A Christmas Note

 

Winter Road in a Blizzard by Cornelius Krieghoff [The Thomson Collection at the Art Gallery of Ontario]

Holiday times can be especially difficult for victims who are still struggling to heal. The sense of isolation, particularly in situations where co-workers and friends may not have been as understanding and supportive as they should have been — and this is a remarkably frequent occurrence — can be profound. Even paralysing. All of us who have been victims know this so well. I also know from my work as a healthcare advocate that sexual misconduct is, indeed, hazardous to your health and can lead to serious medical complications.

I must confess I have found myself feeling rather down from the waves of harm I’ve encountered over the past year as a result of coming forward. It’s been all the more difficult since the loss of my mother, who passed away in her 96th year. A charter member of the Greatest Generation, caring was the virtue that defined my mother’s life.  She was such a stalwart supporter for me and for others going through tough times. The Globe and Mail published a tribute to her that captured her life lived so well.

But, when I think of what she and her generation did in overcoming the ominous threats to freedom and human dignity in the second world war (Mother nursed veterans returning from battle in shifts that sometimes lasted for 20 hours a day, seven days at a time), and what bashing, belittling and abuse the Suffragettes before her endured to win the vote for women, I have to say this is not a time to give up and let the villains of our day win. Not now. Not ever. If we stand together we can all make a difference.

Never be afraid to reach out to others for help if you need it. Reaching out to help others in their own time of need can also be a part of your own healing process. Our resources page will direct you to an appropriate crisis center in Canada or the United States, should that be helpful. I can be reached by email over the holidays if you just want to touch base with a sister victim-survivor. My last several holiday periods have seen a lot of that, and it has become, for me, a traditional part of the Christmas spirit.

Wherever your faith takes you for inspiration and comfort — looking up to the Heavens where a star once guided others on their journey of discovery, or to your own connection with the Earth and all its mysteries, or to the common bond of humanity that has linked generation after generation — I wish you the very best for this special time of year, and for the hope of a peaceful and more healing 2019.

Coming soon: our year-end review of some of our accomplishments, our plans for 2019, and a personal note about what it’s really like to come forward.

Merry Christmas.

Courage !

Kathleen Finlay, Founder
The ZeroNow Campaign™