UrStoryMatters

As a global movement, #GivingTuesday unites countries around the world by sharing our capacity to care for and empower one another.

Help us in our mission to empower survivors of abuse.

Do you have a story of overcoming abuse in your life? Do you know your story will empower others to come forward and share.

You can remain anonymous or you can share with a video. It’s up to you. Whatever you decide, we will honor it.

It is important that your voice is heard.

Through our programs of writing, painting, collaging, music and other mindful practices, we are able to help women find their voices. We then can share those stories through interpretive dance, spoken word, music, wearable art and film.

Use #UrStoryMatters on Twitter @FW_Project and FB and let us know you want to share your story with us.

Email us at info@forgottenwomenproject.org as well with any questions.

OUR 2018 GOAL

with your help

$10,000

Just hit the DONATE button on the right.

 

 

Salvage: Wearable Art Show

Salvage: Wearable Art Show

A collaboration with Stetson University students where they will create clothing based off of the stories of survivors of abuse. They will also select the most powerful quotes and screen-print onto t-shirts as a form of Statement Art. This runaway of artistic expression will be set behind music and Spoken Word.

Domestic Abuse is an issue we hear about more than often, but what we don’t hear much about is what happens to the survivors after they have left the situation. Most times they are faced with other issues of homelessness, addiction, mental health or a continued cycle of violence. We never have the opportunity to hear their stories. It is from their stories we can learn how to support them as they rebuild their lives.

Details: 

Thursday, November 16th, 6:30pm at the Artisan Allay Garage, 113 Georgia Ave, Deland FL.

Purchase tickets at https://salvage.eventbrite.com 

Transformed To Tell

Transformed To Tell

My journey started when I was twenty-nine yrs old. I remember someone saying when you’re about to reach those 10-year milestones in your life you should reevaluate your past to have a better future. Well I was almost thirty. As I did my evaluation I realize I was controlling and had set limits on my life and the life of my five children. I had no real friends and I wasn’t a real friend. I was felt alone and depressed. See,the previous eight years I had been experimenting jumping from relationship to relationship; men and women alike. I liked whoever liked me and when you’re constantly failing and there’s a different variable. What’s the common denominator “ME.”

I had left a homosexual relationship of five years. Another failed relationship, it was summer I sent my children to their father with plans for them to stay the following school year.
So after many years of being a mother wife and my mother’s most responsible child I needed to learn how to just be “Sabrina” and so my journey begin.

I moved into a one bedroom apartment “my cocoon”, bought a small car that would never hold 5 children it was time to become someone other than who I was. Someone who loved them self in order to be loved. I had to find myself. I had to learn to be myself but where should I start “The Beginning”

My beginning I have always had a memory of an event, I remember i was a toddler. I remember being in a pamper. I remember everything. Yes,I remember. Yes My first memory of being molested I was between two and three years of age; he was someone my mother trust it my stepfather he was supposed to protect me but he violated me instead. Remember I said something about being the common denominator I remember being 5 years old and my cousin and then 6 years old the babysitter son and then 10 years old my mother’s other husband, was there a sign on my back that said molested Sabrina? I don’t know but what I did know was that all my past events had made me who I was at that moment and I felt as if I was nothing. That place of darkness was real I was depressed but because of those five beautiful beings that I had given life I had to be better I had gone into the Cocoon a caterpillar but I had to make sure that a beautiful butterfly emerged and not a moth.

I started breaking down and shedding my old skin I had to become the person God has allowed to survive all the mental physical and emotional trauma. I surrounded myself with beauty I started taking special care of my person my hair my nails my eyebrows facials. I started going to church meditating praying and tithing I started reading more and not romance but reading to gain knowledge about how to be a better me. With all that I had to figure out how to break out of the mental and emotional bondage I have found myself in my resentment to my past experiences had gotten me know where. My abuse is still violated my mind I was still restricting my life experiences by not caring and loving because other than my children loving had always come with conditions either on my end or the other person. So I had to love me unconditionally. I had to let go of the what if he hadn’t touch me? What if he hadn’t kissed me? and what if he hadn’t violated my mind? After all of the years that had passed if I have not received an apology

I wasn’t going to get one and I had to be okay with that because no matter what anyone had done to me “I am responsible for my happiness.” I had to learn to love me and in knowing the root to my freedom; breaking free from darkness in the light and emerging a beautiful, vibrant, bold butterfly; was in FORGIVING ME…..

