Book Review: Author Robert Uttaro Share Powerful Stories Regarding Sexual Assault In ‘To The Survivors’

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Disclosure: This book is 100% my views, I was not compensated in exchange for it.

Author, Robert Uttaro didn’t decide to become a basketball or football player, neither did he choose to become a doctor, lawyer, or even a musician when he grew up. The only thing Robert knew was that he wanted to help people. And by helping people, who would have thought that it would have been as a Rape Crisis Counselor at a center, he refers to as “The Healing Place.” 

In the childhood section of his book “To The Survivors,” Robert discusses him taking a knife to a bathroom, getting in the tub, and putting small cuts starting from the elbows all the way down to his wrist. When asked by a friend what happened, he informed her that he fell into some thorns, and sadly she believed him. Without even questioning the whereabouts and/or what happened to make him fall in the first place. This incident had me thinking about various people whom I’ve come into contact with over the years who were maybe not looking so well one day, or they’d come to work, and you notice a strange bruise or even perhaps that something’s off with them. You ask, “Are you okay?” they more than likely will say, “Yes, they are,” or they’d say something like, “You know I was doing such and such and slipped.” And as a society, we take their words as solid truths and not say anything else about the matter. This makes me wonder… 

Could those people have really been in trouble and I not didn’t take notice?

Did I miss the signs or the red flags? 

Photo credit: Bing

Robert’s book is that of true stories (identities and places withheld for personal reasons) and the influential individuals he’s worked with over the years. Heroic individuals who wanted to share their vulnerability and traumatic stories of violence and sexual assault. 

This book is a valuable guide to read, as well as understand the different effects a survivor may be feeling. To me, while this book is regarding survivors of sexual violence. I believe the twenty-three mentioned impacts on an individual’s emotions, such as shame, guilt, loss of control, shock, embarrassment, suicidal tendencies, and many more. It can also be used for someone who experienced a terrible loss or tragedy. These symptoms are sure signs that anyone should be able to look for in an individual and offer help. 

While some people may find the stories within this book hard to read due to its nature and content, others will find it inspiring and motivating. It helps you feel as though you’re NOT alone, as you may even resonate with some of the individual stories. 

I feel everyone should know that there is HOPE and a LIFE after a sexual assault or tragedy. It may not seem like it because when you’re going or have gone through such a traumatic experience, it can feel like you’re the only one facing it or like the walls are closing in on you all at once. I know those feelings all too; well, I’m a sexual assault survivor myself. Moving forward wasn’t easy, but I had to see it as me surviving so that I may help someone else survive. I’m a firm believer that EVERYTHING we go through in life is not just our experiences, but we go through them to help others get through theirs, and in return, maybe they’d turn and help someone else. There’s a purpose for everything, even in damaged goods. You CAN and WILL live a healthy LIFE. You just have to chose if you’re going to allow your past or it’s negativity to KEEP you in a jail of bondage, regret, and shame over it. 

You have to determine when to put an expiration date on it and move forward. 

Photo Credit: Photo by Nubia Navarro (nubikini) from Pexels

And this next word is the icing on the cake that’s going to help you move forward, and that’s FORGIVENESS! I know it’s cliché, but as we know and have heard, “Forgiveness is not for them, but it gives you Peace” Now I know forgiveness is hard, as this is another chapter in Robert’s book that really spoke to me. It’s easier said than done, trust me, I know. But forgiveness is so you can move on and let the chips fall where they may when it comes to the perpetrator. I’m also a believer in seed planting. Plant a bad one, you reap the benefits of whatever grows up from that seed. 

 ‘To The Survivors’ is a perfect example to show that you don’t have to be from the same place as someone else. Neither do you have to have experienced the same thing they’ve experienced? As Robert stated in his book, “Often our lives go in different directions than we plan or expect.”

A road or call from God, I should say, lead Robert Uttaro to a healing place to help bring blessings and healing to others. He answered the call, and because of it, many survivors have shared their stories and have helped others become heroic in sharing theirs. ‘To the Survivors’ is a book of hurt, heroism, and healing. The heroes are the ones that felt compelled to share their stories, but the main protagonist is the man, who felt the call, listened to the request, and acted upon it. Thanks, Robert, for allowing these influential voices to be heard.

If you know someone who has been sexually assaulted, maybe it’s you, perhaps it happened many years ago, and you feel it doesn’t matter now. Well, let me tell you, IT DOES! Your voice matters, it matters for the many women and men that are afraid to SPEAK UP. Your voice could just be the chain reaction that helps someone else get the healing they desperately need.

