Trauma and Recovery

“You may trod me in the very dirt but still, like dust, I’ll rise.”

—Maya Angelou

My primary focus, as a writer and AWA workshop facilitator, is on trauma and recovery.

As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and multiple rapes in my teens, I know that writing first saved my life then transformed it.

My trauma story began when I was five years old and a young local farmer first trained me like a dog to follow his whistle. For the next ten years I trailed behind him like an obedient beagle hound to the corners of mucky fields or stone sheds or abandoned graveyards or the church sacristy where he molested me hundreds if not thousands of times and eventually raped me. Little did I know, in that small village in rural Ireland, that the whistle and all it demanded of my own demeaning and debasement was already a calling well lodged in my marrow by history, oppression, religion, and my second-class place as girl and woman.

Over time, the whistle became the condition from which I lived my life, the condition from which I viewed my worth and my place in the world. I saw myself as nothing, less than a dog, a discard.

One night, when I was thirteen, after yet another experience of violation, I pulled a copybook and pen into bed with me. I wrote the following words: My Own Story. I wrote no more.

But those three words, my own story, were enough to call forth a feeling of hope from so deep inside me that it over rode the false calling of the whistle in my mind.

That feeling of hope has never left me.

Indeed trauma research shows that there is no greater tool for recovery than the speaking aloud of one’s story before a loving witness, even if that loving witness is a blank and open page.

This is why I facilitate writing workshops, so that survivors have the loving witness of both the beckoning and beautiful page and a community of fellow survivors to applaud and appreciate our glorious emerging.



For further information and any questions you may have, please feel free to contact me.


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