“I TRANSFORMED”

Sabrina is the author of Transformed to Tell Her journey to finding forgiveness after abuse.

A Survivor’s Story: Finding Love

A Survivor’s Story: Finding Love

Like many others, I was born in a Christian home. I got baptized with my two older brothers when I was five or six, and I remember the pastor asking me:

“Who is Jesus to you?” without any hesitation, I replied,

“My Savior!” To tell you the truth, I didn’t really know what that meant. Honestly, I didn’t really know the guy at all. I said it because that’s what you’re supposed to say, and because I was a good little churchgoer who knew all the churchy answers. I had never needed a savior before; I lived in a Christian bubble without any knowledge of pain or heartbreak.

Pretty soon that bubble started to shatter.

Within a few years one of my brothers started getting forceful. Not like normal older brother stuff where they make fun of you and push you around—that I was used to. It became so violent that he would punch me if I made him mad, or mock me until I sobbed. He was always angry, always wanting things his own way. Every time my parents left him as babysitter my little brother and I would try and avoid making him mad, or just hide from him altogether.

We hated him—we were terrified of him.

I remember the first time I woke up to him crouching by my bedside.

Eventually, I just got used to it and assumed this is how families treated each other. He had become so threatening to me I wouldn’t dare say anything for fear of getting hurt. As the years went on, things got even worse.

I remember the first time I woke up to him crouching by my bedside. It was late, maybe two in the morning, and I felt a tingling all over me that always happens when there is someone around I can’t see. I opened my eyes and he was right there.

I told my parents the next day, and my dad thought I had been dreaming. I insisted I wasn’t, but they thought nothing of it. It happened again, over and over. He would be in my room late at night and always make up some excuse. Some nights I would have dreams of someone touching me, and I would wake up to him sprinting from the room.

I kept insisting to my parents that I wasn’t dreaming, but my dad didn’t really buy it. He ended up putting a lock on my door—one of those that doesn’t have a real key, you can just open it with a tiny screwdriver. After that didn’t help, I took all the screwdrivers from my house and hid them behind my closet door, hoping if he couldn’t find them then he couldn’t get in.

I finally reached a turning point—up until this point I was able to pretend that nothing was really happening, but even that small comfort was stripped away as I lay in the darkness of my room that night.

I was so consumed with fear that I would try to sleep anywhere but my own bed. I slept on the couch—though it was more out in the open, my room felt so much darker. I was too old to tell my parents I was having bad dreams, so I couldn’t get in bed with them. Sometimes I would wrap myself so tightly in my blankets, thinking that if he couldn’t get through them he couldn’t touch me: it would get so hot I couldn’t sleep and eventually had to unwrap myself. For months on end I would lock my door, only to have it mysteriously opened. When I woke up, when I got out of the shower, there was no peace. One night, I broke. I woke up to his hands in places that I didn’t know existed. I was paralyzed: unable to move or cry or even breathe. It felt like fire was running through my whole body as I tried to comprehend what I should do. I finally reached a turning point—up until this point I was able to pretend that nothing was really happening, but even that small comfort was stripped away as I lay in the darkness of my room that night. Before school the next day, I wrote my mom an email. I was too scared to tell her that her beloved son was sexually assaulting her daughter.

After that, the bubble was burst for good.

The first, and most awful thing was having to go to the District Attorney’s office. I went in to a cold bland room with a man I didn’t know. I stared down the camera in the corner as a man told me to draw “draw an X where he touched you,” and other such humiliating things. I walked out with a stuffed teddy bear and that was that.

It became a world of secrets, of not being able to tell my friends what was going on: of me being left at friends houses and at practices because one of my parents was busy, and the other couldn’t leave him alone. I became emotionally numb: I was embarrassed, and faked my way through court ordered therapy visits and stared blank faced as many of my family and friends asked me questions with tear filled eyes.

I ripped the head off that poor teddy bear.

Suddenly, it was over. I had refused to feel anything—convinced everyone that I was fine—he was moving back into the house. For the length of time it went on, it seemed that in the blink of an eye the biggest tear in my family life was taped up and thrown in the back of a deep dark closet, never to be spoken of again.

That was when I decided that no one could take care of me but me. 

