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

Featured Image Courtesy of  fauxels from Pexels

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!

It’s Storytime! – Love, Wealth & Success

The photo above and below courtesy of bing/love-wealth-success

I thought I’d end September off with a little story, this isn’t just any story – it just happens to be one of my favorite ones. In speaking with a good friend last week, I shared this story with them and thought “Hey!, why don’t I post this” and here it is. Just a little background on me, because I don’t just want to slap a story in your face that’s seemingly coming out of the blue…HA!!

Continue reading “It’s Storytime! – Love, Wealth & Success”

Sunday’s Short Story: The Meeting, Part 2

photo source above pinterest/blackart

“The Meeting” Continued…

What was I going to wear today, what shoes was I going to where today, earrings, what purse to carry? Oh what was I going to do with my hair. I definitely need Dr. Miracle .. to
bad he really doesn’t come out of the mirror with products for your “do” because I could really use his service this morning.

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Photo source/Pinterest/Blackart

Well today has arrived, a day that I have been looking forward to for a week now. It has been a long 5 weeks for me and I really do not know how I am going to get through this day …. But I will relax, relate, release or at least that’s what I keep telling myself but for some reason one of those R’s were not working today. As I fumbled through the closet to try and find a matching shoe. My mother came to my mind again, I think of her constantly, she was my confidante , we talked everyday on the phone; I could have just hung up the phone from talking to her for 4 hours and then something would come on TV and there I go calling her back and talking to her about that, Especially if it just happened to be something on HGTV or The Maury show.

We loved the decorating shows and those surprising paternity test results. We would talk about how the girls ought to have been ashamed coming on stage with 5 different men, Or how those color walls and floors does not match each other, “Did you see that house they picked?” Why did they pick that couch! We could and would go on and on. My mother was my very best friend, I knew that I could call on her for anything. She always told me and my brothers that we could talk to her about anything and it would not go no further than her. She was an Angel, she was our mama and we loved her dearly. I finally found something to wear after pulling out over 10 ensembles, I narrowed it down to a Black pant suit with a pink silk halter to go on under the jacket. Out of all the colors that I have ranging from red to green to blue and even purple I had to choose the black, so typical. I finally got myself together and did one last look over in the bathroom mirror before I left out (okay you look fine, I whispered). I can’t even think about eating this morning even though I so badly want to grab that Fiber One Bar on the counter and I almost did but my nerves got the best of me and I quickly re-directed my hands toward the back door.

Did you miss the first one? Click this link to read The Meeting, Part 1 

My car was parked on the side of the house. I looked down at my watch, 10am. Wow, where is the time going. As I got into the car I took another glance in the mirror, okay you look fine I told myself once again, now agitated. I started the car and began to back out of the driveway when a flashback of my first driving experience flashed across my mind like lightning. Mama, bravely agreed to take me for a driving lesson – I’m sure it’s a day that she didn’t too soon forget because in trying to make a quick turn, I forgot to let the steering wheel go so that it could adjust itself and ran the both of us into a short ditch a mile up the road from our house. Thank God for the people that stayed some yards up from the incident, they ran out of the house to help usMud was so deeply embedded into the tires until it was hard to steer now. Mama took over the wheel and guided us safely back up the road to the house. I have to say mama never tried to teach me how to drive again after that. Instead when my older brother Taye came home in the summer’s from college that became his new summer task.

As I was leaving out of the driveway and making my way down the highway, mama’s death played in my mind like a record, I knew this would happen today even though I tried to erase it from my mind and just think on this event alone, It welled up in my mind like a balloon, Mama was young when she died she was just 60. Kidney Failure took her away from me. She had been on dialysis for the past 5 years, she had become so weak and fragile.

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Photo source/Fineartamerica/Xueling Zou

I did everything I could to take care of her even quitting my job to make sure that she had the best of care, even though the nurses came in 3 times a week, I just wanted to make
sure that she was comfortable and had everything that she needed. Before she passed on she told me one day to go to her closet and get down a orange shoe box that was in the top right hand corner of her closet. I did as I was told to do and went and looked for the box; after moving what seemed like more than 100 boxes I finally seen the orange bright box. I got it down and took it to mama whom was sitting on the couch looking so weak and tired, this saddened me deeply. The last thing I wanted was to watch my mama die a slow wrenching death right before my eyes. I brought her the orange box, she told me to open it and get out a brown envelope, I did as she asked; the brown envelope was laying right on top of some other papers underneath it. I felt mama’s cold hand now touching my hand, I turned to look at her looking at me with sad eyes.