Please reach out to a counselor, trusted friend, or family member, or call or find a rape crisis center near you. Robert Uttaro’s book “To The Survivors” is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and Kobo.  

Get Inspired to tell your story, Pick up your copy today!

Emotionally, Physically, Spiritually and Mentally. So tell me, How ya doing?

Featured Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Hey, Friends. It’s been a cool minute since my last post.

Is this quarantine life crazy or WHAT! I guess I really didn’t know how or what to expect from the now “social-distancing” mantra that’s hit the WHOLE WORLD by storm. As I stated in my “Rona Post” – I’m one that really doesn’t take things too seriously? But in this case, things are VERY much serious indeed.

I believe more serious than any of us can or would have imagined. It has me asking questions like, “How did something like this get SO out of control?” and/or “Can this virus really be killed by heat?” it’s so many conflicting information going on in regards to this virus, it’s hard to believe anything. I literally quit looking at the news – it’s just wasn’t good for me mentally. Feel me?

I’m about DONE with this whole virus talk and who got it and who died from it. It’s just so sad, my heart literally breaks. I heard a case recently of a child that had it and was turned away by the hospital because he didn’t have insurance, that child later died. See, that’s the reason why I stopped looking at the news and it’s not only that but my heart breaks for all the doctors, nurses, staff and essential workers who are still grinding during this pandemic – putting themselves at risk.

My prayers are with them and the families that have lost beautiful souls and the ones who have tested positive for COVID-19. I’m sure by now we ALL must know someone who either tested positive or died from the virus. My heart and prayers are with you as we all move forward with the hope that this will end soon and uncertainty as to what’s next.

In the midst of going through things like this, it can have a major impact on your Emotional, Mental, Spiritual and Physical health in which is what I want to talk about. So how are you doing?

I thought this would be a great post to check-in and give an update on my status as well as give tips or even listen to yours. Because with all this social-distancing going on as we push further and further away from even “touching” each other, it can feel socially-lonely.

Emotionally:

Well, I’ve already stated how this virus is making me feel emotional and that hasn’t changed. As stated, I had to quit watching the news. However; I get these rapid news breaks on my phone which doesn’t help BUT I decide what I “choose” to click on and what I “choose” to read. There’s a lot of conflicting information going on from stimulus checks, to who died of the virus and etc. Does the word DOOMSCROLLING ring a bell?

You have a choice in what you choose to hear and what you choose to read, we all do. Instead of putting your emotions towards the loss, we’ve had; try focusing on the stories of individuals going out of their way to help others and/or the survivors including some elderly people who have conquered the virus. Where there’s bad news? There’s also good news – choose wisely.

Mentally:

Mental and emotional can sometimes go hand in hand with one another but one deals with the heart while the other deals with the mind. Your mental state during a “pandemic” can be very daunting. For instance, before things really “tightened” up concerning COVID-19. I went into the grocery store to purchase a couple of things AND while turning to go down the beverage aisle, I saw a purse on the shelf, like yes – someone literally left their purse on the shelf. I’ve been there before, I’ve put my keys and wallet on the shelf before and “out of sight, out of mind” just left – thank God every time I’ve gone back my items were still there (angels watching!) Without even thinking, I quickly grabbed the purse and took it to customer service. They had sanitizer up there, so I squeezed some in my hand after handing the clerk the purse and went on by my business. It wasn’t until I got in the car that I thought, “What if that person had COVID?” – My mind immediately went crazy! I was thinking about all types of weird, negative things. What if I had it? I thought.

And we ALL know that when we “think” things – next thing you know you feel like you have symptoms and etc. Well, that was well over a month ago and while a little tickle, sneeze or cough makes my mental psyche go coo-coo. I have to believe that God has me and I have to put my trust in him. Which brings me to my next emotion.

Spritually:

I will start this off segment off with this scripture – Isaiah 26:3 NIV “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! that scripture is fitting mentally as well. In this time of crisis, it’s good to have an anchor. For me that anchor is God, for you, it may be something else such as meditation or listening to mindful podcasts. I’ve heard quite a few people say that this pandemic is God’s way of getting our attention. His way of making sure that we spend more one-on-one time with him and I agree. Before this pandemic, I’m sure you like myself have maybe mentioned about there not being enough time in a day to do anything including spending time with the big man upstairs.

