Friday, June 28, 2013

Trauma Release Exercises

AsiaWorks Malaysia is offering a new program - TRE. I was pretty interested when I heard about it, because it was used for soldiers with PTSD before. But I was quite leery of attending another AW training - I'm scared of the training room now! ;P

It wasn't until Yasmin called me up and said, "You know what, I stepped out of the Guest Event and thought of you." that I explored it. She mentioned that it might be something that I could use in therapy with the youths.

I still don't understand much about it... I heard that there's shaking involved and that it relieves pain, but that's not what I'm looking for... I'm looking to see if it can help the youths to relieve the inner pain caused by the traumas they've gone through. Will this be useful in bringing them further along the journey of healing?

It reminds me of Vanitha's blog on drama therapy... How students, in movement, suddenly have body memories released into their conscious memory. I can understand that, because I find it true in dance... As you dance, movements give freedom to wordless memories stored inside your body to be released. It is why I love dance so much, even though sometimes, I want to dance alone, because it is impossible to lie when I dance. And I don't like showing much emotion in public! Like the line in the song, "The honesty's too much..."

I still don't know if I want to go for the certification programme, until I know more about it... But it's such a beautiful thing to see that the movement that I love can be transformed into a safe conduit for healing.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

What's right? What's wrong?

That's the question that has been on my mind a lot lately.

So much so that I happily proclaimed myself a renegade Christian!

So many lines are blurred for me now. I know people say, the Word of God is still where the lines are drawn for us. But I see cruelty coming out of the way Christians follow those lines...

Recently, a friend of mine posted this as her status on her FB wall:-

"If a transwoman is caught walking on the streets like any normal person, police can stop and request for sex, but if she does not give in, she will be forcefully caught and humiliated in public (and they love listening to her screams especially if she looks feminine and has a husky or masculine voice), and brought to jail... Once in jail, she will be forced to admit that it was... a mistake to "cross-dress" (they call it cross dress coz they do not see transwomen as women rather than men who cross dress in women's clothes regardless if she has breasts or a vagina), and if she is hesitant, of fulfilling their sexual favours, she will be beaten, they will step on her silicone boobs to intimidate her (because if the silicone pouch bursts, the silicone once touches your blood can be very fatal) or use the wooden club to stuff it in her anal hole... They will do much more gruesome things to make her feel pain and admit that she's Islam and had made a sin by cross dressing and she is willing to testify in court. Only then will they file a case. When she is brought upon court, no matter what she had suffered, she will be still guilty and will be charged for cross dressing in public even though some enactments mention "cross dressing for immoral purposes".... To prove immoral purposes, the police would claim they saw her standing in the streets and attending to men and calling out at them... Without any proof, that statement will be taken in as VALID....

If she had mentioned that she had suffered in jail when she was 1st detained, you can imagine what would happen to her in the next 6 months she would have to serve her jail sentence...

In the end, everybody only knows that she is a PONDAN/ BAPOK who had insulted her religion by defying God's words (which non of us have ever heard personally - and honestly) and that she deserved everything that she had received because she defied God and Islam...

This is not a made up story... Many cases have taken place and this is still going on... WHY? Because these authorities, politicians and officials are given the GREEN LIGHT to do so by the public because people are soooo ignorant and they do not care.

If today a transsexual were to tell someone that she had been sexually abused, nobody would care. They would think of ways to reason with her to point the blame on her for what she received. But if any guy, who tried to abuse or advance at a transsexual, was rejected by the transsexual, and if he injured her and said the transwoman came on to him and he injured her because he was disgusted by her, everyone would believe him...

So how do we altar this situation? When will all this cruelty STOP???

Do you know why is it important for YOU the public to care & support for us transsexuals? Do you see how important you are in creating a change?

Until then, we would have to just suffer silently. This is why transsexuals do not feel humiliated in doing sex work. For them, it is just a job and it is an earning. Nothing more. Nothing to do with love or pleasure. And if you are going to talk about dignity, what is dignity if you are made vulnerable to be sexually abused and insulted by anyone and everyone?

