I will celebrate my 1st birthday on September 15th.
In fact, 2019 is a year of many firsts. I celebrated my first Easter. Next month, I’ll celebrate my first Halloween. In December, our family will celebrate their first Christmas! But I’ll go more into that in a later post.
Talking about my birthday may appear somewhat off topic, but bear with me.
Our little business started, in part, as a way to heal from childhood trauma.
When I published Lost and Found back in June, I shared my story hoping that it would help people who had gone through something similar. I simply wanted to let other survivors of child sexual abuse (CSA) know that they were not alone.
Other than that, I had no expectations, so I certainly couldn’t have imagined the overwhelming outpouring of support, the flood of encouraging messages and emails, or the sheer number of people who reached out with heartbreaking stories of their own. Even months later, people get in touch after reading my experience...because as it turns out, it isn’t my experience. It’s our experiences...our being those who have survived.
The post clearly resonated, and that got me thinking. We can’t change what happened in the past, but we can learn to manage what’s happening now, and perhaps we can even change what happens in the future.
Again, I can hardly believe how big a problem this actually is! Learning how far reaching an issue it is had me wondering what I could do.
Writing a blog article to raise awareness is a noble endeavour, but it soon became clear that speaking out was only the first step. Writing an article alone simply isn’t enough...at least not for me. The civil rights and feminist movements changed the world not just by speaking up (which is important) but by also taking action.
So, I decided I would do something during the month of my birthday in an effort to take that second step. I spent the last few months thinking about what exactly that something would be. Frankly, I needed those months, writing my previous blog post was triggering and exhausting. However, last week, I figured it out...and to be honest, I’m really nervous!
As those of you who read my previous blog post will know, my husband and I, and our two girls, escaped a high control organisation (cult) 6 months ago. The cult in question is the Jehovah’s Witnesses - or JWs for short. The JWs are managed by, and synonymous with, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. JWs even refer to themselves as being part of the “organisation”.
Anyway, having been raised inside the Watchtower organisation from birth, getting out was far from easy. Despite having officially separated ourselves - something they call disassociation - I still battle with elements of indoctrination. Heck, I likely will for a long time to come. So even though I know it’s okay to celebrate things like my birthday, I still have a little nagging feeling inside telling me it’s wrong. But this post isn’t about that...it’s about the crimes that Watchtower continues to commit and the perpetrators it insists on protecting.
Thankfully, the Watchtower has come under increased scrutiny in recent years and is currently being investigated in various parts of the world, including the UK.
In a monumental turn of events, the Watchtower governing body - the 8 men who lead the cult - have been summoned to appear in court in New York and California to answer for protecting pedophiles while punishing victims of CDA. I’m under no illusion that justice will be served swiftly. These tiresome old men have a habit of drawing things out in court as was seen during the Australian Royal Commission, but the mere fact that the US government is demanding answers gives hope.
To put things into perspective, for JWs, it’s like the government taking the Pope to court.
Such developments have only come about because of pressure being applied by the people. People like you and me. Now, you might think that Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Watchtower have nothing to do with you, but how do you feel about known pedophiles being allowed to going around doors (your doors), telling people how they should live their lives and even being left alone with children as they do so?
It doesn’t even have to be the Watchtower. If the responses to my last post have taught me anything, it’s that CSA is much more pervasive than I thought, particularly in various types of organisations. Chances are you know someone who has been affected by CSA at some point. It appears to be a huge issue everywhere, but I’ve got to start somewhere, so I’m starting with what I know.
My previous blogpost gave a fairly in-depth insight into our experience, so I’ll spare you the details. Suffice to say, CSA has affected three generations of my family. So it’s perhaps not a surprise that I feel a need to help people who have been through the same and to do what I can to prevent others from going through it in the future.
On September 15th, I will celebrate my 30th birthday. Since one is not allowed to celebrate such things as birthdays inside the cult, technically it’ll be my first birthday.
From what I know, turning 30 is a big deal for most normal people...a kind of milestone. As is a baby’s first birthday. So, it feels extra weird that I’ll be celebrating my 1st and 30th at the same time.
To mark this milestone, I will be cutting 12+ inches off my hair and donating it to Little Princess Trust. Additionally, for the month of September, I hope to raise £300 for the NSPCC through fundraising. A portion of every sale in our shop this month will also be donated. The NSPCC provide help and protection for children who have been abused, including those suffering and recovering from CSA. If you would like to help me reach my goal, you can do so on my fundraising page.
At 3pm on Friday, September 13th (two days before my birthday), my friend will record the chop which I'll share on Instagram and the fundraising page.
By leaving the Watchtower, I lost all of my friends and most of my family. I consider them lost because they will never speak to me again, from now until the day I die. In effect, I am already dead to them.
By cutting off my hair, not only do I hope to raise money for charity, it’s also to show this organisation, holding my family and friends hostage through their shunning policies, that they no longer dictate my life nor the lives of my beautiful children!