Thank you so much for this supportive message about my video.
GS
31

Grace,

You certainly have caused people to think! I’m very impressed with your commitment to such an important cause. Too many who are hurt feel ashamed so tell no one. If your work gets even one to speak, to tell her or his parents: hooray! And if those parents respond as Juliet’s did: bigger hooray!

Sadly, sometimes parents feel so afraid when their kids get hurt that they don’t know how to act. Sometimes they fear that if people know they will think bad things about their child. And sometimes they think poorly of their own child because they don’t understand what you have so perfectly explained: it is always only the fault of the perpetrator, the abuser. It is never the fault of the person that abuser hurt. Sometimes parents don’t know this. Sometimes parents don’t recognize the symptoms of eating disorders as Juliet’s sister did. Now they can look harder.

Can you imagine how it would have further hurt Juliet if her parents had not listened, or even become angry with her? It happens too often. Hurt kuds run away and become even more vulnerable. It makes me angry. But your video can teach them new ways.

I know kids who have had this happen. It is awful. They close up, blame themselves and just quit living, sometimes literally.

What your video will do to educate will be ground breaking, I believe. I hope girls and boys watch it so they can learn they are perfect just the way they are, so they will have empathy, too. I hope that they learn that no! means no!: that rape is always wrong. It will help boys and girls who “know better” but are easily influenced by their peers to have the courage to do the right thing. And it will teach parents how to act, even when they feel afraid.

Best of all, I believe it can help kids understand that they are perfect as they are, uniquely made with their own special gifts to make the world a better place as you have with your video. We are all in different bodies, have different talents but, as your video implies, we are all beautiful. Being unique beats following the crowd, any day! That is a hard thing to know in our heart, especially during our teen years. I didn’t hear that when I was growing up. I think you are wonderful to know that already and share it so creatively!

I am having lunch soon with the Dean of the School of Social Work at U.T., Austin. They have so many great programs, including the Institute on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, a program where they work with women and children in detention centers on the Texas-Mexican border and a program to identify and help trafficked people (slaves), particularly women and kids. They do a lot more, too, but I believe there is a place for your video in all the above mentioned communities.

I can’t wait to show him your video. In fact, I may just go ahead and email the link to him and to the Director of the Institute. So many of the women and children in detention waiting for asylum are victims of terrible violence in countries south of Mexico. Almost all of the women have been raped as have many of the boys and girls. As they get ready, I hope to become American citizens, they can see how to “fit in” by watching your videos, see there are great, thoughtful and loving kids like you in America. Better still, it may help them talk of the terrible things that happened to them. Talking about it is healing but oh, so hard to do!

Seeing another teenager open to talking, open to accepting others helps so much more than having adults yammer on. I don’t believe I am being dramatic when I tell you that I believe your video might save some lives. That’s what we work hard for every day.

Sexual assault steals a part of one’s soul. One stops thriving, feels dead inside. I believe your video could help bring a spark of life, of hope to more than a few kids. Sometimes that spark is all those who have support need to open to that support and start the hard but oh so worthwhile work to get their soul back, to thrive and become fully alive!

If I may, I will let you know if and how they decide to use your video. I have another idea for it, too, but that will take a bit longer. I will keep you posted. And I will continue to share it with every kid I know as well as every teacher.

Already a couple of kids I sent the link to wrote me that they are excited to see it. Resilience is, in fact, alive and well in these communities once they are free. I believe your video can help them choose to be free. It is a such a wonder to watch the Light return to people who feel that darkness chose them. I don’t think I am wrong to believe that your video will flip a few Light switches.

We can’t change people but we can show them we care and show them tools to use so if they choose, they may change themselves. Empowering people who feel they have lost their power is a high calling. I am very grateful that you heard the call and that you answered, “Yes!”

Thank you, Grace Smith! Grace is an appropriate name for you!

Keep on being Grace and shining your Light! The world needs it!

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