This week Ana decided to share some of the story of her childhood and her path to healing and forgiveness.

The “Me Too” campaign has been in the news a lot lately. As a person who has experienced sexual abuse I’m glad that we’re finally talking about the issue. What concerns me is that I don’t hear very much about the next steps in the process. How are the women who are coming forward going to begin healing? Healing involves forgiving and it seems to me that we’ve become caught in the accusing. While I appreciate that it has been necessary to make an example of some individuals, I don’t see their vilification and/or prosecution as being any sort of solution to this systemic issue. Often the men who abuse do not even recognize that they’re doing something wrong. Casual sex and the objectification of women is everywhere. Emotion has been separated from what should be an act of love. This is a problem that is going to have to be addressed by all of us if we’re going to be able to shift the social norms. It sounds like a big job, but I think that if each of us takes every opportunity to heal and forgive and we’re able to speak to the victims AND the abusers with compassion, each tiny act will add up to a significant social change.

I painted this image to honour my own process of separating myself from the abuse of the past but mostly because my parents are not people I want in my life – I love them, but they continue to be toxic and I’m setting myself on a different path now. From this point forward I choose loving relationships, and I will not hesitate to state and defend my boundaries when the need arises. Forgiving is moving on. Loving yourself is not allowing negative situations to persist. I am now the parent I always wished that I had and as a parent I am setting boundaries!

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