This is probably not the first time you have actually heard this name. Silenus is a character in some books you might recognize...Prince Caspian of The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis and he's also in the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan.
But that's not why I named my favorite unicorn Silenus.
One of my favorite authors is Julie Garwood. She has been described as an author who "spins an unforgettable page-turner of passion and loyalty, justice and honor". Her older books, set in medieval England and Scotland, were more than simple romances.
Her heroines routinely threw their arms around small children to protect them from flying fists, climbed down thread-bare ropes to rescue boys from cliff ledges...and straightened lop-sided bows on charming toddlers. She obviously loves kids.
And, even better, she makes you believe that the innocent, the righteous, the honorable...will win in the end.
I wanted to pay homage to a great storyteller- so I named Silenus after a horse in one of her books. If you're looking for a good HEA (happily ever after), you might want to check out her historical books.
By the end of my residency, I was tired. Physically...but also emotionally. I needed something uplifting in my life. I had an idea. Thankful Thursdays.
We are all surrounded by people that help us in both large and small ways. I wanted to acknowledge some of them by writing them a quick note. I started with an attending doctor I had worked under.
Every morning, I presented the medical case for each of the children on the ward to an attending doctor...gave him updates on their condition and laboratory findings. One evening I caught him sneaking up on the ward. He went room to room, examining all of the patients, asking questions and reviewing cases.
What was he doing? He already had that information...Some residents would have been distressed, felt that he didn't trust their work. I watched him longer and finally figured it out.
In the morning, he was allowing me to be in charge, to dictate the care of the patient. In the evening, he was checking everything all over again.
He had my back. My worst nightmare was making a mistake and possibly hurting a child and he wasn't going to let that happen.
Sometimes you get an opportunity to work with 'giants' and he was one of them.
Later on, I wrote him a note expressing my gratitude for what he had done. Turned out that he was at a low point when he got my letter, he was not sure where he was with his career. He thanked me for reminding him and then he went on training new doctors.
Today is Thankful Thursday.
I want to thank everyone that bought my book!
(the Advocacy Center thanks you too!)
Who are you thankful for?
I had the chance to interview Jenna Quinn recently. Jenna is a triumphant survivor of sexual abuse, author, speaker, and the survivor behind Jenna’s Law. She has become a valiant warrior against sexual abuse of children and adolescents.
Jenna went to the same school as my own children. Sexual abuse can happen anytime, anywhere…to anyone.
I asked Jenna to answer some questions….
What would you say was the most important factor in you overcoming the trauma of sexual abuse?
I’ve learned that the road from trauma to growth is hardly a straight line and it’s not a simple process, but the onset, the beginning of that journey, can be simple. I found it ironic, that what was used as a weapon against me, was also what healed me—relationship and connection to others including a restored connection with my faith. When I was too weak to fight for myself I had an army of support to both rally around me and fight for me. My parents, my two sisters, and the unwavering support of the Children’s Advocacy Center consistently and compassionately answered those questions for me that so many survivors struggle with “Who am I? What is my value? What is my worth? Am I really worth all this effort?” That support is what made me believe my life was actually worthy of support.
Why are advocacy centers important for children?
I had counselors who believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. As I slowly started to believe in the work they put into me, to believe that I was deserving of the support they gave me, I started to appreciate my own life again.
Through counseling, I began to find my voice and I discovered a new love for self-expression. Talking and writing about my feelings helped me understand myself and create meaning out of the trauma I had experienced.
You have said in talks before that sexual abuse is two times more common than cancer. But that number only reflects the known cases, right?
It’s estimated that there are 42 million survivors of child sexual abuse in America alone. To give a comparison, this means the prevalence is about 2 x more common than the amount of Americans living with cancer.
Jenna's Law was passed in May 2009. It is the first child sexual abuse prevention law in the US and named after Jenna Quinn. It mandates training for kindergarten through twelfth grade for both students and school staff.
What does this training consist of?
