Elevating Awareness

Reese Witherspoon:

If we can raise consciousness and really help create change, that’s what’s going to change this industry and change society. So I’m so sad that I have to talk about these issues, but it would be, I would be remiss not to.

Elle’s Women in Hollywood, October 2017

This is the follow-up to the essay, Breaking the Silence, published earlier this week, presented below ⤵︎

Breaking the Silence

While I felt completely heartbroken and horrified that my daughter’s friend was raped during her senior year in college, I’m really moved by the courage these young women showed in taking immediate actions, in bravely testifying. The young man admitted his guilt on the stand. He currently is serving time in prison.

I’m utterly grateful to live vibrantly healthy, to be an example of someone who came through-who loves and accepts herself, treasures the body temple in which my soul lives, and relishes life in all the ways I can. And the vivid DVR files will be with me for a lifetime. When the topic of sexual assault or abuse comes up, my body remembers.

Here is only a beginning list of ideas, resources that I have found meaningful and incredibly useful:

As best as you can embrace your body type, your precious temple where your soul lives, and become healthy in mind, body, heart, and soul. I’m moved by “Embrace” a documentary by Taryn Brumfitt of Australia. She’s created a movement!

Do everything in your power to shed body shame and an inner sense of unworthiness. I’ve learned unworthiness is a pervasive challenge for women. Cultivate all the qualities of your character-your passions, intellect, sense of empowerment—the dignity that lives in your spine, the fire that lives in your belly, the courage that is your heart, and the breath of life you get to inhale and exhale every single day that you live. Embrace your right to exist, your ability to treat yourself with utter kindness and respect and begin to end the internal war within yourself. Begin to make peace with your inner critic as best you can-get up underneath the source of your own “inner critic.” Ask this part of you lots of questions about the truth of their words because they may not be words that you would say to your best friends. (Byron Katie-The Work-is a great resource. She has books, videos, workshops).

Sexual assault happens to all types of people regardless of body type, personality characteristics, socio-economic status.

Watch “I am Evidence” a documentary. I trust there are other excellent documentaries elevating this issue too. Please share those in the comment section.

If a person tells you they’ve been sexually assaulted believe them. Not being believed can do additional harm as this often keeps many people locked into a shame storm that isn’t even theirs. Not being seen, heard, or believed keeps the crime silent and shrouded when it must be brought to the light of day for a chance for justice to prevail. Transcending the powerless victim and powerful perpetrator mindset involves bringing all facets of this dynamic to the light of day, to the levels of greater understanding of trauma, the neuroscience of healing, the power of building resilience for the heart, mind, body, and soul, and transformations in our criminal justice system. We cannot solve this challenge with the same limited belief mindset that created the dynamic. A shift in consciousness, in awakened awareness, must take place.

If you have been sexually assaulted, Speak OUT as best you can, in the ways that you can. And know that if you struggle to articulate what happened to you, so many other brave people can and will. May this bolster your courage in getting the support to heal that you deserve and to not feel all alone. Sometimes only the body can process what the mind and words cannot. Feel no shame if you cannot speak about heinous, unconscionable, evil deeds done to you. If your body and soul resonate with what other people share, allow that to be a healing.

Question your limiting beliefs. What you have been told about sexual assault may not be accurate. What don’t you know that you don’t know? What are you believing right now about sexual assault that simply is not true? Seek accurate answers. Be willing to listen to real stories of people who’ve been assaulted. Know the stark difference between consensual sexual relations and sexual assault.

Professional support is available. Seek out health care professionals. Breakthroughs in healing continue to pour forth from many fields of study from psychology to neuroscience. Bodywork, Cranio-Sacral Therapy, Somatic Trauma Resolution, EMDR, and many other modalities are available that produce beneficial results. A commitment to breaking the silence and breaking the cycle of violence remain essential. Shame and silence seem to work together to keep this issue suppressed. We must unshackle the shame by speaking up, taking action, educating and empowering ourselves wherever we are and in all the ways we can.

Enroll in a self-defense class. I highly recommend Impact Safety. I graduated from this training and found the experience to be invaluable to my sense of confidence and self-empowerment. I know the power of my voice, the strength of my legs, and techniques that are now part of my muscle memory.

Mothers, fathers, caregivers, adults can send an empowered, healthy message to young people about the qualities of their character, the strength of their commitments and passions. Pay attention to what children and teenagers care deeply about. If you don’t know, ask them. Send a message that all people are to be treated with the utmost respect and dignity. Model this in how you actually treat yourself, people at home and in the workplace. Many human beings are thinking, feeling, breathing, loving, caring people worthy of your respect.