Well, this is the time. The time that you need and I need to do that. Prayer in times like these is very essential, needed and important. Prayer, time with God and meditation keeps you centered and “in perfect peace” as the scripture states. And we all need a “peace” of mind right about now. I’ve been doing the FIRST15 app. It’s an app that has a devotion, prayer, scripture, and song all in one day. It even allows you to journal your thoughts. It’s been really good, outside of the bible app to spend time with God for the first 15 minutes of your day. We all need something to keep us sane, so why not vamp up your spiritual mood.

Physically:

There’s a reason why I put this one LAST! It’s seriously HARD for me to get on a schedule. And what I mean by that is EXERCISE! I’ve downloaded a couple of workouts to my YTube playlist including one by Massy Arias – who is a personal trainer, she makes her workouts look so easy but the way her body is set up? I can tell, it’s definitely NOT! AND of course, it’s not just all about the workout but you have to EAT right as well and you would think since we’re all “quarantining” that I would have this figured out, but sad to say, I don’t! I guess it’s because exercise is not something I have been heavily involved in even prior to this pandemic. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not a stranger to exercise and when I’m in, I’M TOTALLY ALL THE WAY INNNN!!! However, the saying is true – the first time you stop exercising, it’s pretty much downhill from there, so let’s just say – I’ve been trotting downhill for months now! I’ve been trying to get on the bandwagon, although “quarantine” has me seemingly thinking about food ALL the time. I mean, it’s literally right in my lap now. LOL

BUT, I’m going to get it done. I feel like I need to get on track as we all could be out of quarantine in a couple months and I wouldn’t want this time to be wasted; that would be a REAL bummer. So pray for me that I stop being lazy and get back on the exercise track!

Well, outside of my kids being out of school and the online learning they now are subjected too and me making sure they stay on track with that. This has been my COVID-19, social-distancing, and quarantine LIFE! So, what’s been going on with you?

How are you doing emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically? Let’s talk! You can email me at rblackmon58@gmail.com or tell me how you’re doing in the comments. I’d love to hear from you! Because in times like these, we all NEED each other.

In the meantime, Stay Well, Stay Safe, Follow the Directions given & Stay INDOORS as much as possible, this is also a great time to stay connected to loved ones & friends!

I Have A Big, Huge Announcement!!! – FAIL….

photo above courtesy of Canva – done by moi =)

Okay, let’s take a deep breath now…..because since my last post? Ya’ll really wasn’t going to hear from me again, I declared in my soul that I was just going to give up writing, PERIOD!!! Why Lord!!!! did you give me this gift to be humiliated, my writings are a BLAH, BLAH, BLAH I mean, so like – why do I write, what’s my purpose and how is that purpose serving others???????

This was just the lighter side of the conversation I had with myself during the last week….so, why did I feel that way? Well….just keep reading; here we go…

So, if you’ve been following me (avidly), then you know that I have been working on a book, entitled “Billy Wolf and the Kids of Heavenly Hills Elementary” the book is about bullying and how this one person brought doom and gloom to a school in which didn’t really have any issues, this bully taunted everyone – I mean, no one was off limits; finally someone decided to take a stand against him, someone in whom no one would have expected to take down Billy Wolf. Now, I was sooooo excited about promoting this book because I felt like it’s a topic that our world and children deal with constantly, my goal was to get the books into schools and hopefully be able to talk to kids about the effects of bullying. I got my proof copy in the mail, looked it over and was just about to push the “approve” button, but decided to wait because I had put out an ad to a couple of sites, looking for people whom would help me market it………………………….What did I do that for!

I thought that maybe, the people reading it would be able to give me an idea of the market in which I was trying to reach and make some suggestions as to where I can take it, let’s just say positive feedback wasn’t what I got back and all the excitement of telling everyone today that they can now purchase the book on Amazon and so forth – can to a screeching halt when this particular person said…

I was just wanting to know – Do you have any kids? I mean did you do research before you created this book? Kids are on a much higher reading level now, they’re into chapter books and the 6th grade is now middle school age, not elementary. And what Happened to Billy?, It seems like the story just started with him coming and there was an ending but nothing in sight to say who tried to help him – I also think your book is a little racist. 

WHAT DID YOU SAY

It took everything within me to not SCREAM!!, like really? Racist? and there comment was, “Well, it seems like you have this African-American young man, torturing the Caucasian kids” and I’m like thinking in my head, I have no idea where you seen that at  because clearly, there are other kids of a different race in the book, and why would I do that??? with trying to put this book into schools???? I made it very clear to the illustrator that I wanted the kids to be all colors because bullying affects all races, all origins, all creeds, all nationalities – it’s the one thing to me that isn’t prejudice.