I want you to open this once I am gone she told me. I was shocked, what was in this brown envelope that mama did not want me to open until after her passing, I was really confused at this point. I hope and pray that you will not be upset with me honey, everything was done for your good she told me. I was anxious to see what was in the brown envelope, but I dared not open it. About 4 weeks after that, mama died. I had gone out to the store to get her some ice, only to come back to be told that my mom had just passed 10 min ago. I believe she knew she was going and did not want me around to see her. That was the saddest day of my life. After mama’s funeral I was numb, I did not want to shower, take off my clothes or anything, all I wanted to do was just lie in the bed. As I reached my nightstand drawer, I opened it and there was the brown envelope staring me in the face. I hesitated at first to open it. But I remembered mama’s words and opened it anyways, out came some thick papers and a note that read:

Dear Angela,

If you are reading this letter then that means that I have gone on to be with the Lord. I just wanted you to know how much I love you and was so honored to have you in my life darling, you brought me so much joy. The day I got you I knew that you were special. Me and my husband couldn’t have any more children after the boys and I so desperately wanted a girl. So, we adopted you from this very nice couple, she was 15 – still in school and couldn’t take care of you, Her name is Virginia. She was the young lady at the Piggly Wiggly that day, you know, the couple that didn’t have the money to pay for the groceries? Once I realized that, that was your mom I knew I had to help her, afterall – she made my wildest dreams come true by giving me you.

She never wanted anything from me, I had not seen her since she left the hospital when you were born. I tried to reach out to her on several occasions but she was hesitant to accept offerings from me because of what she had done. When our eyes locked in on each other in the store, I knew I had to help. When I slipped her and her husband the money that day, it also contained my telephone number. We stayed in contact after that day, she would come around when I would throw you parties – but you wouldn’t have noticed her as she always kept a distance, but she was there. Unfortunately, she’s sick now and needs help. Her husband died 3yrs ago in a car accident and she has no family, but you.

Please make sure that her monthly bill is paid at the Daily Living complex as I have kept this up for her ever since her husband passed on. Please forgive me for not sharing this with you sooner, but your real mother was never in a place to where she was ready to meet with you; she was so, so young when she had you and never really got herself together to fully take care of you like she had hoped or desired. She knew one day that you would find out and would probably want to meet her. Sadly, sweetie – this is your opportunity. Don’t hate her, but love her – you’re the only family she has now. She had a couple of other kids, but lost them due to horrific miscarriages. I just want you to know, that it was never my intention to keep you from your birth mother – hopefully after reading this, you don’t hold any grudges against me either. 

But you’re my baby girl and I know with hearing this news – you would understand my heart. Take care of your mother, I know you’ll see to it that how ever many days she has left here on earth will be her best days – just as you did for me, when you arrived in my life…

I Love You Forever & Ever. 

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photo/pinterest/blackart/Jonnie K. Chardon

 

© Roshonda N. Blackmon, All Rights Reserved 

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval
system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic,
mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without
prior permission of the author – Roshonda N. Blackmon

 

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Sunday’s Short Story: The Meeting, Part 1

photo source above and all pictures below provided by pinterest/blackart 

Original story by  Roshonda N. Blackmon 

Intro: 

The meeting is a story of a woman whom is struggling loss and the memories of her mother whom she soon discovers has kept a startling secret from her all these years. 

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Continue reading “Sunday’s Short Story: The Meeting, Part 1”

Tuesday’s Question: What Would You Do, If This Was Your Gift?…

photo above courtesy of jeau/deviantart 

I personally know there have been many instances in my life where I wonder “Hmm, I wonder what I would have done in that situation.”

I loved the show that used to come on, on Friday nights, hosted by John Quinones entitled “What would you Do?” – it was a show in which where they would take random life instances and have them played out in front of people to see “what would they do” on one show I watched this guy and girl were on a date – the girl leaves to go to the ladies room and while gone, the guy slips something into her drink. The goal of the show was to see if anyone would stop the girl from drinking the drink or just look away as if they didn’t see anything at all.

Continue reading “Tuesday’s Question: What Would You Do, If This Was Your Gift?…”