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Press Release: New Clinic Serving Survivors of Human Trafficking to open in Ottawa

Press Release for H.E.A.L.T.H.

H (healthcare). E (education). A (advocacy). L (linkage). T (trauma informed). H (healing).

Press- First of it’s kind in Canada –  H.E.A.L.T.H. is a collaborative project between Voice Found, Ottawa Victim Services and Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner, Tara Leach.

 Click here for further information about H.E.A.L.T.H.

PressRelease_HEALTH.docx

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I Have Joy

 

“The big parts of the story take up so much space don’t they? The darkness is in there. It was, and still can be all consuming if I’m not intentional about making choices that keep me well. I left 18 months ago. The initial feeling of safety and freedom was quickly replaced with overwhelm and fear. I felt totally lost, incapable, and afraid of doing life. Everything from choosing my clothes to ordering off a menu felt too big for me. The feeling of hopelessness became all consuming. This was the opposite of what I imagined leaving would bring me. I felt broken, worthless and completely stuck.
I kept on going. A steady ‘three steps forward, and two steps back’ recovery pace was set. It became evident early on that my success would be determined by my willingness to ask for and receive help. I had no choice but to trust the people that I had been so blessed to have come into my life. I was desperate to be well, and never go back to my old life. I’ve done everything that I’ve been told would get me well. A little at a time I’ve crawled my way out of broken, worthless and stuck.
I’m reaching. I’m hopeful. I’m strong. I’m loved.
Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined being able to make those four statements about myself a short time ago. Gratitude fills me.
All of that is more than enough, more than I’d hoped for when I left. The big parts of my story now take up less of space in my mind. This leaves room now to see the little parts. I see them through cracks mostly….they feel far away. It’s possible that it isn’t that they are so little, as much as it is that they are far. The light is in there. My little girl dreams. My creativity. My sense of humour and adventure. My very big, mushy, loving heart rest in the far away, little parts, beyond the cracks. Every so often a crack quakes open and a moment of clear mindedness fills all of me. It takes over. I observe colour and sound through eyes that have looked through the dull for so long, that the experience of it briefly lifting moves me to tears. I see a tree and really see it. The moon over the water, while canoeing on a northern lake at night time. The sound of water rushing through rapids. I feel a connectedness and belonging during these times. All of this moves me beyond words. I breath and gulp these moments while they are there and then they are gone. They come more and more often. I’ve struggled to explain what is happening to me, and have looked to others to help me understand.
I know. I get it. 
The tears are not sadness. The experiences of clarity and connectedness are not moments of delusion. 
This is what joy is. 
I have joy.”
Shannon L.

Each Friday we share good news from and/or about our clients. Today’s blog post is from Shannon L. It’s deeply moving, beautiful and full of hope. Shannon – thank you for sharing this incredible awakening as you travel along your path.

Please share with others who you think might benefit from reading her words.

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The Whole Picture

During the month of July we shared information about the crimes of child sex abuse, commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking. We hope you have gained some new or additional insight into this complex topic. If you have missed something, here are the posts : July 1st to 7th, July 8th to 14th, July 15th to 23rd, and July 24th to 30th.

Each post had an accompanying visual with a part of a picture. Just like these crimes – we often don’t see what is right before our eyes. We catch glimpses or have a ‘gut feeling’ that something may not be right but we don’t quite know what to do. Or maybe we DO know but are afraid to take action. One of the best things you can do is to acknowledge that children and youth are being sexually abused at alarming rates and that ignoring it will not make it go away.

Once you acknowledge that it is happening then you need to learn how to respond to disclosure or suspicion of abuse and to support survivors.

These are largely preventable crimes – it is up to all of us to see the whole picture, to get trained on prevention and to speak out. Silence only serves the perpetrators.

Stay tuned for additional training resources in the coming weeks.

To book Stewards of Children Child Sex Abuse Prevention Training contact info@voicefound.ca.

We also deliver and develop customized training and are available for speaking engagements specific to Sex Trafficking, Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children and Child Sex Abuse.

Contact us at info@voicefound.ca for more information.

Annual Report Fiscal Year ending March 31, 2017

 

We’ve really grown in the past few years! An annual report is not something we have previously published and so we are quite excited to share our first one with you.

Thanks to our summer student, Jenna, our report is nice to look at as well as contains information that will give you a glimpse into our fiscal year that ended March 31st.

As always – your support of our work is so greatly appreciated!

Report can be found by clicking on the link below.

Voice Found Annual Report 2017

 

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I See You

Friday, February 23rd we hosted the first annual Voicefound [un]gala. Our special guest for the evening was Torre Marie – a survivor of child sex abuse and the subject of our soon to be released documentary, ‘The Yellow Dress – A Story of Hope.’  Torre spoke to the crowd after the documentary was aired and her words made a significant impact on all who were there. Many have asked for a copy of what she said and so we are happy to share her speech below.

“Last week I quickly heard someone state that being described as lost is being described as valuable.

It began a firestorm of thoughts. To be lost and to be noticed means at least one other person sees you. Values you. Misses you. Is looking for you.

I have been invisible a very long time. Most of the time I still feel that way.
There are certain people in a person’s life that can be invaluable – they have insight in knowing, proclaiming, and speaking to the lost and forgotten. Personally, these people in my life are my Traumatologist, Cynthia Bland and Voicefound, and a very few friends I have here tonight.
There are too many times where we as a society don’t look up. Where we yell for each other to stop doing what we are doing to survive and remind each other of the annoyances our coping has created. There are too many lost with no one noticing. To many people walking around invisible. Unvalued, and misunderstood.  What you have done tonight. What you can continue to do tonight and everyday from here on is to say “I see you.”
By being here and by supporting this fundraiser and VoiceFound, you are saying, “you are lost, we notice, we care and we are going to help find you.” So I thank you. Without the support of Cynthia and Voicefound, and the others I mentioned I would still feel invisible. So I offer my gratitude, I know you see me. You accept me for who I am. Where I am. And most importantly you are on this journey with me to find me.
For a long time I was lost. I was lost and walking around in this world unnoticed. My experiences and my pain unvalidated. It wasn’t until I was seen in my darkest hours that I knew I was worth something. Worth the work, worth the fight, to heal and to find freedom from the invisibility that suffocated all hope.
To the survivors here tonight. I see you. I know you’re lost. I will help search for you. I am one of you. You are not alone. We matter.”
Thank you, Torre. Thank you for your courage, your beautiful vulnerability and for inspiring so many.
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