By Claire Cappetta, See the Triumph Guest Blogger
I grew up in Yorkshire, England. My childhood through to my thirties were spent there in the countryside known more these days for Bronte sisters, the wild, windy, unforgiving moors of Wuthering Heights, furniture created by Thomas Chippendale and more recently the acclaimed DCI Banks television series and Happy Valley, a story woven by Sally Wainwright of rape and kidnapping.
Ten years ago when I met my husband, the relationship was fresh. He asked me about my past, my teenage years. I would sit and looked back at him blank. I wasn't ignoring him him, I was just simply... blank. Inside my mind would crash like a computer. I would sit and wait for it to re-boot. It was frustrating for both of us. Why am I telling you this? Because this was my first step to understanding and recovery from all I had been through. I was there to “rescue” him from his violent circumstances.
He had been threatened, beaten, mentally, emotionally and physically abused in his past relationship of twenty five years. I believed I was strong, a warrior who could help this man. My defenses were up, my battle dress a little worn from wear and tear as I traveled three thousand miles on my mission as I thought I had in fact already “rescued” myself from an abusive past.
Over time though, I discovered I have PTSD from having an abused childhood, being raped at fifteen, a domestic violent marriage, a stalker. I understand this while I was busy surviving but I was left with all the effects of PTSD, including memory loss. This memory loss prompted my husband to gently push me to write, to try and recover my past. It was painful and traumatic but two books later, a third in the works to complete the trilogy, I now call myself a warrior against abuse.
I had felt so incredibly alone through those years, thinking it was just simply me. Telling myself, my mother was right I was a terribly bad person who deserved nothing but the bad things in life. I never want anyone to feel like that. Again my husband smiled gently at me, asking what if my writing could help some one else not to feel so alone. It ignited something in me, a small flame of passion ignited, flickering into life . It started a slow steady burn with the question of what could I do?
Remembering a quote from Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop, “If you think you're too small to make a difference try going to bed with a mosquito!”
My everyday advocacy may be something small.... A shared picture, news story or quote on Facebook or Twitter, a book written through tears and laughter thinking it may make difference to someone, somewhere, a phone call or email to new found friends and colleagues within the advocating community to organize a new event, meeting... something! I am driven to trying to spread the word. If climbing into my bed at the end of the day, knowing I haven't done anything towards spreading awareness, there's a feeling I have not only let myself down but other people too.
I've found I can swing from “Uplifting butterflies and rainbows” to “Exposing the hard, downtrodden, tear jerking, cruel, twisted truth”. Words have now become new my battle dress to empower and inspire or create pure, cleansing tears of realization and truths. I'm not trained as a counselor, psychologist, therapist. I know my limits so far as to what I can do therefore I write, I blog and come up with some wonderful crazy ideas to raise awareness and funds for those who can actually put those funds to good use. I'm just me, who experienced too many situations no-one should have to experience and if they do, know they are not alone. I'm simply trying to wave a banner each day, starting to roll a snowball.
Recently I have offered my help with a newly formed national awareness platform at a university in raising awareness. I was delighted when it was accepted. This will be an amazing new adventure, one I'm looking forward to with all my heart, working with the Professors and the Metropolitan Police in the UK!
Someone once asked me “How do you climb a mountain? One small step at a time!” Which is true but you see, I understand the metaphor, it spins in my mind... What if I were to climb a mountain? Or, what if one day I were to skydive? What if I could do fun things to raise funds for awareness? This is how my mind turns on a daily basis to advocate for abuse and violence.
So my question to you is: “So how do you feel jumping out of a perfectly good plane? Are you with me?”
Claire is the author of A Broken Ring ~ A journey of Empowerment and Stalking Liberty ~ Are you safe?..., (Parts One and Two of the Ride to Liberty Trilogy). Born and raised in Yorkshire, England, she recently retired from the financial world to concentrate on writing her personal journey through relationships, child abuse, rape, domestic violence, through to healing and empowerment. Although at times heartbreaking it shows healing is possible. The story is heartwarming and inspiring. She now lives in New York with her husband and step-daughter, while her two grown children live in England.