The school districts have the power to decide how they want to implement the training and must answer to the state education agency. Many schools have chosen to use the program Nationally known as, Childhelp Speak Up Be Safe, for students Pre-K-12th grade. This program is research- based and helps children and teens learn the skills to prevent or interrupt cycles of neglect, bullying, and child abuse—physical, emotional, and sexual (including on-line safety). Each session is only 45 minutes and can be given by a volunteer. More information can be found here: https://www.childhelp.org/subs/childhelp-speak-up-be-safe/
Can any of this really have an impact?
My hope lies within the research that demonstrates this crime is preventable. My favorite statistic of all is that 95% of child sexual abuse is preventable through education. This is where Jenna’s Law education has helped students in TX and all across the country recognize and report.
How can parents make it easier to have their children talk about this subject?
Going back to the day I first made my outcry I know one thing for certain. If my sister had not asked me those five simple words, “Has anyone ever hurt you?” I can’t say for sure if I would ever have another opportunity to tell. Although it was difficult to tell her, I was relieved that she believed me. It only takes moments to empower a child’s voice, but it can take years, or even a lifetime for them to get their voice back. From my own experience I know how crucial it is for schools and families to teach children prevention and that it’s OK to tell. Since 90% of the time a child is sexually abused by someone they know and trust it’s also important for parents to talk openly to their kids about boundaries and instill trust that if their child does disclose, they will be believed and supported-regardless of who the perpetrator is.
Jenna’s book- “Pure in Heart: A Memoir of Overcoming Abuse and Passing Jenna’s Law can be found on Amazon”.
Are you feeling overwhelmed by all the tragedies around us?
And then I got an email from an author named Arianne "Tex" Thompson and she helped me put everything in perspective. She has a unique way of shining light in a dark place. I'll let her explain....
Man, y'all. I don't know what the weather's like in your neck of the woods, but around here it's 70 degrees and sunny. Which hardly seems fair, seeing as how the left side of the country is on fire, half of Texas is working its way through the seven plagues (we've moved on from darkness and flooding to clouds of mosquitoes, now) and the southeasterly parts are about to get hit with a gale-force shit-bat.
Have you been getting that hopeless, dreadful feeling lately? You know, you donate your dollars, you share the call-to-action and helpful info posts, but after that all you can do is watch the grim tidings pile up and feel just catastrophically overwhelmed by it all.
If so, I feel you. I've been in that same place myself lately. But I found something that's been working pretty well for me, that maybe would help you feel better too. Are you ready? Here it is:
Try reversing your help mentality the second time around. First, of course, you look at a given crisis and figure out what you can do to help with it (and go do that). That's the problem-first method I think most of us use. So the second time around, start with your personal inventory: what resources do you still have left over, and who could most use them?
Chances are, those resources do not have anything to do with the disaster du jour, so they don't feel valuable to you. But they are - because whatever problem they would solve is almost-certainly one that the rest of the world isn't thinking about right now. Everybody's attention is fixated on the big thing - which means a whole lot of smaller ones are going unhelped. And you could make a meaningful difference there.
For example: I've given my dollars to hurricane relief, donated some blood I wasn't using (it's free weight loss, y'all! Do it!!) and checked in on the folks I know down on the coast. That's about as much good as I can do on that front.
Now what's left over? Not much money. Not a lot of free time.
At this point she offers to help authors by reviewing their work...for free.
Is that going to save somebody's house, put out a fire, pass crucial legislation, or solve climate change? Not even close. But it's what I have left, so it might as well go somewhere. And if our conversation serves to put a little extra gas in your tank - gives you a little more patience or fortitude for the other fronts you're fighting on - then it's time well spent.
Regardless: that's the thinking that's fortified me lately, and I hope it's useful for you too. When you're out of help for a given problem, take an inventory of the help you have left, and figure out what problem it's meant to solve - even and especially if it seems trivial in the grand scheme of things.
Don't write off the small stuff, y'all. At the end of the day, we're all small stuff, and what we have is each other.
She nails it, doesn't she? Hope that helps you as much as it helped me. Gotta go now. I have to take inventory!