I felt worthless—the only people that professed to love me spent all the time I could remember in denial of what was happening to me. When they finally did believe, they spent the rest of the time taking care of my brother—the problem—instead of helping me as the victim. I was so angry that my parents were never there, that my brothers didn’t seem to care, and that my friends couldn’t know. I decided that the only person I could trust to care of me was myself.

Then came high school, where I entered into an extended period of bad decisions, numb and spiraling. My freshman year I met a boy. He wasn’t good looking, charming, or even tall. He wasn’t anything special, or even smooth talking. But he was the only person who ever paid attention to me. We started dating, and my parents were against it. I wasn’t allowed to see him, so I would sneak him in my room at night through my window, or sneak out and go to parties with him and his older friends. They introduced me to alcohol and drugs—things I had been so sheltered from I didn’t even know what they were. I was desperate to seem put together and cool, so I would do almost anything. Little did I know, this entire time he was manipulating me.

He was untrusting and always seemed hurt by me, threatening to leave me regularly, and always being offended if I didn’t sneak out to see him. He told me that if I professed to love him vocally, I had to show it physically.

This was the only love I’d ever known—the love I thought I deserved. I accepted him cheating on me, spreading lies about me, making me do things I didn’t want to do. I had never wanted to have sex, I wanted to wait until marriage like a “good Christian” would do: he didn’t care.

I had gotten myself into a pattern of doing whatever he wanted, and so when he wanted sex I couldn’t say no. I thought that if I didn’t, he would take it from me anyway. I thought it was better to be a slut than a victim again.

I thought this was love, and once I felt it I wanted nothing to do with it ever again.

I got away from him, but I carried the shame, memories, and pain from my youth with me all the way to college, shoved so far down that I didn’t even know how to feel it. I self-medicated with drugs, alcohol, destructive-relationships, even sports. The fall semester of my sophomore year was when everything changed. Within the span of two weeks my life exploded, in every possible way. I was injured working out, my credit card was stolen after my car was broken into, my apartment was broken into while I was inside, my roommate was getting stalked, I literally could not pay for meals, and to top it off, my boyfriend didn’t like me “not being happy,” and broke up with me. After a mental breakdown and crying all the tears I had held in for almost a decade, my roommate called a guy I hardly knew, who stayed up with me almost all night, and told me something I will never forget. He looked me square in the eyes and said,

“Katie, I don’t know what’s going on in your life, but I know that God is telling me that if you just let it all go and chase him, he will make it more beautiful and more amazing than anything you have ever experienced before.”

 

My story of healing is really a story about meeting Love.

Love is a person who has taken every flaw, every mistake, every thing I want to be ashamed of and turned it into a beautiful story of redemption, that I have seen change lives. Love is a person who despite me shoving him away my whole life he never stopped chasing me down. Love is a God who gave me every ounce of himself to save me even when I continually broke his heart.

When I found true love, my life was over. At that second I became someone new. I was able to feel, connect, even speak about my experiences. I experienced radical healing mentally, emotionally, and even physically. I became someone who had never been jaded by worldly love and wasn’t broken to pieces. He even restored my relationship with my brother, and helped me forgive the boy that destroyed my heart.

I finally, truly understand what it means to say Jesus is my savior: it means that he fell so in love with me that he couldn’t bear being in heaven without me, so he came down to earth to die in my place, so that I could live with him eternally. When he died, he took pain, sin, and death to the cross with him—he buried my past a long time ago, and no matter how deep someone digs, they can’t revive a past that’s dead.

This story is submitted by Katie Mackey, a Stetson graduate whose digital photography work, “Driftwood,” focuses on stories on survivors of sexual assault. 

Our organization has become the proud owners of these pieces. See Driftwood here!

A Seat At the Table

A Seat At the Table

You are invited to join a small group of women for our 1st fundraising brunch event. With limited seating for a few women we will gather together, over a lovely meal, to discuss feminism today and how it can continue to support the mission of violence against women.

On display at the brunch, you will also be one of the first to view “Driftwood” art work. These beautiful pieces of work created by Stetson University students depicting their stories of sexual assault.

There is seating at the table for only 10 Women that want to be apart of this important conversation and part of the solutions.

 

 

Join us at the beautiful Maya Papaya Organic Community Farm, 245 W. Beasley Road, Oveido, FL 32765 Saturday, June 17th from 11am-1pm.

Reserve your Seat at the Table!


If you have any questions about this event, feel free to email us at info@forgottenwomenproject.org.

See you there!