But it was the way she was talking to me, like I was some 3rd grader whom needed to be punished for getting a C on my homework. She clearly over-talked me and every time I wanted to explain or say something – she wouldn’t take the time to listen and when she did; it was very brief and time to go. Another comment I got was that the book wasn’t long enough for older kids and not short enough to hold the attention span of smaller kids andddd.…the fact that I talk about faith in the book, really struck a nerve because schools have taken a backseat to religion, it has now been reduced to “a moment of silence”  I was so done, I literally went days with approving the book and just shut down in which is where the conversation at the beginning of this post came into play….

I shut down – I didn’t want to write again, I cried and cried and cried and cried; did I mention I cried? I was done….threw in the towel; was going to shut the blog down and never come back, Until – I talked to God.

Once I got over myself, It was like God brought this back to my mind: 

J.K. Rowling – the famed author behind the Harry Potter series was turned down by multiple publishers – for years! If she had given up after being rejected, we all would be like “Harry Potter” who?

The thing is, she didn’t give up! I’m sure there were many publishers whom didn’t see her vision, I mean – what type of story is this?, they probably were all saying – but the girl, kept going – she believed in herself even when no one else did, sort of remind me of the Donald Lawrence song “Encourage Yourself” in which in life is what we all will be faced to do at one point or another. So you know what I did? I replayed all of their comments over in my mind and took out the negative emotions I allowed myself to feel and made quite a few changes to the book according to the positive things that I allowed myself to see…because there were some positive ones.

And, since this book will not be able to go into schools because of the “faith” aspect of it; I embraced that as well because now, it allows me to be able to make changes according to how I feel God wanted me to make them. You see, in a sense I sort of was trying to take certain things out of the book (such as the scripture) to make it appealing to a general audience (note, I said “I”) – but maybe these comments were God’s way of showing me that I needed to be me and do it the way he wanted. So yes, Billy Wolf and the Kids is officially a christian book, that hopefully offers a little bit of funny, love, redemption, encouragement and inspiration to anyone whom decides to pick it up and give it a read.

So, while the BIG announcement I had – did not turn out the way I wanted and was an epic fail. I’m encouraged today, it will be okay….I’m taking my time and going through every page, bit by bit and when the time comes to officially make a HUGE announcement?

I will be completely ready this time….

rejection-300x300

 

Roshonda N. Blackmon – Creator of A Blog, A Magazine. It’s JustsumInspiration, Author, Speaker & Encourager

P.S. There will be no post for next Thursday – It’s My B-Day!! or this upcoming Tuesday 4/10 I’m taking a week off =) But, If you follow me on one of the social sites below, I’ll still be posting quotes. I love you all!! (smooches) 

 

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Sunday’s Thought: So, Where Those Flowers At?

Smelled Any Flowers Lately?

Smelling Flowers3
photos courtesy of Bing

I was talking with a friend today and they began to nag about how they wish they were at home. They’ve been out of town for about 4 weeks and began to complain about where they were, the violence and everything negative under the sun. So, I asked “Why would they rather be at home? After-all, No one else is there and they always complain about they’re always complaining about their nagging neighbor or how bored they consistently are. At least out of town, they’re surrounded by people whom love them and cared enough of them to take them on a trip.

Sometimes , we have to take time to smell the flowers and that includes being around loving people. Okay, so what does, “Take Time to Smell the Flowers” truly mean? It means to take some time out of your busy, hectic, crazy, complicated life and breathe in the fresh air, take time to notice the small things around you; such as aSmelling Flowers4 kiss from your child when they whisper, “I love you.” or the butterfly that just so happened to fly on your window sill, before you got in the car. Take time to look at the trees and look at nature in all it’s splendor. Have you ever just taken the time to look up at the sky?, It’s filled with so many shapes and it’s so blue and beautiful and when the sun sets, it’s like looking at a piece of artwork that God designed and framed himself. These are just the “flowers” that I observed in my own world.

As a people, sometimes we really never know what we truly want – We want jobs to make money, but yet making that money causes us to miss out on the most important things in life, we never smell the flowers until we’re laid flat on our back from working too much. But it shouldn’t have to take an accident or sickness for us to realize how beautiful those flowers really are.

