Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Joyful Heart Foundation

I realize that I have an extremely low subscriber rate, and most of what I write about is silly girl stuff to pass the time, but this is the most important post I have written and possibly will write on Live Beautiful Recipes. The cause that this organization represents hits very close to home. All it takes is one person to further educate someone else and thus the chain of awareness begins. Please take the time to read this post, I took it straight from their website so you would understand their message perfectly.

Their Story:
When Mariska Hargitay started playing Detective Olivia Benson on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit over a decade ago, the content of the scripts, as well as the work she did to prepare for the role, opened her eyes to the epidemics of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse. What she learned was staggering:

One in three women report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives.
Every two minutes in the United States, someone is sexually assaulted.
Nearly four children die every day in this country as a result of child abuse and neglect. And up to ten million children witness domestic violence each year.

But what really opened her eyes—and subsequently, her heart—was the fan mail she received. The letters didn't say, "I love your show. Can you send me an autographed picture?" They said, "I was raped when I was fifteen. I'm forty now and I've never told anyone." Victims were disclosing their stories to her, many for the first time.

Mariska founded Joyful Heart in 2004 with the intention of helping survivors heal and reclaim their lives. Today, Joyful Heart's mission is to heal, educate and empower survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse, and to shed light into the darkness that surrounds these issues.

Since 2004, over 2,000 survivors have participated in Joyful Heart's pioneering retreat and wellness programs, thousands more have taken that first important step to get help through our website, and our participation in national educational and media awareness campaigns has planted the seeds of a changed awareness in the lives of millions. This year alone, the Foundation will directly serve over 2,000 survivors and the professionals who care for them.

Their Vision:

Everybody knows that rape, sexual assault and child abuse happen. Society is willing to look at this reality from time to time, but is just as willing to forget the horrible truth about how many survivors are walking among us. The Joyful Heart Foundation is working to build a community that is strong enough not to push this reality away, a community that acknowledges the dark side of this issue, but endeavors to turn toward the light of healing, the path to possibility and the clarity of honest dialogue.

We envision a community that says to a survivor "We hear you. We believe you. We feel for you. You are not alone. And your healing is our priority."

I implore that if you are male or female, 10 or 85, to please pass on this knowledge and encourage others to promote awareness not ignorance. One encounter of sexual violence and abuse can change a person for the rest of their life. If you know of anyone that is or might be a victim reach out to them or the authorities, no one should feel that they are alone in this.

Please visit The Joyful Heart Foundation website for more information on how to help.

Best of Love