The energy presence of people communicates more to the world than words, facial expressions, or body posture. Begin to understand that you are an energy being at your very core. What’s the energy vibration you’d like to be transmitting?  How can you begin to center on that?

Every human being deserves to live in safety, dignity, and peace.

What has supported your healing process? What resources or ideas do you have to offer? I welcome input from health care professionals and all other people who are working diligently on this important issue.


Laura Staley
Laura Staley
The founder of Cherish Your World, Laura Staley passionately helps people thrive by guiding them to a holistic transformation of space, heart, mind, body, and soul. Laura knows that there’s a relationship between the conditions of our homes or workplaces and the quality of our lives. Trained and certified with the Western School of Feng Shui and seasoned by almost two decades of working with a variety of clients, Laura uses her intuition and expertise to empower her clients to produce remarkable results in their lives. Her trifecta of serving people includes speaking, writing, and compassionate listening. As a columnist, Laura writes personal essays focused on self-discovery, feng shui, emotional health, and transformations from the inside out. Laura is the published author of three books: Live Inspired, Let Go Courageously and Live with Love: Transform Your Life with Feng Shui, and the Cherish Your World Gift Book of 100 Tips to Enhance Your Home and Life. Prior to creating her company, Laura worked as a fulltime parent and an assistant professor at Ohio Wesleyan University. She earned a Ph.D. in political science from The Ohio State University. Her joys in life include laughing with loved ones, dancing, reading, meditating, running, being in nature, and listening to music she loves. She resides in Black Mountain, NC with lovable dog, Layla. Laura is a contributing author to the inspiring book Crappy to Happy: Sacred Stories of Transformational Joy

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  1. Thank you, as usual, Laura, for your beautifully crafted, inspiring story and recommendations! As someone who has worked with many victims over the years, I could not agree with you more. As I said in my podcast, say something even if you do not know what to say if someone reveals this trauma to you. The greatest atrocity after the assault is the silencing of the victim.💖

    • Thank you, Darlene, especially highlighting the importance of NOT silencing the victim. As you stated it, “The greatest atrocity after the assault is the silencing of the victim.” Because that is exactly what happened to me in each heinous situation I experienced, I found that the recovery took that much longer. The layers of fearshame silence intensified the traumas “festering” like quiet mold slowly growing on food items tucked way back in a fridge. Oh, so many metaphors come to mind… Speaking up remains essential!! A vital first step. Thank you for all the ways you continue to guide people to healing, to freedom! Thank you for contributing many of your gifts, passion, and skills to enhance the quality of people’s lives. Thank you for who you are.

    • Thank you so much, John. Yes! Breaking the fearshame involves courageous speaking out. Shame cannot grow in the tidal waves of courageous, vulnerable sharing. I experienced another release from my own shame when I discovered that actress, Reese Witherspoon, who I admire greatly, also endured sexual assault and harassment in her work environment. To realize that her speaking out means that I actually share both this awful human experience alongside the brave recovery work with a famous actress, wow. I’m definitely not alone. She continues to create a dignified life as best as she can. As more people -both every day folk and famous people speak out, heal, and empower themselves, we may alter the trajectory of the lives of our grandchildren’s grandchildren. May all people live in safety, dignity, and peace.

  2. Bravo! The perfect reminder and message for me. We matter. This was my favorite quote:

    Every human being deserves to live in safety, dignity, and peace.

    It sounds so simple, but it’s often not. I’m blessed to have a large network of people supporting me through my journey. My aunt and uncle took my children and I into their home for a month. My cousin came to my house during some seriously dangerous situations. It takes a village. We can’t simply heal ourselves. We need to work in together – we are a pack species.

    • Healthy connections matter a great deal, JoAnna. I celebrate the fact that you had family you could go to-take your children for safety and love. Knowing exactly who you can turn to and who you cannot can take some time depending on the situation, the “village” you may need to leave, and the “village” you are walking towards, and the type of person you are… Cultivating trust and discernment can take some time, lots of mistakes, and much brave practice. At different points on my journey, I had to courageously brave the wilderness of a certain level of isolation (chosen solitude) from tribes of people from whom I had to walk away. Brene Brown’s book, Braving the Wilderness really validated this experience (until I discovered other wanderers in the wilderness there really can be this time period of solitude-the opportunity to do the deep internal work of healing/transforming-especially if one is more introverted-seeing people one on one can feel the safest-rather than walking immediately into another group of people). I also continue to love the poem by Mary Oliver: The Journey. However we get there-the going through-is the most important-the coming through! Thank you so much for your reflections, for sharing additional pieces of your brave story!