Thursday, April 19, 2012

Tolson 4 TEARS: "I Tell My Truth"

The "I Tell My Truth" blog asked for a guest blog about "WHY?" Why do I do what I do as a volunteer victim advocate? Here is the answer:

Introduction, by Megan Fitzwater

Lynn C. Tolson is an author, an advocate and an amazing woman. There are so many things I could tell you about Lynn, but most of all I'd like to tell you that she has been an encouraging friend in the most troubling times of my journey. When I have doubted myself, she has helped me see that telling my story is not some insignificant thing. She has shown me that love and light abound in this movement of survivors sharing their stories. She's been a voice that has stood with me since the beginning of my truth-telling journey. I love Lynn because Lynn is a brave and brilliant woman who takes time out of her day to encourage women everywhere with her wonderful words. Here's a little about Lynn's WHY:

Who? What? Why? by  Lynn C. Tolson, advocate and author of Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor’s Story
For nearly twenty years, I engaged in careers in retail, real estate and property management. Every working day left me feeling unfulfilled, as if I was living a false life. My real life began not by changing jobs, but by putting pen to paper in journal writing sessions. Themes emerged regarding the impact of my sexual abuse, drug addiction, and suicide attempts. By using the journal to write about the problems and solutions discussed in my counseling sessions, a story of transformation evolved. My desire to share a message of healing from trauma became too strong to ignore; the book became a mission. I left the corporate environment to write my story about personal yet universal emotional issues. Although journal writing was a cathartic experience, the book was written with the courage to face my fears, with compassion for myself and others, and a conviction to tell the truth.
Sexual assault, addiction, and suicide are unsolved social problems that carry stigmas. The stigmas cast a code of silence that do not solve problems. The result from not speaking about the crime of sexual assault is too often tragic. Thus, there is a need for real stories of recovery. By bringing my dark secrets to light, it is my hope that others who have had similar experiences will know that they are not alone. Readers may explore their own emotions to open lines of communication, eliminate shame, and experience healing. I also hope that my book promotes understanding of the issues that cause individual suffering and plague our society.
I am an ordinary citizen with an overwhelming mission: to confront violence against women and children. Given that sexual assault, including incest, is a social problem, my goals are to bring awareness to the public and to be an advocate for the victims. Using my life experience and social work education, I hope to offer information that will improve the quality of life for survivors. Perhaps the future will hold enough social change to reduce the need for real stories of recovery and sites such as Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor's Story. In the meantime, know that my purpose as Lynn C. Tolson is in my initials: LCT, Learning, Creating, Teaching, to provide empowerment of our minds, bodies, and spirits. May this generation break the silence that surrounds sexual assault and incest so that future generations may live in peace.
I started the Project for TEARS: Telling Everyone About Rape & Suicide. This is my mission: to comfort victims by sharing my story, confront violence by breaking the silence, challenge society via information and action. So no shed tear is wasted.
The reason I volunteer as an advocate is because I have been called. The rewards are intangible and immeasurable; they come as surprise gifts when something I wrote resonates with another, such as this message:
Lynn, you are the voice of so many voiceless women who are victims of abuse. I would not be surprised at the high numbers you've helped that you'll never hear from. Sometimes all a person needs is knowing there is someone who understands what they've gone through in order to take a step towards ending the abuse. You, dear angel, have a calling and you've found it and I hope you never stop reaching out to those who suffer.
What came upon me as evil in the form of abuse I hope to use for good by speaking out. As one heals, so does another…
Lori: I agree that Lynn is a "brave and brilliant woman". She has taken time out to encourage me as a poet and to connect with me on a personal level. I'm currently reading her book in small doses due to a busy schedule. Her writing style and skills are quite commendable; her book is informative as well touching. I'm proud to know her as an advocate, but especially as a fellow survivor and friend. Thanks, Lynn!
Tracie: Lynn is SUCH an encourager! For all the years that I have "known" you Lynn, you have blessed my heart and blessed my life. Thank you for all the work that you do...speaking out powerfully for yourself and for those who have yet to find their own voice. You amaze me!
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