God didn't ask for this. God asked all to live in peace and harmony, and to love each other. God didn't create labels and stereotypes... MEN created these things. For those who know what we are facing and said they only wished they could support us but they are afraid of being looked down upon society, until when will you say this?

This is how we humans really are, aren't we? Hypocrites

It is very strong and angry. And I understand why. I've talked to her and heard some of her story... And the stories of other transgenders and what they've gone through. It's hideous and ugly to listen to... And to know that their rights to just being safe are not accorded to them just because people know nobody cares, because society is often too busy disapproving of them to care.

It's funny that when I talk about it, people ask me questions like, "So do you think same-sex marriage is right or wrong?" "Do you agree with homosexuality?" I've seen gay friends being told that they are going to go to hell. I've heard of priests who do not allow people who are gay into their churches.

I don't get it. When someone is being abused, do I need to ask whether or not their lifestyle is right or wrong? Does it matter? Or should I check into the history and background of each person before deciding if they decide counselling, help, love, restoration, everything that they need to heal when they've been hurt? I know of 4 young boys who were sexually abused because they were effeminate, should I then proclaim them unworthy of help and attention because they are effeminate?

Do I tell someone, "You're going to hell!"? How is that the 'good news'? Do I forbid someone from entering a church? What gives me the right to do so? Luckily, I'm not 'clean' myself... It took me a very, very long time to feel 'clean', and even then, I struggle somedays.

I'm confused. The basis of what we believe is love, isn't it? How is condoning abuse, ignoring people, hurling insults, love?


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Horrific truth

This video shows the horrific truth of what happens to children, girls, women who are sold into sex slavery.

I'm sometimes told by friends, "Gillian, you have to UNDERSTAND... Their families had no choice but to sell their children." as if that makes it okay for a child to be raped, tortured and eventually killed.

Please, I invite you to take a look, and then decide, should we 'understand', or should we do all we can so that kids don't need to go thru this torture and death anymore?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Secret Keeper

(This is just a rant blog!)

One thing which really stood out for me over last weekend was that I had become a secret keeper... And yet, my dream had been to help abused children someday reveal secrets. At which point did I choose to betray the children and my dreams by being a party to their silence, and in so doing, being a party to the turmoil and abuse never stopping?

Another thing that stood out for me was when a lady at our table, in discussing the measures that we could take after the workshop on child sexual abuse, said very loudly and confidently, "We should target children in the rural areas... The children in KL and places like that are very confident, they will surely tell someone if they are abused."

I protested, but she is a very confident person... She wasn't moved from her stand. It was as if she was saying that the only thing stopping children from revealing that they had been sexually abused was a lack of confidence. As if, it is so easy.

Sometimes, I feel frustrated because it isn't so easy as all that. Sometimes, I worry because I know that just telling a child, "You can always tell me." and "No one has the right to touch you." doesn't make a difference. The reason for their keeping secrets lies so much deeper than that. And until that worry-reason is removed, they are not going to tell, no matter how confident they are.

I wonder if this lady knows that the children are not 'weak'? They are not weak people who lack confidence and therefore are unable to tell. They are strong, because they can withstand so much pain and trauma and still not break. Of course, those who dare to tell someone and break free are stronger still.

I liked the video that they showed during the workshop, because it was of a typical 'good girl'. I got a bit frustrated when they shared a story about a girl who acts up, because I wanted to say, not all victims of abuse will act like that. I think of those I know - you cannot always tell from the outside that they are abused. Some are 'naughty' and some are 'good'.

Can I just say something about the quiet ones? This is what I want to say...

"You can't tell that they have been abused
They're not the ones who are dressing in short skirts, wearing loads of piercings, flaunting sexuality...
In fact sometimes, they wonder, how come the other girls
Are able to be sexual.
All they want to do is to cover up; and they do
In layers of clothing, long and loose
Wearing huge jackets on top of oversized t-shirts
In the vain hope that they will not appear sexually appealing;
And yet, the abuse doesn't stop.

