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May 30, 2010

My Healing & Down Time

Olga and Clancy Weeding the vegetable garden

Over the past few months, I've had a number of people ask me what I do when I'm not training or working on my book. So I thought this holiday weekend would be the perfect time to let folks know the answer to that. 

I live on a small farm, Mirasol Farm, in a small town in Wisconsin. My partner and I have 3 dogs, 3 cats, 13 chickens and 3 bee hives. We organically grow vegetables for ourselves and our friends. The eggs that we and our friends don't eat we sell in St. Paul to our coworkers. We grow organic strawberries, raspberries and blackberries that we use to make gourmet jams and jellies that we sell on our etsy site.

We make soaps, lotions, and healing creams, salves and balms that we also sell on our etsy site http://www.etsy.com/shop/mirasolfarm. We use organic oils to make everything from scratch. My partner, Casey, comes up with healing combinations of botanicals and soothing, relaxing combinations of essential oils. 

To me, this is such a departure from the work I do on the road or in town that it is relaxing, rejuvenating and healing. It also feels like an extension of my work. To offer good healing products to folks to help them through their day feels great.

So there it is. This is what I do when I'm not traveling, training, or writing.

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May 26, 2010

Sexual Assault Advocates Training

Training on Impact of Sexual Violence at WCSAP Conference

At the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs' 10th Annual Conference I presented a keynote presentation that connected how the coping skills children develop to survive child sexual abuse can leave them vulnerable for sexual attacks as adolescents and adults. This conference of sexual assault advocates, mental health professionals, public health nurses and domestic violence advocates explored how all aspects of abuse in the lifetime of an individuals life. We looked at the direct connection between dissociation and being identified as a person who can be victimized. 

In the workshop setting we examined how dissociative disorders look and feel. We also explored how they can help immigrants and refugees in particular, by understanding their experience better. We also talked about how they can help victims who show signs of trauma. First, learn more about trauma. Second, recognize that dissociation may be a sign of a person being triggered or overwhelmed by their current situation. Third, help that person get grounded again if they are triggered and overwhelmed. Finally, refer that person to a mental health specialist who understands trauma and their cultural experience. 

 

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May 22, 2010

Culture in Healing and Resilience

Keynote Presentation

 On May 19th I presented at the Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence Annual Advocate Retreat. We explored how growing up as a Latina affected my experience of violence and resilience. I've realized in my writing over the past few months how much my father used our cultural beliefs to perpetrate his violence. Respect is an important value in my family and our culture. My father took any action he wanted as a disrespectul act and used that as an excuse to hurt me and my brothers. There were other ways he manipulated our culture in order to hurt us. I think I would have continued to believe that the violence is part of our culture if it weren't for wonderful Latinas had not helped me to balance my view of Latino culture. So for example, our next door neighbor, Ester Rodriequez showed me how kind and loving Latinas can be. Sister Mary Leon, my second grade teacher, showed me how catholIcism wasn't about violence. She also connected me to Latina nuns at her convent that taught me to read and write in Spanish. And more importantly that Latinas are caring, thoughtful and loving women. I've since met many Latino men who are very passionate, caring and would never hurt their family or anyone else.These people and others helped me to feel smart and capable.

In my healing, I found the language of Spanish, very triggering. Most of my abuse was in Spanish. So I advise if the victim/survivor can speak Spanish and English, please give them a choice. Some victims will rather speak in their second language - English.

It was a wonderful audience and a lot of them stayed with me for most of the day. Thank you!

 

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May 05, 2010

Working with Law Enforcement

Olga Trujillo Conducting Training

I've conducted trainings lately for law enforcement audiences on Assessing Credibility of Survivor/Victims. In Evansville, Indiana I did the same training two days in a row to get to as many law enforcement officers, advocates, medical professionals and mental health professionals as we could. We spent each day with a little more than 100 participants. 

The training delved into how trauma can impact the way survivors/victims may respond. Since we are always assessing credibility, the signs of trauma may be misunderstood and lead responders to think the survivor was not being truthful. We explored how flat affect, dissociation, and other coping skills can appear to conflict with what the survivor is reporting.

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