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I am an activist to end violence against women: Part I

UntitledI’ve always had a passion for helping women who have suffered abuse of any kind.  Why did I choose this particular passion?  I am a rape survivor.  As a young teenager, I fell victim to an older teenager who preyed upon my kindness of wanting to help him with his “demons” by inviting him to church.  He disappeared after the rape, and I chose not to report the rape to police, or my parents for many heart-wrenching reasons.  I told my best friend at the time, but my nightmares only seemed to get worse.

I did, however, make sure I got into the front seat of a police car as a police cadet soon after I was raped.  I felt safe, and I believed I could help other girls and women if I was a police officer.

As a police officer, I made every effort to handle the domestic violence calls, the reports of Untitledrape, sex abuse, or teenage girls who were being abused by their parent or guardian.  I investigated every case with a fine tooth comb, dotted every “i,” crossed every “t,” and wanted justice for girls and women who cried out for help.

What I COULDN’T do in my 20 years in law enforcement, was advocate for the girls and women who DID NOT, or COULD NOT seek help.  Police officers must remain objective, and are ethically held by the rules of law.  I did what I could to encourage these women and girls to report their abusers, but that was the extent of my power.

UntitledAfter 20 years in law enforcement, I became a private investigator, and working criminal defense cases came with this territory.  After being a defense investigator during these abuse cases, I became acutely aware of both sides of the stories.  After interviewing and representing multiple “alleged” abusers, many of them told me their family history, the abuse they, themselves, suffered as children, and the demons they fought for most of their lives.  Many of these men admitted their guilt and asked for help.  Other abusive men admitted their guilt, but showed no remorse, and believed the woman “deserved what she got.”

UntitledNow that I’m retired from law enforcement and private investigations, I was left with confusing thoughts, beliefs, and judgments, with no clear answer of why men are so abusive to women in our world.  The latest statistic from the United Nations is that 1 out of every 3 women will suffer abuse on this planet.  This is a staggering pandemic.  This means that YOU, or someone you know … a sister, mother, grandmother, aunt, cousin, best friend, or daughter ….. has suffered some form of abuse.  Maybe you are the abuser? Maybe you were a victim of verbal, physical, or sexual abuse as a child? Or maybe you are being abused now. Where do you go for help?  Who do you trust?

In the next “Part 2” blog series, I will share how Indrani Goradia, Indrani’s Light Foundation, and Brené Brown came into play for me.  Meanwhile, I’m feeling vulnerable about sharing my story this way, so I’d love some feedback about how this blog is resonating with you.   Do you have a similar story?  Do you have mixed feelings about becoming an activist?  Tell me your thoughts.

 

With deepest gratitude,

Amy
Director of Education & Training
Indrani’s Light Foundation

 

 

 

 

Happy New Year 2016! A Special Video Message from Indrani

Happy New Year Everyone!  2016 is upon us, and it’s time to move forward with new ideas, new resolutions, and hope of a great year.  But don’t forget to reflect on the best of 2015, and how you will use the lessons of 2015 to manifest a year of unimaginable dreams!

Indrani has a special New Year’s video message for you.  It’s only a couple of minutes long, so take a look, and know that Indrani’s Light Foundation is ramping up the fight to END domestic violence in 2016!

Take the “My 4 Walls” Pledge here

Don’t forget to share this message with your friends and family on our Facebook page, and on Twitter @Indranis_light

#My4WallsPledge

Much love and light,

Team ILF

Going BIG and Going Small

UntitledOn a recent flight from Trinidad, after doing my TEDxPortOfSpain talk in October, (watch my talk here: bit.ly/1OGFcX5) I saw the movie, “Ant Man.”  I am not usually a fan of these superhero movies, but my brain was tired and I decided to watch.

There were tons of great computer graphics, no gratuitous sex or badly behaved teenagers… just an old fashioned action movie with a good old-fashioned ending, where the blended family lives happily ever after.  Okay, it was formulaic and predictable and I do not really recommend it.

Here is what I DID enjoy.  Ant Man can move from “BIG” to “small,” and each size has its drawbacks and gifts.  The best thing about being “small” is that the strengths don’t get smaller. They stay the same.

So just like an ant can lift many times its body weight, Ant Man has amazing strength and can do amazing things even when small so he is still a formidable opponent.
When he is his usual size, his powers are ramped up and he is the hero we want him to be.

Here is what I took away from Ant Man.  We can choose to play big or play small and it needs to be our choice. When we choose to play small we still need to bring all of our skills to the stage.

Recently I was on a panel of six people, all of whom had their specialty jobs. The panel consisted of a judge, a police sergeant, a district attorney, etc.  We were all there acting as one body and we all had small jobs in support of that one body.  We each showed up as one hundred percent of our larger selves even as we treaded lightly, and did not hog the microphone.  None of us felt like we had all the answers.

We had never met each other and I was so proud of how we played nicely together.
Any one of us could have been plucked out from that panel and been asked to do an hour presentation to the audience and we would have stepped up.

