Email to a survivors organization in my home town

I just sent this.

Hi there,

I’m sorry for doing this in an email, but wasn’t certain I could explain all this well over the phone. I hope you can forward this email to whomever in your organization it might concern. I’m originally from [home town] (born and raised) and am an incest survivor. My abuser, who was my father, is still living in [home town] and is likely to die within the next year from cancer. I’ve been in recovery for over 20 years and in general am very well, but since surviving and recovering has been such a big and spiritually significant part of my life, I know I will need to celebrate my abusers death in a way consistent with my culture and spirituality, as part of having closure with him.

Photocredit: "Crossed Swords" by Bott.Richard
Photocredit: "Crossed Swords" by Bott.Richard

I’m planning to dance a traditional Scottish sword dance that is performed on the death of a mortal enemy to celebrate the victory of having outlived him and banish him from my life. Since I’m fairly certain my father will be buried in [my hometown] I’m planning to do this at his gravesite there, with a bagpiper and supportive witnesses. I’m working with a counsellor here on this and will be bringing my partner and one or two friends with me, but wanted to make contact with your organisation, in case it would be possible to receive some support from you while I am up for the ceremony. I have investigated the legalities of performing this ceremony at my father’s gravesite, and it looks like there should be no barriers. Grieving rituals are not only expressly allowed under the provincial funerals act, they are protected and cannot be interrupted by law. The cemetery itself has a no disturbing the peace rule, but a graveside grieving ceremony conducted by a relative could hardly qualify. My family are supportive and will not object.

I plan to bring a friend who is a video artist to record this event in hopes that it might be meaningful to other survivors, and would like to extend an invitation to local survivors and their allies who might want to bear witness to what I believe will be a powerful and empowering ceremony.

Anyhow, if you agree it would be appropriate to talk further about this, I’d like to speak with one of your staff about this, and keep you posted on the plans that will begin once my abuser dies. If this type of support does not fall within your mandate, I understand. I would also be willing to cover the cost of the counsellors time. Knowing that there was a feminist counsellor with childhood sexual assault literacy available in [my hometown] to check in with in some way during my visit would be very helpful.

Photocredit: Zanastardust
Photocredit: Zanastardust

Sincererely,

[My Real Name]

0 thoughts on “Email to a survivors organization in my home town”

  1. I think that you are incredibly brave. The letter is very clear and honest. My hope is that you can received some support from them. Good for you for reaching out.

    Good and healing thoughts to you.

    Kate

  2. SwordDanceWarrior, seriously, seriously, you are my hero. Seriously. I am in awe of your bravery and courage and everything else. I want to find a way to stand there and support you in this beautiful movement you have created. I have a serious fear of flying, but hey, what the hell is that in the face of such bravery on your part. Wow.

  3. I pray that I have the courage. I have been limiting myself to outings that I can drive to or be driven to, because in the last several years my fear of flying has become one of the reasons you shouldn’t fuck kids. I’ll make sure and mention that as reason number whatever on my list. 🙂

    1. If there is any way I can support you in this, let me know. Through my work (long story) I came across some information on CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) for anxiety and found this sheet on how to train one’s body to stop freaking out from things that I want to stop being afraid of. I’ve looked into it and it looks like CBT actually works. My typical reaction to this type of thing is to say “I’m not afraid of anything irrational” which isn’t true, or I’d have had a pap test recently. I’m going to try it. If you want to do it too, here’s the link: http://www.anxietybc.com/resources/pdfs/FacingFears_Exposure.pdf

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