So, I’m telling you – Stop and Smell the flowers baby, enjoy them; because when those lonely times come and they will, you’ll be able to look back and reminisce on the beautiful smells of the flowers that you stopped along the way to look, listen and smell.

TIPS FOR HOW YOU CAN STOP & SMELL THE FLOWERS AROUND YOU:

  • Take Time To Read
  • Stop by Lowe’s or a Greenhouse (even Wal-Mart) and visit the Plant area, just to smell the flowers.
  • Take Time to Have Coffee or Lunch with a Friend.
  • Learn a new Craft.
  • Write a Letter to Yourself or someone Else.
  • Take Time to Bake a Cake or Something Sweet and invite someone over to try it.
  • Take Time to Spend with Family and Have a Movie Night.
  • Spend time with a Child, Yours included.
  • Take Time and Spend with that Special Someone, Let them know how much you either care, appreciate or Love Them.
  • Take Time for YOURSELF! & Do Nothing at All.

hydrangea flower arrangments in dark purple color

 

Roshonda N. Blackmon – Creator of JustsumInspiration, Author, Speaker & Encourager

Let’s Live Well, Laugh Loud & Love Hard!

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Feel free to comment or email us @ justsuminspiration@gmail.com

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Sunday’s Thought: Dust It Off And Get To Work

What have you put off recently or maybe last year that you promised yourself that you would re-visit. Was it a great Idea, A book, The Promise to finish school and further your career, Did you tell yourself that you were going to do that demo, but life picked you up and carried you away? How about that savings account, last year you said that you would have such and such amount saved by this time this year, but your account is still showing the same amount it did last year and that amount is only to keep it active and open.

Has your GREAT ideas been collecting dust?

dust

Yesterday, I was going through my flash drive and came across something that I started but did not finish, I started a book in 2013 and never revisited it until just yesterday, and THIS IS THE YEAR 2017!! Something that I told myself that I would work on consistently for a year fell flat about a month in and I had not picked it back up until 4yrs later.

What have you put off on the back burner and either forgot all about it or told yourself that you were going to achieve it or complete it and got half way in only to GIVE UP! on the goal you so eagerly wanted to complete. “Why continue putting off tomorrow what you can do NOW!!” Listen, life is short; too short for us not to complete the task that was put before us. I challenge you today to dust off that computer and get to writing that book, Dust off that treadmill and run again, Buy the tickets for that long awaited trip, Pick up the phone and call that person that you keep putting off calling, Lose that unwanted weight, follow your dreams on becoming whatever you want to be. Push yourself to the limit and make it happen..

No more should ‘a, could ‘a, would ‘a’s, I wonders, I wish I had of or where would I be right now, If I had only STARTED!. No worries because we all have places that we need to revisit, especially if they will push us forward to success.

leftover food

Revisit that place of stagnation, the place of “leftovers” and commit yourself to not only achieving but eating up and digesting the golden nuggets you left behind, It’s something good there, it’s just waiting on you to finish it up. I promise you’ll be glad you did. So while I dust off this book and continue to write until I finish it. What do you plan to do?

SIMPLE TIPS FOR GETTING BACK ON TRACK WITH YOUR PROJECTS

  • Set a Timer for yourself. We have these smart phones that can do almost everything under the sun for us, why not schedule a time (with a buzz) sort of like an alarm for yourself to work on your goal or project daily or monthly.
  • Sticky Notes. Okay, so they’re not small and yellow for nothing and their name fits them correctly “sticky” – meaning you can write down your goal or project and stick them all over the house, especially in the places where you visit the most or frequently. (ex. The Bathroom)
  • Accountability. Hey, if you have friends; put them to work! You’ve heard the saying “Teamwork makes the Dream-work” and if they’re really good friends they’ll help you remember your goals and push you toward completing your project.
  • Reminisce. Think about where you would be, the goals you would crush, the lives that would be changed only if you START & COMPLETE! Do you really want to go another month, year or years still stuck with the same mindset of “I wonder?”

We’re the Only Ones that Keep “US” back, You can follow the first 3 tips all you want but if you don’t pursue and take charge of what you want out of life, then it’s not those things fault; but yours.

Roshonda N. Blackmon – Creator of JustsumInspiration, Author, Speaker & Encourager

Let’s Live Well, Laugh Loud & Love Hard!

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Feel free to comment or email us @ justsuminspiration@gmail.com

For Daily Inspiration, you can follow us on one or all of the social media sites below:

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