Your Story

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

This is a quote from the amazing Maya Angelou. If you’ve read my story, you know that I kept that story locked away for years. It was a terrible burden that I did not even realize I was carrying. It was only when I finally told the story, out loud, that I saw it for the burden it was. People say “I felt as if a huge weight was lifted”…it sounds corny, but it was so true. More importantly, it gave me a sense of power. I was finally able to start moving on.

I want that feeling of power for all women and men who have suffered abuse or rape. My goal for this blog is not only to share my story and share information. I hope that you will feel safe to share your story as well. It can be a place of support.

Here are some facts about sharing your story.  It can be healing.  It can be life changing.  It can be anonymous, and that does not lessen the power of the experience.  This blog is anonymous for me…my name is not Aimee.  I have disconnected the blog from my real email, my real Facebook, my real Pinterest.  But I have connected it to Aimee’s :)

There are two ways you can share.  First, if you are braver than I am, you can comment directly.  I applaud you if you can do that.  If you wish to remain more anonymous, email me privately.  My email is onewoman365@yahoo.com.  I will write up your story in a blog-like fashion.  I will change all names/places/identifiers.  I will share it with you before I publish it.  You will have full control over what is included.  Then I will publish it as “Mary’s Story” or “Susie’s Story”, etc.

The name of my blog is derived from a quote I saw on Women for Women.  “One woman can change many things.  Many women can change everything.”  We can only stop rape if we band together.  I am One Woman.  Together we can be many women and it will change everything.

Are you willing to share your story?

Verena’s Story

The journey that led me to share my story with all of you began several years ago. Oddly enough, it started with an issue of Vegetarian Times. Hardly a life-changing event, I know. This particular issue had an article about small, lesser-known charities that were worthy of receiving your time and money. The article mentioned a charity called Women for Women International. This amazing charity has since received a lot of acclaim and attention after being mentioned on Oprah and other national shows. At the time, however, I had never heard of it. Women for Women helps women survivors of war and conflict. The countries in which Women for Women works have suffered through civil wars as well as international wars. In many of these countries, rape is consistently used as a weapon of war.  Along with witnessing the brutality and bloodshed of war, many of these women have been raped by soldiers or have seen their family members suffer this fate.  Women for Women provides them with economic training, training in women’s rights, and gives them a network of support.

After reading the article and visiting the website (www.womenforwomen.org), I was deeply moved by these women’s stories.  I chose to sponsor a woman for myself.  When you sponsor a woman, you get to correspond with your new “sister”.  This was the most meaningful part of the experience for me.  Not only did I know that my money was going to help her financially, but I could write and receive letters from her.

My sister is named Verena, and she lives in Rwanda.  Yesterday was the 18th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide.  I had heard very little about this tragedy until I started writing to Verena and did some research.   Over the course of 100 days in 1994, 800,000 Rwandans were killed and half a million women were raped.  Reading these statistics brought tears to my eyes, and the fact that it really seemed like the world sat by and watched it happen was appalling to me.  Verena lived through this.  She has 5 children, and is also raising her brother’s children.  Her brother was killed in the genocide.  I never asked her the full details of her experience, but I did share some of mine with her.

As a survivor of abuse or rape, I can tell you that sponsoring a woman who has gone through the same thing is amazingly empowering.  I can’t encourage you enough to sponsor a woman through Women for Women.  My experience is nothing compared to what the women in these countries have gone through.  Hearing their stories gave me strength to deal with my attack.  And I hoped that hearing my story gave Verena some hope as well.  Verena is now done with her year long program.  I will not hear from her again, but I know that she will always be a part of my life.

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