You can't tell that they have been abused
They're the overachievers! They get the A's
They're the leaders, the team captains, the ones who sign up for every extracurricular activity there is in school...
You don't know.
They just don't want to go home.
In the school, they're safe.
In the school, they don't think of home.
In the school, they disassociate; as if they're two separate beings.
Do you think that's crazy? That's okay.
Their whole world is.

You can't tell that they have been abused
They are more than fine; they're shining stars and examples of 'normal'!
They don't act up and rebel.
They don't stand in the school corners and smoke.
They pass by unnoticed.
Their very whole being is used, proudly, as an example by their parents to say, "Look how 'good' and 'normal' we are."

Lean in a little closer... Look just beneath the sleeve...
Do you see it?
Do you see the faint red lines streaking downwards on her arm?
That's not the cutting of a normal teenage girl whose heart has been broken in a teenage relationship.
That's the cry of a girl who is frustrated because her voice cannot be heard.

Do you see that beneath the long loose sweaters and t-shirts
She has lost weight?
She's so fearful of what will happen later
She can't eat properly, because her stomach is always tied in knots.

Do you see that she's always volunteering somewhere
Always caring about other people around her?
She's anxious all the time that you will be safe.
She never is, but she's real good at taking care of everyone else.
It's her 'job'.

I wonder, will you ever see the quiet ones
Before they die?"

Monday, June 17, 2013

Together we can...

Incredible past 4 days!

First I met up with Avis to share with her about starting the transition Home and whether we could put it under Agape Vision... If that would be okay with her. It was so strange when she said, "You know, I drew a dreams collage last time... It was like a charity village... There was a school, a treatment centre, a... you know, everything!" :) We realised we were just taking the next step to both our dreams!

The funniest thing was when we talked about EA 2014. I told Avis, "I wasn't sure if you agreed with my suggestion of Nepal?" and Avis was like, "But Nepal was my idea!" "Err... No it wasn't... I'm the one who said EA 2014 should be in Nepal!" "No mah, remember I said they did art therapy with the sex trafficked women in Nepal." "Eh, I thot I am the one who said we should go to that centre that I know of that serves the sex trafficked women in Nepal?"

Just one of those incredible moments when you know there are no coincidences in life!

The next day, DE and I met up with the lady from Dayspring Singapore. Lovely, humble lady who was not a bit lordly and let-me-show-you-y but instead wanted to share ideas with us and hear our views and what we did too!

It was a wonderful, long chat, but the best part was that she said we could visit, only she would have to ask her governing committee if that was okay, in October. And she was welcoming when I asked her if I could volunteer for one year with Dayspring to learn how they run the centre, only she needs to ask her governing committee first too!

DE also shared that she had more therapists excited and willing to work on this project with us who had the same dream!

My weekend was spent in PS The Children training on Child Sexual Abuse, and it was wonderful but often times too much too... I always struggle after a while in PSTC trainings, but I love them! It was really interesting as they have added in new elements, and I met their new team.

But best of all? Just the first lunch alone, I shared about the transit Home, and Thency shared that PSTC has just developed a program for youths who are transiting to adulthood!

And when I shared about the residential counselling centre, they were willing to share their expertise... And I certainly can't imagine doing it without these wonderful people who already give their whole heart to children who've been sexually abused.

It was also good to share about the way I handled things, and have their input and corrections as well, so I know when I go offtrack.... Grateful for that.

Incredible co-creation few days... I love it! I'm so excited!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Reality

A girl who is sexually abused... and is 18 years old. Youths who are physically abused... and are 18 years old and above. Both cases cannot receive long-term care from Welfare Department.

The kick that I need to get moving. I am in the position of needing emergency care for youths who are too old to be taken away against their will, too  young to move out on their own.

Thank God for the right person at the right time... BOTH of us being the right people at the right time for each other. And we're moving. And she's interested in the centre for rehabilitating youths who've been severely abused too. Enough to go with me to study Dayspring in Singapore!

I'm excited!!