This weekend, I was one of many authors who participated in a book festival.  At the festival, I had ten minutes to speak.  Although I wrote my speech out in long-hand and then typed it up the night before (because it had only changed about a hundred times in the two weeks I’d had to prepare it), I e-mailed the document to myself.  This is okay as a means of preservation.  But I have received such an outpouring of response from this particular event—from the authors,  from readers on WordPress who read about the festival and expressed concern over how it went,  from friends who tried to get there but got delayed by life—that I felt it warranted posting it.  My speeches are always unique—I never recite from a given one;  this ensures I have a chance to heal in a new way every time I speak—but they almost always include a reading of one of the books and details that make forgetting impossible.   Sometimes, listening to something can be powerful.  Unfortunately, the event was not filmed.  But I wanted–and needed– it to be.  So, tonight, I am posting an audio reading of the speech again.   I choked up a couple of places—but still feel it is important, both to my personal healing and to those who may believe they are alone. 

I could have posted a video but chose not to for a very specific, very important reason.  This is my story—-but it is also the story of ANY child who has had her/his childhood stolen.  It is intense and it’s possible that, if you are a survivor of childhood trauma, you may not be in an emotional place right now where you should listen to this speech.  But my hope is that it will shine light on the fact that you, the little child who hadn’t done anything wrong, have not been forgotten.  It’s a reminder I still need, even after all the intense work I’ve put into healing and overcoming. 

If you choose to listen to the recording, I hope you do so without thinking of who I am.  Just like the homeless man I met once who, when I asked him to tell others his name, replied, “That’s sweet of you, honey.  But I can’t.  I want people to think of me when they see other homeless people.  I want them to see that we’re all the same,”  I want others to know that the desperate cry for understanding, compassion and -action- is the cry from every child who has ever been touched inappropriately.  

I am just one of millions.