I like going from big stages to smaller stages, it helps me to practice my skills in different ways.

While speaking at the United Nations, and on the TEDxPortOfSpain stage, I played to a global audience. My thoughts were more encompassing and I used imagery that could resonate with a more expansive audience. I was introduced in a formal way and some of my achievements were read out loud. The audience in those venues wanted the bigger picture of me.

I also had the great fortune to speak on a much smaller stage at my high school Alma Mater, and when I heard how I was being introduced, I realized that the kids did not need that version of me.  They needed to hear I used to be “one of them.” They needed to know that my “big,” started “small” and they needed to resonate with my small.

When I began to speak I said this to them:  “Those words are things I have done over the past 35 years but I am really just a big eye coolie girl.” I could see them relax. They understood that term. “Coolie” is a derogatory term for people of East Indian descent in Trinidad. That was a phrase they had heard and could digest.

It resonated.

From that small position I began the story …. and I built on it to get bigger and bigger, and told them they could do it also.  I ended with reminding them I was still a big eye coolie girl and I always remember my humble beginnings.

The ability to move between big and small is something we humans can do, and it helps us to stay grounded. It helps us to know that our heroes, whom we hold in high regard, also put on their pants one leg at a time.

My question to you is this… How big are you when you are small?  Stay strong and use your “big” to your advantage, and help people accept you for all the talent you bring to the party.

 
Love and light,

Indrani

Indrani’s “Orange the World” Video Message: Day 16

Here is Indrani’s “Day 16” personal “call to action” video message to you, as we continue to support the UN Women’s “Orange the World” campaign to end violence against women and girls.

This is Indrani’s final “Orange the World” video message with Day 16 of activism upon us.  But we must continue gender activism.  What is “gender activism” you ask? Indrani defines it here …. take a look!

Please share this video on social media!

Let’s END violence against women and girls together!

“ORANGE THE WORLD”

Follow us on Twitter @indranis_light #orangetheworld #16days

Indrani’s “Orange the World” Video Message: Day 15

Here is Indrani’s “Day 15” personal “call to action” video message to you, as we continue to support the UN Women’s “Orange the World” campaign to end violence against women and girls.

Indrani wants to remind us that we may be “small rocks” in the world …. but we can get together and make a rock wall to hold up the world, and end violence against women and girls!  Take a look!

Please share this video on social media!

Let’s END violence against women and girls together!

“ORANGE THE WORLD”

Follow us on Twitter @indranis_light #orangetheworld #16days

Indrani’s “Orange the World” Video Message: Day 14

Here is Indrani’s “Day 14” personal “call to action” video message to you, as we continue to support the UN Women’s “Orange the World” campaign to end violence against women and girls.

Indrani wants to remind you that if anyone expects you to be silent about things that have happened to you, then they are not your friend.  Brené Brown says that telling your story, ends the shame.  Take a look!

Please share this video on social media!

Let’s END violence against women and girls together!

ORANGE THE WORLD

Follow us on Twitter @indranis_light #orangetheworld #16days

Indrani’s “Orange the World” Video Message: Day 13

Here is Indrani’s “Day 13” personal “call to action” video message to you, as we continue to support the UN Women’s “Orange the World” campaign to end violence against women and girls.

Indrani doesn’t know how to scale a rock wall, but she could learn!  Her “call to action” today is to learn how to end violence.  We can learn to scale this huge obstacle…. take a look!

Please share this video on social media!

Let’s END violence against women and girls together!

“ORANGE THE WORLD”

Follow us on Twitter @indranis_light #orangetheworld #16days

Indrani’s “Orange the World” Video Message: Day 12

Here is Indrani’s “Day 12” personal “call to action” video message to you, as we continue to support the UN Women’s “Orange the World” campaign to end violence against women and girls.

Indrani is traveling in Europe and heard about another mass shooting in San Bernardino, CA.  Take a look at her “call to action.”

Please share this video on social media!

Let’s END violence against women and girls together!

“ORANGE THE WORLD”

Follow us on Twitter @indranis_light #orangetheworld #16days

Indrani’s “Orange the World” Video Message: Day 10

Here is Indrani’s “Day 10” personal “call to action” video message to you, as we continue to support the UN Women’s “Orange the World” campaign to end violence against women and girls.

Indrani’s “Call to Action” for today is a bold one! If you are spanking your children …. Please STOP!  Let us parent with love and respect.  Take a look.

Please share this video on social media!

Let’s END violence against women and girls together!

“ORANGE THE WORLD”

Follow us on Twitter @indranis_light #orangetheworld #16days

Indrani’s “Orange the World” Video Message: Day 8

Here is Indrani’s “Day 8” personal “call to action” video message to you, as we continue to support the UN Women’s “Orange the World” campaign to end violence against women and girls.

Indrani’s “Call to Action” for today is to refuse to believe negative things about yourself …. take a look.

Please share this video on social media!

Let’s END violence against women and girls together!

“ORANGE THE WORLD”

Follow us on Twitter @indranis_light #orangetheworld #16days